Saints earn NFC’s top seed for first time since 2009

              FILE - In this Dec. 9, 2018, file photo, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) throws a pass to running back Alvin Kamara (41) during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa, Fla. Brees, who turns 40 on Jan. 15, is a leading MVP candidate after breaking his own NFL record for completion percentage, connecting on 74.4 percent of his passes a year after connecting on 72 percent. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken, File)

Half of the NFC playoff field is back from last year, including the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles , who wobbled and hobbled into the postseason party as the sixth and final seed after a season-long slog.

The Saints earned the No. 1 seed for the first time since 2009, when they beat Peyton Manning and the Colts in Super Bowl 44 for their first championship, and the Los Angeles Rams are the second seed with the franchise’s first playoff bye since 2001, when the “Greatest Show on Turf” was still rocking St. Louis.

The Chicago Bears are back for the first time in eight seasons and the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks each ended a one-year hiatus.

The Seahawks visit the Cowboys on Saturday night of wild-card weekend, and the Eagles visit Soldier Field on Sunday to face the Bears, who are Broncos star Von Miller’s pick to win it all this year thanks to their dogged defense in an era infused with college spread concepts and rules that tilt toward offense more than ever.

“I feel like the Bears have a solid defense that can go all the way. They can tweak the rules, but at the end of the day, it’s still football,” said Miller, the MVP of Super Bowl 50 that was dominated by defense.

Strength and weakness of each of the six NFC playoff teams: