Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
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METAIRIE, La. – Coaches love control.
They love knowing what their players are doing at all times.
So when Saints coach Sean Payton made a change prior to the 2009 bye week, giving his players time off away from his watchful eye and the facility, he was taking a leap of faith that everything would be alright.
After all, it couldn’t have gotten much worse – the Saints were 1-3 coming off bye weeks in his first three seasons.
His players proved his worries wrong.
New Orleans hasn’t lost following a bye week since, winning by an average of 20 points.
“Compared to other teams, we do have a little bit more time off to refresh and recharge our batteries,” Saints special teams captain Courtney Roby said. “But when we come back, it’s full steam ahead.”
With two games coming up against NFC foe and a playoff berth by no means secured, beating the Giants on Monday night is as important as the Atlanta game two weeks ago.
With the new collective bargaining agreement mandating players have five consecutive off days during a bye week, NFL teams have had troubles coming back from the off week.
NFL teams are a collective 13-15 to this point with only four teams left set to play after a bye (New Orleans, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Houston) , all playing this week.
But the Saints likely won’t have a problem since Payton has given the players the week off for the past three years.
And the Saints know how important this game is.
“This is our opportunity to try to separate ourselves and really establish our position both in our conference and our division,” quarterback Drew Brees said.
Saints Post Bye in the Payton Era
2010 beat Seattle 34-19
2009 beat Indy 31-17 in Super Bowl
2009 beat Arizona 45-14 in playoffs
2009 beat New York Giants 48-27 in regular season
2008 lost to Atlanta 34-20
2007 lost to Carolina 16-13
2006 beat Philadelphia 27-24 in playoffs
2006 lost to Baltimore 35-22 in regular season