New Orleans currently holds a two-game lead over Minnesota for home field advantage in the NFC playoffs. If the undefeated Saints continue to win and the twice-defeated Vikings drop another game – perhaps to the Bengals in Week 14 – then New Orleans will officially clinch everything that's worth clinching in the regular season.
And that could potentially create fantasy problems. We're already managing around the possibility that the Colts will rest starters in Week 16. If the Saints do the same, then two of the NFL's four highest-scoring offenses will be hopelessly compromised in the most important week on the fantasy calendar.
But Sports Illustrated's Peter King tells us not to worry about New Orleans:
[Sean] Payton's about to have a lot more admirers around the United States. He told me Saturday he's not going to take the foot off the accelerator down the stretch, not even if the Saints have home field advantage clinched in the NFC playoffs. The Saints, instead of taking the last game or two to let players heal for the playoffs, will try to make history if they're in position. They're aiming for a perfect season.
So that's comforting. It would be nice to hear Payton repeat the pledge on camera, but that didn't happen at his Monday press conference. This from the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
"I didn't read [King's] story," Payton said. "Our focus is going to be on – like it has been – we're still playing for games that matter in a lot of ways. We're trying to put ourselves in the best position possible in the post season. So the only thing I would say to that is we're going to focus on the Atlanta Falcons. This is a place where we struggled in a year ago and didn't play well."
One game at a time blah-blah and the Good Lord willing blah-blah-blah. Let's just hope Payton does not renege on his commitment – when you say a thing to Peter King, it's like a blood oath.
In certain ways, New Orleans seems immune to the usual end-of-season injury worries. No one ever hits Drew Brees(notes) so he's not getting hurt, and if we've learned anything from the Thomas-Bell-Bush pileup (or the Moore-Meachem-Colston-Henderson pileup, or the revolving door in the secondary) it's that every other member of the Saints can be replaced.
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