Why the New Orleans Saints Are the Scariest .500 Team in the NFL
While things looked horrible for the Saints early in the year after an 0-4 start (that "1" in the Kansas City Chiefs' 1-9 record is thanks to the Saints), Drew Brees and Co. have rebounded in a big way. It's an impressive feat considering all the drama surrounding the Saints after Bountygate.
Brees has been the most impressive and is the main component as to why the Saints are the scariest .500 team in the NFL.
After setting multiple records last season, Brees has once again lit it up under center for the Saints this year. He has thrown for 3,066 yards in 10 contests along with 28 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. His rating is great at 99.8, and he is completing an astounding 62 percent of his passes.
Brees has been supported by an impressive roster of quality running backs who are finally receiving the amount of carries they deserve. Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory have emerged as a three-headed monster in the backfield behind Brees.
As if Brees alone wasn't enough to make the offense elite, the crop of running backs giving him a legitimate running game has allowed him to torch opposing defenses even more. When Darren Sproles is healthy, the Saints have an unfair four running backs who can rip apart opposing defenses.
Defensively, the Saints are the laughingstock of the NFL thanks to shoddy tackling from nearly every player on the roster.
The Saints rank dead last against the run and second-to-last against the pass. The unit gives up the most total yardage per game in the NFL at a jaw-dropping 463 yards per game.
There haven't been many standouts on the defensive side of the ball, but defensive end Cameron Jordan appears to be having a breakout year with six sacks through the first 10 games. Aside from him, there isn't much to speak of about the unit.
Despite having the NFL's worst defense, the Saints have managed to win five of their last six games, including a massive win over division rival and at-the-time undefeated Atlanta Falcons.
If there's one thing the 31-27 Week 10 victory over the Falcons showed us, it's that the Saints can hang with the elite teams of the NFL on a weekly basis. It also means the Saints are more than capable of making the postseason with three divisional games remaining in 2012.
The NFC is ultra-competitive this year, with three teams with 6-4 records and one team at 7-3 all jockeying for wild-card position. As of now, the Saints aren't in the conversation, but Brees and Co. very well could be sooner rather than later.
Not only do the Saints have three divisional games remaining, they have a shot at the NFC East-leading New York Giants who sit at only 6-4. New Orleans also has a chance to cut down the currently 5-5 wild-card hopeful Dallas Cowboys as well.
The Saints are one of three NFL teams currently sitting at the .500 mark, as both the Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals share identical records with New Orleans.
Will the Saints make the playoffs despite being 5-5?
While the Cowboys are barely scraping by with victories thanks to mediocre coaching, there is no doubt the Saints are a better team. The young Bengals have shown flashes, but the inconsistency displayed means the explosive Saints are a much better team at the moment.
Dallas struggled to defeat the lowly Browns, and the coaching staff has serious issues getting the most out of the talent on the roster. The Bengals have dropped games to the Browns and the mediocre Miami Dolphins but have feasted on inferior competition such as the Chiefs.
Things are looking up for the Saints, but it could be too little too late thanks to just how great the NFC has been this year. New Orleans is a great story and easily the most dangerous .500 team when compared to the Cowboys and Bengals.
In fact, Brees and the Saints could possibly be the most dangerous team in the NFL. There is not a team in the NFL that wants to play the Saints right now, and rightfully so.
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