The New Orleans Saints host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their regular season finale this Sunday and the game is a must-win for the team. The Saints had high hopes after they started the season out very strong going 9-2 in their first 11 games, but since then have gone 1-3 and are now hoping to get into the playoffs as a Wild Card.
The Saints had an opportunity to lock up the second seed and a first-round bye in the playoffs, but they could not beat the Carolina Panthers on the road, and now instead of coasting the last week of the regular season, will now be fighting for their playoff lives in the finale. However, there is still a scenario in which the Saints can obtain the No. 2 seed in the playoffs. If the Saints win their last game and the Panthers lose their last game, the Saints would jump from the sixth seed to the second seed and earn a first-round bye.
The Saints should be able to defeat the 4-11 Bucs, but unfortunately, the Panthers will also likely defeat the 4-11 Atlanta Falcons, even if they are playing on the road. The only thing the Saints have control over is winning their game against the Bucs since that would assure the team’s playoff appearance.
Despite the Saints playing at home, there will still be a lot of pressure for them to win. However, with the home crowd supporting them and the sense of urgency, I don’t see the Saints losing this game and they will be marching right on into the playoffs.