There was a time not long ago where my next sentence would have been a pretty standard thing to write.
The Saints sit all alone atop the NFC South.
It’s a sentence I’ve written many times in the glory years of the Sean Payton era. But when I tweeted that out after their 26-17 victory over Green Bay Sunday, I honestly couldn’t remember the last time that was the case.
After a little research, I was surprised to learn the Saints were in sole possession of first place during week 15 of the 2014 season. The division was so bad that year, the Saints were somehow in first place at 6-8. That team was a disaster. Bad seeds infiltrated a strong locker room and the organization badly misjudged how close they were coming off 2013’s 11-5 playoff year. I still chuckle at myself when I called that team the best team I’d ever seen on paper heading into a season.
This team is nothing like that group. But after the first two weeks of this season, it sure looked like 2017 was going down the familiar paths of 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Yet here they are, 4-2 and winners of four straight. Given their recent history and the early season hole, I’ve been skeptical of jumping on board with this team. I must admit, it’s getting harder to be that way now.
They just keep winning and they’ve done so in pretty dominant fashion. Sunday’s win was fourth straight by nine points or more points. That’s significant because we all know the NFL’s parity is designed for teams to be within a touchdown of each other. There’s a reason why you rarely see a point spread higher than seven in this league.
Sure, they caught a break by not facing Aaron Rodgers but that’s football. Sometimes you get good fortune like that. The Saints have been on the wrong side of the injury bug many times.
The bottom line is they’re getting the job done. Through six games this season, they’ve rightfully earned their spot atop the division.