Tonight's game isn't about home field advantage

I hate the Falcons just like any black-and-gold-blooded Saints fan. I want the Saints to beat them tonight, and for Roddy White to shove his Twitter up his tweethole. This is an important game in the NFC South because it will let the two teams test each other and see how they stack up in case of a playoff meet. However, let’s be clear: this game is almost definitely NOT about home field advantage, and is not a particularly important game for the Falcons. It is rather important for the Saints, though. After the jump, I’ll explain why.Right now, the Saints are 10-4 with games remaining against Atlanta and Tampa. The Falcons are 12-2 with games remaining against New Orleans and Carolina. If Atlanta wins one of those two games, they clinch both the NFC South and the overall #1 seed. For the Saints to win the NFC South (and #1 playoff seed), they’d need to win both of their remaining games AND have the Falcons lose both of their remaining games.

The Saints’ hopes of winning the division rest on Jimmy “Pickles” Clausen’s ability to beat the Falcons. I know who I’d take in that scenario.

So, assuming that the NFC South is basically out of reach, then how does this game affect the Saints’ playoff chances? The Saints need one win in order to secure the 5th seed and earn the right to go to St. Louis for the first playoff game. So, even if they lose tonight, all the Saints have to do is beat the Bucs next week to win the valuable #5 seed. If the Saints lose both of those games, then they need both the Packers (against Chicago) and the Giants (against Washington) to lose in order to even make the playoffs.

While I don’t think the Saints will lose to the Bucs in the dome with the playoffs on the line, I’d just as soon not have next weekend’s game be interesting. I’d much rather the Saints be playing for a miracle shot at the division next week. Drama is not good this time of year, so let’s hope the Saints end the drama tonight and earn a playoff berth.