METAIRIE, La. — The New Orleans Saints have earned the chance to relaxation key gamers of their regular-season finale.
Their 31-28 victory towards Pittsburgh on Sunday improved their file to 13-2 and clinched the No. 1 seed within the NFC playoffs. Nothing that occurs towards Carolina this coming Sunday within the Mercedes-Benz Superdome can change that.
So will Saints head coach Sean Payton benefit from the chance and provides quarterback Drew Brees a break and backup Teddy Bridgewater a possibility? Will he maintain out varied members of a beat-up offensive line, figuring out the primary playoff sport will not be till Jan. 12 or 13?
“We’ll see,” Payton stated after the victory over the Steelers within the Superdome.
Payton wasn’t far more forthcoming when the subject was broached once more Monday.
“That is not the method we’re taking a look at it like,” Payton stated. “I stated yesterday once I was requested that query we’ll put together to play Carolina and proceed to work on getting higher within the areas we have to.”
So Payton plans to make the most of his gamers the identical he would if this week’s sport had a big impression on New Orleans’ playoff positioning?
“I will specify for the fourth time. You prepared?” Payton stated. “I am unable to be any extra clear. We’re going to method this sport identical to we’d a regular-season sport and if there’s any adjustments to the lineups, I am going to hold you posted. I am finished answering that query. That is 4 within the final 24 hours.”
So, to be clear, nothing has modified, till it adjustments.
“For us, it’s simply staying on target with our follow habits and preparation,” quarterback Drew Brees stated. “Having an opportunity to get some guys wholesome, which I feel is the largest a part of that first-round bye. That’s one thing that might be a lot wanted and when it is time to get again to work we’ll get again to work.”
The Saints’ offense had its greatest efficiency in a month towards the Steelers, although that they had simply 57 yards dashing.
“We take pleasure in operating the ball and I feel we might’ve finished a bit bit higher job in some features there,” sort out Ryan Ramczyk stated. “General, we obtained the win and that is what we play for.”
New Orleans allowed its most factors in seven video games, however the protection got here up with two key takeaways within the fourth quarter.
Consequently the Saints have three weeks to arrange for the following significant sport, which might be a divisional playoff within the Superdome.
“All of the objectives we set throughout the spring, OTAs, and earlier than the season; we have simply been crossing them off,” security Vonn Bell stated. “Win the division, getting home-field all through the playoffs, and we’ll simply carry on checking and checking off. The work is not finished and that is what I really like about this group. We by no means get complacent. We’re at all times hungry and anticipating the following mission and the following project.
“We simply go on the market and go to work each week. That is why I’m saying hats off to this group and what sort of guys we’ve got within the locker room. We’ll simply carry on working to the larger aim. We’re simply ready for our subsequent project. I feel we stepped as much as the plate this previous weekend. Ending it off and clinching residence area. Now we’re simply ready on our subsequent project.”
OL Andrus Peat has performed three totally different spots on the road over the past two video games. He is the beginning left guard and moved to left sort out per week in the past after Jermon Bushrod was injured towards Carolina. He was again at his regular place towards the Steelers, however moved to proper sort out briefly when Ryan Ramczyk was sidelined briefly due to a sprained ankle.
RB Mark Ingram II broke one Saints profession file and inched nearer to a different. His 50th dashing landing broke a tie with Deuce McAllister for essentially the most in Saints historical past. Ingram has 55 whole touchdowns, tying McAllister for second-most in Saints historical past. He has an extended option to go to interrupt that file as a result of WR Marques Colston scored 72 touchdowns.
RB Alvin Kamara additionally pushed McAllister down a notch within the file ebook. Kamara scored two touchdowns Sunday, giving him 14 for this season and breaking the file that McAllister shared with RBs George Rogers and Dalton Hilliard. Kamara, the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Yr final season, had 82 receiving yards, becoming a member of Herschel Walker as the one gamers in NFL historical past to have 1,500 dashing yards and 1,500 receiving yards of their first two seasons.
WR Ted Ginn Jr. had a big impression in his first sport since coming back from injured reserve on Saturday. Ginn, who hadn’t performed since October due to a knee harm that required arthroscopic surgical procedure, caught 5 passes for 74 yards, together with an important 25-yard seize on third-and-20 to arrange the successful landing late within the fourth quarter.
Okay Wil Lutz’s file did not final lengthy. He kicked a 43-yard area late within the second quarter Sunday for his 26th consecutive area aim, breaking a tie with Professional Soccer Corridor of Famer Morten Andersen for the franchise file. Then within the fourth quarter the streak ended when the Steelers blocked Lutz’ 50-yard try.