NFL divisional playoff preview: Saints aiming for better result the second time around against Seahawks

Published: Saturday, Jan. 11 2014 12:16 a.m. MST

The Saints' Journey Next » 2 of 6 « Prev

When the 2012-13 season ended, Saints head coach Sean Payton's year-long suspension came to an end. With Payton returning to the sidelines and Brees at quarterback, the Saints were geared up for a promising season.

The Saints started the 2013 season on a scorching 5-0 start, thanks to their offense that finished second in the NFL in pass yards per game. In addition to its offense, New Orleans had plenty of help from its re-energized defense under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. The Saints' pass defense was especially impressive, finishing second in the league in yards allowed per game.

It seemed that the Saints had returned to their former dominance, and although their winning streak eventually came to an end, they continued to win enough football games to be in contention for the division lead that came down to a Week 16 game against the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers won the game, clinching the division title. New Orleans finished with an 11-5 record.

Although the Panthers took the division title and secured the playoff spot, New Orleans had a good enough record to earn itself one of the wild card spots, which pitted them against Chip Kelly's high-octane Philadelphia Eagles team.

Coming into the game, the Saints had never won a playoff game on the road in franchise history, but they ended that streak with Shayne Graham's 32-yard field goal as time expired to win the game.
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