https://lwosonnfl.ms.lastwordonsports.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2018/10/1047807698-612x612.jpg
NEW ORLEANS, LA – OCTOBER 08: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints reacts during the first half against the Washington Redskins at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 8, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Drew Brees is still the toast of the city of New Orleans this week. Brees broke one of the most prestigious of passing records for NFL quarterbacks in the history of the league. Certainly, the New Orleans Saints are ecstatic to have the league’s all-time leader in passing yardage. Additionally, his accuracy over his entire career is second to none. Still, there is still some unfinished business. The Saints stand at 4-1 coming into a bye week after a paramount beatdown of the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football. Now the Saints must prepare for a high-power stretch of six road games in the next nine total.

Under Sean Payton there have been numerous successes. Last year, in particular, was one of his finest coaching jobs to date. Turning a team that went through three 7-9 seasons into a legitimate playoff contender was quite an accomplishment. Still, there is one thing that eludes the Black and Gold over the course of the last 10 years. Since that glorious run in 2009 when the Saints won the Super Bowl. the road has been difficult “literally.”

In 2017, the Saints did go 4-4 on the road and finished 11-5 to win the NFC South. That being said, just think if the Saints could have won one or two more games on the road. Who knows what could have played out if the Saints played the Minnesota Vikings in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome instead of bowing out to the “Minneapolis Miracle.”

Moreover, think back to 2013 when the Saints won their first road playoff game. The Saints’ record on the road in 2013 was 3-5. Even still, the Saints went on to an 11-5 record and made it to the divisional round only to fall to the Seattle Seahawks 23-15 on the road. Once again, one more game won on the road could have changed the outcome of the season.

Keeping those examples in mind, there’s sufficient evidence to provide a pattern of underachieving on the road for sure. But there’s one season that will likely sting more than any other as far as disappointment. In 2011, the Saints had the team that should have competed for a Super Bowl. That year the Saints went 13-3 and won the NFC South. The tiebreaker for the two seed went to the San Francisco 49ers that season. Unfortunately, the Saints lost in agonizing fashion, in one of the best postseason games in history 36-32 on the road.

This one hurts to this day. It seems like yesterday. If the Saints would have won this game, there will always be the question of “what could have been?”

Missed Opportunities

But that wasn’t the case. The Saints did provide a more than respectful 5-3 record on the road. However, the losses were to the 2-14 Los Angeles Rams and the 4-12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Not exactly world beaters. Winning just one of those games would’ve put the 49ers game inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. That result may have been totally different that day.

Above all, the Saints had opportunities to close the deal in past years with just a bit more effort on the road. Drew Brees may be looking at his fourth ring in 2018, not his second. Of course, this is all hypothetical. There is no point in “beating a dead horse.” The 2018 season is all that matters now. Currently, the Saints sit at 4-1 with a 2-0 record on the road. 

All signs are pointing to a special season. This could be the best shot for the Saints to get another ring with the Sean Payton-Drew Brees combination. The road games start piling up on October 21st against the Baltimore Ravens. The stretch of six road games total out of the next nine will be telling. Surely, Payton has stressed the importance of winning on the road. It’s now up to the players to put the previous games under wraps. The black and gold have to stay hungry to take this season to another level.

Embed from Getty Images


View the original article on Last Word On Pro Football: New Orleans Saints Schedule: Why the Team Must Become Road Warriors