The New Orleans Saints are above .500 for the first time since 2013 and scored three defensive touchdowns in a game for the first time in team history. The Saints defense forced five turnovers in a 52-38 win over the Detroit Lions.
New Orleans raced out to a 45-10 lead before Detroit got its offense going and made a potential blowout in a close game. After two losses at the start of the season, the Saints are on a three-game winning streak and are at 3-2 this season.
The Saints have the potential to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2013. The road got a little easier this weekend after the Green Bay Packers starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone in a game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Rodgers’ injury moved the line from Green Bay being a 6.5-point favorite to New Orleans being a 3.5-point favorite. Instead of facing Rodgers, the Saints defense will face Brett Hundley at quarterback for the Packers.
Improvement from the defense has been a major reason why the Saints are in the playoff hunt. Currently, New Orleans sits second in the NFC South with the same record as the Atlanta Falcons. The Saints are a game behind the Carolina Panthers and a game ahead of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After playing Green Bay, New Orleans hosts back-to-back games against the 2-4 Chicago Bears and 2-3 Buccaneers. Chicago is starting a rookie quarterback this season, which could work in the Saints’ favor.
New Orleans travels to the Buffalo Bills and hosts the Washington Redskins. Both teams are 3-2, the same record as the Saints, and both are winnable games. Buffalo and Washington are playing just about everyone close this season.
Next is a trip to face the surprising 4-2 Los Angeles Rams. This might be the toughest of the next six games for New Orleans. The Rams are young, and there is no telling if they can keep winning late in the season.
Four of the final games for the Saints are NFC South foes. New Orleans hosts the Carolina Panthers before a trip to Atlanta to face the Falcons. After that is a very winnable game against the New York Jets followed by a home game against Atlanta. The season ends at Tampa Bay.
Those final four division games could end up being the difference between the Saints making the playoffs or missing them for the fourth straight year. There isn’t a game left on the schedule that the Saints can’t win.
As long as the defense keeps improving, and the offense keeps finding its way, there is a good chance the Saints could be in the playoff hunt come December. That is something New Orleans hasn’t been able to do the last three years.