Coming into Week 15, the Atlanta Falcons were in first place (based on tie-breakers) with an identical 8-5 record to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Falcons hosted the 49ers while the Bucs travelled to the NFC 1st seed Dallas Cowboys. Carolina, in fourth place, travelled to Washington to face the Redskins while the Saints went to Arizona to take on the Cardinals.
So what happened in Week 15?
The NFC South went 3-1 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the only team to take a loss, losing 26-20 to the Dallas Cowboys. With Atlanta already owning the tie-breaker over Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay’s chances of winning the NFC South look to be over, but an NFC Wild Card spot is still not out of the question. This sets up the Saints to play potential spoiler for two weeks in a row.
Next week, the Saints host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home in New Orleans. The Saints will have their game at 3:30pm for the third week in a row, but this time, with Christmas Day falling on a Sunday, will be playing on Saturday, December 24th. The other two divisional teams, the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers, will play each other in Charlotte also on Christmas Eve.
Really, no matter what happens next week, there’s a positive way to look at it. The Saints can either win and play spoiler to division rival Tampa Bay, or they can lose and set themselves up for a higher draft pick.