The Saints have pretty much been the darlings of the NFL this year and considered one of, if not the elite team in the NFC. But are they that much better than the Eagles? Are they better at all? Normally I try not to bog people down with stats, but I just felt we needed to take a real look the numbers that define these two teams. I'm just getting the feeling from some in the national media like there is a significant disparity between these two teams that just isn't there.
The Saints secured the #2 seed in the NFC playoffs by virtue of the head to head tiebreaker they held against the Eagles. Both teams finished with an identical 10-6 record.
Everyone knows the Eagles finished the season on a blistering pace winning their final five games and with last week's win are now currently riding a six game win streak. In the second half of the year, the Eagles won six of eight. The Saints? They finished up 4-4 with three of those losses coming at home.
Pretty much anyone would tell you the strength of the Saints has been their vaunted offense. I'm not even being sarcastic here. Brees has been one of the better QBs in the game, McCallister is a thousand yard back, rookie Colston is a thousand yard WR, and Joe Horn(who's doubtful and unlikely to play) has been one of the games better receivers in his career. Let's also not forget, "Brian Westbrook-lite" Reggie Bush. As good as the Saints offense has been they are ranked 5th in the NFL, one ahead of the 6th ranked Eagles. The Saints are scoring less than one point a game more than the Eagles. Even more surprising is that the Eagles have outrushed New Orleans this year to the tune of 124 to 120 yards a game.
Defense? Both the Saints and Eagles are giving up 20 points a game. Neither team is very good against the run, both are decent against the pass and the Saints do not force alot of turnovers. The Birds have 19 picks as a team, forced 18 fumbles, and scored 5 defensive TDs. The Saints have 11 INTs on the season, forced 12 fumbles and didn't score on defense. As far as pressuring the passer, NO has 38 sacks and the Eagles have 40.
For one team to be considered the one who had a rocky up and down year followed by an unlikely run at the playoffs, and the other team to be the one considered as consistent all year and seen as the best or second best team in it's conference... The numbers comparing the two are remarkably similar.