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I Hate to Say I Told You So...
Posted by ryanrottner (2447 days ago)
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Okay, so I didn’t actually tell anyone in the Rotowire community anything about the Saints, but I have expressed my frustrations with them to those around me this entire season. They never seemed to dominate, as you would expect of a defending Super Bowl Champion. A 5 point win over Minnesota, a 3 point win over San Francisco, a 2 point win over Carolina…the 2-14 Carolina Panthers…a 3 point win over Dallas, and a 4 point win over Cincinnati. The combined record of those teams was 24-56 at season’s end. Even though they were all games that the Saints won, none were in a manner that gave you any confidence that they were true contenders to return to the Super Bowl.

Throughout the season, the Saints were one of the hardest teams to get a pulse on. They lost to Arizona in Week 5, but then came back the following week to beat Tampa by 25. They then turned around and lost to Cleveland by 13. They won their next three in a row, outscoring their opponents 88-32. Thereafter they closed out the season 4-2, but most of those wins were by 4 points or less.

New Orleans had some convincing wins, wins against above average competition, like Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, but it seemed like more times than not, they were playing down to their competition and scratching out wins or losing to inferior opponents.

Seattle by most, if not all accounts, was an inferior team. Some argued that despite winning the NFC West, they didn’t belong in the playoffs at all because of their 7-9 record…and yet the Saints lost. I think it’s a playoff appearance that much followed the script of the Saints regular season – a talented team that played down, albeit sometimes up, to the talent on the opposite side of the field. Most games this season the Saints never closed out their opponent and yesterday it caught up to them as Seattle brought it to the Saints from the first snap. And although at times it seemed the Saints would catch up and surpass the Seahawks, they never did. Seattle imposed their will on the Saints, example Marshawn Lynch’s 4th quarter TD, and the Saints had no answer.

I won’t say that I picked Seattle to win. I thought the Saints would pull it out. However, I am certainly not as surprised as some that they lost.

Other notes from New Orleans’ schedule:

- They only beat three teams with winning records: Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay (they also lost to Atlanta and Tampa Bay once, splitting the season series with each team 1-1).

- Their season had disappointing losses to Arizona and Cleveland. Both teams finished the season with a 5-11 record.

- The combined record of their opponents who subsequently did not make the playoffs was 51-96 (granted they did not pick their own schedule and most people expected more of Minnesota, San Francisco, Dallas and Cincinnati).

- From a bettor’s standpoint the Saints only covered the spread six times the entire season.

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