NFL New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints’ Week 12 In Review and What’s Ahead

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New Orleans Saints Week 12 In Review And What's In Store

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

It was another week of exciting NFL action, kicked off with a New Orleans Saints’ victory over the down-and-out Atlanta Falcons this past Thursday. The victory improved the Saints to 9-2 on the season, but they have not clinched the NFC South just yet as the Carolina Panthers are nipping at their heels having won seven straight.

Besides the storyline in the NFC South, there was plenty of action elsewhere.

The NFC East, for example, saw the Dallas Cowboys improve to 6-5 and come even with the Philadelphia Eagles for first place in the division. With five games remaining, the division has not been decided yet and the New York Giants and Washington Redskins are still within striking distance. Washington will playing at home against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football.

Speaking of San Francisco and the NFC West, the 49ers will need a win Monday night to improve to 7-4 and to stay in the mix for a wild card playoff berth. The Arizona Cardinals, meanwhile, defeated the Indianapolis Colts in a reunion between Bruce Arians and Chuck Pagano and improved to 7-4. Arizona and San Francisco are both unlikely to catch the Seattle Seahawks, who currently occupy the top NFC spot with a 10-1 record.

The NFC North remained unsettled after the division leading Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions both lost and the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay packers played their game to a tie.

Tie game? I hate tie games.

In the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs lost for the second week in a row and the Houston Texans continued their fall from grace with a loss at home to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. Gary Kubiak’s seat keeps getting hotter and hotter.

Also of note, Week 12 treats NFL fans to another potentially fantastic Tom Brady-Peyton Manning matchup as the New England Patriots host the Denver Broncos for Sunday night football.

Here now is a look at the Saints’ Week 12 and what is coming down the pipe for them.

Jack Cavanaugh is a New Orleans Saints contributing writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @cav_jack, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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Some Getting Healthier, Others Injured

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans lost Jabari Greer in Week 11, and Glenn Foster was carted off the field early in their Week 12 game against the Falcons. We won't know for sure the extent of his injury until sometime next week, but it never pays to be hopeful.

Guard Jahri Evans sat out Week 12 with an ankle injury, but it's likely he'll be back and healthy enough to play against the Seahawks in Week 13. Darren Sproles was also out with knee and ankle injuries, his status for Week 13 is unknown at this point, but Pierre Thomas easily picked up the slack.

Kenny Vaccaro returned from sitting out after he suffered a concussion against the San Francisco 49ers. It was smart to sit out, considering that was the second one he suffered this season.

A healthy and well rested Saints' team will be crucial if New Orleans wants to come away with a victory against Seattle next week.

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Brees Continues Making History

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Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a relatively quiet game from the Saints' quarterback, Drew Brees quietly reached yet another milestone in his career. This time he surpassed Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon for most career passing yards, putting himself in the No. 5 spot behind John Elway, Dan Marino, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre.

Who knows how many more yards Brees will throw for, but he will easily be selected to the Hall of Fame when he is eligible.

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Cameron Jordan Continues Breakout Season

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Cameron Jordan recorded 2.5 sacks Thursday night against the Falcons and continued his breakout career in his third year. Those sacks brought his total up to 9.5 on the season, but even that doesn't tell the whole story. Jordan has been great as a pass rusher, getting to and causing pressure on opposing quarterbacks and generally disrupting plays.

If he continues to play at this level or better he might even be included in Pro Bowl discussions.

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Ryan's Defense Continues To Grow, Evolve

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Ryan continued to show why his firing last year was a mistake and why he was such a good hire by Sean Payton and company. After getting gutted in the run game by the New York Jets several weeks ago, Ryan allowed virtually none of that from Steven Jackson and the Falcons.

The defense gave up a couple long runs, but overall shutdown the ground game. Ryan's defense continues to improve and they are showing no signs of slowing down yet.

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Payton Should Be Coach of the Year

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Payton's absence last year was felt and his return this year shows just how important a coach can be to his team. The coach of the year award will likely go to Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs, but Payton should at least be included in the talks, considering how important he is to the Saints organization.

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Seahawks Up Next, Panthers Coming Twice

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Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Up next for New Orleans is a Monday night prime time game against the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle. This has all the makings for the game of the year, and it will be tough sledding for Brees and the Saints. Tough sledding, but totally doable. If any team is built to compete with the Seahawks, it's definitely New Orleans.

After Seattle, the Saints will have to face off against the Carolina Panthers twice in the next three weeks. These games will also be important as the Panthers are in position to steal the NFC South should the Saints slip up. In fact, it's likely New Orleans and Carolina will be tied after Week 13, placing even more importance on their two upcoming matchups.