Saints are No. 1, right?

2009 October 19
by Don Hammack

The Saints just pounded the Giants, the team many thought the best in the NFC if not the whole league. New Orleans is good, really good, but Mr. Dark Cloud will throw out this tidbit for you: Beating the best team is not the same as being the best team.

Wait, what? It’s pretty obvious if you think what would happen if the Rams beat the Giants. No way they are the best team in the league. And no way am I comparing the Saints to the Rams. (St. Louis is so bad it looks at the bye week as a potential win.)

There’s just more to being the best team than winning one game, and mainly because of matchups. The Saints matched up well with the Giants, obviously. But would the result have been the same in blustery Giants Stadium? Nobody knows, but the Saints better keep winning to avoid playing outside in the playoffs. (Yes, it’s officially OK in my book to start talking playoffs.)

The Saints may find another team they don’t match up as well against, too. Miami with the Wildcat? Atlanta with Matt Ryan and Tony Gonzalez?

I’ll tell you what it will take to beat the Saints: Another great offense and a tennis-minded defense. Tennis-minded? Yep, tennis. New Orleans has turned the game of football into a tennis match, where the key is holding and breaking serve. The Giants could not break serve/force a punt/create a turnover against the Saints. Gregg Williams defense, on the other hand, did that to the Giants. They gave up 27 points, but got early breaks in serve to coast to victory.

So are the Saints the best team in the NFL? It sure seems that way. Here’s one measure of their success this season: They have outscored their opponents by 99 points in five games. Buffalo (93), Cleveland (69), Tennessee (84), Oakland (62), Kansas City (98), Washington (79), Tampa Bay (89) and St. Louis (oh boy, 54) have scored that many points, period, in six games. Carolina (85) and Denver (99) have only played five games (which makes the Broncos 5-0 start all the more impressive … is that the defense that matches up with the Saints?).

New Orleans has proven it can win by scoring a bunch in the air and controlling the ball with the run. The Saints’ biggest questions left are on special teams, which have been inconsistent.

I’m sure they’ll still be No. 1 on most power polls Monday morning. And that’s fine by me.

One Response leave one →
  1. 2009 October 19
    Mike permalink


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