The Horseshoe's on the Other Helmet
The New Orleans Saints clearly have the edge over the Indianapolis Colts in luck this season. And as the teams prepare for Super Bowl XLIV, that isn't necessarily a good thing.
While 15-3 New Orleans led the league in scoring, the 16-2 Colts have been stronger per play. Including playoffs and regular-season games in which the teams didn't rest their starting quarterback, the Colts gained 1.01 more yards per play than their opponents did. The Saints' figure was 0.76.
Meanwhile, the Saints have enjoyed a greater helping of fumbles, funny bounces and bad opponents than the Colts. There was the Week 13 gift in Washington, when the Saints scored a touchdown on a play in which quarterback Drew Brees threw an interception, then went on to win after the Redskins missed a chip-shot field goal. Then there was their NFC title-game victory, which came courtesy of five Minnesota Vikings turnovers. In all, four of the Saints' wins turned on turnovers and other flukes.
Luck of the Saints
New Orleans has gotten the benefit of several factors this season that it can't necessarily count on in Sunday's Super Bowl against the Indianapolis Colts.
Opponents' win % .458 .452
Turnover ratio +10 +20
Nonoffensive TDs 3 10
Per-play yardage margin* 1.01 0.76
Wins by 8 pts of fewer 8 5
Note: All stats include playoff games and exclude games in which the teams rested key starters.
The schedule was also kinder to New Orleans: Including playoff opponents and excluding meaningless games, Saints opponents had a .452 winning percentage, compared with the Colts' .485.
The teams arguably have been bit by the injury bug equally, with the Colts hit hard in the secondary and key Saints like Reggie Bush and Jeremy Shockey slowed by injuries periodically.
Still, the karma has been more on the Saints' sideline overall; their only hope is that it stays there.