Here’s what we learned during the Saints’ 49-24 beatdown of the Giants on Monday night:
1. No team has a bigger homefield advantage than the Saints. They are 5-0 at home and 3-3 on the road. The Saints have outscored their opponents 208-93 in the Superdome this year.
It’s not all about the Colts’ game inflating those numbers. The Saints convincingly beat the Bears at home. They beat a good Texans team. And they absolutely outclassed the Giants Monday night.
2. Drew Brees was surgical Monday night, making 363 yards and four scores look easy. He also ran for a score.
New York’s vaunted pass rush barely touched Brees all night. It’s been an up and down year for the Saints’ line, but this performance bodes well for the stretch run.
3. When the Saints offense is rolling, it’s just as dynamic and diverse as the Packers’ group. The backfield is deep. The receivers have complementary skill sets. They all have great experience in Sean Payton’s system without being too old. The line is talented and has settled some of their issues at tackle.
4. The Saints certainly have the better pass-catching tight end compared to Green Bay. Jimmy Graham caught five passes for 84 yards and two scores. He remains an absolute matchup nightmare.
5. New Orleans’ loss in St. Louis looms so large now. It is going to be very difficult for the Saints to get a playoff bye with three losses. The 49ers would have to lose two more times for the Saints to have a chance at a bye. (San Francisco will hold all tiebreaks.)
The Saints may have the best homefield advantage in the league, but they’ll probably have to win two road games in order to get to the Super Bowl.
6. The Giants’ second half swoon isn’t “historical” yet, but things are looking grim. They have to prepare for the Packers on a short week. It feels like the Giants’ combination of injuries and known weaknesses (running game, back seven on defense) have caught up to them. This makes back-to-back demoralizing losses for New York.
7. Eli Manning actually played very well. At one point he completed 21 straight passes, including some “wow” throws. He threw for 394 yards, two scores, and an interception.
He’s the main reason why I can’t give up on the Giants’ rallying for a playoff spot. They still have two games left against Dallas. Both the Bears and Lions have their own major issues in the wild card race.
8. The big winner in the NFC race this week: Atlanta. It’s hard to imagine the Falcons not making the playoffs with their remaining schedule. Saints-Falcons looms as a monster Monday night game in Week 16.
It figures to be more competitive than this game; the Giants just aren’t in the Saints’ league right now.