1. The New Orleans Saints have the worst point differential among division leaders
I know, I know, at the end of the day the only thing that really matters is how many wins and losses a team has and how that can translate to the postseason. Equally as important, though, is how a team is winning and losing games, and in the Saints’ case, they stand out from other division leaders in a bad way.
The Saints have a point differential of +22 this season. In comparison, the next lowest division leader has a point differential of +45 (Kansas City). The San Francisco 49ers are +133, the New England Patriots +172 and the Baltimore Ravens +111.
To be fair, the Saints have had tougher competition, which has led to this and has given up some garbage time points to make this number smaller. However, while there are reasons for it, there is also history that indicates that this is not a good thing for the Saints.
The Saints’ point differential will go up as the year goes along and they rack up more wins, so we will make the threshold 50 points. There have been 17 teams to make the playoffs the last five seasons with a point differential of +50 or fewer. One of those 17 made it past the Divisional Round (2016-2017 Packers).
Could the Saints have a stellar second half and get the point differential higher? Absolutely, and they could also be the ones to break the trend. However, if it does end up 50 points or fewer, history indicates that they won’t make it very far in the postseason.