Last season, the Saints’ Super Bowl hopes ended when they lost, as seven-point favorites, at home to the Vikings in the first round of the playoffs. This season, Santos’ hopes of winning the home game over the playoffs will end if they lose, as seven-point favorites, at home to the Vikings on Christmas Day.
The Vikings-Saints game is a big problem for the Saints, as a victory keeps them in contention for the No. 1 seed in the NFC, giving them the only goodbye at the conference and the advantage of playing at home through the NFC Championship Game. But a defeat eliminates the saints from the dispute for number one seed.
A loss also means that the Saints can still finish second in the NFC South and have to hit the road in the playoff wild card round. The Saints have a game advantage over the Buccaneers and have the tiebreaker advantage, but if the Saints lose today, it allows the Buccaneers to stay alive: If the Saints lose their last two and the Bucs win their last two, Tampa Bay wins the division.
Therefore, the saints cannot afford to ignore the Vikings. This is a lesson they may have learned in the playoffs last season.