The New Orleans Saints have lost their hope at a wild-card spot with Atlanta’s victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both Tampa Bay and Atlanta would be selected for a wild-card spot over the Saints: Tampa Bay because it has a better conference record and Atlanta because it has a better record against common opponents. The Saints’ loss to the Chicago Bears on Thursday night made it highly unlikely that the Saints would have been eligible for a wild-card spot as there were five NFC teams ahead of them competing for the same chance.
The current playoff picture for the NFC is the Giants, the Panthers, Vikings, Cardinals, Buccaneers, and Falcons. The Cowboys, who have the same win loss record as Atlanta, are next, followed by Philadelphia, and Chicago. Philadelphia plays Cleveland tonight, which may tighten the race if they win.
In other news, Saints Offensive Coordinator and offensive line coach Doug Marrone will not be with the team for the remaining next two games of the season. Marrone will become the head coach of Syracuse University. Running backs coach Aaron Kromer will be the offensive line coach and offensive assistant Joe Lombardi will act as the running backs coach for the final two games. No one will be given the title of interim offensive coordinator and Payton will call the offensive plays.