2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Still eying playoffs, Saints get ready for Falcons

By BRETT MARTEL - AP Sports Writer
    2012-11-27 03:12

METAIRIE, La. (AP) - Drew Brees happily entertains playoff possibilities for the New Orleans Saints, figuring that the question of whether a 5-6 team deserves to be in the NFC wild card race is irrelevant.

He has a point.

Despite an 0-4 start and their latest loss on Sunday to San Francisco, New Orleans remains one game out with five games left. To Brees, that means the Saints are virtually in control of their playoff fate - even if that is not entirely the case.

``Regardless of how this season started, that seems like so long ago,'' Brees said Monday, a day after New Orleans saw its three-game winning streak snapped. ``We've just come so far since then. We really have everything lined right in front of us. Despite everything, we've got it all right in front of us. We really control our own destiny.''

Had the Saints prolonged their winning streak against the NFC West-leading Niners, they would have arrived at work on Monday tied for the final NFC Wild Card spot at 6-5 because Seattle, Minnesota and Tampa Bay - the teams New Orleans is chasing - all lost on Sunday.

So the Saints head to their Thursday night showdown at NFC South Division rival Atlanta (10-1) still alive for a postseason berth, but with minimal room for error and a tough schedule ahead.

New Orleans will need Seattle, Minnesota and Tampa Bay to lose. Of those teams, only the Buccaneers appear on the Saints' remaining schedule.

``The margin for error is very slight right now. We've kind of used up our nine lives,'' Brees said. ``So we've got to really bear down here and just understand what's at stake every time we step on the field.''

After New Orleans visits Atlanta, its next game is at the NFC East-leading New York Giants, which will cap a string of three straight games against NFC division leaders.

For Brees, even the loss to San Francisco was an indication of how far the Saints have come since stumbling from their offseason bounty scandal to an early season losing streak.

The Saints held a 14-7 lead late in the first half before the Niners returned two interceptions for touchdowns. The Saints still rallied for another touchdown and remained very much in the game in the second half.

``It's tough because I know we played well enough to win in so many ways and yet, two plays like that can just completely change the outcome of a game, which obviously those did. I was really encouraged walking away from that game in a lot of ways,'' Brees said. ``I feel like we can beat that team, should beat that team. But listen, they're really, really good. They're going to be in the hunt just like we want to be in the hunt. We might see them later on. For us, it's a short week. We've got to be able to turn it right around.''

Meanwhile, the Saints' defense, although still ranked last in the NFL, continued showing improvement, giving up a relatively few 17 points to the 49ers' offense and allowing fewer than 400 total yards for the first time all season.

``The defensive guys came out and played with the right attitude,'' first-year defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said, adding that there is ``more confidence in our room than before.

``We need to carry that into Atlanta because this is another good offense that we're facing and we don't have a lot of time to prepare,'' Spagnuolo continued. ``We are getting better as a unit. It is coming together. There's no question. Guys are making plays. They're more comfortable. There's more reacting than reading. A lot less tentative play.''

Before losing to the Niners, the Saints had rallied to even their record at 5-5 and re-establish themselves as realistic playoff hopefuls.

``I feel no differently about our football team right now than I did yesterday morning when we woke up and (had) won five of our previous six games,'' assistant head coach Joe Vitt said. ``This team works hard. This team is together. This team does not point fingers. We are moving on.''

Brees noted that when a good team loses, it can't wait to get back on the field, so that is what is good about playing on Thursday night.

However, it leaves less time to recover from injuries - and New Orleans had a few.

Safety Isa Abdul-Quddus, a reserve who plays regularly, left the game after a heavy collision over the middle with Niners tight end Delanie Walker. Coaches said Abdul-Quddus is due for some concussion testing this week and his status for Thursday is unclear.

Also out Thursday will be rookie right tackle Bryce Harris, who left the first quarter of his first start on Sunday with a lower right leg injury. Harris had been pressed into a starting role following injuries to regular starter Zach Strief (left groin) and his backup, Charles Brown (right knee).

