Brian Allee-Walsh

Surging Saints seek to buck Broncos and climb above .500

Saints columnist Brian Allee Walsh
Saints columnist Brian Allee Walsh Biloxi

NEW ORLEANS

I'm not sure how this season is going to play out for the rejuvenated New Orleans Saints, beginning with Sunday'sproverbial fork-in-the-road game against the slumping Denver Broncos at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

And while the Saints (4-4) are locked in serious catch-up mode, both inside the NFC South and NFC, all is not lost, though their margin of error remains ultra slim. Yes, defensive coordinator Dennis Allen is trying to keep his Legion of Doom together with bubble gum, band aids and paper clips, but the Saints do have quarterback Drew Brees and a score-from-anywhere-on-the-field offense.

If you are a Saints fans, there are three things you can count on in this world: death, taxes and Old Reliable No. 9.

So, let's scan the NFC landscape as we await Sunday's noon kickoff.

No team looks invincible in the East, not even the Dallas Cowboys (7-1), not with the ever-combustible Jerry Jones calling the shots from an Ivory Tower and oft-injured quarterback Tony Romo lying in wait to replace rookie phenom Dak Prescott under center. I suspect the rest of the division will cannibalize each other in the end -- New York Giants (5-3), Washington (4-3-1) and Philadelphia (4-4).

The NFC South-leading Atlanta Falcons (6-3) seem to have righted the ship behind MVP candidate Matt Ryan but coach Dan Quinn's defense remains a weekly surprise. Carolina (3-5) is the X-factor in this division and could become a factor down the stretch if quarterback Cam Newton focuses solely on Xs and Os. Tampa Bay (3-5) can't win at home.

The NFC North seems to be in utter turmoil now that Minnesota (5-3) and grizzled quarterback Sam Bradford have come back to the pack. The problem is the Pack from Green Bay (4-4) has its own share of problems. Detroit (5-4) has discovered a genie in the bottle and plays to the final whistle. Chicago (2-6) is on life support.

Seattle (5-2-1) still appears to be the team-to-beat in the NFC West. Why? Because defending division champion Arizona (3-4-1) can't get it together, the Rams (3-5) appear to be awestruck in La-La Land and the San Francisco 49ers (1-7) are clueless by the bay under college coach Chip Kelly.

So what I'm saying is the Saints are squarely in the mix.

The NFC playoffs are not out of the question.

It's a longshot -- the Saints probably have to go 6-2, 5-3 at the very least in the second half to be in contention -- but it can be done.

That said, I also thought Donald Trump had no chance of becoming our country's 45th president.

So what do I know.

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