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2011 Saints Bye Week Status Report: Better Than, Worse Than, or the Same As 2010?

Here's hoping the Saints don't limp to the finish in the final six games of the 2011 regular season. Stay Healthy, Saints!! (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Here's hoping the Saints don't limp to the finish in the final six games of the 2011 regular season. Stay Healthy, Saints!! (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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With the break in Saints game action this week as a result of the bye, it makes an opportune time to take brief stock and see where the team is in relation to the 2010 squad, whose season was decent (11-5 and a playoff berth), but ended in Seattle on Wild Card Weekend in most disappointing fashion.

By the end of it, you will have some initial information to help you decide for yourself whether the 2011 Saints are Better Than, Worse Than, or meh, About the Same As the 2010 Saints.

Make the jump to read more about it!

First, let's take a look at the wins and losses of these two teams

The 2010 Saints were 7-3 in Week 11, having won 3 in a row (of what would eventually be a 6-game winning streak) and with the bye in the review mirror. The three losses included a close OT loss to the Falcons from Week 3, as well as two head-scratching losses to inferior opponents (Arizona and Cleveland).

The 2011 Saints also finish Week 11 @ 7-3, but this time having won two in a row (of what will eventually be a ??-game winning streak), and with the bye under their belts. The three losses include a close loss in the opener at Green Bay, as well as a couple of head-scratchers to inferior opponents (Tampa Bay, St. Louis).

Seems ABOUT THE SAME to me, folks!

But, what we also need to consider as a very important fact is that the 2010 Saints were looking up at the 8-2 Atlanta Falcons in the NFC South Race, while the 2011 Saints are 1.5 games ahead of the 5-4 Falcons. This is huge and suddenly converts this section into a BETTER THAN component.

Now, let's shine a light on a trio of statistical points of reference

In my brief review, it seemed that there were three statistical categories that immediately jumped out at me as being significantly different.

After 10 games, the 2010 Saints were scoring 23.5 points per game while allowing exactly 17 points per game, and rushing for 94.5 yards per game.

This year's model of the Saints is averaging 31.3 points while allowing 22.8, and is rushing for 117.5 yards per game.

That adds up to a net gain of almost two points in scoring differential, and a +23 yards per game in the rushing department.

I'l go ahead and call this another BETTER THAN area.

And finally, let's check the medical records...

The final Week 11 injury report for the Saints in 2010 designated Jeremy Shockey, Darren Sharper, and Pierre Thomas as OUT, with Jon Stinchcomb and Chris Ivory QUESTIONABLE, and Malcolm Jenkins and Patrick Robinson PROBABLE. Reggie Bush was expected to play after a good week of practice, and this was to be his first game back after breaking his leg in Week 2, but he did not actually play.

For Week 10 of 2011, the Saints reported Jon Vilma and Turk McBride as OUT, Chris Ivory, Lance Moore, and Patrick Robinson QUESTIONABLE, and Mark Ingram, Tracy Porter and John Gilmore PROBABLE.

It definitely seems to me that this season has seen a much healthier Saints team suit up more regular starters than in 2010, and the Week 11 injury comparison highlights this.

Therefore, the Saints are BETTER THAN they were in 2010 here.

What's your final take, Hans?

My final take is that the 2011 Saints are BETTER OFF THAN the 2010 New Orleans Saints in many ways, and I'm hopeful for a great final six games with a sweet playoff run. But they have much to do, and much they can improve upon to make this another dream season.

Let's lace 'em up and do it!!!

* * *

I have done some very surface-level initial research and writing on this, with the end purpose of creating a platform of discussion in which you can participate in regarding the Saints outlook for the remainder of the 2011 season.

Here are some conversation starters:

What do you think of the Saints chances for the rest of 2011? Are there any other statistical points of reference or aspects of the 2010 vs. 2011 Saints that lead you to believe what you do?

To borrow from the questions Ralph posed in the Bye-Week Podcast: What are you most excited about in the final six games (and playoffs)? What scares you the most about the final six games (and playoffs)? What would you most like the Saints to fix/improve upon for the final six games (and playoffs)?

Let's lace 'em up and do it!!!