With everything the New Orleans Saints have had to endure this year, it's insane that they're a legitimate playoff contender going into the final week of the regular season.

Whether we're talking unexpected injuries in both the offseason and the regular season, the fact that 4 different quarterbacks have started games, or the external factors of nature including COVID and natural disasters, it's almost like someone is somewhere with a Voodoo doll and a vendetta.

Not only did the Saints have 57 different starters this season (an NFL record) due to injuries and COVID—but off-the-field drama cause the team to miss key players as a result of suspensions as well.

When NFL historians look back on the 2021 NFL season and see that the Saints were going into their last regular-season game with a shot to make the playoffs, it will truly be puzzling when they look at the timeline of setbacks that plagued the Black & Gold throughout the year.

Remember when our biggest concern going into the season was whether or not Jameis Winston would pan out as Drew Brees' successor at starting QB? How about when we hoped that WR Michael Thomas would be rehabbed in time to be back on the field "by Week 6 at the latest" after a late off-season surgery due to miscommunication?

Even the biggest Saints fan will be taken aback by seeing an actual timeline of these trials and tribulations, and Boot Krewe Media shared that exact graphic that posed the question "Has anyone dealt with more sh*t than the Saints this year?"

Literally, every week the Saints were facing a new challenge (and usually fielding an all-new team) but no matter how much the odds seemed to be stacked up against them, New Orleans battled week in and week out, taking out powerhouse teams like the Packers, the Patriots, and the Bucs (twice).

However the season wraps up, this is one that should be remembered forever—not to mention, one that should have Sean Payton in "Coach of the Year" discussions.

Dallas Cowboys v New Orleans Saints
Jonathan Bachman, Getty Images

But we all know the NFL won't recognize that anytime soon.

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