The League

C.J. Holley
Sports Producer

C.J. Holley

ESPN.com web producer

Dysfunction Saves Saints

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Sometimes logic leads to the illogical choice. It is with this ridiculous reasoning in mind that I have to think the New Orleans Saints will jump from last place in the NFC South to become a playoff team.

Last season the Atlanta Falcons made the playoffs a year after finishing last in the NFC South. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the NFC South in 2007 after finishing last in 2006. Matter of fact, ever since the NFC South came into existence in 2002 following NFL realignment, the team that finished in last place one year made the playoffs the following year and in many cases won the division.

It is with this completely ridiculous near decade-long pattern in mind that I present to you the New Orleans Saints.

Sure, I could point out that the team was injury plagued at the running back, receiver and tight end positions in '07. I could also show you how Drew Brees came up less than 100 yards short of breaking Dan Marino's record for passing yards in a season, despite the aforementioned injuries. That Saints defense last year? Far from stout.

Yet despite the laundry list of issues New Orleans dealt with last year, the team still finished 8-8 on the season but just happened to come in last in a much-improved division.

Further, the Saints lost six games last year by five points or less and were 3-1 against the AFC and 6-2 at home. With nine games this year against teams that failed to make the playoffs, this would be a fine year for the Saints to march back into the playoffs.

It's entirely possible that Matt Ryan could hit a sophomore slump in Atlanta. That Jake Delhomme is capable of stinking up the joint like he did in that unsightly playoff loss. That Tampa Bay with a new head coach and yet another new quarterback could fall by the wayside. All of this points to the Saints returning to the playoffs after taking a year off.

See? Sometimes you can find logic in the illogical.

By C.J. Holley  |  May 29, 2009; 10:13 AM ET  | Category:  Atlanta Falcons , NFL , New Orleans Saints , Tampa Bay Buccaneers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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