3 Stats That Prove Saints Are Still Legitimate Super Bowl Contenders in 2021

By michael obermuller
Head Coach Sean Payton looks ahead after a frustrating end to the last three Saints' seasons.
Head Coach Sean Payton looks ahead after a frustrating end to the last three Saints' seasons. / Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images
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For New Orleans Saints fans, it has been one playoff heartbreak after the next in recent seasons. From the Minneapolis Miracle from Stefon Diggs, to the infamous NFC Championship pass interference no-call in 2018, to this year's first-round overtime loss after missing out on a bye week at 13-3.

Still, the Saints remain among the Super Bowl favorites for next season, with the fourth-best odds (+1200) to win it all on FanDuel Sportsbook. This is no surprise, so long as future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees returns to lead his team for another campaign. This is a championship caliber roster, and here are some stats that prove that.

1. Elite Advanced Metrics

Drew Brees leads an experienced unit on to the field. His return will be key for a 2021 title run.
Drew Brees leads an experienced unit on to the field. His return will be key for a 2021 title run. / Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Football Outsiders' DVOA metric breaks down every single play comparing a team's performance to rest of the NFL. Weighted DVOA adjusts that total so that the later games have more value than the early season (in an attempt to show the team's most recent form). Heading into the playoffs, the Saints were actually playing at the top of their game according to this metric, ranking second behind the Baltimore Ravens. Aside from the Brees situation, the Saints have very few key players set to become free agents, so their late-season roster will make up majority of the team next year. This consistency is crucial towards a sport reliant on playbook knowledge and teamwork, and that elite DVOA ranking suggests that core of players is more than capable of being in Super Bowl contention again.

2. Defensive Line and Pass Rush

Marcus Davenport brings down Russell Wilson in a game against Seattle.
Marcus Davenport brings down Russell Wilson in a game against Seattle. / Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The Saints are built to be sturdy up front on both sides of the ball, but their defensive line flew under the radar a bit this season. New Orleans had one of the best run defenses all year, ranking eighth in the NFL in stuffed run percentage, per FootballOutsiders. They were also tied for the fifth most sacks, and they were fourth-best at getting hits on the quarterback. This is backed up by their sixth-ranked hurry rate (12.1 percent) of opposing passers. For context, the league leader was the San Francisco 49ers, who weren't far ahead at 14.7 percent. Considering the Saints will still have one of the top defensive ends in Cameron Jordan, plus a full season of Marcus Davenport, this defensive line could be even scarier next year.

3. Pass Protection and Run Blocking

Saints' rookie center Erik McCoy blocks for Drew Brees, in what was a brilliant rookie campaign.
Saints' rookie center Erik McCoy blocks for Drew Brees, in what was a brilliant rookie campaign. / Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

As I mentioned above, the Saints are dominant on both fronts. Their offensive line might even top the defensive unit, with ranks that put it as one of the most consistent in all of football. FootballOutsiders has the Saints as the top team in Adjusted Line Yards at 4.92. This statistic takes into account the offensive line's impact on a team's running game. They were also tied for the third-fewest sacks allowed in the NFL, also ranking third in adjusted sack rate (4.7 percent). The Saints offensive line should remain intact, with guard Andrus Peat as the only impending free agent. If they were to resign Peat, or even upgrade or adequately replace his role (which shouldn't be too challenging to accomplish), this line should remain elite with two anchor tackles in Ryan Ramczyk and Terron Armstead. Center Erik McCoy could be in for another big year after gaining some experience in his very impressive rookie season.


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Michael Obermuller is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Michael also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username king_mizzard. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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