Here's how I look at the Saints. They were undisciplined with Peyton, they were undisciplined without him. Until they change that, they won't win in the playoffs
Just last season they had arguably the greatest offense of all time, and were seconds away from hosting the Giants in a NFC Championship game, in the superdome. You think they would've lost that?
Brees hasn't been elite for 2 seasons now (in terms of turnovers and decision making).
The frick? This season wasn't up to his standards, sure. He was trying to win games for himself, they missed the play-calling of Payton. He still managed to throw for over 5000 yards, and over 40 touchdowns. That is just terrible.
Last season he had one of the greatest ever for a quarterback; shattering the passing yards record, throwing for 46 touchdowns, and the most impressive stat he had very well may be his completion % record.
I don't think the Falcons window has closed
Neither do I, and it would be dumb to think that.
The Buccaneers also have an up-and-coming team. Freeman seemed to mature this year. Doug Martin is a stud. Schiano has brought a new mentality to the team.
The same team that were an absolute shit-show the 2nd half of the season? The same team that had a chance for the playoffs, but lost 5 of their last 6 games?
If any team's window has closed, it may be the Saints'.
They were 13-3 in 2011, they were a freakishly good team especially on offense.
Even if they get out of the South, I don't see them beating Green Bay, Seattle, Washington, or San Francisco.
GB will always be tough, but they matchup well against each other. Unfortunately for the Saints, the past 2 match-ups against GB were at Lambeau. Both games came down to the wire. In the Superdome, I will take the Saints.
Seattle will be tough, especially at home, but I'd take NO at home vs them as well. The thing about Seattle is, they will have to battle SF for the division. The Saints would likely have a better chance of getting the higher seed.
Not really afraid of Washington, because although I see RG3 possibly having a very good career, not only is his health a concern, but defenses will be better prepared to scheme against him. They are also in a very tough division that would make it difficult for them to get a top 1 or 2 seed.
San Francisco is a tough team, no question, but just last season the Saints nearly beat them after going down by a large margin early and turning the ball over 5 times. They'd be the toughest matchup, but definitely beatable.
The biggest thing for the Saints, as far as playoffs are concerned is getting one of the top seeds. If the Saints get a #1 seed, I would take them against anyone.
Their defensive needs will be met, can't get any worse, I trust the front office and Mickey Loomis. Coach Sean Payton is back, and the team will come out with a huge chip on their shoulder. I assure, they will be going balls to wall next season. Window is far from closed.