Sure, plenty might mention the upstart 49ers, but that team is still too new and inexperienced in postseason play to be considered a legitimate Super Bowl pick.
No, instead it is the New Orleans Saints who have somehow become the unanimous dark horses for a Super Bowl run.
Led by Drew Brees, who is having the most proficient season by any quarterback in the history of the league, the Saints have one of, if not the most potent offense in the league. There's no team in the NFL that doesn't dread having to make a trip to the Superdome.
However, the problem for New Orleans is that home games will likely be hard to come by this offseason.
As of the time of this article's writing, San Francisco is one win against the lowly Rams from locking up the No. 2 seed in the NFC. If they win that game, as they are predicted to do, the Saints will find themselves guaranteed only one home game this postseason.
Peeling back the regular season stats, we realize just how damning of a fact that is.
Outside of the Superdome, the Saints have gone 5-3 against teams with a combined record of 50-70. Take away the loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 1, however, and the combined record of their opposition away from home is 36-69.
Another important stat is that the Saints have outscored their opposition by only 24 points outside of the Superdome, with a total combined score of 218-196 in those games.
Perhaps most concerning of all, the Saints only defeated two teams with winning records on the road this year, and even then they never did so by more than five points.
Normally, a team might be able to lean back on hard-nosed defense while being tested on the road, but these Saints have no such luxury.
The Saints defense ranks 25th overall in the league, falling all the way down to 28th in passing defense and dead last in forcing turnovers.
These are not encouraging stats to the New Orleans faithful, nor should they be. It paints the portrait of a team that has not truly been tested on the road this season and has not lived up to their lofty expectations against the meager opposition they have faced.
Obviously, this raises the question of whether or not the Saints will be able to defeat Green Bay or San Francisco on the road, as they will inevitably have to do.
Ultimately, for all the flash and achievements that the New Orleans Saints have accomplished at home this season, their season will ultimately come to an end on the road.
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