Charlotte, N.C. - The New Orleans Saints did their part Sunday at Bank of America Stadium. And not surprisingly, the Lions did not in Detroit.
The Saints walloped the Carolina Panthers 42-10 to finish the regular season at 13-3 for the second consecutive year but the Green Bay Packers' comeback win over the Lions prevented the Saints from guaranteeing a top two seed in the NFC playoffs. Now the team - and its fans - won't know its exact seeding until late Sunday night after the San Francisco 49ers play at the Seattle Seahawks. If Seattle wins, New Orleans will be the No. 2 seed, giving it a first-round bye. If the 49ers win, they will be the top seed and the Saints will be No. 3 seed and will host a wild-card game Saturday, Jan. 4 or Sunday, Jan. 5 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
If the Saints are the three seed they will play host to the Minnesota Vikings (10-6).
While there remains some uncertainly on the Saints' final playoff seed they ended the suspense early against the Panthers (5-11). New Orleans scored on its first possession (15-yard scamper by Alvin Kamara), its third possession (1-yard Kamara run), a pick-six by A.J. Klein and on two touchdown passes from Drew Brees (1 yard to Tre'Quan Smith, 21 to Jared Cook) and led 35-0 before the first half ended.
The second half had all the drama of a LSU football game as the Saints focused on running out the clock and not getting any key players hurt on an overcast, gray day in front of a fast-emptying stadium. The highlight was Brees' 45-yard touchdown pass to fellow quarterback Taysom Hill in the third quarter.
Several Saints players did hit milestones in the game. Brees, who had three touchdown passes Sunday, threw for 25 touchdown passes or more in a season for the 14th season, second best in NFL history. He ended the season with 27, which gives him 547 for his career, tops in NFL history. Brees needed 274 yards in the game to hit 3,000 yards passing for a season for the 16th consecutive year, 17th in his career, but he was pulled from the game late in the third quarter with 253 yards passing, coming up 21 yards short of the milestone.
By not turning the ball over, the Saints set an NFL record for fewest turnovers in a season (eight, previous best was 10).
Receiver Michael Thomas had perhaps the quietest game of his record-setting season, catching four passes for 37 yards. He finished 2019 with 149 catches (best in NFL history), 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns.
Defensive end Cameron Jordan recorded a sack, his 15.5 of the season, a career-high. The hit knocked Panthers quarterback Will Grier out of the game with a foot injury in the second quarter. Grier was replaced by Kyle Allen.
The Saints now will wait to find out their playoff seeding and when they will play.
For game stats, click here.