The 2009 Saints can do this Sunday what only four other Saints teams have done in the first 42 years of the franchise's existence -- and that's win a division title.
When the Saints meet the Washington Redskins (3-8) on Sunday in FedExField, they can win the NFC South title on their own. They can also clinch with a loss by the Atlanta Falcons to the Philadelphia Eagles.
But the players that have helped make the Saints one of only 14 teams in NFL history to start 11-0 or better want to do it on their own, especially after Monday night's exhilarating 38-17 win against the New England Patriots.
That, however, is about as far as they'll let their imaginations take them.
While that dominating victory against the Patriots has sparked lots of talk about the Saints running the table and finishing undefeated, they won't let themselves -- and coach Sean Payton won't let them -- think about what's down the road.
With five games remaining, each of them against NFC opposition, Payton and his team know that taking care of business will be essential down the stretch if they want to clinch home-field advantage for the playoffs.
"It (going undefeated) is not at the top of the list as much as winning this week's game in Washington," Payton said Wednesday. "We don't really get past the next game, really. I know you've heard me say that, but I couldn't tell you who we play three weeks from now ... really.
"These games go by quickly and the season goes by quickly and you just get consumed with the next game. We've tried to really remain focused on the next game, and I think it's all geared about positioning yourself to make a run in the postseason."
Being rested and prepared for the Redskins is the biggest thing on the Saints' plate this week. Considering that they have played better lately and that his team has to go on the road on a short week are concerns for Payton and his club.
While the national analysts are starting to give the Saints an edge to finish 16-0, based in part on Monday night's impressive win and the fact that only two of the five remaining games are against teams with winning records, the players have to make sure that they don't stumble now.
"By no means is anybody going to roll over for us," quarterback Drew Brees said. "We understand that and know next week's game is as big as this one."
That means remaining focused on each of their long-term goals, not just a 21-point blowout of the three-time Super Bowl champion Patriots.
"People are going to talk about this game and maybe blow it out of proportion a little bit," Brees said, reminding everyone that it was just one game. "This game doesn't entitle us to anything."
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