Unlike last season, the Saints aren't just going to waltz into the playoffs this year. That means each game becomes ever more important as we get deeper into the season, not just for the Saints but for every team in contention.
Here is a quick look at the rest of the games remaining in week 11 of the NFL and a rundown of which teams Saints fans should be rooting to better the Black & Gold's chances of making the playoffs. Your comments are always welcome.
Baltimore @ Carolina
Game: 1pm, CBS, Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots
Odds: Ravens by 11
Analysis: Not like the Panthers really pose a threat to the Saints, the NFC or most Louisiana high school teams but in the spirit of true hatred and rivalry, let's hope the Ravens lay the smack down on the kitties.
Root for: Baltimore
Buffalo @ Cincinnati
Game: 1pm, CBS, Gus Johnson, Steve Tasker
Odds: Bengals by 6
Analysis: The Bills just continue to suck year in and year out. The Bengals 2010 season has been a complete disappointment. With three wins between the two of them, go ahead and just root for whichever team you feel more sympathy.
Root for: Doesn't matter
Detroit @ Dallas
Game: 1pm, FOX, Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa
Odds: Dallas by 6
Analysis: Pick your poison. If the Cowboys lose, they will be that much more pumped to face the Saints at home the following week. If they win, they'll be riding a solid upheaval-induced wave of momentum. Who the hell am I kidding, you're gonna root against the Cowboys.
Root for: Detroit
Cleveland @ Jacksonville
Game: 1pm, CBS, Bill Macatee, Rich Gannon
Odds: Jaguars by 1.5
Analysis: I'm not sure why but this game just seems like a whole lot of boring. I really don't care what happens between these two teams.
Root for: Who cares?
Arizona @ Kansas City
Game: 1pm, CBS, Ron Pitts, John Lynch
Odds: Chiefs by 8.5
Analysis: This is your classic AFC versus NFC matchup so the winner is easy to pick: AFC.
Root for: Kansas City
Green Bay @ Minnesota
Game: 1pm, FOX, Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Odds: Packers by 3
Analysis: The Packers pose a serious threat to the Saints in the NFC playoff standings. The Vikings...not so much.
Root for: Minnesota
Houston @ NY Jets
Game: 1pm, CBS, Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf
Odds: Jets by 7
Analysis: The Texans and Saints organizations have become very friendly in recent years. Plus, there are a lot of New Orleanians currently living in Houston. If any of those are reasons you'd prefer to root for the Texans, be my guest. But since both teams are in the AFC, it doesn't really matter as far as the Saints are concerned.
Root for: Whatever.
Oakland @ Pittsburgh
Game: 1pm, CBS, Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Odds: Pittsburgh by 7
Analysis: The results of this matchup have no bearing on the Saints playoff chances.
Root for: Whoever you want.
Washington @ Tennessee
Game: 1pm, FOX, Dick Stockton, Charles Davis, Jim Mora Jr.
Odds: Titans by 7
Analysis: Another easy AFC vs. NFC decision.
Root for: Tennessee
Tampa Bay @ San Francisco -
Game: 4:05pm, FOX, Chris Myers, Kurt Warner
Odds: Niners by 3
Analysis: Obviously we need the Niners to get their act together and win this one. We've all been waiting for them the bottom to drop out on Tampa Bay, hopefully this will mark the beginning of the end for the Bucs 2010 season.
Root for: San Francisco
Atlanta @ St. Louis
Game: 4:05pm, FOX, Sam Rosen, Tim Ryan
Odds: Falcons by 3
Analysis: An upset for the NFC-leading Falcons at the hands of a mediocre Rams team would be an early Christmas gift for Saints fans. It's not likely to happen, but stranger things have happened.
Root for: St. Louis
Indianapolis @ New England
Game: 4:15pm, CBS, Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
Odds: Patriots by 4
Analysis: As highly touted as this Brady/Manning re-match has been all week, it's technically meaningless to Saints fans. If you're a lover of all things Manning, I suppose the Colts might have your favor.
Root for: Either team.
NY Giants @ Philadelphia
Game: 8:20pm, NBC, Al Michael, Cris Collinsworth
Odds: Eagles by 3
Analysis: Is it possible for both teams to lose? No? Well, alright then. Go ahead and root against the team you think poses less of a threat to the Saints in a future playoff scenario.
Root for: Take your pick.
Denver @ San Diego
Game: Monday, 8:30pm, ESPN, Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, Jon Gruden
Analysis: I don't like Phillip Rivers for some reason so I find myself often rooting for him to lose. You don't have to be like me though. Hate on whoever you want to hate on.
Root for: Doesn't matter.