The Saints are for real! (well, at least for now)
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Sep 23, 2009
There's obviously a lot of football to be played, but one team leaps screaming off the scorecard as we publish our first round of 2009 Quality Stats: New Orleans.
We expect things to change quite a bit, of course, between today and the end of the year. And New Orleans was lucky to face the worst team in football, Detroit, in Week 1, and the Eagles with a back-up quarterback in Week 2. But so far, the 2-0 Saints are easily the dominant performer out of the gate. They lead the NFL in points scored (93) and scoring differential (+44 points).
Here's how they stack up in each of our Quality Stats
No. 1 on the Offensive Hog Index – There are no dominant offensive lines through Week 2 of the 2009 season, but the Saints have been the most consistent across the board in the three indicators that comprise our OHI. One concern? The Saints have actually suffered a negative pass play (sack or INT) on 5.71% of drop backs – 11 teams have been better in this category.
No. 1 in Defensive Passer Rating – The Saints have allowed a meager 53.39 Defensive Passer Rating, edging out the Jets and Eagles for the top spot in the league. This performance might be the most encouraging sign yet out of New Orleans. However, it pays to keep in mind that the Saints have faced two quarterbacks who were making their first NFL starts, Detroit's Matt Stafford and Philly's Kevin Kolb.
No. 1 in Passer Rating Differential – The Saints easily lead the pack with a +79.5 margin in Passer Rating Differential – way ahead of the No. 2 Giants (+45.2). That's what happens when you lead the league in both offensive (132.9) and Defensive Passer Rating (53.39).
No. 2 in Passing Yards Per Attempt – The Saints average a tremendous 9.23 Passing YPA (using our formula that adjusts for sacks). Only the Colts, fresh off Peyton Manning's incredible performance against the Dolphins on Monday Night Football, are better (9.35 YPA).
No. 2 in Scoreability – The Saints require just 10.06 Yards Per Point Scored. That's a highly efficient ability to put points on the board, indicating that New Orleans leaves few points on the field. Only Minnesota (9.43 YPPS) is better after two weeks.
No. 6 on the Defensive Hog Index – The Saints were a meager 20th on our DHI last year. They've shot up quite nicely here in the early stages of 2009. The performance of their defensive front is highlighted by a unit that has surrendered just 2.88 yards per rush attempt.
No. 21 in Bendability – The Saints surrender just 14.16 Yards Per Point Allowed. This is clearly the team's statistical weak link. Despite the team's prolific offense, they're still making it too easy for opponents to score points.
(Note: we have not yet published our Relativity scores or our Big Play Index for 2009).
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