As we get closer and closer to the end of the regular season, it’s time to start expanding our look each week to other teams in the NFC playoff hunt.
Coming into Week 14, the Atlanta Falcons (4-8) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7) were both already eliminated from the division crown. The first place New Orleans Saints (10-2) could clinch the NFC South if they beat (or tied) the Buccaneers, or if the second place Carolina Panthers 6-6) lost to the Cleveland Browns (4-7-1).
Fortunately for the Saints, both things happened this week. The New Orleans Saints were able to come from behind, scoring 25 unanswered points in the second half to beat the Buccaneers 28-14. However, before the final seconds ticked off the game clock in Tampa, the Carolina Panthers fell to the Cleveland Browns 20-26. That means your New Orleans Saints are back-to-back division champs for the first time in franchise history!
Just to make the weekend even better, the Chicago Bears (8-4) were able to beat the Los Angeles Rams (11-1), in an ugly 15-6 affair in the Windy City. The win keeps the Bears right on the heels of New Orleans and Los Angeles for a first round Bye, but dropped the Rams to 11-2, meaning the Saints are currently back in position to take the one seed in the NFC, owning a head-to-head tie-breaker over the Rams.
Now into Week 15, the Saints are in control of their own destiny as far as first round byes are concerned.
The New Orleans Saints will travel to Carolina for their final road game of the season to face Cam Newton and the Panthers on Monday Night Football. The Panthers have dropped five straight, and the Saints have beaten the Panthers the last three times the two teams have met. That being said, it’s another divisional game, and Carolina always plays the Saints tough, especially on the road.
The night before, the Los Angeles Rams will look to bounce back from their loss, as they host the disappointing Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles (6-7) on Sunday Night Football. And earlier still, Sunday at noon CST, the Chicago Bears (9-4) will be hosting Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers (5-7-1).
A Saints win and a Bears loss all but guarantees the Saints at least the #2 seed in the NFC and a first round Bye.
But first things first: