New Orleans Saints fans should send the Arizona Cardinals a gift this holiday season. At the very least they should send the team a Christmas card.
The Cardinals defeated the San Francisco 49ers 21-19 this past Sunday, opening the door for the Saints to gain the second seed in the NFC. With the No. 2 seed, the Saints would receive a first-round playoff bye and a home playoff game. It will also guarantee that the Saints will not play the Green Bay Packers until the NFC title game.
No team may need a home-field advantage like the New Orleans Saints. At home this season, the Saints average 39.8 points per game. On the road the Saints only average 24.9 points a game. New Orleans is undefeated in the Superdome but has lost at St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Green Bay. If you throw out Green Bay, the Saints have lost to two teams with a combined record of 6-19.
The Saints have only forced four turnovers in road games but have turned the ball over 10 times. In the dome, New Orleans has forced eight turnovers and only turned the ball over four times on offense.
On defense, the Saints are giving up 25 per game on the road but only give up 18 points per game at home. At home, the defense feeds off the crowd in the Super Dome and plays much better.
Red zone is where offenses make their living. The red zone is the area from the 20-yard line to the goal line on the defense side of the field. On the road, the Saints have converted 9 out of 27 trips inside their opponents' 20-yard line. The Saints defense has allowed teams to convert 13 out of 17 trips into the red zone.
At home, the Saints are 22 out of 31 in the red zone on offense. On defense, New Orleans has held opponents to eight out of 15 in red zone opportunities.
With three games left in the season, the Saints need to win out on the road against Minnesota and at home against Atlanta and Carolina. New Orleans also needs the 49ers to lose at least one more game in their final three games.
San Francisco plays Pittsburgh at home and travels to Seattle and St. Louis to end the season. Best chance for a loss could come against the Steelers.
"Dome sweet dome" has never has meant more for the New Orleans Saints than it has this season.