Brett Duke/Associated Press
The Saints entered the year with high expectations after back-to-back 13-3 seasons, and the squad has lived up to them despite dealing with significant challenges.
Future Hall of Famer Drew Brees missed four games after suffering multiple rib fractures and a collapsed lung. It forced Taysom Hill into his first extended action at quarterback, and the versatile player did enough to lead the team to three wins in four starts.
The offense was also without the NFL‘s reigning Offensive Player of the Year Michael Thomas for much of the season as the receiver totaled just 40 catches in seven games. It was well short of the record-breaking 149 receptions from the 2019 season.
Pro Bowl linemen Terron Armstead and Andrus Peat also missed time to give the offense a much tougher path than in past seasons.
The Saints continued to produce behind Alvin Kamara and others, entering the week ninth in the NFL in points scored. Kamara showed his ability to take over games with an amazing six touchdowns on Christmas Day against Minnesota.
New Orleans also got a lot of production all year from the defense led by Marshon Lattimore, Trey Hendrickson and Cameron Jordan. The unit ranks in the top five in the league against both the run and the pass, making it a challenge for all opposing teams.
This complete roster when healthy could be enough to challenge for a Super Bowl title, although the Saints will have to overcome their past disappointment.
New Orleans has been eliminated in shocking fashion in each of the last three years, including overtime losses the past two and a miracle walk-off touchdown by Stefon Diggs after the 2017 season.
The talent is there to bring home a championship, but Brees and company must find out ways to pull out wins in the postseason. Securing the division title is simply the next step toward achieving the squad’s goals for the season.