After going winless in September, the New Orleans Saints have clawed back to within one victory of a .500 record, and what looked like a lost season without suspended coach Sean Payton has turned into something with more promise.
If the Saints win at struggling Oakland on Sunday, they will be 5-5 and one game out of the final wild card spot in the NFC. A huge 31-27 win against previously unbeaten Atlanta has left them in position to at least make a run at the playoffs.
''It was such a hole, and now that we're starting to dig our way out of it, we're starting to see some light,'' Saints cornerback Jabari Greer said. ''When we were 0-4, it was doomsday. Nobody believed that we had what it took to be a good team. Everybody had written us off.''
Greer's performance against the Falcons symbolized the arc of the season for the Saints. Burned earlier for two big gains by Atlanta's receivers, he dove in the end zone to break up a fourth-and-goal pass to Roddy White in the final two minut...