White Christmas. It’s a Wonderful Life. Diehard? Seriously, a movie about a hero cop fighting terrorists — a Christmas movie c’mon. That’s a debate for another day. Usually, the holiday season brings back fond memories of family, friends, and food. The Christmas holiday arrived a bit early for Who Dat Nation. And the slaughter of the G.O.A.T. came just at the right time last Sunday to put the New Orleans Saints fans in a jubilant mood right during the Christmas holidays. Don’t look now, but the Saints defense is getting close to a team of the past. The 1992 Dome Patrol days. And this team possesses the goods to make noise in the playoffs.
New Orleans Saints Look to Turn back the Clock to 1992
The message of giving came with plenty of wishes granted on Sunday. And as they say, giving is better than receiving. The Saints gave plenty to be thankful for. And here are just a sample of the grateful goodwill the black and gold distributed.
Somehow the Saints are still in the playoff mix at 7-7. The challenges the Saints faced this season were unlike any other. Injuries, COVID-19, and quarterback changes affected the Saints for most of the season. And it would’ve been easy for the Saints to pack it in for a better draft pick in 2022. However, the Saints stayed the course, with a stifling defense including a shocking shutout win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-0.
This defense is slowly becoming a force now. Flashes of the Saints from the 1990s are becoming a reality. In the last three games, the Saints averaged 12 points a game given up. Although the total is only over three games — the trend has been moving lower and lower. If you take a look at the 1992 Saints defense points allowed — the total added up to 202 points over a 16-game season.
New Orleans Saints Scoring Defense the Last Three Games
The average points per game were 12.6 points. Astounding no doubt. This team isn’t there yet, but the blueprints are there. And regardless of who is the starting quarterback, giving up 12 points a game will always put the Saints in the game.
Take note. The Saints gave up 20 points against the Dallas Cowboys. One of the touchdowns was a 29-yard interception by Carlos Watkins to put the game away. The Saints lost 27-17. In the next game, the Saints beat the New York Jets 30-9 allowing zero touchdowns. Then, the black and gold shut out the Buccaneers 9-0. Once again, the defense only allowed field goals. No touchdowns.
Winning is Everything
Surely, this was not the original plan coming into the season with Jameis Winston starting the season off impressively with a 5-2 record. There were ups and downs but the offense started to flash at times. The defense was not the pinnacle of the Saints identity. Now it’s obvious. The Saints are now led by the defense. No one saw another demolition of Tom Brady coming again. No one. Honestly, it’s irrelevant now. If the Saints put on a pass rush going into the game on Monday Night Football — another win is more than possible.
Rookie quarterback Ian Book now takes the keys for his first start on a national stage. COVID-19 knocked out everyone else. The Saints were so desperate — Blake Bortles has come in to play a backup role just in case. But it just doesn’t matter. Saints have proved time and time again — winning starts with the other side of the ball.
Look for the Saints to once again be in a low-scoring affair on Monday. If the Saints can muster up about 20 points — guaranteed victory! Doesn’t have to be pretty. Winning to get to an improbable 8-7 record would be an achievement in itself. This team could be special.
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