New Orleans Saints: With Playoffs Unlikely, What Can They Accomplish in 2012?

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New Orleans Saints: With Playoffs Unlikely, What Can They Accomplish in 2012?
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Deja Vu, anyone?

Five years ago, the New Orleans Saints were 0-4 and heading into a Sunday night, primetime game with nowhere to go but up.

Fast forward to today, and the same predicament faces these players in Black and Gold, with the only exception being this week's opponent. 

Back then it was Seattle, now it is San Diego.

Even with the playoff hopes of this team basically up in smoke, there are still things that the Saints could accomplish this season.

Truly, only one of those things matters—saving their self-respect and integrity.

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There are ways of losing, and then there is New Orleans' way of failing this season.

Yes, the Saints have gotten better on the offensive side (mostly in the passing game) as the season has gone on, but how much does a 400-yard passer matter when they are losing the games?

It's the tale of the 2007-08 Saints all over again. That was the year that Drew Brees first chased Dan Marino's single-season yardage record—a record that he now holds.

2007-08 also ended with a lot of shootouts and a lot of heartbreak. That very promising year went down as an 8-8 skid mark on Sean Payton's resume.

This season could end up the same, minus Sean Payton on the sidelines. There is no running game to speak of, and then there is the defense that allows big chunks of yardage and doesn't cause many turnovers.

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

When you are winless, you look for anything to get you in that win column and push forward.

The Saints can't do that without earning their integrity and self-respect. And you know how they can do that? 

By repairing the broken dam that is their running game. By actually using their 16 running backs as a plan of attack in a game, and not just saying "Hey, No. 23, there you are...run?" This list can go on and on, but the bottom line is this:

The bandwagon fans may have jumped off, but, just like family, Who Dat Nation will let this team lean on them when they need it the most.

Hopefully, that's the extra little pick-me-up that the Saints need. They will receive that support in the Dome this Sunday night.

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