July is finally here! Thankfully, Who Dat Nation has only a few more weeks to wait till the opening of the 2018 New Orleans Saints training camp. June and July can be miserable with plenty of blazing sultry sweat down in “The Big Easy.”
New Orleans Saints Win-Loss Record Depends on 49 Days on the Road
If you think you’ve felt the heat in other areas, nothing is like those four months of humidity. Believe me.
That being said, there’s nothing like the countdown to opening day once training camp finally opens. Christmas in July arrives again on Airline Highway as the Saints return for another year in Metairie.
The Saints tried to hold camp up in West Virginia for three years. The air was pure. The setting was magnificent, yet the Saints finished 7-9 each of last three years. Those times seem like eons ago.
Even before last season’s start, few experts had much hope for the Saints making the playoffs. Now in 2018, the Saints are relevant again. Some prognosticators even have the Saints favorite to go to the Super Bowl or at least contend.
Of course, there’s good reason to take stock in that. Most of their key pieces remain intact, and the defense showed remarkable improvement last year. No one said that the Saints had to be a top-five defense to win it all. If the Saints could muster out an average defensive squad then the Saints would be a viable threat.
That happened, along with the onset of Alvin Kamara put the Saints in a position last year to make a run. That run should’ve given the Saints an NFC Championship appearance but ended with the “Minneapolis Miracle.” That one play ended an incredible momentous run by the up and coming Saints of 2017.
Of course, that year is over. There’s no flying underneath the radar in 2018. The evidence is there to be bullish about the team’s hopes in 2018. Saints fans have to be salivating for the start of the season.
Make no mistake though, this season’s test will lie in a 49-day test of wills that begins a long road literally. While the Saints schedule is already ranked the second-toughest schedule in the NFL. It’s those nearly seven weeks with ONE home game that sticks out the most.
After the home game on September 16th against the Cleveland Browns, there is only ONE game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome till November 4th. No doubt, the Saints have a much softer beginning, with a home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland. It’s that road stretch that has to be one of the longest in recent time.
Looking at the Saints record on the road versus those four teams stands around .350 winning percentage over 50 years of results. Of course, the division game against the Atlanta Falcons can go either way regardless of venue. Take that game out and the Saints are 8-29 against the New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, and Baltimore Ravens on the road combined.
The winning percentage hovers just over 20 percent against those teams on the road. History is not always right but it can give an idea of where the heart of the schedule lies.
In order for the Saints to become elite, they must win on the road more consistently. This long grinding stretch is likely to define this 2018 team.
An 0-2 start this year would be devastating with the plethora of road games that come soon after. Also, the schedule is not exactly “cake” the rest of the way with home games against the Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, and Pittsburgh Steelers.
This team better be ready opening day. No excuses period.