New Orleans Saints can virtually clinch NFC South Week 12 win over Carolina
It’s not a guarantee, but the New Orleans Saints will virtually clinch the NFC South with a Week 12 win over the Carolina Panthers.
The New Orleans Saints will get a home visit from the Carolina Panthers in Week 12, and while they won’t officially clinch a playoff berth with the victory, they’ll be extremely close, basically solidifying the division.
With a win, the Saints will move to 9-2 while the Panthers, after a beating by the Falcon last week, would move to 5-6 with a loss. The Panthers, even with a win by Atlanta or Tampa Bay and a loss themselves, would continue as the second-best team in the NFC South.
However, four games out of first place and likely without the head-to-head tiebreaker, the Panthers could kiss away all hope of being the NFC South’s representation in the playoffs. However, even with a win, the comeback would still be difficult.
A win for Carolina would keep them second. They’d be two games out of first at 6-5. New Orleans would drop to 8-3. But, it’d help the Panthers significantly in the Wild Card as they need to best the Seahawks at 8-2 and the Vikings at 8-3.
This game is a must-win for Carolina.
That said, New Orleans does still have another division foe in Atlanta and then the NFC’s best team record-wise in San Fran waiting in Week 14. They have to face Carolina in their place to close out the season as well.
The Saints’ goal isn’t just to win the NFC South.
They’ll be aiming for another first-round bye in the playoffs. At least for now, it’s looking up in the air as they have a difficult home stretch. The Saints, Packers, and Seahawks are all sitting at 8-2. But, with their dynamic offense finally healthy, a late-season explosion is certainly possible.
New Orleans has shown an aptitude on both sides of the ball. Yet, at the same time, they’ve been lacking at parts of the season on both sides as well. The next six weeks will be all about which of those two different Saints’ teams are on the field.
Is it the team that put up three field goals on Atlanta or that scored 34 points vs Tampa Bay? Is it the defense that gave up 28 to Houston or just 10 to Dallas? Who will show up will be important if the New Orleans Saints want that ultimate goal of a first-round bye.
It starts with a Week 12 home victory and shutting down the elusive Christian McCaffrey.