If the NFL season ended today the New Orleans Saints would be the second-seeded team in the NFC, something that will not be true at season’s end.
The New Orleans Saints have overcome every hurdle that has been thrown their way thus far this season and enters the final quarter of the regular season with a 10-2 record. The Saints are one of five teams with two or fewer losses this season.
The San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks are the only other teams with two or fewer losses. The 49ers and Patriots are both 10-1, although the Saints are the only team in the league to clinch their division already.
New England won’t clinch anytime soon because of the 9-3 Buffalo Bills and San Francisco won’t clinch anytime soon because of the 9-2 Seahawks.
More from Big Easy Believer
- New Orleans Saints: Three biggest questions heading into the offseason
- New Orleans Saints: Three positives to take from playoff loss
- New Orleans Pelicans: Betting guide vs. Sacramento Kings
- New Orleans Saints: Bold predictions for Wild Card Round vs. Vikings
- New Orleans Pelicans: Betting guide in Los Angeles Lakers rematch
The focus for the Saints now turns to get that first seed in the NFC to clinch home-field advantage up to the Super Bowl. The team also needs to keep winning to maintain being a top-two seed as if they slip to the third seed they will not get the coveted first-round bye.
It seems pretty crowded right now in the NFC with the 10-1 49ers, 9-2 Seahawks, 8-3 Packers and 8-3 Vikings. However, the road to the first seed is easily obtainable and I believe is a guaranteed lock.
Let’s look at the rest of the Saints’ schedule. They host the 49ers next week (which is a huge game), host the Indianapolis Colts and are on the road against the Titans and Panthers. While you cannot take anything for granted, the Titans and Panthers are both teams the Saints should beat.
The Colts are a sneaky tough game but at home, the Saints will likely be six-point favorites and should still get the job done.
That leaves the 49ers game, which is the most important. If the Saints win this game then it will guarantee them being the number one seed, solely based on their remaining schedule and the rest of the NFC.
The 49ers are on the road against the Baltimore Ravens and Saints, host the Falcons and Rams and finish the year on the road against the Seahawks. That is a really tough slate of games and assuming the 49ers lose to the Saints, there is a good chance that they lose at least one more of the other four games.
That would give the 49ers a 13-3 record, which typically is enough for the first seed. Even if the Saints lose one of the final three games they would still secure the first seed as they would own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the 49ers.
Theoretically, if the Saints finish 13-3, the Seahawks could sneak in at 14-2 or 13-3 if they finish the season red hot. They could win out and snag the first seed but they have three tough matchups in the Vikings, Rams and 49ers.
If the Seahawks do manage to win out then they absolutely deserve the first seed. However, based on how every single game has been close for Seattle this year, chances are that they lose at least one of those games.
Let’s say they lose against the Vikings and then win out. That gives them a 13-3 record, which is great, but they too lose the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Saints. Even if it somehow ended up being a three-way tie at 13-3, the Saints would have the advantage.
The Vikings or Packers would have to win out to even have a chance and both teams cannot win out as they play each other. Whoever wins that would have to win out and with both teams having tough games, chances are the winners of the NFC North will be 12-4.
So barring an uncharacteristic meltdown from the New Orleans Saints, the cards are actually aligning for Big Easy to host every playoff game that the Saints are a part of.