Harris' injury forced Will Robinson, signed to the roster last week, to step in.

Vitt said Strief could be ready on Thursday. Still, the Saints were bringing in several free-agent linemen for tryouts, Vitt said.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Julius ThomasNov 27 07:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Anthony DavisNov 27 07:23p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared OT Anthony Davis, WR Bruce Ellington, DL Glenn Dorsey, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Quinton Patton, CB Tramaine Brock, TE Vance McDonald inactive for Week 13.

Arian FosterNov 27 07:12p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 27.

Allen BradfordNov 27 07:12p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared LB Allen Bradford, TE Cooper Helfet, CB Jeremy Lane, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, C Max Unger, TE Rashaun Allen, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 13.

Jordan CameronNov 27 06:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Latavius MurrayNov 27 04:52p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 27 04:02p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Tony HillsNov 27 03:22p

The Dallas Cowboys have declared LB Dekoda Watson, OG Donald Hawkins, QB Dustin Vaughan, FS Jeff Heath, DL Joshua Brent, OT Tony Hills, CB Tyler Patmon inactive for Week 13.

Taylor HartNov 27 03:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, DB Jaylen Watkins, WR Jeff Maehl, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, CB Rashad Carmichael, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 13.

Jordan ReedNov 27 03:02p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Dwayne AllenNov 27 02:32p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Kyle FullerNov 27 11:32a

Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller (knee) will play in the team's Week 13 game against the Detroit Lions. Fuller had been questionable during the week.

Lance BriggsNov 27 11:22a

The Chicago Bears have declared WR Chris X. Williams, LB Darryl Sharpton, OT Eben Britton, DL Jeremiah Ratliff, LB Lance Briggs, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott inactive for Week Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

The Detroit Lions have declared QB Kellen Moore, OG Larry Warford, DE Larry Webster, DL Nick Fairley, RB Reggie Bush, OT Riley Reiff, WR Ryan Broyles inactive for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is inactive Thursday, Nov. 27, for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 10:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is out for Week 13 Thursday, Nov. 27. His ankle isn't responding well enough, but the hope is to return for Week 14.

R. Griffin IIINov 27 09:53a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III is highly unlikely to return to the team next season, sources within the organization said. Head coach Jay Gruden convinced owner Daniel Snyder [ More ]

Jimmy StatenNov 26 09:43p

The Seattle Seahawks signed free-agent DT Jimmy Staten (Seahawks) to their practice squad Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also released OT Andrew McDonald from their practice squad.

Marcus ThigpenNov 26 09:03p

The Buffalo Bills claimed WR Marcus Thigpen off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also waived DE Bryan Johnson.

Richard GordonNov 26 09:03p

The Tennessee Titans waived TE Richard Gordon Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 08:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Dwayne AllenNov 26 07:33p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

C. PattersonNov 26 06:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jerick McKinnonNov 26 06:13p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Brandon LaFellNov 26 06:03p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jace AmaroNov 26 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (head) is not expected to play in Week 13, because he is going through the concussion protocol.

Reggie BushNov 26 04:53p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle, back) was limited in practice for the third straight day Wednesday, Nov. 26, and is questionable for Week 13 against the Chicago Bears.

Jordan CameronNov 26 04:43p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) remains day-to-day, but the team is looking for him to practice symptom-free this week, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

Jordan ReedNov 26 04:13p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

R. Griffin IIINov 26 02:53p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III needs more seasoning, and he'll likely do it from the bench for the rest of this season, according to head coach Jay Gruden. [ More ]

Arian FosterNov 26 02:33p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) has an excellent chance to return in Week 13 against the Tennessee Titans after missing the last two games.

Mark SanchezNov 26 02:23p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Mark Sanchez has thrown six interceptions this year, but all of them haven't been game-changing turnovers. In Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans, Sanchez thrived on [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group