Sunday was definitely a bump in the road for the New Orleans Saints. A brutal 24-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles took them out of the driver’s seat for a bye in the NFC, and it gave Taysom Hill his first loss since being named the starting quarterback after Drew Brees suffered extensive chest injuries.
However, while the sky is falling for Saints fans, it isn’t around the NFL world. Yes, the Saints took a hit in every poll, but most writers seem to agree that 3-1 without Brees is a blessing. Once he returns, things should return back to normal for Sean Payton and the offense. Whether it does or not remains to be seen, but it’s clear that the offense being fielded just isn’t quite the same when it goes up against a good gameplan.
It would have been much easier to identify the Saints’ strengths if they hadn’t just snapped a nine-game winning streak with Sunday’s flop at Philadelphia. In general, their strength lies in their depth and diversity. They are well-rounded enough to win games based on their passing game, running game, defense or special teams when needed. Before Sunday’s collapse, the Saints’ defense had been dominant over a five-game stretch, which had allowed them to keep thriving despite Drew Brees’ injury absence. — Mike Triplett
USA Today - #3 (-1)
Loss in Philly isn’t as worrisome as diminishing window to reintegrate 41-year-old QB Drew Brees into the fold before postseason – which gives New Orleans enough problems – begins.
CBS - #5 (-2)
That was a bad showing at Philadelphia. Taysom Hill did some good things in his starts, but they need Drew Brees back. Now.
NFL - #3 (-1)
It was a damaging Sunday for the Saints, who saw their nine-game winning streak come to an end and now find themselves behind the Packers in the race for the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. Taysom Hill was up and down in his first loss as starting quarterback, and New Orleans’ defense — so dominant in recent weeks — had trouble with Eagles rookie Jalen Hurts, who threw a touchdown pass and eclipsed 100 yards rushing. Here’s a wild stat: The Saints entered Sunday having not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 55 games (including playoffs), a record in the Super Bowl era. They allowed two Eagles to hit the century mark — Hurts and running back Miles Sanders. The Saints will have a better chance against the Chiefs on Sunday if Drew Brees is indeed back on the field.
Bleacher Report - #4 (-1)
Before the New Orleans Saints faced the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported they were in no hurry to rush Drew Breesback into action despite a looming Week 15 matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs.
By Sunday evening, that position may have changed.
After Taysom Hill won each of his first three starts, much of the shine came off in Sunday’s upset loss in Philadelphia. Hill’s 291 passing yards looks OK at a glance, but he turned the ball over twice and racked up most of those numbers in catch-up mode. The Saints had fewer than 100 total yards in the first half. And coupled with Green Bay’s victory in Detroit, the loss knocked the Saints from the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
Afterward, Hill admitted that this one stung.
“This one does sting a little bit because we knew what was at stake, and we’ve worked really hard to put ourselves in a situation to be in the driver’s seat where we can control our own destiny,” he told reporters. “So, yeah, I would say that this feels a little bit different.”
The Saints now have to prepare for the defending champs with their backs against the wall. If they lose another one, any real chance of getting a first-round bye is likely out the window.
Yahoo - #5 (-2)
Taysom Hill is going to have good games and bad ones. He has four career starts at quarterback. The problem is the Saints can’t afford his inconsistency. One loss after nine wins in a row dropped them out of the No. 1 seed in the NFC. They’re now looking at another season of a gaudy record and a game on wild-card weekend.
Sports Illustrated - #5 (-2)
Taysom Hill couldn’t pull the Saints out of an early hole, and they missed an opportunity to clinch the NFC South title. Brees’s availability is up in the air with the Chiefs coming to town this week, but the Saints will not rush him back from his fractured ribs and punctured lung.
Average Power Ranking Composite: #5 (-2)
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