Saints have no plans to rest starters for Week 17 vs. Panthers

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints are going all in this week in hopes of landing home-field advantage and/or a first-round bye in the NFC Playoffs.

Currently the No. 3 seed in the NFC, New Orleans does not control its own destiny for either spot. Despite this, Saints head coach Sean Payton indicated on Wednesday that resting his starters is not an option.

There’s certainly reason behind this logic. There’s a decent chance New Orleans can earn a first-round bye with a win over the free-falling Panthers.

The scenarios are not too far-fetched.

  • Beat Carolina
  • Packers loss/tie to the Lions OR 49ers loss/tie to the Seahawks

The scenarios for home-field advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs seem to be a bit more far-fetched.

  • Beat Carolina
  • Packers loss/tie to the Lions AND 49ers loss/tie to the Seahawks

Given that Green Bay is still playing for the top seed, it seems highly unlikely that the team is going to lose to a last-place Lions squad.

A first-round bye is more likely. San Francisco heads to Seattle to take on the Seahawks in a game that will decide the NFC West. The 49ers will earn the No. 1 seed with a win. They can also drop to the fifth seed with a loss. Seattle can’t surpass the Saints if New Orleans defeats Detroit.

Payton’s decision makes a ton of sense. Let’s see if it pays off. If not, the team will likely have to play the following weekend against the Minnesota Vikings in the Wild Card Playoffs.