1 WHAT WE LEARNED

There were things to learn Sunday. The only issue is the answers were unattainable. Sunday’s game against the Falcons didn’t matter when looking at the big picture. There’s only one thing of consequence right now: Will Sean Payton return to coach the New Orleans Saints in 2016 or will he head off to somewhere like Indianapolis or New York to coach the Giants? Unfortunately, the Saints coach was unwilling to shed any light on what he plans to do next. He’ll meet with the media one more time this week, and he’ll certainly be asked about it again when that happens, but answers might not come.

2 TRENDING NOW

Uncertainty is trending. And that was exemplified when Zach Strief, Jahri Evans, Drew Brees and Marques Colston took a picture together after the game. This could be it for four core members of the Saints. No one knows who is coming back, who will be leading this team or what direction it’s heading. The players are optimistic about the roster, but it’s difficult to know how the pieces will fit together when it’s not clear who will be the architect. That situation should play out quickly, but no one knows if there will be a new coach, or how he will want to play or what players fit his system. Everything is on pause.

3 FINAL THOUGHTS

This was a good way for the Saints to end the season. Winning the final game provides some momentum and builds optimism for the future. The players said there is also a psychological advantage to being 7-9 as opposed to 6-10. The outcome certainly won’t satisfy those who were hoping New Orleans would get a better draft pick — and they were a Jamarca Sanford interception away from losing — but if this gives the team momentum heading into the offseason, that’s still a positive result. It’s not as tangible as a better draft pick, but it might help.

— Nick Underhill