After missing the postseason entirely a year ago, the Saints are back in the mix for the fifth time under Sean Payton, but this is their first appearance as the NFC's six seed.
"Playoffs kinda marks the start of a new season," quarterback Drew Brees said. "A new opportunity, and as the six seed you understand that the road you travel is going to be on the road, so you have no other choice."
The franchise has never won a road playoff game, 0-5 all-time, but the Saints are clearly downplaying that fact.
"My main goal is to go up there and get a win man," running back Mark Ingram said. "Anything else is really irrelevant, is really a non-factor."
Head Coach Sean Payton added, "It's the playoffs, I think the focus isn't so much about road and home, this is the path. In other words, this is the schedule."
In the Saints' five road losses this season, two stats have really been defining. New Orleans has given up the ball 10 times, while Drew Brees has been sacked 14 times. In addition to those two priorities this weekend, number nine says the Saints must also get off to a fast start offensively, so they can find their rhythm early in the game.
"Especially when you are in a hostile environment," Brees said. "Don't give them a reason to get excited. Don't give their fans a reason to stand up and get crazy. Any time you can just control the game, certainly you can score points and get a lead, that's great, but in a lot of cases you kind of weather the storm so to speak and you get rolling."
Offensive tackle Zach Strief added, "Scoring points in the first quarter is important, getting out early and more than anything I think, building a little confidence. And honestly, the most important thing is you get into a rhythm, you get the ball moving, start getting in and out of the huddle, and the only way to do that is to be efficient."
And offensive guard Jahri Evans chimed in, "We definitely want to go out there start fast and keep the momentum going, and take the pressure off our defense a little bit. And just go out there and play well."
The Saints (11-5) and the Eagles (10-6) kick off their Wild Card playoff Saturday night at 7:00 in Philadelphia.
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