Saints Proving They're Not Viable Contenders Without Home-Field Advantage

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Saints Proving They're Not Viable Contenders Without Home-Field Advantage
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints were thoroughly whipped Monday night by the Seattle Seahawks, 34-7. But more so than the 27-point shellacking, there’s another troubling trend the Saints need to worry about.

While the Saints own an impressive 9-3 record and are 6-0 at home in the Superdome, New Orleans is far more susceptible on the road with just a .500 winning percentage.

The Saints are still firmly in the playoff picture, standing in a dead heat with the Carolina Panthers for both the NFC South lead and the No. 2 seed on the NFC’s side of the playoff bracket. But with a playoff road game—possibly multiple road games—in their future, the Saints don’t look like a team that can make it to the Super Bowl.

Quarterback Drew Brees threw for just 147 yards against the Seahawks. He’s only thrown for fewer yards 13 times as a starter in his 182-game career and only twice with the Saints since 2006.

The running game was next to nonexistent as well. New Orleans gained 44 yards on the ground and averaged 2.6 yards per carry. The only time this season the Saints have been more futile in the ground game was during a Week 9 matchup against the New York Jets where they gained only 41 yards on the ground. That game was also a road loss for the Saints.

On defense the Saints, who came into the game ranked third in the league in pass defense allowing a mere 198 yards through the air per game, gave up 302 passing yards. Only one other time this year had New Orleans allowed a team to throw for more than 300 yards, that was a road game against the Chicago Bears.

The Saints started flat and got into a 17-0 hole in the first quarter and gave up 27 first-half points while allowing Seattle to gain 315 total yards.

Only one team (the New England Patriots in Week 6) scored more than 27 points on New Orleans for an entire four quarters. But Seattle dropped 27 on the Saints in the first half. Seattle’s 315 yards of offense in the first half was more than the Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers gained over their entire games.

What do those four teams have in common as it pertains to New Orleans? They were all opponents that played the Saints in the Superdome.

The woes of the Saints on the road are well documented, as is the fact that this team has never won a road playoff game. But now that Seattle has a two-game lead on New Orleans for the NFC’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs with only four games left to play, the Saints had better get used to the fact that they’ll have to travel to get to the Super Bowl if Seattle sticks around.

If the Saints don’t take care of business against the Panthers in the coming weeks (the two face off twice in the next three weeks), New Orleans may be thrust into a situation where it’ll have to travel to an NFC Championship game no matter who the opponent is.

After the game Brees told WDSU-TV the loss was a matter of the team not playing well and running into a Seahawks team that looked every bit like a team that’s the dominating force in the NFL.

The problem for the Saints is that not playing well seems to be a trend when New Orleans hits the road. Scoring goes down away from the Superdome (33.2 points per game at home and only 18.8 on the road) and the defense allows more points (15.8 points per game at home and 22.5 on the road).

If the Saints can’t fix their dreadful road curse and find a way to erase a great bit of negative history, the playoffs this season won’t be a long or fruitful outing for this New Orleans team.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and statements were obtained firsthand.

Knox Bardeen is the NFC South lead writer for Bleacher Report and the author of “100 Things Falcons Fans Should Know & Do Before they Die.” Be sure to follow Knox on Twitter.

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