Saints may be good enough to keep winning despite lackluster offense
The numbers are stunning for a team that has won two of its first three games.
The New Orleans Saints are 31st in yards per game the the NFL with 234 and 31st in passing yards (thank goodness for the Chicago Bears) at just 113.7 yards passing per game.
The Las Vegas Raiders lead the NFL with 379.7 passing yards per game.
The Saints are averaging only 3.8 yards per rush.
Yet, New Orleans is more than a touchdown favorite over the New York Giants this week with a chance to start the year with three wins in four games.
Saints quarterback Jameis Winston, who makes his first regular season home start Sunday for New Orleans, said he is more than okay with a supporting role.
“We know this team has an excellent offensive line,” said Winston on Wednesday. “We know that we are blessed having Alvin Kamara in the backfield. That’s a good thing for a quarterback in any room, right?”
For perspective, the 2021 Saints are not unlike the 1990 Saints. That squad made the playoffs in a year where their franchise quarterback Bobby Hebert missed the entire season in a contract dispute with the club.
Hebert had been the club’s starter since late in the 1985 season.
Jim Mora’s team sans Hebert scored a paltry 274 points that season but still reached the playoffs by winning the final game of the regular season to finish 8-8.
That season, Mora knew what he had, and what he didn’t have. The Saints started the season with two wins in their first seven games but closed quickly.
New Orleans allowed 10 points or less in five of their last nine games.
In the last six games of the season, the Saints threw for no more than 174 yards in any game.
The Saints were not a .500 club at any point in 1990 until they defeated the Los Angeles Rams 20-17 in the Superdome on New Year’s Eve night.
Can this year’s Black & Gold continue to win with such paltry offensive numbers?
Or will there come a time where an opportunistic defense, one that has led the Saints to a plus-5 in turnover margin, be unable to carry the water for the club?
What’s scary about the Saints defense is this current version isn’t the best we may see.
The team’s best interior defensive tackle, David Onyemata, hasn’t played a down as he serves a six-game suspension.
Two other starters, linebacker Kwon Alexander and defensive end Marcus Davenport, are both on injured reserve.
The 1990 Saints reached their ceiling with 8 wins. On Wild Card weekend, they were bounced from the playoffs by the Bears, 16-6, in the ice and cold of Chicago.
These Saints would seem to have a much higher ceiling, despite an offense that is at least statistically near the bottom.
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WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM
Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…