It’s all in the New Orleans Saints’ hands now.
They don’t need any help.
There’s no longer any need for any scoreboard watching.
It no longer matters what anybody else in the NFC is doing.
Win these last four games and it’s home sweet home in the playoffs for the Saints in their quest to get to Miami for Super Bowl LIV.
They control their own destiny now, vaulting to the No. 1 seed in the NFC on Monday night when the Seattle Seahawks beat the Minnesota Vikings. 37-30.
With the win, Seattle improved to 10-2, equaling the record of the San Francisco 49ers and the Saints.
The Seahawks, who beat the 49ers three weeks ago, currently own the tiebreaker over the 49ers for first place in the NFC West.
The Saints own the tie-breaker over the Seahawks since they beat them in Week 3.
So for now, the Saints are the top seed.
To stay there, they’ll have to beat the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in one of the most anticipated games of the season.
Kickoff in the Mercedes Benz Superdome is at noon, although the NFL is probably kicking itself for not finding a way to flex this one into prime time.
How big is this one?
The Superdome opened in 1975.
The Saints have played 105 games in the months of December and January in the Dome.
Never has there been an NFL game played in the Dome in December or January where the two teams have combined for four losses or less.
Yes, that even includes the playoffs.
As of Monday night, the cheapest ticket on SeatGeek is $185. The most expensive one is $1,050.
The folks in Vegas have the Saints pegged as 3-point favorite, which means they see it as dead even with the Saints getting the 3 points given to the home team.
It’s a renewal of old rivals who once competed in the same division from 1970-2001. The 49ers were typically a thorn in the Saints’ side during those days, part of the reason they hold a 47-26-2 lead in the series during the regular season. The 49ers also won the only playoff meeting during the 2011 season.
Much has changed since then.
The Saints have been one of the league’s top two teams for the past two seasons. The 49ers were doormats during that time, finishing 4-12 last season and 6-10 the year before that.
But they have been the league’s biggest surprise this season after racing out to an 8-0 start before losing two of their last four, including Sunday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
The Saints, meanwhile, are coming off a Thanksgiving night win over the Atlanta Falcons that gave them the NFC South title.
Now they get a chance to show that they meant those words that were on the front of the division championship t-shirts they wore in the locker rooms last Thursday night in Atlanta.
“The South is not enough,” the shirts read.
“We have bigger fish to fry,” Drew Brees said that night.
For the Saints, this year is Super Bowl or bust.
Fortunately for them, they now have the wheel and are in the driver’s seat.
All they have to do, easier said than done, is win their last four games: home games against the 49ers and Colts followed by road trips to play the Tennessee Titans and Carolina Panthers.
It won’t be easy. Especially if the Saints don’t improve in certain areas. (Penalties and recovering onside kicks, to name a few.)
A Saints team that hasn’t always looked like a No. 1 seed the past few weeks now all of a sudden is one.
Now it’s up to them to hold on to it.