Saints close to perfect, even if they are still the No. 3 seed

NEW ORLEANS — It doesn’t seem right that the New Orleans Saints are still stuck in third place in the NFC after a performance like that.

But the Saints (11-3) still have a realistic path to the No. 1 or No. 2 seed. And no matter where they wind up, it obviously bodes well that they are capable of the kind of excellence they displayed in their 34-7 rout of the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night.

It was as close to perfect as it gets in the NFL. And quite frankly, it was the kind of complete performance New Orleans had been seeking all season.

Drew Brees was an absolute master on the night when he broke Peyton Manning’s career touchdowns record, completing an incredible 29 of 30 passes for 307 yards and four touchdowns. Michael Thomas made another argument in his MVP candidacy with 12 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown. And perhaps most importantly, the Saints’ defense responded in a huge way after last week’s 48-46 loss to the San Francisco 49ers — despite losing key defensive linemen Marcus Davenport and Sheldon Rankins to season-ending injuries and starting safety Vonn Bell to a short-term injury.

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