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Saints Keep Losing Winnable Games; Need to Rediscover Winning in Final Seven

The New Orleans Saints fall again to a struggling team in a winnable game. Can they rediscover winning in the final seven contests of the season?

How the Saints have fallen to .500 (5-5) on the season is more of the concern than the actual record.

The Saints' defense has fallen asleep in winnable games. At least three of the five defeats were in reach before ultimately losing.

The unit is considered the strength of this Saints team; however, they consistently find a way to lose to struggling opponents.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1)

SAINTS' DEFENSE IS LOSING IT?

Last week, Saints reporter Jeff Duncan pointed out these puzzling defeats to "Sam Darnold (305 yards, 99.1 passer rating), Daniel Jones (402 yards, 108.5 rating), and Matt Ryan (343 yards, 135.8 rating).

Yesterday — and the second consecutive season — Jalen Hurts "broke the ankles" of several Saints defenders en route to a total of 216 yards rushing and passing and three rushing touchdowns in the 40-29 loss. Collectively, the Eagles rushers amassed 242 yards on 50 rushes at a clip of 4.8 yards/carry.

What hurts the defense's credibility as "elite" is that defensive coordinator Dennis Allen game-planned against the run. "When you play a team like this, if you don’t account for the quarterback, [Jalen Hurts] can really hurt you in the run game," said Allen to Saints reporters.

In essence, they knew what to expect, but the Philadelphia Eagles imposed their will on the Saints and ran the football anyway they pleased.

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All credit to the offense that was victimized often and early by the Eagles defense to bounce back and score 29 points; yet, the defense yielded 33 points - Siemian gave up 7 points by himself on the Slay pick-six play.

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lil'Jordan Humphrey (84)

THE LAST SEVEN GAMES

Seven games remain in 2021.

On Thanksgiving, a wounded and baffling playoff-caliber team visits New Orleans, the Buffalo Bills. They, too, are finding new and creative ways to lose in the NFL this season. And so are the Cowboys, Jets, Bucs, Dolphins, Panthers, and Falcons—all winnable contests.

My Sidenotes: 

  • I gotta say this.  If Kamara cannot return versus Buffalo, Sean Payton should consider running the offense through Mark Ingram.  
  • Also, I don't understand the gameday deactivation of TE Juwan Johnson when the passing game needs possible playmakers.
  • S Marcus Williams saved two touchdowns with exceptional plays.
  • Young and Hurst did as well as expected under the conditions of losing two premier tackles for the game.
  • Tre'Quan Smith was targeted 8 times, had 5 receptions, for 64 yards — he played 95% of the offensive snaps, more than any other skill position player for the Saints.
  • Is it me, or has G Cesar Ruiz missed at least one crucial block on blitzes every game.????
  • Where was WR Kenny Stills? Zero catches, Zero targets. Ouch!

Forget if the Saints' season is at a crossroads or not. At .500, seven games to go, they have little room for error and must win at least 4 of 7 to earn a trip to the postseason.

We shall see.

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