I think the Saints are good shape to be no worse than 7 - 2 and a good shot to be 8 - 1 at the break. Here's my analysis:
Arizona - No quarterback. Poor running game. Defense is giving up almost 400 yards a game. Win probability: 90%
Cleveland - They did beat the Ben-gals and have played every game close and Hillis is looking good at rb. However, they have a lot of holes and are inventive ways to lose games. Win probability: 80%
Pittsburgh - The Steelers are dangerous. They will have Big Ben back and they have a stifling defense. However, the Saints could have several key players back for this game, which would be nice. Additionally, this is a home game and the Saints are deadly at home, except against the Panthers. Win probability: 60%
Carolina - They may be the second worst team in the NFL, Buffalo has that distinction pretty much locked up. This is the game in which many players are scheduled to be back, though they may wait for the bye week to let them back. Plus, I will be at that game. I have seats right above the away team entrance to the field. Win probability: 90%
So by simple statistical analyst (I'm a math teacher), the Saints have a 31% chance of being 8 - 1 and a 52% chance of being 7 - 2. After the bye week, the Saints will be back to nearly full strength and a good shot of having the home field advantage again. It is fortunate that our schedule before the break is a bit weak with a combined record of 8 - 11, take out the Steelers and they are 5 - 10. I like our chances. However with our injury problems, we need to concentrate on winning each week, no matter how ugly. Wins are like babies, there are really no ugly ones.