The New Orleans Saints might be the best team in the NFL right now.
And according to Saints tight end Benjamin Watson, they also might be as good as the 2007 New England Patriots, who won 18 consecutive games in the regular season and playoffs before losing to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
Albert Breer of The MMQB caught up with Watson late Sunday night after New Orleans’ 48-7 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. During their conversation, Breer asked Watson, who played for the ’07 Patriots, how this year’s Saints team compares to that New England squad. Watson acknowledged there are some similarities.
“Obviously, 2007 in New England was really special,” Watson told Breer. “And this year, in many ways, it kind of does (feel the same), just in the way that we’re able to execute on offense. We get up to the line of scrimmage, there’s not much that we call that we don’t think we can execute. You’ve got a variety of different guys that contributing in different ways. The only thing I would say different would be that the guys that are the stars of this offense are probably younger than they were in New England.
“We had guys like Randy Moss, Wes Welker, veteran players. We’ve got guys like Tre’Quan (Smith) and we’ve got Michael Thomas obviously and Alvin (Kamara) and Mark (Ingram), and Mark’s the oldest of those four. The offenses are a little bit different, but when you’ve got a guy like No. 9, when you have a guy like No. 12 in New England like we had, it just brings a whole lot of confidence.”
The 2007 Patriots are widely considered one of the best teams in NFL history despite ultimately losing to the Giants. They steamrolled the competition for much of that season, with Tom Brady performing at a ridiculous level that saw him deliver 50 touchdown passes (23 to Randy Moss) to just eight interceptions.
On the surface, the Saints haven’t seemed quite as dominant. They’ve rattled off nine straight victories after a season-opening loss, though, and lead the NFL with 37.8 points per game. Brees, like Brady in 2007, is playing at an MVP-caliber level through 10 games.
“There is a certain characteristic, going back to your first question about the New England and the culture that’s there, as far as being steady, and understanding that you’re going to win and that’s great for a few days but nobody cares the next week,” Watson said, according to Breer. “And understanding that you have to approach each game specifically, you have to get ready to play each game because anybody can beat you.”
The whole debate could be settled before the season’s over, especially if the Saints flop down the stretch or in the playoffs. But it’s interesting to hear Watson’s comparison, if nothing else, as he spent six seasons with New England (2004-09) and is in the midst of his fourth campaign with New Orleans (2013-15; 2018).
Thumbnail photo via Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Sports Images
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