The New Orleans Saints have been all over the place this season. Their 2015 campaign has included a three and four-game losing streak, with a 4-1 record sandwiched in between those runs. Their playoff hopes are perilously thin, but still hanging there, like a tattered ornament hanging loosely on a Christmas tree. Here's a look inside the Saints' turbulent season.
New Orleans Saints (5-8)
Schedule so far:
Week 1 - at Cardinals - lost, 19-31
Week 2 - vs. Buccaneers - lost, 19-26
Week 3 - at Panthers - lost, 22-27
Week 4 - vs. Cowboys - won, 26-20
Week 5 - at Eagles - lost, 17-39
Week 6 - vs. Falcons - won, 31-21
Week 7 - at Colts - won, 27-21
Week 8 - vs. Giants - won, 52-49
Week 9 - vs. Titans - lost, 28-34
Week 10 - at Redskins - lost, 14-47
Week 12 - at Texans - lost, 6-24
Week 13 - vs. Panthers - lost, 38-41
Week 14 - at Buccaneers - won, 24-17
Reasons for optimism:
Though the Detroit Lions offense has struggled to find consistency this season, this is their week to steady the ship. By nearly every defensive measure -- DVOA, points allowed, yards allowed, passer rating allowed, yards per carry allowed -- the Saints defense ranks in the bottom two. They're allowing 30.5 points per game on the season, and 35.3 over the past six games.
Of the Lions' nine losses this season, six were against teams ranking in the top ten in defensive DVOA. Good defenses present a terrible matchup for the Lions, but the Saints defense doesn't have any good qualities.
Reasons for pessimism:
The Superdome is a difficult place to play, especially during a nationally televised Monday Night Football game. The Saints are 3-3 at home this season, averaging 32.3 points per game in the Superdome (vs. 18.4 on the road).
Additionally, the Saints offense remains quite potent. New Orleans is averaging 24.8 points per game (11th) and their offense ranks ninth in DVOA. Brees has had a bit of resurgence in his career, earning a passer rating of 97.9 for the year (sixth in NFL), a tick above his career average of 95.6.