With the Saints at 5-7, we're not ready to stick a fork in them just yet. They will have to win out with games against the New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers. The Giants and Cowboys games are on the road. Since 2002, 20 percent of wild-card teams have been 9-7 or worse. It can happen, and the NFC field is filled with problematic 6-5 teams.
Focusing on the Saints' possible path misses the larger point. New Orleans just lost in back-to-back weeks to playoff teams by 10 points each. The Saints rallied from their 0-4 start, but they're no longer a "hot" or "dangerous" team. They are a squad that hasn't been able to put it all together in its biggest games this season. The Saints aren't peaking heading into December.
Brees' meltdown was disarming. It included a bad throw, a late throw, some bad luck, but mostly bad decisions. Brees butchered a clock-management situation at the end of the first half. He took a delay-of-game penalty and burned a silly timeout. He was off.
There were brilliant moments, but too much sloppiness from Brees and his teammates. They built too big of a hole, and they just couldn't climb out.