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Is there optimism for the Saints to win the division?

Win out.

The New Orleans Saints sit with a record of 4-8 heading into the last stretch of the season. Self-inflicted wounds have been the story of the year for New Orleans. Let’s look at the rest of the division and how the Saints can sneak away with the division.

The answer should be simple, win out. Three of the last five games are against the division and New Orleans would most likely have to sweep those games to have a shot, and they should. As bad as the Saints have been, the rest of the division has been worse. It’s almost unbelievable these next two games could possibly put New Orleans in the driver’s seat - beat Tampa/ATL and hope San Francisco beats Tampa. Looking at the rest of the Bucs’ schedule - Cincy, Arizona & both division foes all have realistic shots to beat them, so I’d say it’s safe to say at least one does.
New Orleans simply has to handle business. Philadelphia and Cleveland are the only games remaining outside of the division and objectively, they’re both very winnable. A five-game winning streak isn’t as hard as it sounds, knowing the ceiling of this team.

Dennis Allen has done a great job calling the defense, per usual. The biggest downfall of the team besides health, has been offensive play-calling. Pete has been questionable more often than not and it’s been costly. Andy Dalton hasn’t been good. The offensive line has been solid, especially considering the circumstances. New Orleans has to start games off faster and in my opinion, let the pass set up the run more than they’ve done. Pete seems to be focused on predictable run-calling in early downs that sometimes sets the team behind the sticks.

Airing it out isn’t the way to go but treating Olave like a true WR1 and making him a focal point of the offense is. He’s having an OROTY campaign but should still have more targets. Kamara on option-routes out of the backfield should be the first progression a lot more than it is. He’s a YAC specialist, who should also have more targets. Quarterback play has to move the needle more than it has been and that’s pretty obvious. The defense has put together five consecutive solid performances and the team has two wins to show for it. They definitely have areas to improve in but they’ve found their groove and held up their end.
Next week against Tampa will make the path to the division title much clearer. 5-0 to close out the season with a 9-8 record should be something everyone in the building has their eyes on. 4-1 could possibly suffice, but there’s almost no room for error if New Orleans wants the division.

Saints will be in Tampa for MNF, at 7:15pm.

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