Saints Hoping for a December to Remember

Taking a look back at the New Orleans record under Sean Payton in the month of December.
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Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints are coming off an 8-0 sweep of their games through October and November. Under Coach Payton, the Saints are now 41-13 in October since 2006 and have won 15 straight games in that month. They have a 39-18 record in November under Payton, winning their last eight. Over the previous four seasons, New Orleans has a combined 29-3 in October and November.

The Saints' dominance as fall creeps towards winter has positioned themselves for a playoff push, especially over the last four years. New Orleans has a 33-23 record under Payton in December games, a 59% winning percentage. They are 9-4 in December contests over the last three years while putting the finishing touches on three consecutive NFC South championships.

Nov 22, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton looks at his play sheet during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY 

Nov 22, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton looks at his play sheet during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY 

Here are the opponents that New Orleans will face this month.

  • Sunday 12/6 - at Atlanta (current record = 4-7)
  • Sunday 12/13 - at Philadelphia (3-7-1)
  • Sunday 12/20 - vs. Kansas City (10-1)
  • Friday 12/25 - vs. Minnesota (5-6)

New Orleans goes into the last full month of the 2020 regular season with a 9-2 record. They are again in first place in the NFC South and hold the conference's top seed. They will win their 4th straight division crown with three victories in their final five games, or two wins and one loss by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Saints are focused on being the top seed in the NFC heading into the postseason. That not only means home-field advantage throughout the playoffs but remember that only the number 1 seed in each conference gets a first-round bye because of the addition of a seventh team to the playoff format. 

New Orleans has a one-game lead over the 8-3 Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks in the conference, but the Packers have the tiebreaker edge against the Saints because of a Week 3 win in New Orleans.

Nov 15, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton with running back Alvin Kamara (41) and quarterback Drew Brees (9) during the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY 

Nov 15, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton with running back Alvin Kamara (41) and quarterback Drew Brees (9) during the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY 

The December opponents for the Saints have a combined winning percentage of just .511, significantly bolstered by the Chiefs record. Atlanta comes into this Sunday's showdown against New Orleans, clinging to slim playoff hopes, however, and this bitter rivalry has always been unpredictable. The Eagles, despite a poor season, are in the hunt for the NFC East title. 

The Chiefs will have the AFC championship clinched by the time they come to New Orleans, but are one of the NFL's most explosive teams and are chasing the undefeated Steelers for the top spot in the AFC. Minnesota has won four of their last five to position themselves for a postseason run and will desperately need a Christmas win in New Orleans for a chance to extend their season.

The Saints have won their last two games without Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, who is on injured reserve with broken ribs. Brees is eligible to come off injured reserve for the Dec. 13th game at Philadelphia, but a return to the lineup in Week 15 against Kansas City seems more likely. 

New Orleans has overcome the absence of Brees, injuries that depleted their receiving corps earlier in the year, and poor play from their secondary over the first six weeks to position themselves for a top playoff spot. The Saints could now use a strong December as a springboard for a run at Super Bowl LV.