Here’s how the New Orleans Saints have fared after the BYE week in recent years

New Orleans Saints. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Saints can recover some crucial ground in the NFC South division battle, and their best shot is after the BYE week.

An early BYE was probably the best thing that could happen to this Saints team, which was running on fumes despite a strong win against Washington in Week 6.

There were players the Saints knew they wouldn’t be able to depend on for the first half of the season: Michael Thomas, Tre’Quan Smith, David Onyemata, Wil Lutz.

But there were also players that got injured early on, and their absence has hit the team particularly hard: Terron Armstead, Marcus Davenport, Erick McCoy, Kwon Alexander.

These are All-Pro, Pro Bowl, and all-around elite players who could return after the BYE, and that alone should do wonders for team morale.

The other thing that should help? History.

Just because the Saints achieved those winning streaks before doesn’t mean they can do it again in 2021. We’re aware that the events are independent and non-predictive.

New Orleans Saints have an excellent record after the BYE week

But an important common denominator in the Saints’ BYE history still stands as the head of the Saints franchise today: Sean Payton.

Ever since Payton was hired, the Saints have become one of the league’s most successful teams after a BYE week. They’re one of eight teams to win more than 66 percent of their games after a bye since 2006, and in that span, they have posted a 12-6 record after a BYE.

New Orleans’ success after the BYE has also translated to playoff berths. In the 14 years that Payton has served as head coach, the Saints have gone to the playoffs nine times. With the exception of 2006 and 2019, the Saints have won four of five games immediately following the BYE.

It’s spooky just how well the Saints have done after BYE weeks, as if Payton has some secret formula for transforming his team during just one week of rest.

The 3-2 Saints still have a long way to go to reach the playoffs, but some of their upcoming matchups may favor a rejuvenated New Orleans side. In Week 7, the Saints will face a Russell Wilson-less Seahawks offense, and in Week 8, the Saints face a Buccaneers team that’s desperately in need of secondary upgrades.

Next. 4 injured Saints who will help team go on a run after the BYE. dark

No playoff berth in the NFL is guaranteed, and the Saints’ history is just that: history. But given Sean Payton’s experience in the particular arena of BYE weeks, New Orleans should come out better prepared than ever.