Last year, Saints fans would've killed for a tough win against a bad team

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The front page of the Florida Times-Union
  • Screengrab taking from Jacksonville.com
  • The front page of the Florida Times-Union

Remember last season when the Saints had inexplicable losses to such lowly teams as the Cleveland Browns and the Arizona Cardinals? For New Orleans, it seemed that the famed "Super Bowl Hangover" affected them most when they were matched up against lesser teams looking to make a splash by defeating the defending champs.

The Saints are no long defending champs and that may be a good thing indeed. Sure, yesterday's 23-10 win wasn't the blowout everyone was expecting New Orleans to deliver to the one-win Jaguars, but would you rather have the Saints lose? Of course not.

There are many reasons to look at yesterday's game and have doubts about the Saints. It seems as if Gregg Williams' defense was ill-prepared for the possibility that Jacksonville would have rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert pass as much as he did. At the same time, it's not like the Saints defense took it easy on the Jags.

Depending on which Monday-Morning Quarterback you believe, the Saints were either too agressive at the end, didn't rely enough on the run — even though Payton's methods have held fast — or that the game was won by the kicking game. Or by Jimmy Graham. Or by Patrick Robinson.

Or you could just notice that the Saints completely dominated the Jaguars and the only reason the game was even close was because of Drew Brees' two interceptions. Think of it like this: if Brees hadn't thrown those picks, at the very least you could expect the Saints to have come away with two field goals on those drives so, conservatively speaking, the Saints could've won 29-10.

Coulda-woulda-shoulda is a silly game to be playing after a win, but it's moments like these that epitomize the Saints transition from perennial failure to proven success. It's not enough that the Saints win games anymore, especially against weaker teams. No, if the Saints find themselves against lesser teams, they must squash them entirely and destroy any hope they had of winning.

Basically, all Who Dats should really concern themselves with is that the Saints are sitting pretty at 3-1 and, depending on how Tampa Bay does tonight, are guaranteed at least a share of the division lead through the first quarter of the season. Anything else is just nitpicking numbers.

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