Jeff Duncan: Saints aren’t Super Bowl contenders, at least not yet

Jeff Duncan: Saints aren’t Super Bowl contenders, at least not yet
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - SEPTEMBER 27: Aaron Jones #33 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates his rushing touchdown against the New Orleans Saints with Elgton Jenkins #74 during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 27, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) (Source: Sean Gardner)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - So, we were wrong about the New Orleans Saints, at least I was.

They’re NOT Super Bowl contenders – at least not yet they aren’t.

Jeff Duncan: Saints aren’t Super Bowl contenders, at least not yet

But they still can be. The talent and coaching are there. They just need to combine it with execution on the playing field. And right now, after a disappointing 1-2 start, THAT’S the missing ingredient from the winning formula. You might not believe this given the outcome, but the Saints actually improved in their loss to Green Bay on Sunday night. Thanks to Alvin Kamara’s brilliance, the offense scored 30 points and the Saints were tied with one of the league’s best teams late in the fourth quarter.

But in the end, they made too many mistakes to overcome a red-hot Packers team and gun-slinging quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Eight penalties for 83 yards. Coverage busts in the secondary. And a costly fumble at a critical time in the fourth quarter.

Those are the kind of mistakes that losing teams make. And they’re uncharacteristic of a Sean Payton-coached, Drew Brees-led team. And until they are corrected, the Saints will never get to where they want to go this season.

No one expected this kind of start. This was a team with Super Bowl-or-bust expectations. They were the ones with experience and continuity on their side. The Saints were supposed to be one of the teams that started fast in this strange, unprecedented, pandemic-addled season.

Yet here they are, losers of consecutive games for the first time in three years and out of first place in the NFC South for the first time in two years.

There’s still plenty of time to right the ship. The schedule gets noticeably easier from here, starting with the 1-2 Detroit Lions on Sunday. And the Saints won’t face another quarterback like Rodgers for at least another six weeks.

This is their chance to get their act together and go on a run.

But to do so, they must start playing with more focus, discipline and attention to detail. Right now, the Saints' greatest enemy isn’t the Bucs, Lions or Packers. Right now, the greatest enemy lies within.

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