The New Orleans Saints (10-3) return to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome looking to bounce back from their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last week. In Week 15, the Saints will battle the Kansas City Chiefs (12-1) in a matchup critical to playoff seeding for both sides.
Here are my three things to watch in the AFC vs. NFC duel in Week 15.
Will Drew Brees Return from his Rib Injury?
Saints QB Drew Brees suffered 11 broken ribs and a punctured lung in the Week 10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers and was placed on Injured Reserve the following week. The future Hall of Fame quarterback has yet to be activated from IR but was seen at practice working on his last week and participated in a throwing session.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport revealed Drew Brees still has pain during throwing sessions with trainers and that Wednesday's practice would be a big day for him. Brees was absent from Wednesday's injury report but was designated to return from IR. Whether or not Brees is present in Saints practice Thursday could tell sign of if Brees or Hill will be the Black and Gold's signal-caller in Week 15.
Another chance to Clinch the NFC South
Last week, New Orleans held the keys to clinch a fourth consecutive NFC South title; however, a loss halted the celebration for at least a week. Despite the loss, the cards remain on the table for the Saints to clinch the division with a victory in Week 15, but they face a much different opponent, the defending Super Bowl Champion, Kansas City Chiefs.
The Saints were the first team in the league to clinch a playoff berth until last week sat atop the NFC. This week's matchup against the Chiefs will be the Saints' toughest task of the season and maybe the entire year.
At 10-3, they remain in the hunt of the NFC's top seed and the conference's lone first-round BYE, though winning out will be vital to accomplishing that goal, and it starts by defeating the reigning champions.
How Do the Saints Respond After Their 1st Loss in 2 Months?
Week 14's loss to the Eagles snapped a nine-game win streak for the Saints and shocked the NFL world. Since September, the team's worst performance served as a gut punch and perhaps at the perfect time as they continue their race for a first-round bye in the 2020 NFC Playoffs.
Returning to the Superdome during a pivotal stretch of the season, New Orleans has to quickly regroup and learn from their poor outing less than a week ago. As Saints News Network reporter Bob Rose said in his latest piece, “Sunday's game will be a litmus test to see where this squad truly is in the title chase.”
The Saints have a chance to prove to be genuine title contenders this week, but a loss would simply add more doubt and questions into the heads of the loyal Who Dat Nation. How the team responds to this adversity will speak volumes about a team that has battled adversity since the early part of June.
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