Saints leapfrog Packers, Falcons back to NFC South cellar; see where things stand after Week 11 | Saints

The Saints win a vast majority of their games with Drew Brees at quarterback. But they win ALL of them with their backups.

Taysom Hill continued the backup tradition in leading the Saints to a 24-9 victory against the Falcons in Week 11, improving New Orleans’ record to 6-0 in games Brees missed due to injury over the past two seasons.

But the kicker came in the afternoon matchup when the Colts came back from a 14-point deficit to fell the Packers. That result left the Saints as the only 8-win team in the conference and the No. 1 seed headed into Week 12. That top spot is particularly significant this season with the 2020 playoffs set to include an extra wild card team but just one bye week per conference. In previous seasons the top two seeds in each conference would get a week off before their first playoff matchup.

The Saints have a long way to go, but officially control their own destiny. If New Orleans wins out … New Orleans gets the top seed. But the Bucs have a chance to move up to the 8-win line themselves with a Monday Night Football matchup against the Rams (this post will be updated with the result, which would also shift the NFC West leader if the Rams win). 

Another byproduct of the Saints’ win: The Falcons drop back into the NFC South cellar. Atlanta had emerged briefly with three wins to jump narrowly ahead of the scuffling and beaten-up Panthers, but Carolina shutout the Lions to move back onto the No. 3 line.

Scroll below for the latest standings, results and more after a busy Week 11 around the NFC South and the rest of the conference.


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• WEEK 11, WIN: Saints 24, Falcons 9

• WHAT HAPPENED: Taysom Time arrived and it was real. Also, the Saints have 17 sacks of Matt Ryan in their past two matchups with the Falcons.

Incredibly, Michael Thomas dropped an easy pass early in the game and Wil Lutz missed field goal — and the game was still never close in the second half with Taysom Hill doing things like this. 

• NEXT UP: at Denver Broncos (4-6)


• WEEK 11: vs Rams (MNF)

• NEXT UP: vs. Kansas City Chiefs (9-1)


• WEEK 11, W: Panthers 20, Lions 0

WHAT HAPPENED: No Christian McCaffrey. No Teddy Bridgewater. Doesn’t matter if the other team doesn’t score. Phillip Walker led the Panthers at quarterback and Mike Davis continued to pace the way at running back as the offense did enough and the defense did the most.

The Lions mustered only 218 yards of offense and got held off the scoreboard despite winning the turnover battle 4-1. The Panthers’ offense didn’t exactly have a banner day in their own right, but DJ Moore made sure to put on a show.

• NEXT UP: at Minnesota Vikings (4-6)


• WEEK 11, LOSS: Saints 24, Falcons 9

• WHAT HAPPENED: The Saints defense continued to hammer home the nightmares of Thanksgiving 2019.

Everything the Saints offense did with Taysom Hill at the helm was gravy with the Falcons shut out in the second half. Of the Saints’ eight sacks in the game, three belonged to Cam Jordan. Those extended the NFL record he already holds for sacks against a single player (21).

Jordan had a career-high four sacks when the Saints and Falcons met in Week 13 last season. And guess what? They play in Week 13 this year, too.

• NEXT UP: vs. Las Vegas Raiders (6-4)


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• 1 (NFC SOUTH): New Orleans Saints, 8-2

TIEBREAKER NOTES: NONE! One of the happiest sentences any team can read: The Saints control their own destiny. They’ll remain on the wrong end of any head-to-head tiebreaker with the Packers, but with Green Bay blowing a 4th quarter lead against the Bucs, the Saints now hold a full game lead on the top seed and the lone by in the NFC.

• 2 (NFC NORTH): Green Bay Packers, 7-3

TIEBREAKER NOTES: This isn’t where the Packers expected to be entering the second half against the Colts with a two-touchdown lead, but when Indianapolis kicked a game-winner in overtime, it also kicked the Packers out of the top slot in the NFC playoff race. The good news for the Packers is the loss came against an AFC opponent — which is a key factor in a potential seeding tiebreaker for the NFC. Both teams are currently tied at 5-2 against NFC opponents, but the Packers currently win the next tiebreaker. There’s too much time in the season to make it worth establishing which team has the edge in common games and strength of victory, but those would be the next two tiebreaker scenarios — in that order — to come into play.

