The New Orleans Saints earned their first road playoff victory in franchise history on Saturday with a 26-24 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. They'll advance to the divisional round of the playoffs, where they'll take on the Seattle Seahawks in what might be the league's toughest and most hostile environment.
While the Saints will surely be underdogs in Seattle, this is a big milestone for the New Orleans organization. Before Saturday, the Saints had lost all five of their previous playoff games on the road.
A couple of those losses were close -- a 36-32 game against the San Francisco 49ers in the 2011 season, and a 41-36 loss to the aforementioned Seahawks in the 2010 season -- but the rest were fairly one-sided games. New Orleans fell twice to the Chicago Bears, 39-14 in the 2006 and 16-6 in 1990, its first ever road playoff game. The Saints had a 36-16 loss in Minnesota in 2000.
This is significant today because this team has been notably better at home. This has been discussed for some time, with particular emphasis on quarterback Drew Brees and how he performs better in the conditions of a dome. New Orleans put up a 3-5 record on the road this season, while sporting a perfect 8-0 mark at the Superdome.
Brees struggled early in Saturday's game, throwing two interceptions in the first half. Whether or not he would have thrown those picks at home isn't really the point, though. What matters is that the Saints won this one, and now have the ultimate road test ahead of them in Seattle.