Around the NFL  

 

New Orleans Saints will travel to Philadelphia Eagles

The New Orleans Saints will enter the playoffs with a perfect home record on the strength of Drew Brees' five touchdowns in a convincing 42-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

With the Panthers squeaking past the Falcons early in the day though, the Saints will have to make their entire playoff run away from the cozy confines of the Superdome.

Here's what else we learned in the regular-season finale:

1. The Week 16 loss to the Panthers looms large for the Saints. They have averaged 34 points and 443 yards in New Orleans versus 18 points and 356 yards on the road. As the No. 6 seed, they will go on the road to Philadelphia.

2. Brees produced the fourth-best passer rating of his career and the highest he's ever had in a season in the must-win game. With six different players recording chunk plays of at least 20 yards against the Bucs, this aerial attack will enter the playoffs on a high note. 

3. Pierre Thomas' 8-yard touchdown was the Saints' longest scoring run of the season. They fell below 100 rushing yards for the 11th time in 16 games. The one-dimensional offense is even more of a problem away from the Superdome, as wind, driving rain and hard snow have a debilitating effect on even the most dynamic passing attacks.

4. The Buccaneers' offense has a keeper in undrafted rookie Tim Wright. Over the past 25 years, Kellen Winslow is the only Tampa Bay tight end with a better statistical line that Wright's 54/571/5. He started just eight games.

5. Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner is flying down to Tampa, perhaps as soon as Monday, to pitch the Nittany Lions job to Greg Schiano, per NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. Schiano has told the Bucs he wants to remain their coach, NFL Media columnist Mike Silver has reported. It's not clear yet whether Schiano's 4-4 finish will save his job.

6. The 42 points surrendered by the Bucs' defense shouldn't obscure the All-Pro caliber seasons turned in by defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and outside linebacker Lavonte David. They were arguably the NFL's best three-technique tackle and weakside linebacker, respectively.

The "Around The League Podcast" is now available on iTunes! Click here to listen and subscribe.

Fan Discussion

NFL News
CONTENT
15