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Monday, December 23, 2013

Poo Dat

“I shoulda listened when my mama told me
That, if you play now, you gonna suffer later
Figured she was talkin yang-yang, so I paid her no attention”

Dre (a.k.a Andre 3000)
“Git Up, Get Out”
Southernplayalisticcadillacmuzik (1994)


The Saints went and did it. They’ve put themselves in an unfathomable position. For the first time all season, the Saints are on the outside looking in in the NFC South division race. Yesterday’s 17-13, loss to the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina gave the Carolina Panthers a one game lead over the Saints entering the final week of the regular season.

The loss in Carolina was a tough one. The Saints defense dominated the Panthers offense in the second half of the game. Carolina failed to convert a third down in the entire game. The Panthers drove 65 yards for a touchdown in less than a minute with no timeouts remaining to take the lead for good.

As difficult as the last minute loss was, that result in that game was not surprising. The Panthers are one of the best teams in the NFC. They were 6-1 at Bank of America Stadium entering the game. The Saints were 3-4 on the road entering the game. The Panthers were favored by three points; they won by four. Both defenses played exceptionally well. It was a close game. Someone had to lose.

Yesterday’s loss is not the game that may haunt the Saints through the offseason. Their loss in St. Louis to the previously 5-8 St. Louis Rams was the inexcusable blemish that will stain the Saints 2013 season should the Black & Gold make an early exit from the playoffs. The Saints clearly underprepared and demonstrated mental errors and a lack of discipline that is unacceptable from any team seriously contending for a title.

If only the game ended after 59 minutes.... 1

The Saints could still be In contention for home field advantage throughout the 2013 NFC Playoffs. They would be in control of their own destiny for the NFC South Division title and a first round bye in spite of yesterday’s loss had they practiced for, prepared for, and played against the Rams with the effort they demonstrated all season against their other opponents. Nothing extraordinary or superhuman…just the effort they’ve shown all season (as opposed to the least effort they’ve shown all season). The Saints should have already clinched a playoff berth.

The New Orleans Saints only have one place to look to explain why they will likely have to play in the first round of the playoffs and play on the road and could potentially need help to back in to the postseason: the mirror. After a 5-0 start, including a win at Chicago, a last second loss in Foxboro to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, and an obliteration of the Carolina Panthers just two weeks ago, the idea that the Who Dat Nation will enter Week 17 with its hat in its hand for some playoff charity is difficult to fathom. This is the position the Saints are in. They control their destiny. What’s it going to be?  

Former Saints kicker Garrett Hartley, who was cut following the team's loss in St. Louis, may be joined by his former teammates, at home for the playoffs, if their current direction doesn't change.
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