Brian Allee-Walsh

Numbers don’t lie: Saints still have lots to play for vs. Atlanta

New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) celebrates his two-point conversion against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in New Orleans Saturday.
New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) celebrates his two-point conversion against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in New Orleans Saturday. Associated Press

There will be no Super Bowl LI glory this season.

No thrilling playoff football, no celebratory Mardi Gras-like parade through the jam-packed streets of downtown New Orleans, no party with the Lombardi.

No Who Dats gone wild.

The last day of the 2016 NFL season falls on the first day of the New Year for the New Orleans Saints.

Out with the old, in with the new, For Auld Lang Syne.

But before we bid farewell to sweet-and-sour '16, the Black and Gold has a few loose ends to tie up, some unfinished business to address, beginning Sunday at 3:25 p.m. (FOX) against the newly-crowned NFC South champion Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome.

I's to dot and T's to cross.

A win by the Falcons gives them a season sweep of New Orleans for the second time in three years and assures them of the No. 2 seed in the NFC and a first-round bye. New Orleans would like nothing better than to throw a wrench in the Falcons' postseason plans.

That said, the following numbers tell the Saints' story in Week 17.

60 — Rushing yards needed by running back Mark Ingram to reach the 1,000-yard mark this season and become the first player to reach that milestone under coach Sean Payton since Deuce McAllister ran for 1,057 yards in 2006. He would join six other single-season 1,000-yard rushers in franchise history -- Chuck Muncie (1,198 yards, 1979), George Rogers (1,144 yards, 1983), Rueben Mayes (1,353 yards, 1986), Dalton Hilliard (1,262 yards, 1989), Ricky Williams (1,000 yards/2000, 1,245 yards/2001) and McAllister.

142 — Passing yards needed by quarterback Drew Brees to reach 5,000 this season, extending his current NFL record to an unprecedented fifth time (2008-'11-'12-'13). He currently leads the NFL with 4,858 yards through 15 games.

19 — Receiving yards needed by rookie wide receiver Michael Thomas to reach the 1,000-yard mark this season and join teammate Brandin Cooks (1,154) in that rarefied air. A third Saints receiver -- Willie Snead IV -- has 813 receiving yards. He would need a career-game to eclipse his 984 receiving yards last season, the most by an undrafted rookie in NFL history.

2.5 — Sacks needed by defensive end Cam Jordan (7.5 through 15 games) to reach double digits for the third time in four years. He posted a career high 12.5 in 2013 and 10 last season.

1 — Days until Payton's 53rd birthday (Dec. 29, 1963).

1 — Wins needed for the Saints to finish 8-8 for the eighth time in franchise history (1979, '83,'90, '93, '03, '04, '08). A loss would drop the Saints to 7-9 for the fourth time in the last five years under Payton and fifth time overall (2015, '14, '12, '07).

254 — Days until the 2017 season opener on Sunday, Sept. 10, against a opponent still to be determined.

Game plan

Who: Saints vs. Falcons

When: 3:25 p.m., Sunday

Where: Atlanta

TV: Fox

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