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New Orleans Saints outside linebacker Demario Davis (56) celebrates after sacking Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) in a game in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018.

Demario Davis and his wife Tamela talk about it all the time.

It's always been a common theme, words to live by, in the Davis household.

When you get your moment, what are you going to do about it?

For Davis, in his seventh NFL season and his first with the New Orleans Saints, one of those moments has finally come.

The linebacker will get a taste of the playoffs.

It's been a long time coming.

The last time Davis played a football game in the postseason was January 2012 when he was a senior at Arkansas State playing in the GoDaddy.com Bowl.

So Sunday's NFC divisional playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles can't get here soon enough for No. 56.

"It's big and I definitely don't take it for granted," Davis said. "I'm just trying to embrace the moment. Not just the game, but I'm embracing the whole thing. The week preparing for it. All of it. But as I embrace it, I understand that it's a big task ahead. The team that's coming in here, they are the world champions. To be the champions, you have to beat the champions."

And for Davis, all he's wanted was a chance to be a champion. He spent his first six seasons in the NFL playing for the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns. Each of those seasons ended the same way: with Davis cleaning out his locker after the 16th game of the season and having to watch the playoffs on television.

"You watch it, but it hurts sitting at home," Davis said. "All the other players sitting at home that didn't make it have that same hurt feeling. So I don't take this for granted. Now I want to do everything in my power to make sure it doesn't end early."


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Davis, who signed with the Saints during the offseason, is a big reason the Saints' defense has resurged this season. His 110 tackles led the team.

"He's just a tackling machine," cornerback Eli Apple said. "He brings a lot of energy out there and he's very vocal and a big hitter."

His presence in the locker room has been just as important, safety Kurt Coleman said.

"You have all these pieces to the puzzle and you hope they all fit and Demario has," Coleman said. "He has done a great job of being a vocal leader and he's done a great job being a production leader and locker room guy and a family man. That's what you need out of your linebacker."

Davis, who turns 30 on Friday, is the only player in the NFL to record at least 100 tackles, have five sacks and 10 quarterback hits. It was the second straight season he was the only player to post those type numbers. But that stat line means a lot more to him this time around.

"I was always done at this time of year, so it feels good just to still be playing football," Davis said. "I was sitting at home and watching plays be made and seeing guys getting recognition and being celebrated, and you're thinking, 'Man, I can make that play.' But I wasn't there. So it didn't matter."

Davis, who wasn't voted to the Pro Bowl despite his lofty numbers, is hoping playing in the postseason will help casual fans know who Demario Davis is. He's waited a long time to play in January again.

"It's an opportunity to be on the big stage," Davis said. "This is what I always wanted. An opportunity to finally be on that big stage."


Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @rwalkeradvocate.