- Steve Wyche NFL.com
Saints find stride at right time
- Jason La Canfora NFL Network
Saints will be second seed
Drew Brees is going to shatter Dan Marino's record and Darren Sproles has made them a dominant screen team as well. The offensive line has settled down. We all know New Orleans can score in bunches. Quietly the defense has been much better the past month or so as well. Getting Jon Vilma back was huge and new parts have settled into the defensive line. They are better against the run and playing with some swagger as well.
- Dave Dameshek NFL.com
Niners will eke out the No. 2 seed
The Saints should –- should -- go 3-0. Look at their next three: at Minnesota (with Peterson and Ponder banged up, the Vikes don't cut an imposing figure); home vs. Atlanta (a good-not-great Falcons team will get exposed here); home vs. Carolina (better luck next year, Cam).
The Niners have a gimme at St. Louis in Week 17, but have two tough ones in the meantime. Next Monday night, they host the Steelers. Scary ... except that Pittsburgh will probably be without Ben Roethlisberger, their best o-lineman in Maurkice Pouncey, and might be missing one of their best defenders in James Harrison (stay tuned). San Francisco will win that game –- final score: 3-2. That means the NFC's No. 2 seed comes down to what happens when the Niners visit Seattle, which has rounded into a halfway decent team of late. I say Harbaugh survives that deal against Carroll -– and gets the bye.
- Charles Davis NFL Network
Saints should cruise, but don't count out Niners
When it's all said and done, I expect the Saints to claim the NFC South and the No. 2 seed in the NFC behind Green Bay. The schedule is favorable for the Saints, with two of their final three at home. But they will have to earn it. San Francisco's "Fighting Harbaughs" are more than capable of winning three straight, including two on the road, to finish the year.
- Pat Kirwan NFL.com
Saints need to play at Superdome
I have questions about the Saints on the road in the playoffs. The Saints offense just isn't the same away from the Superdome -- but their only remaining regular-season road game is in Minnesota. I think New Orleans will win their three remaining games and will be the No. 2 seed and the Niners will be the No. 3.