The New Orleans Saints are again within the driver’s seat.
Because of the Los Angeles Rams’ 15-6 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday night time, the Saints (11-2) are once more the No. 1 seed within the NFC. They’d fallen to the No. 2 seed behind the Rams after shedding to the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 29.
Now New Orleans and Los Angeles have similar information and the Saints have the sting due to their 45-35 victory towards the Rams. The underside line is New Orleans, which clinched the NFC South championship by beating Tampa Bay, 28-14, on Sunday, may have home-field benefit all through the NFC playoffs if it may at the least match Los Angeles’ file through the ultimate three weeks of the common season.
The division title was a big aim, however simply the primary one for a crew with Tremendous Bowl aspirations.
“All our objectives are intact and all of the objectives that we set out for are proper in entrance of us,” linebacker Damario Davis mentioned Monday. “You possibly can’t take it without any consideration. Doing one thing like successful the division is difficult to do on this league and so that you recognize that, however then it’s important to flip the web page and prepare for what’s in entrance you.”
Subsequent is New Orleans’ ultimate street sport — a go to to Carolina for Monday Evening Soccer on Dec. 17. Then come back-to-back house video games towards the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Panthers.
Although the Saints outscored the Buccaneers 25-Zero within the second half, their efficiency featured related short-comings to people who contributed to the loss to the Cowboys 10 days earlier — sub-par offensive line play, restricted success within the operating got here and fewer effectivity than has been the norm for quarterback Drew Brees.
The offense lastly acquired on monitor within the second half and the Saints had been capable of overcome a 14-Three deficit as a result of the protection stored the Bucs inside placing distance earlier than its second-half shutout.
It was the fifth consecutive sport wherein New Orleans allowed 17 or fewer factors.
“Definitely (the factors allowed) has been necessary right here down the stretch,” coach Sean Payton mentioned. “You might be hopefully enhancing every week, you might be hopefully making the corrections and I believe that they’re taking part in with confidence. Not at all is it good to place the tape on.
“There are a variety of stuff you wish to clear up and proper, however I felt like particularly within the sport (Sunday) they did an important job within the second half. The primary half wasn’t pretty much as good on third-down protection, however the second half was and helped enable us to get again within the sport.”
–Mark Ingram II tied Deuce McAllister’s franchise file for profession dashing touchdowns when he powered his means by way of a collection of Bucs defenders throughout a 17-yard fourth-quarter landing run. It was the 49th dashing landing of Ingram’s profession. “I believe that was a great run to have the ability to tie Deuce,” Ingram mentioned. “He had such an important profession right here and set the usual for operating backs coming by way of New Orleans. He is at all times been supportive of me and I recognize him, so simply to have the ability to have a run in that vogue to tie such an important file on this franchise, it is good.”
–WR Michael Thomas had his most efficient sport in a month in addition to his second extraordinarily productive sport towards the Bucs this season. Thomas caught 11 passes for 98 yards after not catching greater than 5 passes in any of the final three video games. Within the season opener towards Tampa he had 16 catches for 180 yards and one landing. Payton downplayed any significance to Thomas’ constant success towards the Bucs. “I believe typically it is protection associated with what they’re doing,” Payton mentioned. “He made some performs for us on third down. There are some issues he has to do higher and clear up, however a variety of it has to do in all probability with the construction of what sure groups do defensively.”
–DE Cameron Jordan continues to play at a excessive stage week in and week out. He offered constant stress on Jameis Winston and completed with two sacks. Jordan has 12 sacks this season, one fewer than the career-high he set final season.
–QB Drew Brees is being utilized an increasing number of as a runner on the aim line. He leaped above the road of scrimmage for a 1-yard landing on fourth down Sunday to provide the Saints their first lead of the day. It was Brees’ fourth dashing landing this season, a profession excessive.
–CB Marshon Lattimore had an interception and two go defenses towards Tampa Bay.