The New Orleans Saints have won seven games in a row with an average margin of victory of 18.5 points. They posted historic rushing numbers on a good Buffalo Bills defense in 40-degree weather in upstate New York. A starting quarterback hasn’t thrown a touchdown on the Saints defense since Matthew Stafford’s failed comeback bid more than a month ago. This team is good, folks.
How good are they? They’re playoff contenders and form the upper tier of the NFC, sharing the spotlight with the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, and Los Angeles Rams. But are they title contenders?
I’m not sure what else needs to be seen to believe that. The Saints have beaten all challengers since a miserable opening two weeks. They’re not letting anything stand in their way, whether it’s the teams opposing them or the math that spells out how unlikely this winning-streak has become. A talented rookie class has gelled with smart free agent investments to create one of the NFL’s best teams.
The haters and losers, of which there are many, have said that the Saints haven’t played anybody. There’s no dancing around the fact they’ve caught teams in bad spots: the slate of quarterbacks the Saints have taken down include a beaten-up Jameis Winston, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mitchell Trubisky, Brett Hundley, a hobbled Stafford, and Jay Cutler. Even Cam Newton was slowly working back from injury in the Saints’ first win of the season.
Eagles:— Nick (@Nickolah84) November 13, 2017
Their opponents (removing games vs. Eagles): 22-35, .386
Vs. winning teams: 1-1 (Panthers, Chiefs)
Their opponents (removing games vs. Saints): 42-28, .600
Vs. winning teams: 4-2 (Lions, Packers, Bills, Vikings, Patriots)
But there’s 52 other guys on a team besides the quarterback. And among teams with winning records, no one has seen a schedule tougher than the Saints. Sean Payton’s squad has seen opponents with the highest winning percentage (.545) of all their competition. Compare that to the Eagles (.438), the Rams (.490), and in the AFC the New England Patriots (.444) and Pittsburgh Steelers (.444).
So feel free to buy the hype. Get wild on Twitter. Wear a jersey and fitted lid to work. This Saints team isn’t a mirage built off unsustainable success. A dynamic offense built around a dominant line pairs nicely with a defense eager to make its mark. This has been the Most Fun Saints team since the 2011 season, and it’s poised to achieve even more than that historically-great unit.
But for now, we’re onto Washington.