New Orleans -- By now we should all know the script.
The Saints go on a bye. They get rested. They come back. They play a game. They dominate.
It's a formula that, after Sunday's 35-17 win over Buffalo, has worked for five consecutive years.
Coach Sean Payton said earlier in the week, in 2009 he plagiarized his bye week schedule from then- Philadelphia coach Andy Reid after losing this game for three straight years.
It's turned out to be one of the best copycat jobs he's ever done. That schedule hasn't just worked, it's worked wonders. The Saints don't just win; they win big.
With Sunday's 18-point win, the average margin of victory at home following a bye week since 2009 has been an astounding twenty points.
Along the way, Drew Brees completed 26 passes to ten different receivers for five touchdowns. The defense forced three turnovers and four sacks. And the Saints left the Mercedes-Benz Superdome 6-1.
Let's not kid ourselves. Sunday's win wasn't perfect. That's why you heard a somewhat subdued Payton after the game. His team opened the game with two missed field goals and four pre-snap penalties, including bizarre back-to-back false starts calls on Drew Brees.
"I wasn't warned at all, sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. We appreciate it when they do," said Brees afterward about the penalties.
Well after Sunday, the rest of the league would likely appreciate not facing the Saints the week after their open date.
As recent history suggests, the result is about as close to a guarantee as it gets in the NFL.
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