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Are the Saints done for this season?

New Orleans SaintsSean PaytonFootballChicago Tribune ColumnistsDrew BreesJimmy Graham

Team missing Payton

Dan Pompei

Chicago Tribune

No team is done for the season after two games, but the Saints are moving in that direction.

The good news is there are 14 remaining games to make them forget about Games 1 and 2. The better news is the Saints are a much more talented team than they have showed in the last two weeks. But the bad news is Sean Payton is gone and not coming back any time soon. The Saints miss his leadership and strategy.

It also appears that Payton's absence has affected the Saints' chemistry. NFL teams can be a fragile mix of personalities and talents, and it doesn't take much for that mix to be disrupted. The Saints clearly have been disrupted. If they don't figure it out soon, they will be done.

dpompei@tribune.com

They're still a threat

Aaron Wilson

Baltimore Sun

The winless Saints haven't ceased to be relevant yet even though they appear rudderless without Sean Payton.

The last time they went 0-2 they didn't make the playoffs. Historically, teams that lose their first two games don't qualify for the postseason. The Saints did lose their last three regular-season games during their Super Bowl triumphant year, though.

The Saints will remain a threat to win games as long as Drew Brees is under center and Jimmy Graham is terrorizing secondaries.

However, an awful defense, particularly porous against the run, is getting savaged. That will make the Saints an 8-8 squad at best.

awilson@tribune.com

Defense must improve

Gregory Lee

Sun Sentinel

The Saints' defense has let down the team in the first two games of the season. While Sean Payton's presence is missed greatly, the team's defense has given up more than 450 yards in each performance.

Yes, the defense is still learning defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's system, but it doesn't excuse the fact that it can't get off of the field and putting the ball in Drew Brees' hands.

The odds are against the Saints making the playoffs. Since 1990, teams starting the season 0-2 have a 12 percent chance of making the postseason. Long odds, but with no dominant team in the NFC, the Saints will have a shot. The season will be lost if they lose at home on Sunday against the anemic Chiefs.

glee@tribune.com

Odds not in their favor

Sam Farmer

Los Angeles Times

Done for the season? We're two games in! Of course the Saints aren't done for the season, although no one expected them to be 0-2 at this point, and the statistics don't point in their favor.

Since 1990, only 12 percent of teams that started 0-2 went on to make the playoffs. But suggesting they're already cooked is silly in a league that's so unpredictable, and with a team that's not fundamentally flawed.

It's clear, however, that the Saints have lost the bravado they had under Sean Payton, and with Gregg Williams, Joe Vitt and Curtis Johnson (now at Tulane) as coaches, and they've got to find a way to recover that.

sfarmer@tribune.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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