1 What we learned

No squabbles between Sean Payton and Rob Ryan on Monday night. The Saints showed they can play some defense. Sure, their effort came against a Chicago Bears offense that is setting new standards for in-fighting and dysfunction. New Orleans ended up giving up a couple of late touchdowns and 278 yards of offense, but the Saints throttled the Bears for three quarters. New Orleans grudgingly surrendered just 119 total yards through the first 45 minutes en route to sacking Jay Cutler seven times and intercepting him three times.

2 TRENDING NOW Controlling their destiny. The Saints knew coming into Monday night’s game that if they won their last three games, they would win the NFC South. Easy to say, harder to do for a team that has made inconsistency its trademark this season. Monday’s 31-15 victory was just a first step, but the Saints took it, putting them at 6-8 a half-game in front of Carolina (5-8-1) and a full game ahead of Atlanta (5-9) which visits New Orleans on Sunday. The Saints may not have to win out to win the division, but they would certainly like to end the suspense.

3 FINAL THOUGHTS Consider the team they beat, but the Saints really showed something with their victory Monday. They showed resilience after that listless 41-10 home loss to Carolina a week earlier. They showed they could respond to the pressure of having said Panthers suddenly breathing down their collar. And they showed given a team that exposed its weaknesses, the Saints were capable of finding the jugular. They have to now parlay what is a three-game road winning streak into a home win over Atlanta.

Scott Rabalais