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Keep on Truckin'

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Usually, the worst part of a vacation is the return to normal life, but I'm thinking that the Saints couldn't wait to return to work after the past few weeks. At least, I hope that's the case. Regardless, it was a bit of a respite for the writers who cover the Saints, and the TP headline writers look like they were trying to make up for lost time.

I'll continue running the quarterpole grades this week -- defensive line, linebackers, quarterbacks and receivers will follow today's selection: coaches.

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Conventional football wisdom dictates that teams exiting their bye week have a distinct advantage over their next opponent. Not only have these teams been given an extra week to recover physically, the bye provides coaches and players an extra week with which to scheme. Cliches being what they are -- rather, what we thought they were -- the idea of a bye-week-advantage doesn't hold-up to statistical scrutiny. Regardless of rest, good teams seem to win, while bad teams seem to lose.

Still, let's take a look back at the Saints' history to see how the team left its bye weeks. And since the Saints need to string wins, I will include the first several games, as opposed to just one.

  • In 2006, the Saints left their Week 7 bye facing three-of-four against AFC North opponents. They dropped all of those in spectacular fashion, ceding 35, 38 and 31 point respectively (a sign of things to come). Sandwiched in there was a 31-14 defeat of Tampa, which looks like the statistical outlier.
  • The 2005 Saints had a Week 10 bye. They lost 5 consecutive games entering the bye and went 1-6 afterwards. Bah.
  • The 2004 Saints failed to sustain the momentum of a win through their bye week. they went 1-5 afterwards, before winning four straight to close the season.
  • The last team to gain momentum from the bye week was the 2000 Saints, who entered the bye at 1-3 and roared to 6 consecutive wins. Their record after the bye was 9-3.

Let's hope the Saints channel the 2000 Saints, and not the 2001-06 Saints, as they exit their bye week.