When I wrote my Marx-inspired NFL Wildcard preview, the Saints hadn't played against the Falcons. I suppose I should have been more thorough in my investigation of an NFC that's as wide-open for the taking as a Raiders fan drinking away the pain.
The Saints knocked off a Falcons team led by a coach who had already quit. That brought them to 6-7; their unimpressive 5-4 conference record gives them the edge over the even less impressive 6-7 petit bourgeoisie, and one little game behind the Vikings for the six seed.
The Saints have beaten two teams with winning records: the weak Seahawks and the Jaguars (minus QB Garrard and DT Marcus "Roidmonster" Stroud). The teams they've beaten have won only 41% of their games, which drops to 27% without the Hawks and Jags. Their seven losses have come against teams that have won only 54% of their games. My point is that the Saints aren't good. They are extremely vulnerable to the pass and their offense is pass-only.
Sad Sack Schedule: Arizona, Philly, at Chicago (41% wins)
Prognosis: Not Shabby. This team has the inside track if the Vikings stumble, and could earn a spot as cannon fodder in the playoffs.
I need a drink.