I was looking back on this and noticed something interesting: LINK
"New Orleans pulled it together somewhat during Weeks 12-15, holding four straight opponents to fewer than 400 yards. However, the Saints loss three of those contests to all but eliminate them from playoff contention."
We gave up close to 400 to the Giants, to go with 6 offensive tds so that's slightly skewed, but the D held well against SF, Atl, and TB. The offense definitely cost us the SF and Atl games(along with the Den game earlier in the year; 1 for 12 on 3rd down). The D seemed to purposely tank that last Carolina game.
Despite having the worst D ever(yardage wise which doesn't amount to much since it's points that matter; we did do poorly there however), I think having Payton for a few of those games where the offense struggled could have helped tremendously.
Through the offensive and defensive struggles we still finished 7-9 with 3 dud offensive games and 1 tanked defensive game. I think with Payton that's at least a 4 game swing.
So with Payton back and a defensive scheme more suited to our players, I think we have great potential heading into the year. 13-3?