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Halo 10-08-2009 05:54 PM

First Time Ever, Saints getting mentioned as NFL's Best Team
 
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by Guerry Smith - Basking in the glow of their 4-0 start, the Saints officially have reached uncharted territory.

Check out Si.com, and you’ll see Peter King placing them No. 1 in his Fine 15 ranking of the best NFL teams. One click away, colleague Don Banks has them No. 1 in his NFL power ratings.

Clark Judge of CBS.com predicts the Saints will be the last team to lose a game.

Rankings in October (or for that matter, December) are meaningless, but this outpouring of love for the Saints is historical.

Until now, no one with an ounce of objectivity could have considered them the best team in the NFL at any time in their 43-year history.

When they ripped off a team-record nine wins in a row to finish 12-3 in strike-interrupted 1987, they did not even win their own division. The San Francisco 49ers went 13-2, leading the race the entire way and beating them 26-24 in the first post-strike game, a tough loss that prompted Jim Mora’s infamous "coulda, woulda, shoulda” speech.

When they won seven in a row following a 34-33 season-opening loss to the 49ers in 1988, no one took them seriously because of their 44-10 flameout against the Minnesota Vikings in the 1987 playoffs. They lived down to that lack of belief by losing five of their last eight games and missing the postseason.

When they won their first seven games in 1991 with a suffocating defense, they still were no match for the Washington Redskins, who started 11-0, shutting out three opponents in their first five games and scoring 34 or more in five of their first seven.

They had no case against the 49ers in 1992 despite going 12-4 and trailing by more than seven points only twice during the regular season. San Francisco swept them, finishing 14-2.

They had no case in 1993 even though they were the last unbeaten team at 5-0. The defending Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys, who lost their first two games while running back Emmitt Smith held out in a contract dispute, clearly were the league’s best team once he returned.

They had no case in 2006 despite their emotional 5-1 start. Eventual Super Bowl participants Indianapolis and Chicago both won their first six games.

This time, they have a legitimate case. Although the New York Giants, the Indianapolis, Minnesota and Denver are undefeated, too, none of them has been as dominant as the Saints.

The Saints aren’t just 4-0. Their scoring differential of +78 is 23 better than the next-best team (Denver). They have won every game by at least 14 points and have not trailed in 16 quarters, an incredibly rare accomplishment. Only three teams have gone longer without falling behind at the start of a season since 1970, according to WWL sports director Jim Henderson.

It’s not a function of an easy schedule. Two of the Saints’ victims, Detroit and Buffalo, are 1-3, but the other two, Philadelphia and the New York Jets, are 3-1.

New Orleans of the late 1980s and early 1990s was all defense, little offense. Sean Payton’s first three teams were all offense, little defense.

Through four games this year, the Saints have beautiful balance.

Quarterback Drew Brees was named NFC Offensive Player of the Month for September. Safety Darren Sharper was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week after picking off two passes against the Jets and returning one for a 99-yard touchdown.

Neither the numbers they’ve already posted nor the accolades they’ve already received will help the Saints get to the Super Bowl, but you should take time to enjoy all of them during the bye week.

Cynics who say this team has been here before and let everyone down are wrong. The Saints never have looked this good through four games.

Now it’s just a question of how they handle their lofty status.

Linkback: Examiner.com

B_Dub_Saint 10-08-2009 06:09 PM

Re: First Time Ever, Saints getting mentioned as NFL's Best Team
 
Hooooooooo-rayyyyyy!!!! Then after we beat the Giants we will be unstopable. Hahahahahahahahahahahaaha

Halo 10-08-2009 06:11 PM

Re: First Time Ever, Saints getting mentioned as NFL's Best Team
 
Nice article Guerry! We I can't seem to let go for some reason until we start chomping up divisional opponents!

RaginCajun83 10-08-2009 06:38 PM

Re: First Time Ever, Saints getting mentioned as NFL's Best Team
 
For some reason I'm not all that afraid of the Giants like I used to be, maybe its the injuries or the fact that the Saints already have beaten one overrated New York/New Jersey football team this year

B_Dub_Saint 10-08-2009 06:46 PM

Re: First Time Ever, Saints getting mentioned as NFL's Best Team
 
The hell with the Gay-iants. We are gonna stomp all over Eli's face.

QBREES9 10-08-2009 08:21 PM

Re: First Time Ever, Saints getting mentioned as NFL's Best Team
 
Keep bring the pressure. Eli look out cuz, The Saints Are Coming !!!!

foreverfan 10-08-2009 08:36 PM

Re: First Time Ever, Saints getting mentioned as NFL's Best Team
 
Wrong....

2002 the Saints were #1 in the power ratings at 8-1.

Ashley 10-08-2009 10:05 PM

Re: First Time Ever, Saints getting mentioned as NFL's Best Team
 
well its was a good read, not for sure if we will be the last to lose. but its nice to see this being said about our team. after all the years. GEAUX SAINTS !!

arsaint 10-08-2009 11:25 PM

Re: First Time Ever, Saints getting mentioned as NFL's Best Team
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by foreverfan (Post 169673)
Wrong....

2002 the Saints were #1 in the power ratings at 8-1.


NFL Power Rankings Week 8 - National Football League - ESPN

foreverfan 10-09-2009 08:04 AM

Re: First Time Ever, Saints getting mentioned as NFL's Best Team
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by arsaint (Post 169680)

8-1? Anybody remember this record breaking QB?
Thanks for the memories... at least the good ones. LOL

http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/.e1d/img/...ayers/4781.jpg


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