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Does Preseason Record Matter?

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The Saints are guaranteed at least a .500 record in the preseason. But does it matter?

NFL: Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints Scott Clause-USA TODAY Sports

So we all know preseason record doesn’t matter. What’s important is getting out of the preseason with all of your starters healthy while getting the chance to evaluate what players give your team the best chance of winning once the regular season starts. But as the Sean Payton Era has now lasted over a decade in New Orleans, it’s at least fun to see if there is any correlation between preseason performance and regular season success.

Here is the Saints preseason record history since 2006:

2017: 2-1 so far (Loss - Win - Win - ???)

2016: 0-4 (Loss - Loss - Loss - Loss)

2015: 0-4 (Loss - Loss - Loss - Loss)

2014: 3-1 (Win - Win - Win - Loss)

2013: 3-1 (Win - Win - Win - Loss)

2012: 2-3 (Win - Loss - Loss - Win - Loss)

2011: 2-2 (Win - Loss - Win - Loss)

2010: 2-2 (Loss - Win - Win - Loss)

2009: 3-1 (Win - Win - Win - Loss)

2008: 2-2 (Win - Loss - Win - Loss)

2007: 3-2 (Loss - Loss - Win - Win - Win)

2006: 1-3 (Win - Loss - Loss- Loss)

That means the Saints had a losing preseason record in four years: 2016, 2015, 2012, 2006. In those four years, the Saints have a combined regular season record of 31-33 for a .484 winning percentage. That means on average, if the Saints finish the preseason with a losing record, they are set to win only 7 games to finish with a 7-9 record. But the Saints have already made it mathematically impossible to finish with a losing preseason record this year, winning their last two games.

The Saints had a preseason winning record in four years: 2014, 2013, 2009, 2007. In those four years, the Saints have a combined regular season record of 38-26 for a .593 winning percentage. That means, again on average, if the Saints finish with a winning record in the preseason, one could predict they finish with 9 wins for a 9-7 record based on the past. But what if the Saints lose their final preseason game for a tying record?

The Saints had an even .500 preseason record in only three years: 2011, 2010, 2008. In those three years, the Saints had a combined regular season record of 32-16 for a .667 winning percentage. That means, if the Saints lose their final preseason game this year, the pattern would indicate you should guess for approximately 10 wins, for a final 10-6 record on the season.

So does preseason record matter? Still no. But it sure is fun to look at the numbers and think about what might be. Anything that gives us hope for a better record than the 7-9 we have found ourselves stuck with the last few years.