The New Orleans Saints have had a season of highs and lows. But now they are within striking distance of a division championship, and one of the key games in that drive takes place on Thursday night as they lock horns with the Carolina Panthers, a team that won the NFC South last season but has been going through some difficulties of its own, having emerged victorious in just one of the last six games.
The big question surrounding the Saints is whether this team has actually turned the corner. Having come off a collapse in the final minutes to let the game in Detroit slip away, they had to go up against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers before a Sunday night television audience on NBC. They proceeded to rack up 495 yards in the process of the 44-23 victory that extended their home winning streak with Sean Payton on the sidelines to 20 games, and gave the fans a look at what this team is capable of doing. Are these the real Saints, and can they come up with a victory on the road, where they have gone winless in four attempts?
A lot of things fell right for the Saints against the Packers. Drew Brees threw three touchdown passes, and Jimmy Graham made a successful comeback, so it would seem, from a shoulder injury. New Orleans was missing Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson from the backfield, but Mark Ingram, who had just returned from an injury, ran for 172 yards, the most for any Saints running back since 2003. If this is the way the Saints can play every week, America’s Bookie customers can expect that they can be a contender for the NFC title.