The Saints are marching, and their steps are eerily similar to the 2009 Saints who went on to win Super Bowl XLIV (44). In fact, the seasons are so similar we can’t help but have a little déjà vu. If we hop in the DeLorean and take a trip back to New Orleans to watch football in 2009, we may feel we’ve never left present day. There’s a Drew Brees there, and a Sean Payton too! The Saints just finished their season and their 13-3 record is good enough for a first round bye and the number one seed in the NFC. Fast forward to present day and the Saints are again 13-3 with a first round bye and the number one seed in the NFC. Coincidence? Maybe, but this is where it gets interesting. The Saints three losses in 2009 came against the Buccaneers, Cowboys, and Panthers. This year? You guessed it. The Buccaneers, Cowboys, and Panthers handed the Saints their three losses again this year. In 2009 it was the Cowboys who snapped the Saints 13 game win streak and this year it was the Cowboys who snapped the Saints 10 game win streak. In week 17 of the 2009 season the Saints rested quarterback Drew Brees as they had already clinched the number one seed. In that game they ended up losing to the Panthers who were also starting a backup quarterback. There’s no need to type out what happened this year, because you already know.
Here are the facts:
- This week the Saints will be host the defending Super Bowl Champion, Philadelphia Eagles.
- The Saints are 6-2 at home this season – one of those losses came in the final week of the season when Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara didn’t play a snap.
- In the past 10 years, the Saints have won more than 70% of their home games – fifth best in the entire league during that span.
- With Brees at quarterback and Sean Payton as his head coach, the Saints are 5-0 at home in the playoffs.
The Saints keys to victory:
- Let Brees be Brees. The Eagles have the 30th ranked pass defense. In their week 11 matchup against the Eagles, Brees threw for 363 yards and four touchdowns and stopped throwing the ball with just over 11 minutes left in the game.
- Win the turnover battle. Nick Foles has created believers but last week Philly lost the turnover battle 2-0 to Chicago. The Saints offense is too good for Philly to steal a win in New Orleans with a -2 turnover differential.
- Score touchdowns in the redzone. If there is one thing Philly does come to town with, it’s a great redzone defense. Once opponents have gotten inside their redzone, Philly only allows touchdowns 42% of the time – best in the NFL. As for the Saints, once they get inside opponents redzones, they score touchdowns almost 70% of the time – fourth best in the NFL. Failure to convert redzone opportunities in to touchdowns is a quick way to let an underdog hang around. As we learned last year, Philly has no problem being the underdog.
The Saints will take on the Eagles in the last game of the weekend this Sunday, January 13th, at 4:40pm (ET). Mr. Brees will be looking for an early 40th birthday gift as his birthday is just a few days later.
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