With the race in the NFC South heating up, the New Orleans Saints’ time to establish themselves as the favorite for home-field advantage is now. Their remaining schedule is going to be a tough one, specifically due to three particular games: One against the Seattle Seahawks in week 13, and their two battles with the fiery-hot Carolina Panthers.
Not only is home-field advantage something the Saints are concerned about, but merely winning the division is no longer a guarantee. As the Panthers have strung together six straight wins, they are now just a game behind New Orleans and arguably have lighter schedule over the remaining weeks.
Cam Newton has been playing out-of-his-mind efficient this year, making the Panthers’ offense look unstoppable at times due to the versatility he brings to the table. Carolina’s running game is one of the best in the league and their defense has risen up the rankings quickly to one of the top units in football.
How do the Saints make sure they don’t falter? Well, to begin with, lean on Drew Brees and his ability to lead. Under Brees and Sean Payton, the Saints are clearly not a team to take lightly — look at last year for example, without Payton.
Offensively, I think the Saints will be fine. Brees has been known to have his struggles every now and then against a top-rated defense, but for the most part he’s got not only the weapons, but the wherewithal to make plays when it counts; and in the two matchups with Carolina, boy will it count.
To begin with, though, the Saints have to take care of business in week 13 against the Seahawks, on Monday night football, in Seattle and against the league’s top home field advantage where Russell Wilson is undefeated.
Like I said, it’s not going to be easy. But, the Saints, of all teams, have a shot to lock up the top seed in the NFC with some crucial wins down the stretch. Seattle, Carolina and then away at Carolina are three games that the Saints need to be considering must-wins if they’re to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
This should be one fun race to finish the year, that’s all I do know for sure.