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NFL New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints: Top 5 Must-Watch Games For Remainder Of 2013 NFL Season

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New Orleans Saints' Top 5 Remaining Matchups of 2013

new orleans
Crystal LoGiudice-USA Today

The New Orleans Saints have looked good in several primetime games so far. But there are still a couple of other marquee matchups to keep an eye on. If the Saints plan to make a playoff run, they'll have to contend with a challenging schedule. The Saints schedule features games against four playoff teams from a season ago (New England, San Francisco, Seattle and Atlanta), and a formidable NFC West division.

The Saints have five remaining must-watch games which will also be their toughest. The outcome of these contests will likely determine playoff seeding. A crucial game takes place in December against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field. The winner of that game presumably gets home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. No team wants to travel to either venue because the Seahawks and Saints are unbeatable at home.

Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has galvanized a unit that looked lifeless last season. He's simplified the playbook, and is putting guys in the best position to make plays. So far, the defense is playing lights-out surrendering less than 20 points per game through five weeks. In several games, the defense has bailed out Drew Brees and the offense which has struggled at times, but is gradually returning to form.

If New Orleans plans to have success this season, both the offense and defense have to consistently play well. The Saints have enough talent on both sides of the ball to make a championship run. However, it can't happen unless they handle business in the regular season.

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5. New Orleans vs. Dallas

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Matthew Emmons-USA Today

Tony Romo is a talented quarterback that can make plays, but not the play to win games. Romo's unpredictable play makes him dangerous because he can throw five touchdowns or five interceptions. New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan knows Romo well from his time in Dallas, and will blitz him repeatedly.

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4. New Orleans vs. Chicago

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Matt Marton-USA Today

Jay Cutler is talented, but prone to make mistakes. The New Orleans Saints' defense needs to get after Cutler early and often to force turnovers.

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3. New Orleans vs. Seattle

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Rob Grabowski-USA Today

Marshawn Lynch slaughtered the New Orleans Saints' defense three years ago in Seattle. The Saints' defense is significantly better now, and will have to contain Lynch to prevent history from repeating itself. Seattle and New Orleans meet in December at Qwest Field. This game will determine home-field advantage in the playoffs.

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2. New Orleans vs. San Francisco

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Cary Edmonson-USA Today

Frank Gore is one the NFL's best running backs, and a key cog of the San Francisco 49ers' offense. He's a dual threat as a runner and receiver out of the backfield. The New Orleans Saints' defense will be in for a battle.

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1. New Orleans vs. New England

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David Butler II-USA Today

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is one of the game's best. His ability to dissect defenses with precision passing gives opposing defenses fits. New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has familiarity with Brady, and knows that disrupting his timing is key.