The New Orleans Saints Are Sinfully Bad
Any fan of NFL team has undoubtedly heard the stat so far, but in the particular case of the New Orleans Saints, it bears repeating: since 2007, 83 teams have started the season with an 0-2 record, and only nine of them — 9.2 percent — went on to make the playoffs.
But it’s not as simple as saying “the Saints still have about a one-in-10 chance of making the postseason this year.” That might mathematically be correct, but if you’ve watched this team play football over the last two weeks, the odds seem far more insurmountable than what those numbers indicate.
Let’s forget, just for a moment, that the Atlanta Falcons just dismantled the team that was supposed to be one of the best in the NFC and a legitimate Super Bowl contender (that being the Green Bay Packers). Let’s also put aside the fact that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (finally) opened the season by totally dismantling the Chicago Bears; they were only minutes away from registering a shutout, before the Bears made it a 29-7 final score. Oh, and let’s also not forget the fact that, while the road getting there might not have been pretty, the Carolina Panthers also have a 2-0 record.
No, let’s focus on two things. For one, the New Orleans Saints now have an 0-8 record in the month of September, dating back to 2015; how can you legitimate expect to contend for anything, when you’re throwing away a quarter of each season? But on the other hand, it’s a long season, make sure all players wear their mouth guards and protective gears to avoid further injuries. Game is not over until it’s over, isn’t it?
And then there’s the fact that the Saints have allowed a mind-boggling 1025 yards of offense in just two games this year. If you’re doing the math, that means opponents are putting up over 50 yards of offense per game. Over the last two weeks, the Saints made Sam Bradford of the Minnesota Vikings look like Drew Brees, and then made Tom Brady look like… well, Tom Brady (only days after the media once again began with the “is Tom Brady finished!?!?” hot takes).
How is it possible for a team to continue to make so many bad personnel decisions, year after year? Over the last two seasons, the Saints have offered lucrative free agent contracts to offensive players: Coby Fleener in 2016, and Adrian Peterson in 2017; the former hasn’t exactly set the world on fire, and the latter is starting to look like a dumpster fire of a contract. They’ve devoted valuable draft picks to positions like the offensive line, while they still badly need help at cornerback, linebacker, and pass rusher. Drafting defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins last year, and cornerback Marshon Lattimore this year, were both the right move, but they’re not nearly enough.
Even future Hall-of-Fame quarterback has proven that, for all his incredible passing feats, he can’t keep a team in the game when opposing offenses are walking up-and-down the field on them.
The Saints have finished with a 7-9 record in each of the last three seasons. The way things have started this year, expecting a fourth straight year with (just) seven wins might even be a little ambitious. It’s going to be very interesting to see what type of shake up — if any — happens, in such a scenario.