This article has been updated with details regarding the date of the Saints vs. Bears Wild Card game.
The New Orleans Saints, with their 33-7 victory over the Carolina Panthers, clinched the No. 2 seed for the 2020 NFL playoffs. The No. 1 seed was up for grabs; unfortunately, the Saints did not get bye (pun intended) with a little help from some friends.
Playoff destiny, for New Orleans, was in the hands of the Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks; both needed a Week 17 win, along with the Saints, for the team to clinch the No. 1 seed. As that didn’t transpire, New Orleans is set to play in the Wild Card round. The NFC playoff standings, barring an NFC East shakeup in the final hour, are as follows:
(1) Green Bay Packers (12-4)
(2) New Orleans Saints (12-4)
(3) Seattle Seahawks (12-4)
(4) Washington Football Team (6-9)
(5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5)
(6) Los Angeles Rams (10-6)
(7) Chicago Bears (8-8)
As it stands, Green Bay has the No. 1 seed and first-round bye. The Saints (2) will host the Bears (7), Seattle (3) will host the Rams (6), and Washington* (4) would host Tampa Bay (5).
However, the NFL threw the Saints a lifeline in the final hour. As reported by Ian Rapoport, the Saints vs. Bears Wild Card game is scheduled for next Sunday at 4:30 pm.
With the NFL scheduling the Saints game for Sunday, rather than Saturday, this gives Alvin Kamara the potential to return under the 10-day window per the NFL Covid-19 protocol. His presence, no matter the opponent, cannot be understated.
That said, as devastating as the Bears loss was to Saints playoff hopes, it makes them an incredibly enticing opponent — one we already beat at our worst. If we had ended up with the Rams, not only do they have a superior defense — with a killer pass rush and Aaron Donald rushing up the middle — but backup QB John Wolford put up 231 yards in the air and rushed for 56 yards in their victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
While Mitch Trubisky ended with 252 air yards, he’s ultimately a much less formidable opponent. Regardless of the ability for Alvin Kamara to return, the Bears ultimately fare much better for the Saints; Kamara would have had trouble with a Rams front four either way. Instead, we can re-exorcise any remaining playoff demons from 2006 against the Bears. Who Dat.
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