The corner has been turned. The swagger has returned. The Saints are back.
At 4-4, it may not look like a contender's record. But for the 2014 Saints, it absolutely is.
Yes, the Saints play in the putrid NFC South. But the truth is they are back not only because of their divisional ineptitude but for the pure fact that they are playing some great football.
Thursday night was the latest example. With all due respect to the Green Bay win, which was near flawless, their 28-10 triumph over the Panthers was their most impressive victory this season.
Understand the Saints had a built-in reason to lose this game. Having to travel to play on Thursday after playing on Sunday night put the Saints at a complete competitive disadvantage.
"It's silly, it's crazy," Coach Payton said afterwards of the scheduling quirk.
Those were his words for the cameras. Ridiculous, insane and most of all unfair would have been more appropriate descriptions.
The Saints should not have to do that. But it didn't matter. They still took it right to Carolina on their home turf. They ran 37 times for 105 yards, they sacked Cam Newton four times and even created two turnovers. The group that seemingly couldn't sniff a takeaway in the first four games of the season, suddenly has eight in the last four.
And if anyone still has doubts about Drew Brees and his status as one of the league's elite signal callers, it's time to wake up an realize number nine is back on top of his game.
Whether it was him taking a sack at the right time instead of forcing a throw, hitting Jimmy Graham with two seconds left in the first half, or even going airborne on fourth and goal to push the lead to 11, reminiscent of Miami in 2009, Brees was in complete command.
Combine that with effort last week and it's fair to say Brees has rediscovered his rhythm.
The Saints have rediscovered their mojo. And officially turned their season around in the process.