Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus, And A Scenario Where The 5-9 Saints Make The Playoffs

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It will snow on Bourbon Street before the New Orleans Saints (5-9) make the playoffs this season.

Wait a second, it will continue to be below freezing through the weekend in the Big Easy, so who knows?

Ok, New Orleans will have a decent mayor before the Saints make the postseason.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Andy Dalton has had decent statistics this season, but has been unable to lead the the team to two consecutive wins all season. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

The Saints won 21-18 at Atlanta last week to leapfrog their chances of reaching the playoffs from one percent to four percent, according to the New York Times’ complicated calculations. Four percent! Party! And you thought the French Quarter went wild when the Saints beat Brett Favre and Minnesota to reach their first Super Bowl in the 2009 season.

The Saints Are No. 12 In The NFC

The New Orleans Saints are no less than 12th in the NFC for one of the seven playoff spots. They are tied for the 11th best record at 5-9 with Atlanta and Carolina. The Saints have the tiebreaker against the Falcons, having beaten them twice this season. They have lost their only game so far with Carolina.

The Saints have already been eliminated from any wild-card playoff chances. Their only way in is to win the NFC South division, which tells you something about that conglomeration of crud.

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Tampa Bay leads the South at 6-8, followed by New Orleans, Atlanta and Carolina at 5-9.

The Saints remaining games are:

at Cleveland (6-8), Saturday, 1 p.m., CBS

at Philadelphia (13-1), Sunday, Jan. 1, 1 p.m., FOX

Carolina (5-9), Weekend of Jan.7-9, TBA.

The Browns are also facing the slimmest of playoff chances at one percent as they are also 12th in the AFC playoff standings. They need to win out and have about seven other things happen as well. Cleveland is a three-point favorite, but that should be more. The high Saturday just off Lake Erie at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland is 9 degrees with 50 mph gusts in the forecast. And the Saints have played their home games in the 72-degree Superdome since 1975.

Oh, and there was a blizzard in the forecast. Flights have been canceled into Cleveland as the usual beat reporters for the Saints will be watching from home.

New Orleans Saints Will Be Playing The If Game Big Time

So, if the Saints get by that game and are able to leave town, they will reach the playoffs by winning at Philadelphia and at home against Carolina to finish 8-9 … if, Tampa Bay loses two of its remaining three games to finish 7-10. The Bucs play at Arizona (4-10) on Saturday (NBC, 8:20 p.m.), then host Carolina on January 1 (FOX, p.m.) and finish at Atlanta (TBA).

The Saints can also reach the playoffs with a 7-10 finish if the Falcons also finish 7-10 or worse and Tampa Bay finishes 6-11 by going 0-for-3. But Carolina must lose to Detroit (7-7) and New Olreans while beating Tampa Bay. And Atlanta must lose to either Baltimore (9-5) or Arizona and beat Tampa Bay.

Do you still believe in Santa Claus? Because the Saints are about to get a rock.

But don’t laugh, the 7-9 Seattle Seahawks won the NFC West to reach the playoffs in the 2010 season and won 41-36 at home over the defending Super Bowl champion Saints. New Orleans finished second in the NFC South at 11-5 that year.

The Saints amazingly were in a similar playoff scenario in the 1971 season in quarterback Archie Manning’s rookie season. New Orleans went into the final three games of the then-14 game season at 4-5-2 with a mathematical chance of reaching the playoffs. But they went 0-3, losing at the Los Angeles Rams, 45-28, and at home to Cleveland, 21-17, and to Atlanta, 24-20. The Saints would not reach the playoffs for the first time until 1987.

The 1971 Saints and this team have one key ingredient in common. Neither ever won two straight games all season. New Orleans last went through a season without back-to-back wins in 2005. That was the post Katrina season when it finished 3-13 while playing all away games as the dome was wrecked by the storm. All the Saints have to do now is win their next three straight and hope for three or four voodoo miracles.

New Orleans will be crime free before the Saints make the playoffs this year.

So, Merry Christmas, and maybe Santa Claus will bring New Orleans a quarterback.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

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