If they weren’t likely on a collision course with Green Bay at Lambeau Field in January, the New Orleans Saints would almost surely be heavy Super Bowl favorites right now.
For as good as the Packers have been, no one is dominating like the Saints, who pounded a playoff-bound division rival by 29 points in prime time Monday night. They’ve now won seven games in a row, by an average margin of 16 points. They’re 7-0 at home, and they’ve scored over 40 points in three of their last five games.
Despite breaking Dan Marino’s single-season passing yards record on his final pass of the night, Drew Brees had somewhat of an off game. He completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes for the first time all season and had two interceptions for the first time since October…and yet the Saints still scored 45 while holding the dangerous Falcons to just two field goals after the first quarter.
Whoever draws the Saints on wild-card weekend and in the divisional playoffs will probably be screwed. They’ve won their seven home games this season by an average of 23 points. That they lost to the Falcons at the Superdome last year goes to show how hot they are right now.
That unlucky team that draws the Saints might very well be the Falcons. Lost in the Brees celebration is that New Orleans locked up the division title Monday night, meaning they’ll be the No. 3 seed in the NFC unless the 49ers choke badly in St. Louis in Week 17. It also means the Falcons drop to the No. 6 spot, behind Detroit. If the Lions beat a resting Packers team next week, we’ll have an Atlanta-New Orleans rematch at the Super dome Jan. 7 or 8.
Good luck with that.
The Falcons continue to be nothing more than a tease. With tons of rest coming off a Thursday blowout victory in Week 15, they laid a massive egg in one of the biggest games of the year, just as they did against Houston in Week 13 and Green Bay in Week 5. Against teams currently in playoff slots, they’re 1-4 this season.
While there’s no doubt that the Saints are the best team in the NFC South, and maybe the entire league, we’re beginning to wonder whether the Falcons are good enough to hold off the charging Carolina Panthers for the right to be called the second best team in that division.