They finished the season winning eight straight games and are currently the hottest team in the league. The Saints have put up more than 40 points in their last three teams and look to be the most dangerous team heading into the playoffs.
The Saints discovered that they will be the third seed in the NFC playoffs. The Saints will more than likely end up playing the Detroit Lions at the Superdome in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs.
The Lions have offensive firepower and a good defense, but the Saints showed against the Panthers on Sunday that they can contain an explosive offense and, as we already know, can score a bundle of points.
Drew Brees had yet another amazing day as the Saints steamrolled the division rival Panthers.
The Saints proved a lot again on Sunday. Let's look at six things that we learned in New Orleans' 45-17 victory over the Panthers.
As if we did not already know how great the New Orleans receivers are, they gave us a showcase on Sunday.
There was play after play that consisted of a great catch by a Saints receiver.
Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham and Robert Meachem seemed to be playing with some sort of magnet attached to their gloves. Every ball that came their way seemed to gravitate toward their hands.
Meachem made a fantastic catch on the sideline early in the third quarter and, a little later in the game, made a diving touchdown grab that was called back because of a holding penalty. Meachem has always been known for his deep-threat ability, but he showed off his hands today.
Colston, on the other hand, is known for making the tough catch in a tight situation and he showed again on Sunday why he is the Saints' true No. 1 receiver. Colston's first touchdown grab is pictured above and is simply sensational.
He also had a lot of tough catches in traffic, but one in particular came early in the third quarter to set up a touchdown catch by Graham.
I am sure that we all have seen Graham's amazing one-handed catch down the sideline, and the best part is that it was not his only great catch of the day. Graham is similar to Colston in the fact that he makes tough grabs in traffic and he had a great one that went for a touchdown early in the third quarter.
These three guys and every other Saints receiver has shown us time and again that they have great hands. Drops happen to the best receivers, but Saints fans should not worry about their favorite receivers dropping the ball when it matters most.
I have heard many people say that Patrick Robinson is a horrible corner and will be out of the league before he really even gets started.
I completely, utterly disagree with every aspect of that statement.
Robinson has been picked on at times throughout his two-year career, but so is every other second-year corner in the NFL. Robinson has also shown flashed of greatness in his young career, which is not seen from all sophomore cornerbacks.
Through the past few weeks of the 2011 regular season, Robinson has shown that he can play good football, and the game against the Panthers was a statement game from the young playmaker.
Robinson had an amazing interception early in the game, toe-tapping in the end zone to stay in bounds. There were many plays throughout Sunday's game, but two others really stuck out to me.
Robinson made a great tackle early in the third quarter when he brought down a Carolina receiver on a screen pass. Robinson was able to get off of his block and make a tackle for a loss on the Panthers receiver.
Later in the game, Robinson made a terrific open-field tackle on the great Steve Smith.
Smith is known for running over defensive backs and making plays in open space, but Robinson was able to bring down the fierce receiver short of a first down and force the Panthers to punt.
Robinson is only in his second year and has made mistakes, but he has been very strong for the Saints in this last part of the season. I expect him to be a constant contributor during the playoffs and throughout the rest of his career.
I have been excited about this young linebacker since the Saints drafted in April.
Martez Wilson has blazing speed and has the ability to be a fantastic pass-rushing linebacker for the Saints, something that they currently do not have.
Wilson has not had much playing time in 2011, but when he has been on the field I have seen sparks of potential. He chased down Cam Newton in Sunday's win and made a couple of great tackles. He was also flagged 15 yards for an unnecessary roughness call, but I do not expect a lot of those mistakes out of this rookie in the future.
The Saints have a talented roster on defense, but have always lacked a fierce pass rusher. Junior Galette is about as close as it gets to a pure pass rusher for the Saints. Jonathan Casillas is pretty good in that area as well, but neither of these two guys have been involved in the Saints game plans much.
Wilson has the ability and potential to be a dominate outside linebacker in pass coverage, run support and definitely in rushing the quarterback. The 6'5", 240-pound linebacker runs a 4.49 40-yard dash, which means he has the speed to be all over the field.
Saints defenders like Malcolm Jenkins, Jabari Greer, Jonathan Vilma and Roman Harper are able to make plays consistently, but Wilson has the potential to be a guy like Mario Williams, Von Miller or DeMarcus Ware.
Wilson could develop into a premiere pass rusher in the NFL, and I am excited to watch that happen.
After watching the Saints defense perform poorly in the first half, I was expecting to see a shootout in the second half.
However, Gregg Williams and the Saints' defense made some halftime adjustments and did not allow the Carolina Panthers to score in the second half.
The defense played lights out in the second half. The Saints' offense was able to put up some quick points, which took away the running game from the Panthers and helped the defense out, but that is what Williams' defense is all about.
He has a defense built to play with a lead.
They want to get after the quarterback and stop teams from passing the ball, which is exactly what they did in the second half. The Saints were able to control Cam Newton and the Panthers' offense in the second half of the game.
Does this slide really need an explanation?
I mean, we have known all year that the Saints offense is very difficult to stop, and the Panthers found that out on Sunday.
The Saints, unlike other NFL, teams thrashed the Panthers in many different ways. New Orleans finished with 617 total yards on offense. They had 409 yards passing and ran for another 208 yards. Those are great numbers for both units.
The Saints can hit a team by passing or running, but more than that they can do each area differently.
The Saints can run outside, inside or over an opposing team's defense. They can throw the ball deep or short, outside or inside. The Saints have gotten to a point to where they will not only take what the defense gives them, but they will also force their will upon the defense before the game is over.
This is a Saints offense that has scored more than 42 points in three straight games. If there is a defense on this planet that can stop the Saints offense right now, then I would love to see it.
I know that there is a great defense in San Francisco and a couple in the AFC, but the Saints have made top defenses look foolish this year, and average defenses look like they belong in pee wee football.
Drew Brees and the Saints offense have broken many records in route to a great year in 2011, and I doubt that they will be slowing down in the playoffs.
On Sunday, Drew Brees proved once and for all that he is the 2011 NFL MVP.
He not only shattered Dan Marino's record for passing yards in a season, but he also ended the year as the top quarterback in yards, completion percentage and touchdowns. He finished with a very good quarterback rating as well, and a 13-3 record and division championship is not a bad add-on.
Brees has played the best football of his career in 2011, especially in the last half of the season.
There are two other quarterbacks that have played great football in 2011, but Brees should surpass both of these players when it comes to MVP voting. Brees has yet to win an NFL MVP, but 2011 should definitely be his first.
Brees finished 2011 in a great way, and now he will continue to lead the Saints into the playoffs and hopefully to another Super Bowl title.