• 3 (NFC WEST): Seattle Seahawks, 7-3 


• 4 (NFC EAST): Philadelphia Eagles, 3-6-1

TIEBREAKER NOTES: Somebody has to win this division, and whoever does will be guaranteed a home playoff game — and likely against the top wild card seed. The only NFC East team to lose in Week 11 was the Eagles (Giants on bye) and that divisional race is as tighter than ever (also, kind of depressing). The Giants currently have the best odds to take this spot from the Eagles, buoyed by a head-to-head victory in Week 10 and the best record within the division (3-2), which would be the next tiebreaker in play. 


• 5: TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS, 7-3 (yet to play in Week 11 )

TIEBREAKER NOTES: The Bucs only sit 1.5 behind the Saints in advance of their Monday Night Football matchup with the Rams, but the deficit is really a game larger due to the head-to-head sweep in both matchups with New Orleans.     

• 6: LOS ANGELES RAMS, 6-3 (yet to play in Week 11)

TIEBREAKER NOTES: The Rams can take over the No. 3 slot in the playoff race with a win over the Bucs on Monday Night Football, due to their head-to-head victory over the Seahawks already this season. But they’d have to finish off the sweep on the road in their Week 16 matchup for that to matter in the long run.


TIEBREAKER NOTES: Just like the Cardinals did a week earlier, one loss sends Arizona plummeting from a top seed to the last berth. They now split the season series with Seattle, so any tiebreaker between those teams would come down to divisional record. Arizona still has two matchups remaining against the Rams to determine that tiebreaker.


  • CHICAGO BEARS 5-5: trail Packers by 2 games in NFC North (7-3)
  • SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS, 4-6: trail Seahawks by 3 games in NFC West (7-3)
  • DETROIT LIONS, 4-6: trail Packers by 3 games in NFC North (7-3)
  • MINNESOTA VIKINGS, 4-6: trail Packers by 3.5 games in NFC North (7-3)
  • CAROLINA PANTHERS, 4-7: trail Saints by 4.5 games in NFC South
  • ATLANTA FALCONS, 3-7: trail Saints by 5 games in NFC South (8-2)
  • NEW YORK GIANTS, 3-7: trail Eagles by 1 games in NFC East (3-6-1)
  • WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM, 3-7: trail Eagles by 1 games in NFC East (3-6-1)
  • DALLAS COWBOYS, 3-7: trail Eagles by 1 games in NFC East (3-6-1)



•  Cowboys 31, Vikings 28: The Cowboys had lost four straight since losing Dak Prescott to injury and the Vikings had won three straight to charge back from a 1-5 start to the season. Who wouldn’t have picked Dallas to win on the road? Is the NFC East waking up? Probably not, considering Andy Dalton is completing passes to … Andy Dalton.

•  Titans 30, Ravens 24: This is a week one to toss in the upset bucket, but any team that hits the road and takes a game from Lamar Jackson and the Ravens should get some high-fives. The crazy part? If the season ended today, the Ravens would miss the playoffs. Oh, and Derrick Henry called game.


• Colts 34, Packers 31 (OT): As mentioned above, the Packers surrendered a two-touchdown lead and the Colts finished it off in overtime to hand the Saints the top seed in the NFC. Philip Rivers might not be as aged as Drew Brees … but he’s showing he’s still got the arm to get it done at 38.

Washington 20, Bengals 9: This is less about the result than it is a sentence to acknowledge Joe Burrow’s brutal injury to end his rookie season. Reports indicate he tore both his ACL and MCL in a hit during the loss to Washington. Best wishes for a speedy recovery by the LSU star. We won’t embed the injury video in here. Instead, one of his countless Heisman moments. 


• Rams at Bucs, 7:15 p.m. (ESPN)


Click here for the full, updated NFL standings

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