For once, the New Orleans Saints control their own destiny. They aren’t relying on the results of three or four other games to decide which playoff seed is theirs — or if they’ll reach the postseason at all. They won’t have to watch other scoreboards or hurry into the locker room to stream another game’s final minutes.
They’ve already clinched a playoff berth. But another win on Sunday secures the NFC South, and the promise of hosting a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in January. It gets the Saints that much closer to locking up the first seed, and everything that comes with it: homefield advantage throughout the playoffs and an all-too-valuable first-round bye week.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. If the Saints slip up and lose this week’s matchup, they can still win the division, with a little help from a frequent rival. And wouldn’t that be something?
Here’s how the Saints can win the NFC South division title for the fourth year in a row, breaking a record they hold with the Carolina Panthers (division champs from 2013 to 2015) for the most consecutive wins since the division’s founding: