7-2: It doesn’t mean much

2013 November 11
by Don Hammack

The New Orleans Saints’ 49-17 thrashing of the Dallas Cowboys, while a delicious result for lovers of black and gold and loathers of blue stars (and that’s everybody that doesn’t love Jerrah’s team), doesn’t really change anything in the Saints season forecast. They’re pretty much what we knew they were already.

Have a chink in your armor, and Sean Payton’s Drew Brees-atron will eviscerate you. Get behind, and Rob Ryan’s Fightin’ Hair Follicles will lather, rinse and repeat you with pressure up front.

But there were troubling signs even in the rosiest of nights. Dallas ran for 80 yards on 11 carries in the first half. DeMarcus Ware played on a leg-and-a-half and still could make Charles Brown look overmatched, finishing with a sack.

San Francisco and Seattle are two of the next three opponents on the schedule. (Sandwiched around the sad-sack Falcons, who are so bad it might almost make a Saints fan sympathetic.) The Seahawks and 49ers rank fourth and second in rushing. And you can’t forget this:

St. Louis is next on the schedule, and the Rams sack a quarter on 9.4 percent of his attempts, second best in the league. Seattle is eighth. And if Saints fans aren’t a little afraid of Carolina right now, the bags may have fallen out of the attic over their eyes.

That’s why the 7-2 record doesn’t mean much, and the Dallas demolition means even less. The first nine games of the season have set up the Saints for another playoff run, but the final seven will be a slog. And if they don’t get to the top of the league, they’ll have to go play outside in Seattle. The Saints can’t afford to let that happen.

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