Is the 2009 season schedule out yet?

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Brees and Payton

Photo by Jonathan Bachman

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The NFL is a cruel mistress. One week, she lavishes you with praise, adulation and a floundering team for you to beat into submission. The next she's suddenly smacking you around and throwing your stuff out the window, leaving you bewildered and confused and trying to figure out where it all went wrong.

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But rarely are the ups and downs so drastic as the Saints winning by 31 points one week and then losing by 23 the next. Unless you're, say, the Carolina Panthers who lost by 24 points at Tampa before unleashing on the Black and Gold.

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So maybe this isn't the end of the season.

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It's very possible, however unlikely, that the Saints could yet turn around their season. With a win in London against the Chargers, the team could head into the bye at .500 and use the rest to propel them to a strong finish. Unfortunately, with the Saints spending their next 34 days away from the Superdome, it's possible that they'll be rendered irrelevant by the time they play their next (real) home game.

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Of course, fans and the media are not pleased. Here's just a sampling of what people are saying about the Who Dats:

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  • Over on Fletcher Mackel's "Offsides Blog", Keli Fulton asks "Is it over for the Saints?" citing inconsistent play, laundry list of injuries and tough second-half schedule.

    "The black and gold has yet to put together back to back wins this season. Now sure going win, loss, win, loss the rest of the season would get the Saints to an 8-8 finish, but at the rate the NFC is going this year, a .500 record, won’t be enough to get the boys to the post season."

  • Over at "Chicks in the Huddle", nolachick wants the national media to ignore the Saints because they "play so much better when [they're] underestimated and flying under the radar." There's probably nothing better like a game overseas to help a team "fly under the radar".
  • Grandmaster Wang over at "moosedenied" doesn't mince words, saying, "I suppose the bright side is that at least it took seven weeks this time for the Saints to suffer their first humiliating ass kicking of the season. And I suppose it’s liberating in a way to no longer have to worry about the playoffs. Unless you think there’s a chance in hell that this team is going 7-2 the rest of the way while both Tampa and Carolina go 5-4 or worse."
  • Lastly, NOLA.com's David Schexnaydre Jr. struggles to find any positives to the Saints loss: "Not only does the loss hurt in the standings, but it’s a huge confidence booster for a division rival and has to be detrimental to the Saints’ psyche. In short, there are absolutely no positives to come out of this game. Some clouds have a silver lining. This one does not."
  • But probably the most devestating analysis of this years New Orleans Saints comes from the Times-Picayune's John DeShazier who basically just says what I suspect a lot of people are thinking: "Since the magic of 2006, when the Saints returned to New Orleans after a year in San Antonio and became national darlings while advancing to the NFC title game, not playing to their potential is the only thing the Saints routinely have done well. ... reality is the Saints have established a footprint, and it's beginning more to resemble a mark made in hardening concrete than one made in sand."

-Grandmaster Wang's astute calculations of the how the Saints and their division rivals need to finish to see the Who Dat boys in the playoffs is definitely the most striking argument (although, with the NFL the way it is nowadays, stranger things have happened) and DeShazier is depressing in his omniscience.

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Right now the only thing Saints fans could possibly hope for is that the travel to London has completely wiped out Sunday's loss from the players' minds. Early reports suggest that the change in scenerey mixed with a transatlantic flight might serve the team well. And, if Saints fan are looking for some sort of sign, they can look to the New York Giants last year who won in London and then won the Super Bowl (hey, didn't a certain, frustrated Saint play on that team?).

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