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New Orleans Saints tight end Dan Arnold (85) and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) celebrate Arnold's touchdown catch over Atlanta Falcons defensive back Sharrod Neasman (41) during the second half Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

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The Saints know that this weekend’s game could put them in the playoffs.

A win (or tie) over Tampa Bay locks up the NFC South, which would give New Orleans’ its first back-to-back division titles ever. That is a significant achievement. But at the same time, the Saints also know they need to keep racking up wins.

“I think the most important thing is this team in front of us, this game in front of us, and finding a way to get to 11 (wins) period,” coach Sean Payton said. “Let’s get to 11. And they’re all smart enough to know that, hey, you’re chasing other things that can enhance your possible opportunities down the road.”

The Saints can also seal the division if the Panthers (6-6) lose or tie against the Cleveland Browns. But, as Payton said, this team knows it needs to keep winning games if the goal is earn a first-round bye or homefield advantage.

New Orleans (10-2) currently trails the Rams (11-1) in the NFC standings, and is two games up on the Chicago Bears (8-4) with four dates remaining on the schedule. Los Angeles and Chicago play one another this week.

“Yeah, the bottom line is we control our destiny right now,” quarterback Drew Brees said. “We win this game, we win the division and that's the first step, first goal that we set for ourselves this season, was to accomplish that and then we'll worry about the next goal. But that's significant.”

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Follow Nick Underhill on Twitter, @nick_underhill.​

This article originally ran on theadvocate.com.

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