Payton: Drew Brees to start Sunday

Coach Sean Payton wouldn’t tell the New Orleans media Monday night or Tuesday if he plans to play his starters in Sunday’s regular-season finale against Carolina.

But Payton tipped his hand in a conference call with the Charlotte media Wednesday.

"Our plan, we're playing it full speed ahead," Payton said.

Payton was asked specifically if quarterback Drew Brees would play.

"I'm not announcing the starters but that's the plan,’’ Payton said. “You can print that if you want to.’’

But I think this situation is fluid. The Saints still have an outside shot to climb into the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs. But they would need San Francisco to lose to St. Louis. That game will start at the same time as the game between the Saints and Panthers.

I’m sure Payton will have someone closely monitoring the game between the 49ers and Rams. If San Francisco starts to pull away, I suspect you’ll see Payton pull his starters.