Drew Brees, Saints Clinch NFC South for 3rd-Straight Year with Win vs. Falcons

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 13: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after a touchdown during the NFC Divisional Playoff at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 13, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints are postseason bound once again after a 26-18 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday officially clinched the NFC South title.

It marks the third consecutive season in which New Orleans has reached the postseason, with the previous two trips ending in heartbreaking fashion. The Minneapolis Miracle sent the Saints home in the divisional round in 2018, and last year’s team fell one game shy of the Super Bowl after a controversial no-call late in its loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game.

Now, Drew Brees and Co. will have the opportunity to avenge those crushing defeats.

New Orleans has appeared destined for the postseason for some time now after starting the season by winning seven of its first eight games. The team was able to overcome an early season injury to 12-time Pro Bowler Drew Brees, with backup Teddy Bridgewater filling in and going 5-0 in five starts.

The Saints have managed to pile up wins with or without Brees thanks to a balanced roster. The offense includes the likes of Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and Ted Ginn Jr., while the defense features playmakers like Marshon Lattimore, Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport.

With that type of talent on both sides of the football, New Orleans has to be considered a serious threat to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LIV in Miami.

For now, though, the Saints still have some work to do in the regular season. They’re looking up at the 10-1 San Francisco 49ers in the NFC, with the Green Bay Packers (8-3), Seattle Seahawks (9-2) and Minnesota Vikings (8-3) all vying for playoff positioning.

Even if New Orleans is unable to secure the conference’s top seed, it can at least avoid the Wild Card Round and host a divisional round game by winning out.