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New Orleans Saints dive into off-week gameplan

'There's plenty to do. There's several goals with the week'

Panthers 33 - Saints 14 (L) 13-3 for the 2018 Season Number 1 Seed in the NFC New Orleans Saints 2018 Season Michael C. Hebert

The specificity that coincides with preparing for a particular opponent isn't yet in play for the New Orleans Saints, but the work to prepare for their NFC Divisional playoff game has begun.

As Coach Sean Payton said Monday, the Saints will be working on self-improvement this week.

"I think the thing that we just talked about is really focusing on our technique, focusing on our situational football – be it third down, red zone, backed up, short yardage," he said Wednesday. "So there's plenty to do. There's several goals with the week. You want to recover, you want them to get ample rest, you want to clean up some things you feel like you can improve on, and that's what we'll start doing."

The Saints, the No. 1 seed in the NFC, won't know who is their opponent until after the Wild Card games this weekend.

The work New Orleans (13-3) does will have a physical element to it, though not overly so. Several position will benefit from having the off week.

"I think you balance what you're trying to accomplish and kind of go from there," Payton said.

"I think it's beneficial to a lot of positions. It gets back to trying to utilize this week the best way you can, and certainly get your players healthy that have been nicked up."

COLOR HIM IMPRESSED: Quarterback Drew Brees finished the regular-season having completed an NFL-record 74.4 percent of his passes. For several weeks, he flirted with an 80 percent rate before posting his third consecutive season of at least 70 percent completions, and the fifth of his career.

"Honestly, it's a high mark," Payton said of the new record. "I can't recall being with a quarterback or an offense where he's completing balls at that type of high number. I think it's exceptional, and I don't think you take it for granted. That efficiency is impressive.

"I would say his accuracy is exceptional. And then, the methodical approach – the amount of time he puts into situations – all of these things factor in. And it's been impressive."

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