Ralph Malbrough / Contributing Writer

NEWORLEANS-- Does the national media hyperventilating over the possibility of Sean Payton going to Dallas in 2013 have you freaked out? Don't be. Circumstances and history make it very unlikely Payton will be coaching anywhere but New Orleans next year.

On Tuesday lots of smart political analysts thought Mitt Romney was going to be the next president of the United States. Did he have a chance of winning? Sure, but the polls and history said it wasn't likely.

Nate Silver of the New York Times, who made his name using statistics to predict baseball player performance, said Barack Obama had a better than 80 percent chance of winning. History said an Obama win was even more likely. Do you know how many presidents running for re-election who aren't challenged for their party's nomination in a primary have lost in the last 100 years? One. Herbert Hoover in 1932.

Mitt Romney was facing long odds and if I had to bet I'd say the odds of Sean Payton coaching somewhere not New Orleans next year are about the same as Romney had of winning Tuesday.

The first reason I don't see Payton leaving is his suspension makes walking to another team really difficult. Remember he can't talk to other teams about a job until after the Super Bowl.

So let's walk through him taking the Cowboy job. First Jerry Jones has to wait all January and into February while every other team looking for a new head coach makes hires. These teams will also hire assistant coaches. So after every team hires a coaching staff, Jerry can fire Jason Garrett and then put the full court press on Payton. Even if Payton would want to go to Dallas, I doubt the Saints will let him take his coaching staff with him. So Payton will have to build a staff after all other pro and college jobs are filled. Not easy.

The second reason I don't see Payton leaving is history. He has a history with the Saints and Drew Brees, and as bad as the defense is the Saints are closer to a Super Bowl than Dallas. Also NFL history says coaches rarely get to a Super Bowl coaching different teams. Only four coaches in NFL history have taken multiple teams to the Super Bowl, and no coach has won a Super Bowl coaching two different teams.

Finally, Tom Benson can pay Payton more than any other team. Why is that? Because any other team who would hire Payton has to pay him and the coach they fire. And remember, Benson didn't pay Payton in 2012 so he could add in his 2012 salary into Payton's new extension and it doesn't cost him any more money because he was expecting to spend it anyway until the bounty scandal hit. So take a deep breath because I'll be stunned if Payton isn't on the Saints sideline in 2013

Sean Payton sabbatical spot of the week: Galapagos Islands
One of the islands, Wolf, is home to the Vampire Finch, which feeds partly on blood from other birds. A vampire bird is much more frightening to me than say a Falcon in a playoff game. It's Atlanta week did you really think I'd let Mike Smith's zero playoff wins go unmentioned?

The Games
Last Week: 2-3
Season: 23-22

Atlanta (-2.5) at New Orleans: When was the last time the Saints weren't favored at home? My research says it was the season finale of 2008 against Carolina.

First key to this game is Zach Strief's health. If he can't go it means the human turnstile known as Charles Brown will start and against a decent pass rush like Atlanta that's bad. I'm assuming he doesn't go.

I can't see the Saints slowing Atlanta's offense at all. Maybe they create a turnover but I wasn't really impressed with them against the Eagles. Don't get me wrong it was big fun to see seven sacks and pretend the Saints had a pass rush but I think Monday was more about Philadelphia being awful than the Saints getting better.

The Falcon's are the worst 8-0 team statistically since 1990. Give them credit for having a lucky clover in their backside and handling their business against a ridiculously easy schedule. Atlanta will be properly motivated because in every big game between these two teams since Matt Ryan arrived the Saints have won. They'll want to make a statement about controlling the division. The Saints can climb back into the playoff fringe with a win and it's Atlanta so the Saints will be ready.

It's week nine and we know what has to happen for the Saints to have any shot against good teams; Drew Brees has to play out of his mind, the defense has to not be a car fire for four/five possessions and the Saints need a break or two. I think the crowd will want the Saints to end the Falcon undefeated season badly so expect a crazy Superdome but I just don't see a victory. Another Brees master piece flushed down the toilet.

Falcons 38-34

Tampa Bay (-3) vs. San Diego: The Buccaneer pass defense is still as bad as the Saints so in theory Philip Rivers should be able to have a nice day. The problem is Rivers isn't any good anymore. He has the Norv Turner stink on him.

Bucs 27-23

Dallas (-1.5) at Philadelphia: Add clock management to the list of things Saints has trouble with since Sean Payton is MIA. Drew Brees had to help Joe Vitt out Monday night and I can guarantee Payton would need no such assistance. Speaking of bad clock management this game might be the Ali-Frazier of timeout wasting.

Cowboys 35-31

New England (-11) vs. Buffalo: The Bills defense rivals the Saints in their badness. The Saints didn't spend 100 million to sign Mario Williams so we have that going for us!

Patriots 45-17

Detroit (-2) at Minnesota: If the Saints can upset Atlanta, the Lions win, and Jets could pull a miracle in Seattle then New Orleans will be only one game from sixth in the NFC and I can start using the p word!

Lions 23-20

Ralph Malbrough is a Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at, find him on facebook, follow him on twitter at!/MilneMalbrough or download his podcast at Itunes.

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