With their 23-13 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, the New Orleans Saints ended their four-year playoff drought. Next week’s regular-season finale will help determine whether the Saints are NFC South champions or a wild-card entry. Regardless, they have shown they just might be the most dangerous team in the NFC. Sure, the Eagles have 13 wins and the Vikings have 12 wins — more than the Saints — but with Carson Wentz no longer leading the way, Philadelphia doesn’t pose the same threat. And although they boast a dominant defense and efficient offense, the Vikings still have a couple chinks in their armor. As the regular season draws to a close, you can make the argument that no NFC squad appears as equipped for a deep postseason run as the Saints. The New Orleans offense ranks among the best. Not only do the Saints have a future Hall of Fame quarterback, but they also have a pair of platooning Pro Bowl running backs to ensure exceptional balance. Key on the ground attack, Drew Brees will burn you through the air. Start concentrating on limiting the passing game, and Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram gash you from the backfield. Not only do the Saints average 4.7 yards per carry, but they also lead the league with 22 rushing touchdowns. Yet against Atlanta, it was the New Orleans defense — led by linebackers Craig Robertson and Manti Te'o, edge rusher Cameron Jordan and rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore — that shined brightest. The unit played at an elite level, producing two goal-line stands, recording two takeaways and five sacks while denying the Falcons on 11 of 13 third downs. If the Saints can maintain this all-around level of play, it’s hard to see another NFC team derailing them.
Saints seem primed for deep postseason run
USA Today | Dec 26