It’s scoreboard watching time! We are entering the stretch run of the 2021-22 NFL regular season, as teams that are still alive for a playoffs berth are jockeying for position to snatch the attainable postseason invites. In the NFC (see chart below), the battle for the playoffs could not be tighter, with eight teams within two games of each other, from the 6th-seeded San Francisco 49ers to the 13th-seeded Seattle Seahawks. Realistically, any of these eight teams could grab the last two remaining playoffs positions in the conference.
As you can see above, the New Orleans Saints sit in the 11th position in the conference yet are tied in the record column with the Washington Football Team, who currently occupy the final playoffs position. New Orleans is going to need to win at least three of its remaining four games to even have a shot at making it to the playoffs, but they will also need some help to get there.
So, who should you root for this week in the NFC if you want the Saints to have a better chance of making it into the postseason for the fifth consecutive year?
San Francisco 49ers (7-6) vs. Atlanta Falcons (6-7)
As crazy as it sounds for Saints fans, the team to root for here is the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta has a worse conference record than the Saints (3-6 vs. 4-5), and despite their current 1-0 record against New Orleans this season, the Saints can take care of the Falcons themselves when they play them again to close out the regular season on January 9 in Atlanta. Additionally, a win by the Falcons over the 49ers would drop San Francisco’s record to 7-7 (5-6 in the conference), keeping them from separating from the Wild Card pack. Root from Matty Ice to get red hot in San Francisco.
Washington Football Team (6-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)
This is a tricky one, but the team to root for here is the Philadelphia Eagles. The Saints have a head-to-head victory over the Football Team, but Washington possesses a mighty 6-3 record in the conference. While the Eagles have a head-head win over the Saints this season, their conference record is only 4-4, closer to the 4-5 conference record of the Saints. With a win here, Philly cannot separate as much from the Saints as the Football Team could if it improved its NFC record to 7-3. Root for Jalen Hurts or Gardner Minshew to run for or throw a bunch of touchdowns this Sunday.
Minnesota Vikings (6-7) at Chicago Bears (4-9) - (Monday Night Football)
This one is a no-brainer, as the team to root for here is the Chicago Bears. First, we hate the Vikings. They have zero Super Bowl titles and act like they shoulda woulda coulda won like four of them. Secondly, a victory by the Bears here would be harmless to the Saints’ playoffs chances, while dropping putting a dent into Minnesota’s chances at one of the Wild Card spots. I still hate that wide receiver Justin Jefferson, one of my favorite former LSU Tiger plays for them. Root for Justin Jefferson to get his yards, but for Justin Fields to torch the Vikes defense and lead Chicago to an improbable win on prime time.
Carolina Panthers (5-8) at Buffalo Bills (7-6)
Another no-brainer: when it is NFC against AFC, the rooting is easy: always root for the AFC team. The Panthers appear cooked already, but they are only one game behind the glut of 6-7 teams above them in the standings, thus they are still a potential threat in the playoffs race. The team to root for here is the Buffalo Bills. Here’s to Josh Allen and the Bills taking out their frustration on Cam Newton and the Panthers on Sunday. In fact, a good old fashion blowout would be much appreciated, Buffalo. Thank you.
Seattle Seahawks (5-8) at Los Angeles Rams (9-4)
Would we like to see Russell Wilson in a Saints’ uniform next season? Well, that possibility starts with the Seahawks bombing miserably this season and Wilson feeling like the winning window is completely shut down in Seattle. The team to root for here is the Los Angeles Rams, as a Seahawks’ loss also further precludes Pete Carroll’s crew from being a contender for a Wild Card in the NFC. The less contestants, the easier the victory. No, there is no honor here. We want to win, and we also want our “enemies” to lose.
There you have it friends, root away and watch the scoreboard, eat a ton of burgers and if you drink, please let someone else drive you.
Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, on Instagram @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel.