METAIRIE, La. — It’s an NFL axiom that it’s easier to win at home than on the road.
But for the Saints, 2013 is shaping up to be as drastic as any season since the run of success began in 2009.
And Monday night, the Saints (9-2) travel to Seattle (10-1) for a matchup that could determine home-field advantage in this winter’s NFC playoffs.
“I think every great team, the teams that perennially have won a lot of games, are doing a great job winning games at home and there’s something about playing at home and being at home,” Saints quarterback Drew Brees said. “It is certainly more difficult to go on the road and win, especially in the type of environment that we’re going to.”
Where the Saints are heading is CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks have won 13 straight games and starting quarterback Russell Wilson hasn’t lost since turning pro.
Heading into the game of division leaders, the Saints are beating their opponents in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome – where they’re 6-0 this season – by an average of 17.3 points per game. But on the road, the margin of victory is just one point.
New Orleans’ two losses this season were on the road. And other than the win over Chicago, the other two victories were tight affairs. The Saints required a come-from-behind victory over struggling Tampa Bay and held off a 2-9 Atlanta team on the road.
Brees argues, however, that this isn’t any different for any team in the NFL.
“The (New England) Patriots…where did their three losses come? On the road,” Brees said. “Denver…where did their two losses come? On the road. Seattle…where did their one loss come? On the road. You can take every team that is kind of at the top and say, ‘Where did their losses come?’ Most of the time they came on the road.”
For New Orleans, 2013 is statistically setting up like 2011, when the Saints won by an average of 23.8 points at home but by just 2.8 on the road.
In the Super Bowl season, the Saints won at home and on the road by an average of 10 points per game. And in 2010, when the Saints went 5-3 at home and 6-2 on the road, New Orleans actually won by more points away from the Superdome than in it.
Yet, since 2009 (not counting 2012, when Sean Payton was banished), the Saints are 14-6 on the road playing outdoors. And New Orleans has the league’s best road record since 2009, going 24-12 away from the Superdome during the regular season.
Regardless of whatever statistics are found and points out, the fact is this – the Saints have to find a way to win on the road now so they don’t have to play on the road in the postseason.
“I don’t think we doubt our ability to win on the road,” Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “And if there’s a trend, I don’t think that translates into this game. We’re preparing to go beat a good team that has an outstanding home record, and that’s a challenge that presents itself. But that’s what this league is about.”
He added, “A win is a win, last time I checked. A W doesn’t have stats next to it”