NEW ORLEANS, LA (WLOX) - The New Orleans Saints made a big turnaround this season. After posting three consecutive 7 win seasons, the Saints enter the NFC Divisional playoffs with 12 wins and 5 losses...on the road at Minnesota Sunday afternoon at 3:40.
So, what was the difference in New Orleans becoming a Super Bowl contender?
Credit the Saints front office for coming up with an excellent draft selecting running back Alvin Kamara who helped ignite a running game that just wasn't that dynamic. Kamara and veteran running back Mark Ingram have given New Orleans a one-two punch in the running game and that's tough to defend.
Rookie Marshone Lattimore has developed into a shutdown cornerback, .a crucial contributor to a Saints defense that is no longer a push over.
New Orleans also added key free agents with the likes of linebackers A.J. Klein and Manti Te'o.
Wide receiver Ted Ginn Junior provided a deep threat that was missing and the results have been positive.
Head coach Sean Payton says the team addressed their needs and the players the new players have responded.
"I think the vision for each player was clear, "Payton stated. "We wanted to bring in smart guys that we felt were team players. So, whether that was the kicking game, defense or offense, our vision was clear on how we wanted to use them and how they could contribute."
Minnesota defeated New Orleans 29 to 19 to open the season on September 11. Since that time both the Vikings and Saints have turned up the heat, making their way to the NFC Divisional playoffs, only two wins away from the Super Bowl. It's not going to be easy to upset the Vikings in their home stadium, but when you have veteran quarterback Drew Brees in the lineup, the Saints have a shot to pull the trigger and knock off the NFC's No. 2 seeded team.