Saints Dream Team: 2011 Offense and 2013 Defense

This guy has been super awesome for a while now - Agent 80 is deadly! - Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport

What happens when you combine a record-setting offense with a top 10 defense? If you could combine the 2011 New Orleans Saints offense with the surprisingly good 2013 Saints defense, how do you think the team would fare against the 2013 schedule? Don't hurt yourself, I've done the math for you!

The 2013 NFL regular season is in the books and the New Orleans Saints have qualified as a Wild Card for the playoffs. For the fans of 20 NFL teams, this is a position to be envied. However, in some circles within the confines of Who Dat Nation, 11-5 and a Wild Card berth is just not good enough.

Sure, the team could have closed out a couple of road games better (NE and CAR in particular), but that happens in the NFL every season for most teams. Moving forward, various conversations have sprung up around CSC that state that the Saints new and improved 2013 defense would really be a great pairing with our record setting 2011 offense.

From those thoughts, this idea was born: using the offensive statistics from 2011 and the defensive statistics from 2013 how would this "team" fare against the 2013 schedule?

The way this will work is simple: I take whatever statistics the offense accrued this year and just interchange the numbers in a few categories with the 2011 Saints. So let's take a magical ride that even the latest Madden football game won't provide.

Before we get started, here are the baseline criteria:

#1 - This is strictly by the numbers, as in offensive scores and production. I will not be accounting for strength of the opponents from 2011.

#2 - Same goes for defense, we will not revisit what the defense gave up in 2011, only what the defense gave up in any given week in 2013.

#3 - No whining about how far-fetched the concept is - I don't care, this is fun and you like it too! So no butterfly effect ("well if we got 25 1st downs instead of 18, blah-blah team wouldn't have scored ‘X' amount of points")!

Here is a quick look at the major statistical categories for both years. Boy, Drew Brees and Co. were crazy productive!

Statistical Categories

2011 Offense

2013 Offense

Points Per Game

34

25.9

Yards Per Game

467

399

Passing Yards Per Game

334

307

Rushing Yards Per Game

133

92

First Downs

416

359

The goal here is to somewhat prove or disprove that with an exceptional offense, the 2013 Saints would have the number one seed locked up at this point. Keep in mind; we are trading in Jimmy Graham's awesome 2013 for his exceptional 2011 along with Darren Sproles' going H.A.M. on the yardage record! I will only use the stats that are readily available to you all atwww.neworleanssaints.com andwww.NFL.com, so you can check my numbers anytime.

My suspicion is that the lone blemish would be a bad night in Seattle where Sean Payton put on his best Mister Coach Klein impersonation. It was Oscar worthy; he really seemed to be afraid of Pete Carroll, so sad...on to the pretend season!

Week 1 ATL @ NO 34-17 W - This is easy

Week 2 NO @ TB 30-13 W - Oh yeah, 2-0 baby

Week 3 ARZ @ NO 40-7 W - Even better, that Brees is a beast

Week 4 MIA @ NO 23-17 W - Nobody is perfect

Week 5 NO @ CHI 30-18 W - 30 points on the road again

Week 6 NO @ NE 30-20 L - All good things must come to an end

Week 7 Bye - Stats for the next few weeks are adjusted until the bye week is caught up

Week 8 BUF @ NO 62-17 W - Dome magic in full effect

Week 9 NO @ NYJ 26-21 L - Looks eerily familiar...

Week 10 DAL @ NO 27-17 W - Hmm, guess the PEDs weren't working

Week 11 SF @ NO 26-20 W - On track so far

Week 12 NO @ ATL 49-13 W - Take that dirty birds

Week 13 NO @ SEA 34-31 L - I could've lived with this score

Week 14 CAR @ NO 31-17 W - No problem putting up points

Week 15 NO @ STL 42-16 W - Division crown in sight, number 2 seed as well

Week 16 NO @ CAR 45-17 W - Never in doubt, NFC South Champs

Week 17 TB @ NO 45-17 W - Due to the head to head loss to SEA, Saints take #2 seed at 13-3

So we can come to the conclusion that the 2011 offense would have been worth 2 wins and a higher seed, which the Saints nearly achieved anyway. At this point, we could reasonably put the argument to bed that this offense sucks; it doesn't. In fact, in a few games, the offensive production from a points perspective was very close.

For those who must know, the flip side of this scenario (2013 offense paired with 2011 defense) yielded a 6-9-1 record in 2011. I think that says that old Gregg Williams' defense fit with the style of offense that was being played in 2011.

In the end, this is all make believe and the Saints still provided us plenty to cheer about by turning a dismal 7-9 2012 into an 11-5 2013. Happy Holidays Who Dats, here's to a wonderful 2013 and a great playoff run in 2014!!!

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