We’ll start off today’s round of team-by-team mailbags with the New Orleans Saints.
Eugene in New Orleans writes: I think before you write a story about the Falcons QB Ryan being 12-0 starting in the Georgia Dome and his last lost was to Denver in 2008 I think you need to do some more research he lost last year in the Dome and in the Georgia Dome to my WHO DAT NATION SAINTS; the score for the game in ATL was Saints 26 Falcons 23.
Pat Yasinskas: Umm, I did my research. You’re correct. The Saints won that game by the score you said. One important detail though: Matt Ryan did not start (or play) in that game because he was out with a toe injury. Chris Redman started.
Robert in Lincoln, N.C., writes: The Saints last year used a lot of pressure on defense to win. The last 5 games the defense has been way better than the offense without as much pressure it seems. A lot of guys are hurt and they still are very good. Is that because of Gregg Williams core defense? Is he just that much better of a coach?
Pat Yasinskas: The Saints still are using a good amount of pressure because that’s part of Williams’ defensive philosophy. He’s still blitzing even though he has a lot of guys out with injuries. The New Orleans defense is different than last year and that’s a good thing. Last year, this defense gave up a good amount of yards and points, but it was very opportunistic when it came to turnovers. This year, the turnovers aren’t flowing as much. But the Saints are much more consistent and able to get opposing offenses off the field without creating turnovers.
Kenny in Laplace, La. writes: "Had they lost, the season would have been well on its way to being over."What a dumb statement. How can you say that? Many teams have gone 4-4 and still made the playoffs. Once again that was dumb.
Pat Yasinskas: Hey, thanks. Maybe I didn’t make my point clearly enough on that. What I was saying was if the Saints had lost to the Steelers on Sunday night, the chances of them repeating as Super Bowl champions would have been pretty much over. I wasn’t talking about mere playoff chances. Sure, they could have gone from 4-4 to the playoffs, but they’d be getting in there as a late seed and that’s usually a formula to get bounced early and the downward momentum of another loss might have even continued and caused them to miss the playoffs. But they won the game. They’re 5-3 and very much alive in the NFC South race. Winning that game put them in great shape, while losing it would have put them in a deep hole.