There is simply no way getting around it. After two years of giving up points left and right, it’s time for the New Orleans Saints to “buck up” and dig in.
Points allowed are the number one problem that Dennis Allen’s defense must address in 2016 to get back to their winning ways. There is simply no other statistic that will be more important for the new season.
The Denver Broncos faced the Carolina Panthers in last year’s Super Bowl. The Broncos gave up 296 points in 2016, while the Panthers gave up 308 points. The Saints weren’t that good, as they gave up a whopping 476 points. To be exact, the Saints gave up 29.75 points per game on average. Furthermore, the Saints only scored 408 points which led them to a scoring deficit. This one category has to be improved, and the results are simply too easy to see how this affects the win-loss ration.
Also in 2014, the Saints gave up 424 points in total. The record again was 7-9 which obviously was not nearly enough to make a postseason run. Not to sound like a broken record, but the two teams that made the Super Bowl, New England and Seattle, gave up 254 and 313 points. It’s almost unfathomable to think that the Seahawks 2014 gave up only 16 points per game that season, which is about half as many points the Saints allowed in 2015.
So, when was the last time the Saints went to the playoffs you ask? In 2013, the Saints went 11-5 and gave up only 304 points. This is when Rob Ryan was the King of New Orleans. Notice that the offensive point total was about the same, finishing out at 414 points. The offense cannot be asked to score more points. If the Saints put up more points, the defense will most likely spend more time on the field. Defense wins championships, and the answer is clear on what the Saints need to do.
Looking at 2015, the Saints allowed 21 points or less five different times. The Saints won every single game when that happened. The answer is surely simple. Yards look pretty on paper, but wins are what get you into the playoffs. There is no clearer “black and white” identifying statistic than points allowed. The Saints should make it their goal every game to work on red zone defense. Allowing field goals versus touchdowns would be good start, as the common football math says that 3 points given up is always better than 6.
In 2016, there will be clear proof in the first four games on how the season will turnout. Look at the points allowed and compare that to the win-loss column. Hopefully, the Saints will stiffen up around the red zone. Allowing 21 points and under should be just about right for the Saints defense in 2016.