Saints Playoff Scenarios, Chances, Seed Predictions: New Orleans Offense Disappointed Them Down the Stretch
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images. Pictured: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints
Sunday Night Update
The Saints held on for as long as they could, but ultimately their hapless offense let them down.
Since Jameis Winston went down with an ACL tear, they’ve started Trevor Siemian, Ian Book and Taysom Hill at quarterback.
Siemian went 0-4 and looked hapless out there after he had to replace Hill at QB today.
Book looked unfit for the NFL during his only start in a blowout loss to the Dolphins.
And while Hill has been serviceable, it hasn’t been enough to turn around an offensive unit that ranks No. 24 in the NFL, per Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
That they even hung around this long is a testament to their No. 4 overall defense by DVOA. A 9-0 shutout against the Buccaneers last month showed what this team could do. If only they had any semblance of an offense.
The New Orleans Saints look quite different in the post-Drew Brees era, but the result may end up the same: An NFL playoff berth.
In the first year without the future Hall of Famer under center, New Orleans is once again in position to clinch a spot in the postseason entering the final week of the regular season.
The Saints have overcome starting four different quarterbacks this season. Jameis Winston won the job in the offseason after serving as Brees’ backup in 2020. The team ran out to a 4-2 start, with wins over the Packers and Patriots. However, Winston went down with a torn ACL and left the starting role to Trevor Siemian.
After four straight losses with Siemian running the show, Sean Payton turned to Taysom Hill. Then a COVID-19 outbreak in the quarterback room left only Ian Book to start in Week 16.
Despite the inconsistency at the most important position, the Saints are in position to make the postseason with one game to go.
Led by the No. 4-ranked defense by Football Outsiders’ DVOA, the Saints have one scenario that gets them playing next week.
The Saints must beat the Falcons and the 49ers have to lose to the Rams.
What are the chances that happens? Our expert’s Travis Reed’s model — which helps power our NFL PRO Projections — give New Orleans a 41% chance. If the Saints do make the playoffs, the only seed they can get is No. 7.
New Orleans is favored by 4.5 points against Atlanta while San Francisco is a 4.5-point underdog on the road against the Rams (check real-time NFL odds here).