After last week's 49-17 annihilation of the Dallas Cowboys, the New Orleans Saints looked to sustain the trend against the San Francisco 49ers. Respect was on the line, as well as playoff positioning, as the 49ers had beaten the Saints two times in a row—including a thrilling 2011 playoff tilt.
Coming into the season, most felt as though the 49ers were possibly the prohibitive favorites to grab a top seed in the NFC Conference. That distinction now belongs to the New Orleans Saints. The Saints have yet to lose inside of the conference, and the 23-20 victory over the 49ers sends a message of complete authenticity to the rest of the league.
One of the biggest tests of the season answers a lot of questions, but it raises a ton of them as well.
Here are my takeaways.