The season is young. In September, teams are just trying to establish an identity for themselves. For the 2018 New Orleans Saints, there are two very different ways to go, the rest of the season. The total of 544 points is not some random number. The number is a gauge to measure if the Saints continue on ‘as is.’
New Orleans Saints Points Total: How to Get to 544
First, take a look at the current NFL standings as they stand. Forget about the wins and losses for a second. The point differential for the 2018 Saints stands at +1 at the moment. Currently, the Saints have 104 points scored total versus 103 points given up over three total games. That averages to a little over 34 points a game. If the Saints continue on this pace, that equals to a total of 544 points.
The good news is the number of points just about matches the 2011 season on offense. That season, the Saints scored 547 points and nearly broke the all-time record for points in a season. Also, the Saints made a run that year that ended against the San Francisco 49ers. The Saints lost in the divisional round 36-32, a defeat that still haunts Who Dat Nation.
That Saints team was one of the best under head coach Sean Payton. Of course, there was no Super Bowl in that year. However, the team achieved a great deal. The game against the 49ers remains to be one of the best playoff games ever. The only problem was, the Saints came out on the short end of the stick.
Keep that number 544 in your head. Now, the 2011 Saints defense wasn’t top five or top 10 that year. The 339 total points given up was sufficient to give the Black and Gold a chance. That point total over a 16-game schedule was about 21 points a game.
The Other Side of the Coin
Remember, the 544 point total looked good on paper. Any offense would be ecstatic scoring that many points in one given season. On the other hand, giving up that same total would also set a record. Basically, the good and the bad are two different directions at this point. The current NFL record for points given up stands with the 1981 Baltimore Colts at 533.
Furthermore, a very unforgettable team stands in third place in that category. The 1980 Saints gave up a plethora of points. The total of 487 points stands third in NFL history. That 1980 season the Saints went 1-15. Also, the Colts went 2-14 when they set the all-time record. Indeed, this team is not going 1-15 or 2-14. Not a chance with Drew Brees throwing darts all over the field. No one is going to dare make that dire prediction.
Nevertheless, this team has to make a move this week. The improvements must start happening soon, or this season could end being another mediocre year. After Week Four, there are certain trends and patterns that can be hard to break. This team has a chance to really do something special if the defense gets on board quickly.
In 2017, the Saints scored 448 points against 326 points on defense. Breaking down the total points per game gives a 21 points per game average. Ironically, its very close to the 2011 season. The evidence is clear, the number of points given up can make or break a season. There are always exceptions to the rules, but Sean Payton doesn’t want to go down that road.
Each game played has its own idiosyncrasies and unique characteristics. Giving up less points is always a safe bet. The Saints must stay vigilant the whole entire game from start to finish. Time is going to bring this story to a close one way or another. Hopefully, the Saints pick the right road.