The New Orleans Saints have an 11-2 record, have already clinched a spot in the playoffs, and have secured the NFC South title. They have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL, which is led by Drew Brees and a defense that keeps on getting better. Now, they are facing off against the Carolina Panthers in Week 15, and there is still plenty at stake as the regular season begins to near its end.
Even though they're already in the playoffs and have won the division, there is a lot on the line for the Saints this week. After the NFL action on Sunday, there isn't anything the Saints can actually lock up this week, and that is all due to the Chicago Bears and their victory.
Chicago pulled off a win over the Green Bay Packers which locked up the NFC North title for them and put them in the playoffs. That win also put Chicago's record at 10-4, which keeps them in the hunt for a first-round bye in the upcoming postseason.
The Saints had the opportunity to clinch a first-round bye this week, but two things needed to happen. First, the Packers needed to defeat the Bears or at least score a tie on Sunday, but that didn't happen and it shut down any hope of a first-round bye this week.
If the Bears had lost or tied, the Saints also needed a win over the Panthers on Monday Night Football, but that can still possibly happen. The thing is, just because a first-round bye can't be clinched this week, the Saints still need to say on their game and not be upset by the Panthers.
Right now, the race for the best record in the NFC is between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams. The Bears have an outside chance at a first-round bye, but the Rams and Saints want that first-round bye and also hope to snag home-field advantage throughout the playoffs as well.
As things currently stand, the Saints hold the number one seed in the NFC. If they win out, they will keep it which gives them a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the playoffs. With the Rams losing to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night, the Saints have a bit more breathing room.The Saints hold the tiebreaker over the Rams due to their head-to-head win, and that means New Orleans cannot take their foot off the gas. They may not be able to clinch anything in Week 15, but a win over the Carolina Panthers inches them closer to their playoff goals. Cam Newton and company have lost five in a row, and they're not out of the playoffs just yet, so, they have a lot to play for and prove.