Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 12/18/11
Drew Brees led the New Orleans Saints to an easy 42-20 road win to improve the Saints’ record to 11-3 with a record-breaking performance over the Minnesota Vikings.  The Vikings are now facing their first six-game losing streak since 1984, and even Adrian Peterson’s return from a three-game absence was not enough to jump start the Vikings' offense.  The Saints have the Falcons on deck with a chance to clinch the NFC South, while the Vikings are simply playing the season out.
 
Turning Point 
The Saints looked lethargic for most of the first half today.  Jimmy Graham was stripped on the first series and turned the ball over to the Vikings.  The Vikings took over on the Saints’ 26 yard line but had to settle for a field goal.  With the score 7-3, early in the second quarter, a bad snap by New Orleans that gave possession back to the Vikings which led to another field goal.  The Saints scored touchdowns on their next six drives and the blowout was on.  The Vikings failure to capitalize on these early Saints’ mistakes did them in today in a game that was over at halftime, except for counting how many records Drew Brees was going to set.
 
Key Players: 

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints 
In the sixth five-touchdown game of his career, which ties him for most all-time, Brees also broke the record for 300 yard games in a season with his 11th, and is now tied for third in NFL history with his seventh 400-yard performance of his career.  Brees is now over 300 yards ahead of Dan Marino's pace with 4,780 yards, compared to Marino’s 4,340 for the all-time yardage record which stands at 5,084 yards.  Unless there is an injury, he should surpass the record next week against Atlanta.
 
Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints  Sproles was Mr. Everything for the Saints on Sunday.  He ended the day with 231 all-purpose yards, and grabbed one touchdown pass in the blow-out win.
 
Most Telling Stat/Fact  
Similar to their Super Bowl run in 2009, the Saints are deceptively running the ball really, really well.  In a game where Brees threw for five touchdowns, the Saints still managed 161 rushing yards and averaged 4.25 yards per carry. 
 
What it Means for the Winner 
The Saints will have their terrible towels out on Monday, hoping the Steelers can help them out by knocking off the San Francisco 49ers, who are currently 10-3.  With a Steeler victory, the Saints would be  second in the conference and in the driver's seat to clinch the number two seed and the all-important bye week.  With a win next week against Atlanta, the Saints can clinch the NFC South title. 
 
What it Means for the Loser  
Not much.  Head coach Leslie Frazier’s job is safe according to reports out of Minneapolis.  With a 2-12 record, there were not many positives to build on today.  Jared Allen looked like the only defender that cared for most of the afternoon.  The only time the Minnesota faithful got excited was with 24 seconds left, when the scoreboard flashed that the Packers had lost their first game of the year to the Chiefs. 
 
 
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