The New Orleans Saints ended 2009 with a 13-3 record. Let me say that 13 wins in a season is never easy to reach, let alone 13 in a row. This year, the Saints proved that they were one of the upper echelon teams of the NFL.
However, glancing over the schedule, I noticed something that I couldn't keep to myself - the Saints schedule has featured less-then-stellar competition. Don't get me wrong, I'm not here to make the same arguement that you always here: "They haven't played anybody good!" But I will say that the Cardinals and ROTB faithful shouldn't be that worried.
This year, New Orleans' opponents have a combined record of 109-147, and of the 16 teams they've faced, four had winning records; the Eagles, Patriots, Falcons, and Jets. Let's think about this for a moment.
- The Eagles only win against a team with a winning record was the Falcons, who didn't make the playoffs.
- The Patriots and the Eagles were both badly knocked out of the playoffs just last week.
- The Falcons didn't make the playoffs but did manage to hang with the Saints down to the wire in both games they played.
- That leaves the Jets, who are a good team that won in the wild card round last week. The Saints also beat the Jets after they started the season 3-0.
Again, I'm not making the arguement that the Saints are a product of a weak schedule, but that the Cardinals aren't in as much danger as we may think. Yes, the Saints held the second-best record in the league, were the #1 seed for the NFC, featured five pro bowlers on the roster, and were the highest scoring team in the NFL - they earned it. But as you can see, they have a lot riding on their shoulders and many will be counting on the Saints to win - no pressure.