Five nuggets of information about Week 14.
Anybody have a cornerback? Atlanta’s Chris Houston and New Orleans’ Jabari Greer already have been ruled out with injuries. It's pretty much a lock that New Orleans’ Tracy Porter will join them. Atlanta’s secondary was bad to begin with, and the Saints are as beat up as I’ve ever seen a position group at this spot. If the Falcons had a healthy Matt Ryan, I’d expect a shootout of epic proportions. But the likely scenario is that we’re going to see Drew Brees against Chris Redman. Somehow, I think the Saints can find a way to get through this game with the collection of cornerbacks they’ve got.
Closing in on home-field advantage. The Saints can clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs with a victory against the Falcons. That would be nice, but there’s something better on the horizon. New Orleans has a two-game lead on Minnesota right now in the overall NFC standings. Win this one and the Saints will be another step closer to clinching home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. That’s always a great thing to have, but it means even more than usual for the Saints. The Superdome’s been a special place for them this year. The crowd noise literally forced Tom Brady to call two timeouts in a recent Monday night game. Imagine what Saints’ fans can do in a playoff setting?
Curb your enthusiasm. Let’s keep the delirium about new Carolina quarterback Matt Moore in perspective. Yes, he’s 1-0 and he looked fairly efficient last week. But he was playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the game was in Charlotte. He also might have benefitted just a bit from the five interceptions by his defense. I don’t think the setting in New England on Sunday is going to be quite as friendly.
Smoke, mirrors and four on the 50-yard line. All right, a lot of you have been on me to say something positive about the Buccaneers even though there isn’t much, besides Josh Freeman, to praise. But, here goes: I’m going to give a special shout-out to the Buccaneers’ ticket department. Somehow, and I’m sure this took some creativity, the Bucs have avoided having this game against the New York Jets blacked out and kept alive the streak of selling out every game in the history of Raymond James Stadium. They’ve only got to do it one more time this season -- Jan. 3 against Atlanta.
Free travel advice. The developing custom in New Orleans this season has been to welcome the Saints home as they return from road victories. Obviously, with each victory, the crowd gets a little larger. If you’ve got a flight out of New Orleans on Sunday night, you might want to head to the airport about five hours early, just in case the Saints get past the Falcons. Not to get too far ahead of things, but, if you have a flight out of New Orleans on the night of Jan. 3, you might want to move it up to Jan. 2 or just stick around. Jan. 3 is the day the Saints close their regular season in Carolina. If they’re 16-0, you even might want consider flying out of Pensacola, Fla.