Saints Playoff Picture: NOLA can only have one opponent if they make it

New Orleans Saints - Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Saints - Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Saints are still alive in the playoff picture after defeating the Carolina Panthers 18-10. It wasn’t an easy victory by any means but the black and gold needed a win to stay alive and they did just that.

A lot of teams got eliminated from the playoff hunt this past weekend but New Orleans wasn’t one of them and will have a shot to punch their ticket in the final week of the 2021 season.

All NOLA has to do to get into the postseason for the fifth straight season is to win against Atlanta and hope that San Francisco loses to the Rams, who are still playing for the No. 2 seed. The No. 2 seed isn’t as important as it used to be due to only the top seed having a BYE, but if the top seed falls in the Divisional Round, the No. 2 seed then gets home-field advantage in the championship game.

Here is the Saints playoff picture as we enter Week 18.

  1. Green Bay Packers (13-3)*
  2. Los Angeles Rams (12-4)
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4)
  4. Dallas Cowboys (11-5)
  5. Arizona Cardinals (11-5)
  6. San Francisco 49ers (9-7)
  7. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7)

IN THE HUNT: New Orleans Saints (8-8)

*indicates a team has clinched that particular spot

The Saints are the only team in the hunt in the NFC and they’re fighting with the 49ers for that final playoff spot. The Niners have a date with the Rams who still have a lot to play for while NOLA is facing the Falcons, who were eliminated from playoff contention this weekend.

Be that as it may, Atlanta isn’t going to lie down and let the Saints beat them. If they can keep their hated rival out of the playoffs, they’ll fight as hard as they can.

So, to sum up, winning in Week 18 isn’t enough for New Orleans. They have to beat the Falcons and hope that the Niners lose to the Rams, which isn’t an impossible scenario given that Los Angeles is still trying to win the division and get that No. 2 seed.

If the Saints do get into the postseason, there’s only one scenario for them and that’d be a date with the Rams in Los Angeles. For NOLA to get in, the Rams have to win, making them the two-seed and New Orleans can only be the seven-seed. That’ll be their Wild Card opponent if they manage to get into the dance.

Saints fans have mixed opinions on if they actually want to get to the playoffs or not and I get that. This offense is really bad and it’s hard to see them doing much against Aaron Donald and the Rams. But, I’ll counter that argument with the whole “any given Sunday” cliché.

Next. 5 Shining Stars from Week 17. dark

No one expected New Orleans to sweep the Bucs this year but they did just that. Maybe the defense could pave the way once again and the black and gold could surprise some people if they got to the postseason.