January 3, 2010

Postseason and offseason update

Stats history: The 2009 Saints enter the postseason with the 25th overall defense in yards allowed and 20th overall in points allowed. This is by far statistically the worst defense the Saints have entered the postseason of six previous playoff seasons.

However, the 2009 Saints enter the postseason with the top rated offense in yards and points, the second time in team history the Saints have pulled this off after 2008.

The 2009 Saints' point differential of +169 is also best in the league this year and by far the best in team history, better than the 1987 Jim Mora Saints with a +139 point differential. The top five teams in franchise history in terms of point differential all made the playoffs. The Saints have never before led the league in regular season point differential.

One more telling stat: the Saints finished the season with the lowest strength of schedule: .426. The Miami Dolphins were highest with .559.

Scheduling: The Packers-Cardinals and Cowboys-Eagles rematches will determine who the Saints host in two weeks. It will be unknown if the Saints play on a Saturday or Sunday until after the wildcard games are complete. UPDATE: The Saints will host their divisional game on Saturday at 3:30pm central.

The Saints are the #1 seed and will play the lower of the remaining seeds. The Saints will not play the #3 Cowboys in the divisional round for certain, but they may still play the #4 seed Cardinals, the #5 seed Packers or the #6 seed Eagles.

These games were played in Week 17 in the same locations as the wildcard games and they weren't close: the Packers destroyed the Cardinals 33-7 in Arizona and the Cowboys shut down the Eagles 24-0. If those outcomes are repeated in the wildcard round, the Saints will host the Packers and the Vikings will host the Cowboys. Should the Saints win, they will host the winner of the game that the Vikings host.

Should the Saints win in the divisional round, it will be the first time in franchise history that the team hosts two playoff games.

The Draft: The Saints' first round draft selection will not be sooner than 25th in this year's draft (barring a trade).

Losers of the divisional playoff games select from 25th to 28th based on record, then strength of schedule. Losers of the conference title games will pick 29th and 30th, based on record, then strength of schedule. The Superbowl loser picks 31st and the winner picks 32nd.

St. Louis owns the top pick and the right to draft Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh.

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