Metairie, La.– The Saints may be without another piece of their defense Sunday, as safety Kenny Vaccaro was placed on the injured reserve with a lingering groin and wrist injury, but that won’t stop the Saints from being ready to roll against their division rival.
Just two weeks ago, the Falcons defeated the Saints by 3 points in Atlanta, and that loss is still fresh in the minds of the players, who are more than eager for round two.
“Obviously it’s one of those things where you want to get them back so that’s what we’re kind of focusing on– just playing the Falcons again,” said Saints running back Alvin Kamara.
“It’s been in the back of my head ever since,” said Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins. “That’s a game we obviously feel like we should have won. We wanted that game. So for us to be able to get another chance at it on Christmas Eve, at our place, it big.”
“I think there’s familiarity on both sides,” said Saints quarterback Drew Brees. “We’ve got a lot of respect for these guys as far as their level of talent, their level of play. We know the type of game it’s going to be.”
So not only is there a revenge factor, but the bigger motivation is the playoffs. The winner of Sunday`s game punches their ticket to the post-season.
“That’s exactly why this game’s the most important game,” said Saints defensive end Cam Jordan. “This is definitely a type of game that we’d love to win and roll-on to the playoffs. It’s crazy to think that 10 wins doesn’t get you in. Shoot, even in our conference at this point– in our division. But again, we’ve got our work cut-out for us.”
The Saints are still sitting atop the division but are tied with the Panthers. If the Saints win and the Panthers lose their game against the Bucs, New Orleans clinches the NFC South title.