The Saints are favored in some corners to reach the Super Bowl this season. Here's a look back at their inspirational 2006, which began with Reggie Bush running for 67 yards and leading the team to a season-opening 19-14 win at Cleveland.
2 of 21John Biever/SI
Drew Brees passed for 353 yards and rallied the Saints past the Packers at Lambeau, 34-27.
3 of 21Bob Rosato/SI
The Saints defense scored this TD off a blocked kick just 90 seconds into their home opener, and went on to beat Michael Vick's Falcons 23-3.
4 of 21Bob Rosato/SI
The game against the Falcons was the Saints' first at the Superdome since Hurricane Katrina.
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A week after their emotional return to New Orleans, the Saints were due for a letdown. Even with Mike McKenzie's (34) defensive help, they lost to the Panthers 21-18.
6 of 21Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Deuce McAllister was the top rusher of the game with 123 yards. The Saints beat the Buccaneers 24-21.
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Wideout Joe Horn scores his second touchdown in a 27-24 victory over the Eagles.
8 of 21Bob Rosato/SI
With a 5-1 record headed into their bye week, the Saints had given their fans and cheerleaders plenty of reasons to dance.
9 of 21Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Tight end Mark Campbell dives for a first down, but the Saints still lost to the Ravens, 35-22.
10 of 21Bob Rosato/SI
Reggie Bush wasn't at full strength because of a sore ankle, but the Saints had more than enough firepower to finish off the Buccaneers 31-14.
11 of 21Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Reggie Bush jumps for a touchdown over Pittsburgh's Ryan Clark, giving the Saints a 17-14 lead, but they ended up losing 38-31.
12 of 21Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Drew Brees had a big game with 510 passing yards, but his defense couldn't stop the Bengals in a 31-16 loss.
13 of 21Doug Benc/Getty Images
Tight end Mark Campbell and the Saints defeated the Falcons 31-13, despite playing without top receiver Marques Colston.
14 of 21Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Deuce McAllister ran for 136 yards in a 34-10 win over the 49ers.
15 of 21Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Jamal Jones only had two catches in his two-year career, but in a 42-17 rout of the Cowboys, he caught a 27-yard touchdown pass in the final minute of the first half.
16 of 21Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Drew Brees is tripped up by Washington's Phillip Daniels in a 16-10 loss.
17 of 21Nick Laham/Getty Images
Marques Colston makes this go-ahead, two-yard touchdown catch late in the first half of a 30-7 victory over the Giants.
18 of 21Chris Graythen/Getty Images
With a playoff berth already clinched, Reggie Bush and the Saints lost 31-21 to the Panthers.
19 of 21Chris Graythen/Getty Images
NFC divisional playoffs
''This year, some things have happened for us and it's like, wow, this may be destiny,'' McAllister said after a 27-24 win over the Eagles.
20 of 21Bob Rosato/SI
Optimism was high as the Saints earned a trip to the championship game against the Chicago Bears.
21 of 21Simon Bruty/SI
The Bears held Drew Brees and the Saints in check, handing them a 39-14 loss. But the entire Gulf Coast will always appreciate the Saints for giving them a season worth remembering.
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