The New Orleans Saints (10-2) complete the season sweep of the Atlanta Falcons (4-8) by defeating their arch-rivals 21-16 in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. With the victory, the Saints remain atop of the NFC and are winners of 9 straight games. Below are three takeaways from the Saints' Week 13 victory.
Taysom Hill Proves to be a Quality Pocket Passer
After a difficult week throwing the football last week against Denver, Taysom Hill silenced the critics throwing more than 30 passes in a single game for the first time in his NFL career including multiple touchdown passes. The Saints' offense looked in rhythm and had a flow throughout the game and for the first time in his young career as a starting quarterback, Taysom Hill seemed to have full control and trust of his offense.
Hill concluded his third-career start by completing 27 of 37 passes for 232 yards and 2 touchdowns. In the process of setting career highs in attempts, completions, and touchdowns, Hill carved his way to a third consecutive victory and one step closer to an NFC South crown.
Drew Brees is eligible to come off of injured reserve this week but is not expected to return until Week 15. If that is every case, there should be one more start at quarterback in the future of Taysom Hill and one more opportunity to win over the Who Dat Nation as the heir apparent.
Mental Lapses make a Late Season Appearance
The New Orleans Saints defense has been stellar over the past month and a half, making their way to the league's top spot in total defense. Early in the season, the Saints defense gave fans a headache with multiple mental lapses and a boatload of penalties. While those lapses have been absent for most of the last two months of the season, they made an appearance in Atlanta on Sunday afternoon.
Miscues, penalties, and turnovers kept the Falcons' hopes alive late in the 4th Quarter as they nearly completed the comeback with a Hail Mary falling to the ground as time expired. New Orleans committed 10 penalties for 79 yards on Sunday and committed a late red-zone turnover that resulted in Atlanta's lone touchdown.
The Saints had a relapse of mental lapses that hindered them in the early portion of the regular season. While it was not pretty, especially late in the game, the Saints came out victorious. Next week, they still could be without crucial pieces to the line up in stars LT Terron Armstead and CB Janoris Jenkins.
New Orleans becomes NFL's First Team to Clinch a Playoff Berth
After starting this season 1-2, who would have thought the Saints would lock up a playoff spot in Week 13? The answer? Not many.
Since New Orleans won, they became the first NFC team to clinch a playoff berth after the Bears' victory over the Lions. The Saints also remain in first place in the NFC and NFC South with a 10-2 record. Their 3-game lead over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is good for first place in the NFC South.
Over the past 4 seasons, including this year, the Saints have won at least 10 games in each season and currently hold a combined record of 47-13 in the regular season. The Saints are on the verge of their fourth consecutive NFC South crown and hold a 3 game lead over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for first place.
Making the playoffs is always the primary goal for any NFL team. The next goal for New Orleans is to win their division and earn the NFC's lone first-round bye. 2020 is the first year of the NFL's new playoff format that welcomes a third wild-card team in each conference and eliminates a first-round bye of the #2 overall seed. Hence, making the #1 overall seed that much more valuable. The Saints will continue the playoff seeding chase next week as they battle the Philadelphia Eagles.
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