The New Orleans Saints have talked all week long about how hungry they are to win their first division championship in six years.
The New Orleans Saints were looking to secure the NFC South division championship and lock up the No. 4 seed in the NFC playoffs when they tra…
Here's assuming they go to Tampa, Florida, and handle business and "eat a W", as Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston would say.
If they do, they'd win the NFC South championship for the first time since 2011.
It would be a fitting end to the 2017 calendar year and the regular season.
The past 12 months have been like a cookbook, and the Saints seemed to have mixed all the right ingredients to make the perfect bowl (perhaps a Super one) of success.
On Sunday, they get to write one last chapter in the book of 2017 before flipping the calendar to 2018.
Finding the right parts to restore the defense in New Orleans took a lot of time, a lot of resources and a few sunk costs.
Here's a look back at some key dates of 2017 as Chef Sean and the Saints blended the winning recipe.
Jan. 11: Marshon Lattimore's tweet. It was on this day that Lattimore sent out a 292-word post on Twitter stating he was leaving Ohio State and declaring for the NFL draft. Little did anyone in New Orleans know at the time just how much that tweet would mean to the franchise. Fifteen games into his professional career, and we all know.
March 10: What a day. Through free agency, the Saints signed Ted Ginn Jr., A.J. Klein, and Larry Warford. All have made a huge impact this season.
March 11: This one came as a surprise to most. The Saints traded receiver Brandin Cooks to the Patriots. The news left most of Who Dat nation baffled, especially since coveted Patriots cornerback Malcom Butler wasn't part of the deal. Instead, the Saints got a first- and a third-round draft pick, which we'll get to in a minute.
March 14: The Saints signed defensive lineman Alex Okafor. At the time, Nick Fairley had just re-signed too. Heart issues a few months later derailed Fairlley's season (and most likely his career), but Okafor proved to be a needed addition opposite Cam Jordan upfront before tearing his Achilles heel in Week 11.
April 27: The day the Saints hit the jackpot, better known as the first day of the NFL draft. The Saints, with two first round picks, pick Lattimore and offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk. Both are starters, and neither has looked the part of rookies.
One week after Marshon Lattimore's rematch with Julio Jones, he's getting ready for his second chance against another premier receiver in the …
April 28: Who says lightning doesn't strike twice? The Saints hit the jackpot the second day of the draft, too, showing they'd done their homework. They land Marcus Williams, Alvina Kamara, Alex Anzalone and Trey Hendrickson.
In a 24-hour period, the Saints very well may have drafted the Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year in Kamara and Lattimore.
Sept. 24: The Saints were 0-2 and desperately needed a win at Carolina. Much of the attention centered around the several Saints who kneeled during the national anthem that day. Once the game started, the Saints rolled to a 34-13 victory. It was the turning point of the season as the Saints reeled off eight consecutive wins after that.
Oct. 10: The Saints traded Adrian Peterson after the future Hall of Famer spent less than six months in the Big Easy. Up to that point, the offense was still trying to divvy up the carries between three running backs. He was loved in the locker room, but he just wasn't a good fit. The two-headed monster of Mark Ingram and Kamara was born that day.
Oct. 15: The day Aaron Rodgers injured his shoulder. OK, so you need to catch a break ever now and then. The Saints caught one when the Green Bay quarterback suffered an injury the week before the Saints made the trip to Lambeau Field. The Saints ended up winning a game that most had penciled in as a loss before Rodgers' injury.
We are currently number 1 in the NFL in YAC. If my numbers are accurate, 56 percent of our passing yards are YAC(2294 yards). Do you contribut…
Nov. 19: The comeback. This would have been considered a bad loss. But Drew Brees and Company somehow erased a 15-point deficit in the final three minutes to steal a win at home, 34-31 in overtime over the Washington Redskins.
Dec. 24: The Dome was rocking on Christmas Eve as the Saints avenged a loss from earlier in the month. Any win against the Falcons is considered a good win, but when a 23-13 decision secures a playoff berth, it makes it even sweeter.
Dec. 31: Raymond James Stadium has been kind to the Saints. They've won four of the past five times they've played there. A win Sunday would give the Saints their sixth division title in franchise history. Best guess here is they get it done.
Then they can look to 2018 and to the playoffs.
To be continued ...
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