Two victories in a row, one at a time. That's what both the Saints and the Falcons need to do to win the NFC South. Win out and win the division.
For the first time all season, the Saints have sole possession of first place in the South. But that should breed little complacency for a team that's saddled with a four-game losing streak at home and has only enjoyed one modest winning streak of two games all season.
When last the Saints trudged off the Mercedes-Benz Superdome field, those few thousand fans who stayed through an embarrassing loss to Carolina sent them to the showers with a chorus of boos. Sunday in the Dome they will take the field to a far different salutation than the derisive valediction with which they left after the Panther game.
The hometown fans will want to be a part of restoring the same old atmosphere that's led to the previous dominance of the Saints at home. How much patience will they have if the Saints stumble as they have in the losing streak here, which has had some of those fans invoking the "same old Saints" slur? It's about the unkindest cut of all, and one we haven't heard much around here in the Sean Payton era.
For the Saints to defeat their arch rivals on Sunday, the Saints and Saints fans will have to restore their faith in one another. The Saints will have to play well enough to keep the fans in the game to the very end. The fans will have to stay vocally supportive even when they aren't playing well - neither giving up on this game, because to do so means giving up on this season.
Each team controls its own destiny. Only the winner will still be able to say that Sunday night.
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