Saints Shine in First Quarter of 2009 NFL Season

Donna CavanaghCorrespondent IOctober 10, 2009

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 27:  Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints calls the play during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 27, 2009 in Orchard Park, New York. The Saints won 27-7. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

The Saints are one of the teams to start this year with a record of 4-0. At, our expectations were high for the Saints this season as we expected that they would win their division and play the Giants in the NFC championship. Nothing we have seen in the first quarter of this year makes us rethink our projection. If we were to rethink anything, it might be the expectation of the Giants as the NFC champions.

The Saints currently have the best Relative Performance Measure in the league with an RPM of 68.6. (For more details on the RPM see the Bleacher Report article “Week 2 Performance Rankings” where we do a more through explanation of this measure).

The Saints have achieved their 4-0 record while facing teams with a combined record of seven wins and eight losses or a .467 winning percentage. The four teams that they have played have a combined RPM of -20. By either measure, their first-quarter schedule ranked 20th in the league.

Their schedule going forward does not look much tougher. Their future opponents have a combined record of 16 wins and 28 losses for a winning percentage of .364 which is the lowest winning percentage of any team’s future opponents’ schedule. By the RPM measure, their future opponents have a combined -96 which ranks 27th in the league. 

By contrast, the Giants have played teams with a combined record of four wins and 12 losses (a 0.250 winning percentage) and an RPM of -103. The negative 103 RPM was the easiest four game combination in the league. By combined record, the .250 winning percentage also ranked as the easiest in the league.

Going forward, the Giants’ future opponents have a combined 26 win - 17 loss record (0.605 winning percentage) and a combined RPM of -2.  From a winning percentage point of view, that is the second toughest schedule while from an RPM point of view it is the 14th toughest.

Our outlook looks bright for the Saints. Their schedule does not look tough, and their performance has been outstanding.  If they keep it up, we could easily see them playing the Giants, who are number two on our RPM chart with an RPM of 56, in the NFC championship game which was our original forecast for them. 

The full Week 4 Performance Ranking chart is below: