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3 Things Saints Still Must Figure Out in Weeks After NFC South Clinch

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - NOVEMBER 10: Devonta Freeman #24 of the Atlanta Falcons is tackled by Marshon Lattimore #23 of the New Orleans Saints and Vonn Bell #24 of the New Orleans Saints during a NFL game at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on November 10, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saints | Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints clinched their third straight NFC South title after cruising to a convincing 26-18 win over the division-rival Atlanta Falcons on Thanksgiving. The offense showed out once again, and all seemed right in the world. With that being said, they're not without their flaws, and they still have a few things they need to figure out before the playoffs begin here in the latter part of the season.

3. How to Decrease Penalties

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - SEPTEMBER 09: An official picks up a penalty flag during a game between the New Orleans Saints and the Houston Texans at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on September 09, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Houston Texans v New Orleans Saints | Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

With a playoff spot secured, it's time for the coaching staff down in New Orleans to start fine-tuning their squad. The talent is there, but the discipline isn't. The Saints have been called for 95 penalties this year, the second-most in the league. On Thanksgiving alone, they were flagged nine times for 121 yards, and that simply isn't going to fly if they plan on making another deep run into the postseason. The defense is nearly an elite unit, but we can't label it as such due to an overload of miscues.

2. How to Keep Marshon Lattimore Healthy

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - NOVEMBER 24: Marshon Lattimore #23 of the New Orleans Saints looks on prior to the game against the Carolina Panthers at Mercedes Benz Superdome on November 24, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints | Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Lattimore has already missed a couple of games due to a hamstring injury, and in his return on Thanksgiving, he made his presence known...before being led down the tunnel once again. It goes without saying that he's an integral piece in an otherwise-iffy Saints secondary; after all, Eli Apple can't shade the people Lattimore can. They need him to be healthy moving forward. Keeping him at full strength needs to be one of the Saints' top priorities for the rest of the season.

1. How to Protect Drew Brees

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - NOVEMBER 28:  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints throws a pass against the Atlanta Falcons during the third quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 28, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons | Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Offensive line play has been a great strength for the Saints in recent years, and that's led to continued success from Drew Brees, but they're going to have to get creative with his pass protection down the stretch. Tackles Terron Armstead and Andrus Peat were both out for New Orleans' matchup against the Falcons, leaving them with a lot of questions on the outside edge. They need to figure out what works and what doesn't in order to avoid injuring their franchise star before the playoffs even start. Should they lean heavily on Touchdown Teddy?