For the second straight week, the New Orleans Saints joined a handful of NFC playoff teams in a losing effort. While the Los Angeles Rams and, more importantly, Tampa Bay Buccaneers faltered ahead of them, the Saints were unable to mount a comeback against the Tennessee Titans. At this point, the Saints’ 2021 identity is emerging — It’s a team with a lot of heart but a deficit of talent at skill positions is getting harder to overcome.
Of course, last week against the Titans had exigent circumstances with no Alvin Kamara. However, the Saints’ failure in consecutive weeks to join the Buccaneers at the top of the division despite an opportunity to do so is looking to be a larger missed opportunity amidst a season of near misses.
ESPN - #11 (From #11)
The real answer is this week at Philadelphia, where the Saints will try to avoid their first three-game losing streak since 2016. Frankly, every game matters for a team now holding onto a playoff berth by the skin of its teeth. But I’ll circle the Week 16 home date against Carolina on my calendar, since the Panthers are now the Saints’ closest pursuers in the wild-card race and have already beat them, in Week 2. Both teams have a chance to be at their best by the end of this season now that they’re getting healthier and adding key players, including Cam Newton. This game could have huge implications for two teams hoping to peak in January. — Mike Triplett
USA Today - #18 (From #14)
Currently the NFC’s sixth seed, they can’t expect to maintain that spot – amid a two-game losing streak without QB Jameis Winston – if the defense continues to fade, special teams keep faltering, critical penalties mount, and RB Alvin Kamara doesn’t play.
CBS - #12 (From #10)
They have lost two straight games with their backup quarterback, which really limits the offense. The defense, which has played well, is now forced to play ever better. That’s tough.
NFL - #13 (From #13)
Sean Payton was not a happy man after Sunday’s 23-21 loss to the Titans ... and we get it. His kicker missed two extra points, a potential game-tying two-point conversion was foiled in the final minute and officials cost New Orleans seven points with a highly questionable roughing the passer penalty. Credit the Saints for hanging tough against a red-hot opponent, on the road, with four key offensive starters sidelined by injuries. But it’s the result that matters most and New Orleans missed out on a golden opportunity to move into a first-place tie with the Bucs atop the NFC South.
Bleacher Report - #15 (From #16)
The anxiety level is going up in New Orleans.
Back on Halloween, the Saints logged their biggest win of the season, upsetting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Superdome. But that win came at a cost: Quarterback Jameis Winston was lost for the season in that game and New Orleans hasn’t won since.
Winston wasn’t the only key player out Sunday against the Titans. Running back Alvin Kamara also missed the game with a knee injury. And while Mark Ingram piled up 108 total yards and Trevor Siemian threw for 298 yards and two scores, for the second week in a row, the Saints came up two points short in the end.
It could be worse. Thanks to Tampa’s upset loss in Washington, the Saints didn’t fall any farther off the pace in the NFC South.
But as head coach Sean Payton told reporters after the game, the Saints have to do a better job of pulling these close games out moving forward.
“Disappointing loss,” Payton said. “I thought we came in with a good plan. We fought hard. That’s what makes it difficult. Just in the end, too many little things.”
Yahoo - #11 (From #11)
Trevor Siemian played pretty well in a close loss and there’s no reason for Sean Payton to make a change before next week. The Saints might have won this if it weren’t for a horrible roughing the passer penalty that negated a New Orleans interception.
Sports Illustrated - #13 (From #12)
Sean Payton called this week’s loss to Tennessee “gut-wrenching.” It’s easy to understand why, as for the second straight week, the Saints lost a game they had a chance to win. They’re still in position to make the playoffs, but Payton knows that the margin of error isn’t wide for a team thinned by injuries to key players
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