Alvin Kamara Finally Returning to the Saints Adds an Interesting Wrinkle to the NFC Playoff Picture

The New Orleans Saints‘ 2021 season is not going according to plan, to put things bluntly. Not only are they continuously reeling from Drew Brees‘ offseason retirement, but the injury bug has ravaged them at every step along the way. Jameis Winston, Michael Thomas, Andrus Peat, Ryan Ramcyzk, and Alvin Kamara have all dealt with injuries at some point this year — and that’s just to name a few.

Between poor quarterback play and constant injuries, the Saints have seemingly played themselves out of serious consideration for an NFC Wild Card spot this winter.

The Saints are on a four-game losing streak

Saints RB Alvin Kamara.
Alvin Kamara | Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The Saints’ recent run of horrific results can be blamed on a few things. First, there was the failed Trevor Siemian experiment that should have never been considered to begin with. Second, Taysom Hill isn’t nearly as good as Sean Payton believes he is. The before-mentioned injury issues have been an issue in New Orleans all year long, and the general makeup of the roster is that of an aging one.

Overall, the Saints aren’t a very good team at the moment. A serious lull was expected following Brees’ departure. However, no one expected it to be this severe. There was a sense that Sean Payton was a good enough coach to make things work until a serious solution was discovered at quarterback.

Obviously, Jameis Winston tearing his ACL just a few weeks into the season didn’t help matters. However, it’s hard to use that as one giant umbrella excuse to cover all the issues in New Orleans. Winston averaged a measly 167.1 passing yards per game before going down with an injury. That should be replaceable.

Alvin Kamara returning to the lineup is an interesting wrinkle

The Saints have lost four straight and have a 5-7 record. They’re currently the No. 12 seed in the NFC, firmly out of the playoff picture. However, the long-awaited return of one Alvin Kamara could swiftly change things.

Kamara hasn’t appeared in a game since Week 9. However, according to several reports, he’s finally set to return to the Saints’ active lineup against the New York Jets in Week 14.

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara was a full participant in three straight days of practice with his knee injury and was not given an injury designation for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, so New Orleans’ top running back is officially good to go after missing the past four weeks.

Amie Just, NOLA.com

Alvin Kamara’s return could make the Saints a sleeper threat in the NFC

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Following back-to-back embarrassing losses to the Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys, most NFL fans have written the Saints off as a non-playoff team at this point in the year.

However, a returning Alvin Kamara certainly makes things interesting. When healthy, he’s one of the best pure weapons in the NFL, both as a runner and a receiver. It doesn’t sound pretty, but a one-two punch of Taysom Hill and Kamara on the ground is enough to cause most NFL defenses problems.

If Kamara is 100% and the Saints work to get him the ball aggressively, keep an eye on the Saints down the stretch. At the very least, they should act as a nuisance for teams looking to secure playoff spots of their own.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.