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What is the biggest outside threat to the Saints returning to the playoffs?

Saints biggest outside threat in 2021

We all know how difficult it will be for the Saints to repeat as NFC South champions with adding new personnel at important positions. New Orleans has reigned on top of the division for four consecutive seasons. Current Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, bring back their entire roster that went on last year’s run to the big game.

A large number of league analysts project the Buccaneers to win the division in 2021. Even with a makeshift roster, the Saints still field one of the league’s best organizations.

New Orleans will be featured in five primetime matchups that will show if there’s any dropoff from Drew Brees to Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill as their starting quarterback. There will be some opportunities on the Saints’ upcoming schedule to put themselves in a position to capture the division crown once again or qualify for a wild card playoff berth.

Numerous Saints fans have stated that they would be fine if they could qualify for a wild card playoff berth and not repeat as division champions. As previously stated, New Orleans will have opportunities to put itself in good standing when it comes to the playoffs.

But with the current makeup of the roster, the margin for error may be slim to none. Today, Saints Discussions will look at the biggest outside threat that may hinder the Saints’ opportunity to return to the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season under Head Coach Sean Payton.

The Biggest Outside Threat to the Saints Returning to the Playoffs Will Be the NFC West

We consider the NFC West to be the biggest outside threat to New Orleans returning to the playoffs because of how stacked each team in the division is right now. The league’s current playoff format that debut last season features seven teams.

The seven-team playoff features four division winners and three wild card teams. In 2020, it almost got to the point where the NFC West was about to occupy the three wild card spots and the NFC West division winner. But the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers faded down the stretch. The division could be headed down the same road as last season.

The only wild card team that represented the division was the Los Angeles Rams. Going into 2021, all four teams within the division have made upgrades to their roster. Seattle made changes to their offensive line to protect Russell Wilson.

The Rams traded away numerous draft picks to acquire quarterback Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions. Division heavyweight, the San Francisco 49ers will be bringing back core players that were lost for the remainder of the 2020 season due to injuries. The always dangerous Arizona Cardinals added veteran wide receiver AJ Green to their potent offense that includes DeAndre Hopkins.

According to reports, Arizona is expected by many to be a player in the Julio Jones sweepstakes. The only opponent that the Saints will be facing from the NFC West will be the Seattle Seahawks. The outcome of the Seahawks game could have huge playoff implications for New Orleans down the stretch. That’s why there must not be a significant dropoff in crucial positions for the Saints in 2021. A few hiccups on New Orleans’s schedule could seal their playoff fate for the upcoming season.

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Meet Derrick Branch, the founder and chief wordsmith at Strike 7 Sports. With a sharp focus on the NFL and the NBA, Derrick's expertise in sports is matched only by his passion for sharing it with others. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the prestigious University of Arizona Global. Let his insightful and engaging writing take you to the heart of the action.

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