Login NowClose 






Are the Saints really good?

BY CALEB LAY

Daily Star Sports Reporter

sports2@hammondstar.com

The New Orleans Saints won six straight games after dropping the first two of the season, making them the third team in NFL history to accomplish such a feat. According to ESPN, the only two other teams to do this (the 2007 Giants and 1993 Cowboys) won the Super Bowl. In the words of my editor, J.D. Summerlin: "Let the unbridled optimism begin."

While the Saints' record (6-2) is good enough to be the top team in the NFC South and good enough to be tied with four other teams for the second-best record in the NFL, I'm not sure they're actually good. The reason for my doubt lies with the quality of opponents the Saints beat so far. All I do know is that New Orleans isn't a bad team.

New Orleans has one win against a team with a record above .500, the Carolina Panthers, and, while beating a divisional rival is tough, I'm still not sure how great of a win that is. The Panthers defeated the Patriots 33-30, but they also lost to a Chicago team quarterbacked by Mitch Trubisky and just traded their best receiver, Kelvin Benjamin.

Their other wins came against a Green Bay team without Aaron Rodgers, the Detroit Lions which only beat bad teams so far this season, the Dolphins who have the lowest scoring offense in the NFL, the Bears who, let me repeat, starts Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who are 2-6.

The two losses came against the Patriots, who we know are good because they have Tom Brady and Bill Bellicheck, and a healthy Minnesota Vikings team. Now, the Vikings start Case Keenum who's won the last four games he's started in, but against the Bears, Browns, Buccaneers and the Packers without Rodgers.

With all of that information, all fans can say is that the Saints aren't bad and probably the best team in a division where the other teams are inconsistent, have new coordinators or are just plain bad after getting the Hard Knocks treatment.

I'm not trying to be a Debbie Downer about the Saints. I think they've made defensive improvements from previous years and trading Adrian Peterson was a smart move that gives Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara more touches. I just think New Orleans fans should pump the brakes.

The only way fans can know that the Saints are a great or even a good team is if they can prove they can win against other good teams. Good teams don't lose to bad teams, so that's a good sign for New Orleans, but average teams also beat bad teams.

It's the next four games against potential playoff teams -- Buffalo, Washington, the Los Angeles Rams and a rematch with Carolina -- that will let fans know if New Orleans is a real contender.