The New Orleans Saints have been everybody's favorite preseason Super Bowl pick for three years now. Having a quarterback like Drew Brees means they're always in contention to some degree, true, but these last few years, the Saints have checked every box. Elite QB/coach combo? Check. Playmakers on offense? Check and check. A shutdown cornerback and a great pass rusher? Got both of those. A talented offensive line? Yessiree.
And yet, they haven't been able to make the final climb from playoff contender to Super Bowl champion. In fact, they haven't even been able to get to the big game. They were completely screwed in 2018 by the worst no-call of all time that forced the NFL to change pass interference rules, then simply folded against the Minnesota Vikings in the wild card round last season. One could argue they were also screwed in that game because Minnesota marched down the field and scored a touchdown on their first drive, but they were a 13-3 team that went into OT against a 10-6 wild card squad.
It doesn't appear to make much sense. Brees isn't the same guy he was five years ago, but he's still better than 95 percent of other quarterbacks in the league. Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas are the most dangerous WR/RB combo in the league. The collective talent in the trenches on both ends is top-five, and Marshon Lattimore and Cameron Jordan are both All-Pro-caliber players. Sean Payton is a great coach. What's the problem?
i certainly don't have an answer. But as I watched Kamara and Co. annihilate the Vikings on Christmas Day, it's hard not to feel like these Saints should be considered championship favorites. Brees looked bad against the Chiefs last week but it was his first game in a month. He looked much better on Christmas. If he can hit the downfield strikes when they become available, New Orleans threatens the defense at every level. The defense is hit or miss, which isn't anything new, but they show up for the big games, as they did against Kansas City.
But as seen above, this isn't the first time they've been here. The No. 1 overall seed is pretty much out of reach at this point, barring a shocking Green Bay loss in Week 17. But they can secure the two seed if they win out. It would be a good first step towards winning the city's first Super Bowl since that legendary 2009 season.