Saints playoff chances remain strong, but projected win total dips after bye week

John Sigler
·1 min read

Week 6 of the NFL regular season was filled with fireworks. Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the fight out of Aaron Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers, while the Atlanta Falcons notched their first win of the season and the New Orleans Saints’ next two opponents — the Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears — competed to see whose defense could create more turnovers. We recapped it all in greater detail in our NFC South standings update.

And it all came together with the Saints watching from home during their bye week. According to FiveThirtyEight, the 3-2 Saints still have a good shot at making the playoffs: down to just 68% after going into the bye at 72%. But strong performances from Tampa Bay and Atlanta have tampered New Orleans’ chance of a fourth consecutive NFC South division title, plummeting from 49% before the bye week down to 38%. An early November rematch with Brady’s Buccaneers looms large on the schedule.

Right now, FiveThirtyEight projects the Saints to finish the year with a 9-7 record. That’s good enough for a wild card spot, but not enough to win the division (Tampa Bay is just ahead at 10-6). It’s still too early to forecast anything serious, but here’s what the NFC playoff picture would look like based off these latest projections:

  • 1. 12-4 Seattle Seahawks (bye)

  • 7. 9-7 Los Angeles Rams at 2. 11-5 Chicago Bears

  • 6. 9-7 New Orleans Saints at 3. 10-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • 5. 11-5 Green Bay Packers at 4. 6-9-1 Philadelphia Eagles