Nov 11, 2018; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Eli Apple (25) celebrates with teammates after intercepting a pas against the Cincinnati Bengals in the second half at Paul Brown Stadium


Are the 2018 Saints the best team in Payton Era?

Kristian Garic
November 13, 2018 - 4:50 pm

The 8 and 1 Saints have been lighting up NFL scoreboards since the first whistle of the season.  The Saints have scored forty or more points in five of their nine games.  Not to mention the offense is scoring on 61% of their offensive drives compared to 2009, when they scored at 42% clip…and 2011 when the offense scored on 51% of their drives.  That’s eye popping numbers that we might not see again in our lifetime.

So those numbers beg the proverbial question:  Are the 2018 Saints the best team in the Payton/Brees era?  Drew Brees and Sean Payton would say no, because the season isn’t over.  That’s fine; they have to say that, but we can kick that around.  The Saints aren’t just scoring and beating on the bottom dwellers in the NFL.   The Saints have won five straight games against division leading opponents. In that stretch the average margin of victory is a staggering 16 points.  That is un-heard of in the NFL.  If you dive deeper into the numbers, the evidence points to the Saints of 2018 being the best that Sean Payton has ever put on the field.

The Saints lead the league in scoring offense averaging 36.7 points per game. They average 413 yards of total offense per game, good for fifth best in the league.  The Saints are 7th in the NFL in passing per game at 287 yards, and 8th in the NFL in rushing yards at 126.   If this isn’t the best team the Saints have had under Payton, it’s certainly the most balanced.  Saints teams in the past racked up yards via ‘shot’ plays or big plays down field in the passing game.  The offense no longer has to rely on the big play to produce insane numbers.  They’re methodical on offense.  Almost machine like.

The win/loss record, and playoff run will determine if this year’s Saints squad is better than the 09 or 2011 teams, but the numbers say they are better.  Drew Brees is playing at MVP level in his 19th NFL season, and the Saints are beating good teams like a drum. 

So what if the defense isn’t spectacular?  The days of “Offensive wins games, defense wins championships” are a thing of the past.  This offense is good enough to win a championship, and the defense has proven they’re good enough to win games.  Enjoy this season, it has the makings of a special year.

Kristian Garic co-hosts SportsTalk with Bobby Hebert weekdays 4 to 8pm on WWL - 105.3FM, 870AM, and the app.


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