New Orleans Saints secure first winning season since 2013

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Along with securing their first winning season since 2013, the Saints were also able to sweep the Carolina Panthers for the first time since 2012.

NEW ORLEANS, LA – DECEMBER 03: Justin Hardee
NEW ORLEANS, LA – DECEMBER 03: Justin Hardee /

Don’t let the standings fool you. The Saints have played extraordinarily well in 2017, and would be better than a four-seed 13 games into any other season. But with nine wins, the Saints have at least secured their first winning season since 2013.

However, as was pointed out last week, the rest of the NFC just continues to win. The three teams ahead of the Saints (Eagles, Vikings, Rams) went 2-1 this week, vaulting Minnesota, who owns the tiebreaker over New Orleans, into the one-seed. The best of those teams, the Eagles, were the lone loser, but still sit at 10-2, second in the conference.

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More importantly, the team they lost to, Seattle, greatly improved their playoff chances. This moves the Seahawks into sixth place, as Atlanta falls out of the playoffs for now, with Carolina remaining the five-seed.

The good to take away from Sunday

Speaking of Carolina, the Saints defended home field against the Panthers on Sunday, winning 31-21. This puts the Saints 2-0 against the Panthers in the 2017 season after they also won during Week 3, 34-13.

As stated, that hasn’t happened since 2011. During that season, New Orleans won those games 30-27 and 45-17, respectively. The Saints have either gone .500 or winless against Carolina for the last 3 seasons. Now, New Orleans holds sole first place in the NFC South and the tiebreaker over Carolina for the playoffs.

The best result out of Sunday was Atlanta losing. This puts New Orleans two games over the Falcons, and both teams meet up for the first time this season on Thursday night. If the Saints can go .500 or better against Atlanta, they’ll lock up that tiebreaker as well due to their better record against common opponents.

On top of that, Tampa Bay lost, giving the Saints a five-game cushion over the last place Bucs. New Orleans has also clinched a better record than Tampa Bay, so they have been eliminated from winning the NFC South.

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So, even though New Orleans didn’t move up in the NFC overall standings despite their win, three beneficial things occurred.

Clinching a winning season is the biggest, as all of the “7-9” jokes can officially go away. Gaining strength in the division is also a huge win as the Saints could even clinch the South two weeks from now. Attaining that tiebreaker over Carolina and setting up one for Atlanta also pushes things towards New Orleans corner. For the time being, the Saints are sitting pretty, and have an early week to keep the good looks up.

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