Much like a school house bully, the Saints have been targeting the "nerdy kids" of the NFL (Lions, Chiefs, Raiders, and others). Although lacking many trademarks of the bullies arsenal, such as wedgies, swirlies, and verbal harassment, the Saints have badgered their way to mediocre records at the expense of the league's worst teams.
The Saints are a team loaded with talent, and even won a total of 26 games in three years, but when matched up against winning teams, the Saints lose; so much so, that over the last three years, including their run to championship, the Saints have only beat six teams with winning records. Six teams in three years!
In 2006, they beat Philadelphia twice and crushed Dallas in Sean Payton's return to Big D. In 2007, they defeated Seattle and Jacksonville; in 2008, they only managed to defeat Tampa, Atlanta, and the dorks, nerds, and geeks of the league en route to an 8-8 record.
To put that in perspective, last year the New York Giants defeated six teams with winning records in the regular season alone. Essentially, they did in one year what it took the Saints three years to do.
If the Saints remain unable to beat tough, well-rounded teams, they are going to have a long and frustrating 2009.
After opening the schedule against the biggest "nerd" of them all (the Detroit Lions of 0-16 infamy), the Saints will be facing the Eagles, Jets, Giants, Dolphins, Falcons, Panthers, Bucs, Patriots, and Cowboys, for a total of nine games against teams with winning records in 2008.
Although some of these teams, such as the Bucs, Dolphins, and perhaps the Jets, are expected to drop off in 2009, the Saints are clearly going to need to do a better job of beating the winners if they want to be successful.
The Saints will at least need to double their annual win total against successful teams to have any realistic shot at the postseason. It won't be easy getting so many wins against tough teams, but once the Saints can do that, they'll be considered contenders.
Until then, their just a bully with a nerd in their cross-hairs.
I'll wrap things up with a message from Coach Harris to nerds everywhere, "Nerds! Well, if I was you, I'd do something about it. I would get up and redeem myself in the eyes of my father, my maker, and my coach!"
-Revenge of the Nerds
Hang in there, nerds!