The New Orleans Saints have watched as everything they've built since their Super Bowl run in 2009 has completely eroded over the past two seasons. It has been a painful season to witness as a fan as well as a painful season for the players on the field. This past Monday Night showcased a crushing loss to Detroit and now Jacksonville enters the Superdome to face the Saints.
As of the moment this post was published, it is uncertain whether Drew Brees will start at quarterback for the Saints due to plantar fasciitis. Considering it was a full tear rather than a partial tear, Brees could play, but we could easily see Matt Flynn start. or less likely, rookie Garrett Grayson. Uncertainty at quarterback is not an issue that Saints have had to deal with much over the last decade.
An offseason of uncertainty and tough decisions await the Saints after the holidays, but for now there are still two more games to enjoy, or try to enjoy, depending on the fan. Many will lament that the past is dead and the good times have ended, but that doesn't mean the Saints are doomed to their worst incarnations again. Maybe the past is dead, but the distant past, the past of the perennial loser Saints. Times may be bleak now, but turnarounds can happen quickly in the quirky NFL.
Lets take a look at this matchup as well as the rest of the Week 16 NFL schedule.
Last week I went 7-9
I told you so: Cardinals over Eagles!
What do I know: Saints over Lions?
Thursday, December 24th - Thursday Night Football
Chargers(4-10) at Raiders(6-8)
We are treated to the "Back to LA Bowl" on Christmas Eve. Just one week after the Chargers played possibly their final game in San Diego, the Raiders play what may be their final game in Oakland. Oakland wins 32-24.
Saturday, December 26th - Saturday Night Football
Redskins(7-7) at Eagles(6-8)
Philadelphia and Washington continue to make the race to the NFC East title compellingly awful. The first team to 8-8 "wins". Philly wins 28-27.
Sunday, December 27th - Early Games
49ers(4-10) at Lions(5-9)
The simple fact that San Francisco has managed four wins this season is astonishing. Detroit wins 24-6.
Imagine how good the Steelers would be if injuries hadn't plagued the team for long stretches this season. Pittsburgh wins 23-16.
Dallas(4-10) at Bills(6-8)
Tony Romo Brandon Weeden Matt Cassel Kellen Moore Dallas QB is gonna be awful and so are the Cowboys. Buffalo wins 35-16.
Bears(5-9) at Buccaneers(6-8)
Tampa snaps their two-game skid with a close home win over Chicago. Tampa wins 21-19.
Panthers(14-0) at Falcons(7-7)
Hey, Atlanta may score this time! Carolina wins 35-2.
Indianapolis will continue to spiral against below-average Miami. Miami wins 24-23.
The Jets continue to battle tooth-and-nail for a Wild Card spot, but will take another crushing loss to the Pats for all their troubles. New England wins 25-21.
Houston gets themselves another step closer to the pedestrian AFC South title, with a win at Tennessee. Houston wins 31-14.
Kansas City stands as one of the hottest teams in the NFL and their improbable run easily continues against Cleveland. Kansas City wins 23-15.
Sunday, December 27th - Late Games
Jaguars(5-9) at Saints(5-9)
The Saints will need to start the first half far better than they did on Monday Night, and if they do, this should be an entertaining game. Jacksonville star wideout Allen Robinson will prove to be a big problem for the woeful New Orleans defense, but that should come as no surprise. Blake Bortles could be in for a huge game against this defense, like most quarterbacks this year, but the Saints offense should be expected to move the ball and score points with them.
Not much is expected of the Saints, especially given the quarterback situation as of now, but with no playoffs to play for, it would be the most Saints-like move to win here in this spot, where fan confidence is at its lowest point. Expect a fun one, in the Saints' home finale. Saints win 30-27.
Packers(10-4) at Cardinals(12-2)
The loss of Tyrann Mathieu will be a devastating blow to Arizona's Super Bowl run, but if any team is positioned to absorb such a blow, it's the Cardinals. This could easily be a preview of the NFC Championship Game, and this game will end the same as that one would, with an Arizona victory. Arizona wins 38-34.
Seattle continues their march toward the Wild Card by trouncing St. Louis at home. Seattle wins 31-0.
Sunday Night Football
Minnesota seals a playoff spot and a chance for an NFC North title game next week, with a decisive home victory over the Giants. Minnesota wins 35-17.
Monday, December 28th - Monday Night Football
Bengals(11-3) at Broncos(10-4) - Game of the Week
For the second consecutive season, Cincinnati faces Denver in the Monday Night Football finale. There will be a playoff atmosphere in the snow of the Mile High city in this one, as the Broncos pick up an enormous victory by the slimmest of margins. Denver wins 31-30.
The Saints may be eliminated from playoff contention, but the season rolls on anyway. Tell us how you see Week 16 playing out. Leave us your picks, comments, and insight below.