The Saints offense did not look good against Minnesota in week 1.  The final numbers weren’t horrible by any stretch, but there was some garbage time stats padding going on in that 4th quarter when the Vikings were basically conceding the underneath stuff.  I’ve analyzed garbage time stats padding in the past, so go back and read some of those posts if you’re interested in my take on it.  I’ll probably revisit this topic again at some point.

But what I wanted to write about today is how the Saints offense is a different offense on the road versus playing at home.   Let’s look at a few stats from pfref.com.

New Orleans Saints offensive drive outcomes 2012-2016, home versus away games

home games away games
Outcome Total Pct Outcome Total Pct
Touchdown 147 34.30% Touchdown 107 24.50%
Punt 146 34.00% Punt 171 39.10%
Field Goal 49 11.40% Field Goal 58 13.30%
Interception 32 7.50% Interception 43 9.80%
Fumble 17 4.00% Fumble 20 4.60%
Missed FG 17 4.00% Missed FG 9 2.10%
Downs 10 2.30% Downs 16 3.70%
End of Half 6 1.40% End of Half 6 1.40%
End of Game 3 0.70% End of Game 5 1.10%
Safety 1 0.20% Safety 0 0.00%
Blocked FG 1 0.20% Blocked FG 2 0.50%
All Turnovers 49 11.40% All Turnovers 63 14.40%
All Scores 196 45.70% All Scores 165 37.80%
Games 40 Games 40
Drives 429 Drives 437
Yards 16698 Yards 15600
Time 1203:41:00 Time 1211:56:00
Plays 2697 Plays 2746
Yds/Drive 38.92 Yds/Drive 35.7
Time/Drive 02:48:00 AM Time/Drive 02:46:00 AM
Plays/Drive 6.3 Plays/Drive 6.3
Avg Start Own 26.8 Avg Start Own 25.9
Avg Score Up by .5 Avg Score Down by 3

The above table shows the drive outcomes, home games on the left, road games on the right.  Just to clarify what is being presented, 147 drives ended in TD’s in home games (34.3%), but only 107 drives ended in TD’s in road games (24.5%).  That’s 40 more TD’s scored in home games than in road games despite having only 429 drives at home versus having 437 drives on the road.  Clearly, the Saints are far more efficient at scoring TD’s in home games than they are in away games.

Entire NFL offensive drive outcomes 2012-2016, home versus away games

home games away games
Outcome Total Pct Outcome Total Pct
Punt 5880 40.90% Punt 6197 42.80%
Touchdown 3220 22.40% Touchdown 2828 19.50%
Field Goal 2137 14.90% Field Goal 2091 14.40%
Interception 1139 7.90% Interception 1132 7.80%
Fumble 682 4.70% Fumble 694 4.80%
Downs 472 3.30% Downs 588 4.10%
Missed FG 357 2.50% Missed FG 358 2.50%
End of Half 262 1.80% End of Half 272 1.90%
End of Game 137 1.00% End of Game 197 1.40%
Blocked Punt 30 0.20% Safety 53 0.40%
Safety 26 0.20% Blocked Punt 41 0.30%
Blocked FG 21 0.10% Blocked FG 32 0.20%
Fumble, Safety 2 0.00% Fumble, Safety 9 0.10%
All Turnovers 1821 12.70% All Turnovers 1826 12.60%
All Scores 5357 37.30% All Scores 4919 33.90%
Games 1280 Games 1280
Drives 14365 Drives 14492
Yards 455195 Yards 433350
Time 38200:33:00 Time 37941:24:00
Plays 83420 Plays 83387
Yds/Drive 31.69 Yds/Drive 29.9
Time/Drive 02:39:00 AM Time/Drive 02:37:00 AM
Plays/Drive 5.8 Plays/Drive 5.8
Avg Start Own 28.4 Avg Start Own 27.9
Avg Score Up by .1 Avg Score Down by 2.7

There are some interesting numbers here when comparing the Saints offense to the rest of the league averages.  Saints road TD% is higher than the average home TD% — 24.5% versus 22.4%.  That’s remarkable to me, but even though it’s better than average on the road, it’s still even much more effective at home — 34.3%.

Another interesting comparison is INT%.  Saints are *less* likely to have an INT end a drive at home (7.5%) than the average team (7.9%), but *more* likely to have an INT on the road (9.8%) than the average team (7.8%).

The offense did not look very good against Minnesota, but we’ve seen some offensive stinkers in the past, particularly in road games.  I personally think the offense will be just fine this year.  It’s the defense that worries me more than the offense.  We’ll know more after next week.

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