Game Against Seahawks Could Be Season-Defining For Saints
Make no mistake, Sunday's home contest against the Seattle Seahawks is a crucial one for the New Orleans Saints.
Despite getting off to an 0-3 start, and despite limping through the first 6 games of the season with numerous injuries, the Saints are still in position to make a move in the NFC South as the second half of the season approaches with a 2-4 record.
Well, understand that three of their four losses were by 6 points or less, meaning that they are just one play away from being in a second place tie with Tampa Bay, and two play away from being 4-2 and in sole possession of first place in the division.
Now, I understand that they didn't make those plays, which is why they're only 2-4, and I also understand that it works the other way with close games too; that they're only two plays away from being winless.
But that kind of my point, in that that's life in the NFL. Most games are close, and most Saints' games will be close the remainder of the season.
If they make key plays, and avoid crucial penalties and turnovers, they have an opportunity to still have a successful season.
If they don't...well, the final record could look less than impressive.
But isn't it realistic to think that the Saints could be better in the second half? After all, starting cornerback Delvin Breaux is expected back, as is the team's first-round draft choice, defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins.
You can also hope for better health from starting left tackle Terron Armstead, who has missed three complete games, as well as linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, who hasn't played yet this season.
So, is it unrealistic to expect a team that has lost all four of their games by under a touchdown, who has been besieged by injuries early in the season, to improve in the second half?
I don't think so.
I think this team's best football...their most consistent football...is still in front of them.
But the next two games, to conclude the first half of the season, are beyond big.
If the Saints win on Sunday, they would travel to San Francisco the following week with an opportunity to get to the .500 mark against a team that currently only has one win.
Look, all the close losses that the Saints have suffered this year are history...a thing of the past. But if they finish the first half of the season at 4-4, with all of the key injuries they suffered, playoff talk would begin, and rightfully so.
On the flip side, if the Saints lose on Sunday, they would fall to 2-5, with a road trip to the west coast staring them right in the face.
On Sunday, they face the Seahawks, who are kind of flying under the radar for a 4-1-1 team. They have one of the best defenses in the league, and the Saints are going to have to make one of those key plays, and/or keep from making one of those crucial mistakes to come away with a win.
If they don't they'll fall to three games under .500, with the road trip to San Francisco, a team who will be coming off of a bye week, to end the first half, followed by a home game against the defending Super Bowl Champions to begin the second half of the season.
I think it's very simple; they have to win two of their next three. If they don't, they would be no better than 3-6, and that would be just too big of a hole to climb out.
You can see the Saints building on a potential victory on Sunday, using momentum and healthy bodies to reach their potential.
You can also see a downward spiral after a potential Saints' loss, with so many near misses having a crippling mental effect and just being too much to overcome.
Without sounding like a coach, the Saints, and their fans just have to take it one game at a time.
All but one game has been close this season, so Sunday's game against the Seahawks will likely be decided by a touchdown, or less.
Based upon what has happened so far this season, and what is right around the corner, you just get the feeling that the outcome of this game is going to go a long way in determining the success of the Saints' 2016 season.
To say that Sunday's game against the Seahawks is huge for the Saints would be an understatement.
It's their biggest game of the year, a possible season-defining game that could also impact their future.
Hopefully, they'll make it their best win of the year.