The first month of the 2017 season was an absolute roller coaster for the Saints, ending high on the first day of October.
Two short weeks ago, Who Dat Nation was in dismay. A 36-20 loss was the result of the Saints’ home opener against the Patriots. This just six days after New Orleans got smacked by the Vikings on national television to start the season. The reactions started pouring in, with some contemplating the possibility of breaking up the Sean Payton-Drew Brees duo we have all come to love.
However, a total 180 degree turnaround has taken shape for the Saints and their fans. The team had a 21-point victory over division rival Carolina on the road. Then, yesterday, London was a haven for the Saints. They stomped on the Dolphins, 20-0, pitching just the second shutout of the NFL season. This leads into the team’s bye week, which was thought to become a time of major change once the Saints dropped the ball against the Patriots.
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Instead, hope and confidence for the remainder of this season, and the future, is taking place. The initial problems, of course, stemmed from the team’s defense. Or lack there of. 65 points were given up through two games, putting massive pressure on the offense to perform perfectly. It was the same story, just different year for New Orleans.
Then, something changed. I’m still not sure if it was a group mental click, or if the defense finally became comfortable, but the Saints have vamped up defensive production. And, so far, they haven’t looked back.
It began in Charlotte, as the Saints gave up their lowest point total since 2014 (13) against Cam Newton’s offense. Four sacks, three interceptions, and six passes defended helped lead the Saints to a dominate road victory. Frowns turned to half smiles afterwards, while the team travelled to London for the second time in franchise history.
A surprising 20-0 win was the outcome. The first half was a mess for both teams, but an early interception by Ken Crawley in the end zone helped set the tone for the Saints. This carried on, as New Orleans didn’t give up any points or leverage, and the offense scored 17 second half points to complete the blowout.
With this next week being the bye before the Lions come to town, confidence is deep in the lifeblood for the Saints. There is no talk of anyone being fired. The only current trade talk amongst fans is that if Adrian Peterson, who’s role is being diminished. But that could be for the better, as the results seem to show.
The “here comes another 7-9 season” comments have almost completely halted, and have been replaced with double-digit win season predictions. The defense is looking better than ever, which we saw glimpses of during the preseason. Whether it’s a fluke, or a total turnaround for the better, positive vibes are running rampant down Bourbon Street. We’ll have to wait to see if this is too good to be true, but all signs are pointing to continued improvement for New Orleans.