There’s an old saying that indicates there is only one way to go when you reach the top…down. Well, the Saints reached the top of the NFL last February, upsetting the Colts in an epic Super Bowl. Now comes the quest to repeat. It starts however with the division, as no NFC South team has ever won back-to-back division titles. Let’s preview the 2010 New Orleans Saints, who for the first time ever, play as the hunted team heading into a season. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 2009 Record:16-3 (+4.1 ML Units), 10-9 ATS DIVISION:NFC South COACH:Sean Payton, 5th year (42-27 SU, 36-32 ATS) STADIUM:Louisiana Superdome Odds to win Super Bowl XLV:9 to 1, NFC Title:3.5 to 1 StatFox Power Rating:30 (#1 of 32) StatFox Outplay Factor Rating:+10.6 (#1 of 32)
2009 Key Team Stats & NFL Ranks Scoring Differential: +10.6 (#1 of 32) Yardage Differential: +46.1 (#9 of 32) Yards Per Play Differential: +0.78 (#7 of 32) Yards Per Point Differential: +4.14 (#3 of 32) Turnover Differential: +12 (#3 of 32) Total Offense (Yards Per Game): 403.9 (#1 of 32) Total Defense (Yards Per Game): 357.8 (#24 of 32)
2010 SCHEDULE: Strength – 20.19 (22nd toughest of 32) DATE – OPPONENT, TIME 9/9/10 – MINNESOTA, 8:30 PM 9/20/10 – at San Francisco, 8:30 PM 9/26/10 – ATLANTA, 1:00 PM 10/3/10 – CAROLINA, 1:00 PM 10/10/10 – at Arizona, 4:05 PM 10/17/10 – at Tampa Bay, 1:00 PM 10/24/10 – CLEVELAND, 1:00 PM 10/31/10 – PITTSBURGH, 8:20 PM 11/7/10 – at Carolina, 1:00 PM 11/21/10 – SEATTLE, 4:05 PM 11/25/10 – at Dallas, 4:15 PM 12/5/10 – at Cincinnati, 1:00 PM 12/12/10 – ST LOUIS, 4:05 PM 12/19/10 – at Baltimore, 1:00 PM 12/27/10 – at Atlanta, 8:30 PM 1/2/11 – TAMPA BAY, 1:00 PM
Sample StatFox Power Trend for 2010
Over the L2 seasons, NEW ORLEANS is 9-0 ATS (+9 Units) in non-conference games. The Average Score was NEW ORLEANS 33.2, OPPONENT 19.3 NFL Scores
While not at the typical post-championship level, New Orleans did experience some of the roster raid that comes with being at the top of the profession. Some key contributors, including RB Mike Bell and LB Scott Fujita, skipped town while others were still tied up in free agency, but the fact the Saints return somewhat intact makes another deep playoff run a strong possibility…Coming off four consecutive seasons with at least 4,368 yards passing, few quarterbacks have the leeway of Drew Brees in Payton’s aggressive West Coast offense. Brees is the total package under center, falling just shy of an NFL record for completion percentage (70.6), and he is surrounded by a diverse group of pass catchers. Seven different players grabbed at least 39 throws and all return to the huddle, led by Marques Colston (70 catches, 1,074 yards, nine scores). The loss of Bell, the short-yardage runner among the three-headed backfield attack, shouldn’t impact much. Pierre Thomas ran for a team-high 793 yards and six scores and looked the part of a lead back during the playoff run. He still gives way to Reggie Bush in certain pass situations. Brees directed the NFL’s best offense behind a line that had three Pro Bowl selections—all five starters return…Coordinator Gregg Williams’ defenses create turnovers, 39 last year, and eight were brought back for touchdowns, breaking the backs of opponents. Don’t be fooled by the team’s low ranking against the pass (26th), since most opponents were playing catch-up. The loss of Fujita may sting in the short term, but Jonathan Vilma’s presence (110 tackles) in the middle will aid any transition at the position…Navigating a defending champion’s schedule will be tough, as will playing as the hunted team, but the Saints’ explosiveness gives them a strong chance to defend their title. Baseball Scores
YouWager.com Regular Season Wins Prop: Over/Under 10.5 StatFox Steve’s Take: I’ve mentioned the trend of a NFC South team never winning back-to-back titles on several occasions now. This Saints team to me seems like the first one probable to do it, and for one reason, Drew Brees. As long as he is under center, the Saints have the best quarterback in the division. The rest is gravy. I look for a 11-5 or 12-4 season. OVER.
For a more complete look at the 2010 college and pro football seasons, pick up your copy of our annual football magazine, the StatFox Edge, a 160-page Ultimate Handicapping Resource! Basketball Scores
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