NEW ORLEANS - Saints head coach Sean Payton is talking it, and his team, through it's first five games, is walking it straight to a 5-0 start.
Here's the key: Theirs is not one 16-game season. Rather, it's a string of 16 one-game seasons, each with it's own game plan and personality.
Take the win in 26-18 Chicago Sunday. The Saints whipped the Bears at their own game almost from the opening whistle.
Chicago's first possession of the game. Fumble on the first snap by quarterback Jay Cutler. Three and out. The Saints answer with a Garret Hartley field goal on the ensuing possession.
Bears next possession. First snap. Malcolm Jenkins gangsters Cutler. Fumble. Cam Jordan recovers. Saints field goal results.
This set the tone against a Chicago team coming into the game with 14 takeaways resulting in 55 points.
Payton said: "Each game takes on a, not a different meaning, but they're not necessarily all played the same way. And understanding as a team what it takes to win that specific game is something that, if your team gets.. .and I think we're beginning to...is an important trait. So, we felt like we were playing a good team that could obviously take the ball away. They were explosive. The quarterback's (Cutler) got a very strong arm. Balance with (running back Matt) Forte. I thought the early part of the game where we forced the three and outs. And we have them in the long yardage situations forced them to punt the whole first half seemed to be spent on their side of the 50. And that was significant."
By the way, the Saints are third in the league in total offense behind Denver. Only 25th rushing, but they've converted 44 percent of their third-down opportunities, which is eighth-best in the league. As long as they move the chains, they don't care how they do it.
The wild card this coming Sunday in New England Sunday might be the run game. The Pats are 25th at stopping the run, and big nose tackle Vince Wilfork is out. We'll see how this "one-game season" plays out.
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