Saints have recovered, starting to believe

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There might not be a hotter team in the league right now than the Saints, winner of five of their last six.

Of course, that might not matter, after an 0-4 start punctuated a tumultuous offseason, which nearly ended their season before it started. Between the bounty scandal that threw a cloud over their season and took coach Sean Payton away, it was hard to see this coming.

Everything that could’ve gone wrong went wrong, . . . ” Saints quarterback Drew Brees said, via Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com. “If we were worried about the way that other people perceived us, I think we’d be in trouble as this whole thing has gone on. We know we’re a great team. We have great character and leadership. We do things the right way. It’s just been a matter of putting that all together and making sure the result reflects the process.

“Now we’re starting to catch some breaks.”

The one thing that didn’t catch on was self-pity.

“It would have been very easy in a lot of locker rooms to fold up this season and say, ‘Hey look, they dealt us bad cards. You can only play bad cards so well,’” tackle Zach Strief said.

“The best thing we did was stay together,” free safety Malcolm Jenkins added. “We can’t complain about it. We’ve just got to play the best we can. I think everybody has embraced that role and realized we’re going to need a little bit more from everybody to make it work.”

Of course, the work is just beginning, starting with today’s visit from the 49ers followed by road games with the Falcons and Giants, a three-game stretch which will define whether the last month and a half has meant anything.