The New Orleans Saints started the season 0-2 which for most teams historically has been a death sentence. Per Joe Osborne from oddshark.com, of the 83 clubs that have started 0-2 since 2007, a mere nine have made the playoffs. The Saints have gone 7-9 the past three seasons, and it looked like they were on their way to another mediocre season. However, the Saints have won four straight games and sit atop their division with the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons playing extremely inconsistent football. But does this mean the Saints are real contenders in the NFC? The NFC looks extremely weak this season, and the Saints could be the team representing the conference in the Super Bowl.

The current playoff picture excluding the Saints includes the Philidelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, and the Green Bay Packers. The NFC is entirely up for grabs after the injury to Aaron Rodgers (I thought it was when he was healthy as well). The Saints are my pick to win the NFC, and I'll tell you why.

Weak competition in the NFC

Let's go down the list and look at the teams the Saints would have to get past to reach the Super Bowl. I'll start with the Green Bay Packers. The Packers are the most difficult team to predict due to Aaron Rodgers breaking his collarbone. Rodgers has undergone surgery and will not be available until at least December, and at that point, Green Bay could be out of the playoff picture.

However, if Aaron Rodgers is active in the playoffs, I'm not putting money on him. If Aaron Rodgers had more talent around him, he would be able to win the Super Bowl every year, and he can win any game with a one-man effort. The Saints just defeated the Packers, but that game would be completely different with Rodgers playing.

Next is the Seattle Seahawks. Their offensive line is so pitiful that I doubt they'll make it out of the first round. Seattle has every piece needed besides an offensive line and that screws up their running game and keeps Russel Wilson running for his life. The three other teams currently in the playoff picture are young and inexperienced.

The Philidelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams both have young quarterbacks, and Carson Wentz has been the MVP of this season in my opinion. But neither have the experience to outscore Drew Brees and Sean Payton in a playoff game. The Minnesota Vikings are the biggest threat to the Saints Super Bowl aspirations because of their stout defense that stopped Brees once. With Teddy Bridgewater coming back soon from his knee injury, the Vikings offense could once again be a top unit in the league. However, Bridgewater hasn't played football in 13 months, and no one knows if he'll be the same player. The Saints were beaten by the Vikings in Week 1 but have since vastly improved on both sides of the ball and look like the best team in the NFC outside of the Philidelphia Eagles.

Greatly improved defense

Ever since Bountygate, the Saints' defense has been consistently one of the league's worst. Drew Brees has thrown for over 5,000 yards, and the Saints would still have a losing record. It didn't matter how many points Brees and the Saints' offense would put up; it wouldn't be enough. That's why the Saints haven't made the playoffs in four years. The Saints have spent early draft picks on defensive players as of late, and they have built a young defense. Marshon Lattimore, this year's first-round draft pick, is the top graded cornerback in the league according to Pro Football Focus with a grade of 94.6 on the season. The Saints are 15th in the league in yards allowed and only giving up 22.2 PPG.

That's almost a full touchdown less per game compared to last year's mark of 28.4 PPG allowed. Now no one is confusing this defense for the Denver Broncos or Seattle Seahawks, but this unit is much better than the past three seasons. Last season, the Atlanta Falcons were an extremely young team on the defensive side of the ball and over the course of the year, they turned into a dominant group. Something similar could happen this year with the Saints, and Brees doesn't need an elite defense to win games. Brees just needs a defense that can hold a team to a manageable number to reach.

Drew Brees

The Saints have Drew Brees, and as long as he is still wearing black and gold, they have a chance. Brees is one of the best quarterbacks of all time.

He has more 5,000 yard passing seasons than the rest of all other quarterbacks combined. In fact, no other quarterback, including Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, and Dan Marino, has passed for over 5,000 yards in more than one season. The only reason the Saints haven't been the worst team in the league the past three years is that Brees was their quarterback. Well, and the existence of the Cleveland Browns but they still would have been one of the worst teams in the league without Brees. Drew Brees maximizes a team's potential just about as well as any quarterback in the league, and as long as he is at the helm, the Saints have a chance to win the NFC.

The New Orleans Saints are playing great football right now, and in a year where no one has taken control, the Saints have a chance to reclaim their title of an elite team and possibly win another Super Bowl before Drew Brees hangs up his cleats.

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