Saints Move into 1st Place for the NFC Crown

Kyle T. Mosley
Drew Brees will battle the 49ers
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints have climbed into first place in the NFC after the 49ers lost to the Ravens on Sunday, 20-17, and Seahawks defeated the Vikings on Monday Night Football, 37-30.  The war to determine the NFC crown is far from being over for the Saints.  Defeating the 49ers on Sunday is only the first step.

THE CLASH

On Sunday afternoon in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans (10-2) will host San Francisco (10-2) in a critical NFC Divisional battle for both teams.  According to FiveThirtyEight's Playoff Picture Predictor, if the Saints defeat the 49ers in this NFC clash, they will have a 94% of earning a 1st round bye and a 20% chance of winning Super Bowl 54 in Miami.  If New Orleans should lose, their opportunity at a first-round bye drops to 58%, and their odds of winning the Super Bowl plummet to 9%.

USATSI_13655944 (1)
Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

The predictor has a San Francisco win in New Orleans giving them a 53% of receiving a first-round bye and 15% of winning Super Bowl 54.  If they should lose to the Saints, they have a 27% and a 26% chance of winning the NFC West and earning a first-round bye, respectively.  Also, the 49ers will only have 9% odds of winning the Super Bowl.

Drew Brees' squad will enter the game as 3 points favorites to odds makers in Las Vegas.  The home-field advantage has much of a factor in creating these odds.   Ultimately, for the Saints and Niners is the fact with a win each team can bolster its claim for the NFC Division title.  San Francisco needs help in the NFC with the possibility of the Seahawks stumbling down the stretch to unseat them at the top of the NFC West.

Russel Wilson defeats the Minnesota Vikings
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

THE OPPOSITION

The Seahawks have 3 NFC West divisional games to play in the remainder of 2019.  Next week, they battle the L.A. Rams in Los Angeles on December 8, 2019.  After the Rams game they face the Carolina Panthers (12/15), Arizona Cardinals (12/22), and wrap-up the season what could decide the NFC West against the 49ers in Seattle on December 29th at 3:35 PM CST.  

San Francisco's schedule after the Saints game will have them facing the Falcons (12/15), Rams (12/21), and the season-ending NFC West sweepstakes in Seattle with the Seahawks on 12/29.

The Saints' four games consist of two NFC match-ups, while the Niners and Seahawks each have 4 NFC a piece.  Advantage New Orleans.  If they can win over the Niners, then defeat the Colts (12/16), Titans (12/22), and Panthers (12/29) they will be in control of the NFC at the #1 seed.  The Saints cannot afford to stumble against the Niners and/or Panthers.  Because they are NFC foes and the Saints only two losses this season were to NFC teams, the Rams and Falcons.

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Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

THE INNER CHALLENGE

The challenge for most New Orleans Saints teams under Sean Payton over the years has been their tendency to lose "winnable games" to Fover-matched opponents.  If they survive the Niners game, and lose either to the Colts or Titans, could a loss in these games force Sean Payton to have "all men of deck" against Carolina in the final game of the season?   Or, if they lose to the Niners, will they have the confidence to win all remaining games and keep pace with the Seahawks, Niners and Packers?

Those questions will be answered after the horn sounds in the Superdome on Sunday.   As we should note Saints history these are type of games Sean Payton and Drew Brees respond with great offensive production.  In recent interviews, Brees has openly shared with media that the Saints offense has not had it best game yet; Could this one be the game?

49ers. Saints.  There can only be one to wear the NFC crown.  Which team will take a step closer on Sunday?

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Comments (1)
No. 1-1
Johnny Football
Johnny Football

They beat the 49ers and they get the 1 seed. Biggest game of the year


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