The New Orleans Saints will take to the road in the first round of the 2013 NFL playoffs. Although it is always nice to reach the postseason and have the opportunity to lengthen your season and play for the Lombardi Trophy, this situation is far from ideal for New Orleans and their fan base.
Despite having one of the better road records since 2009, this season the Saints did not fare too well when playing outside of the Superdome in Louisiana. They ended up finishing 3-5 on the road, losing to division rival Carolina Panthers, the New England Patriots, New York Jets, St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks.
Some of these games were fairly close, such as the Patriots game, or the loss to the Jets. Others were more embarrassing and exposed potential flaws, such as the Monday night loss to the Seahawks, who eventually went on to claim the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Now, however, the Saints will have to show to the rest of the league that they are legit and they are contenders no matter where they play.
Although the spot where New Orleans will play in the first round has yet to be decided, odds are that they will end up having to go up to the Northeast and play against the Philadelphia Eagles, who are heavily favored to defeat the Dallas Cowboys in the Sunday night matchup to claim the final NFC playoff spot.
Playing in Philly in January may not be conducive to the type and style of football that the Saints are used to playing, but it certainly would be within the realm of possibility. Sean Payton and Rob Ryan will certainly game plan to come away with a victory, and Drew Brees is just as motivated driven as he has been.
Keep your heads up, Saints fans. We made it for another week at least.