There is an increasing sentiment in NFL circles that the New Orleans Saints, despite a dismal record in 2014, are in a much better position this year.
After all, New Orleans has won the past three Super Bowls.
But how do they compare to the defending champions?
The NFL’s collective bargaining agreement requires teams to keep at least three players from the same team.
So who do you think is better?
The Associated Press took the time to examine the data.
Which NFL franchise has the most players from each conference?
AP: NFC North The Green Bay Packers have the most at 16, followed by the New York Giants (15), Atlanta Falcons (14), New Orleans (13), Miami Dolphins (13) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13).
NFC West The San Francisco 49ers have the third-most at seven, followed closely by Arizona Cardinals (7), Seattle Seahawks (6), Denver Broncos (6) and Los Angeles Rams (6).
AFC South The Buffalo Bills (7) and Jacksonville Jaguars (6 each) are tied for the fourth-most.
AFC North The Cleveland Browns (5) and New England Patriots (4 each) have the fifth-most, followed, as always, by the Pittsburgh Steelers (3), Indianapolis Colts (3) and Kansas City Chiefs (3).
NFC South The Philadelphia Eagles (2) and Houston Texans (2 each) each have the eighth-most and the New England Giants (1 each) the ninth-most in the NFL.
NFL playoff history NFL playoff records are compiled by ESPN Stats & Info.
All statistics are through the NFL’s first six games of the season.
All playoff records except the current record have been compiled by Football Outsiders.
STATS & INFO: All data is courtesy of ESPN Stats and Info and Pro Football Reference.
AP NFL playoff odds The following table shows the current playoff odds for each team and the current win-loss record for each playoff team.
AP: AFC South 6.6/1 (2.3) NFL playoff record: 5-6 (5-6) NFC East 7.1/1 NFC West 7.2/1 AFC North 6.9/1 NFL playoff chance: 10-1 (8.2) AFC South: AFC North 9.1 percent (1.7) AFC North: AFC East 17.1% (3.3 ) NFC East: NFC West 14.9 percent (3.)
NFC West: NFC South 11.8 percent (5.1) AFC West: AFC Central 4.9% (2,065) NFC South: NFC East 8.7 percent (4.4) AFC East: AFC West 14 percent (8) AFC Central: AFC New England 3.7% (1,539) AFC New York 2.9%.
AFC South and NFC South are separated by two points.
AP The AFC South has been the most disappointing conference in recent memory.
Since 2008, the Panthers have lost at least nine consecutive games, including a losing streak of seven games, and the Jets have lost eight straight.
The Jaguars, meanwhile, have been a mess since taking over for Gus Bradley’s team in 2015.
Their record is 27-51 and they’ve gone 5-12 the past two seasons.
How does the NFC East stack up?
The Atlanta Falcons have the league’s second-best record (3-2) since 2009, including wins over the Giants, Saints and Buccaneers.
They also have the worst record in the NFC North, which includes the Patriots and Panthers.
NFC North: New York Jets 16.5% (9.3); Washington Redskins 18.3% (8); New Orleans Panthers 22.8% (5); Green Bay Packers 21.9%, Jacksonville Jaguars 23.4% (7); Chicago Bears 23.9%; Minnesota Vikings 24.5%; Tampa Bay Bucs 24.7%; Philadelphia Eagles 25.1%.
NFC South 9.6% (6.3).
The NFC South has a 10-point lead over the NFC West, the most recent divisional meeting, which was played in Seattle last year.
NFC West 16.4 percent (10.3), which includes a loss to the Rams, and NFC North 14.7%.
The NFC East has a 14-point edge over the AFC East, which also includes the Dolphins and the Cardinals.
NFC East 14.4%, the NFC South 15.1%, the AFC South 16.8%, and the NFC Team 17.4%.
The AFC Team is 10.5 points ahead of the NFC team.
The AFC West is 15.5, and only the AFC team has a better record in its last six games.
The NFC Team is 9.7 points ahead.
AFC Team 10.4, the NFC Central 13.3, the AFC North 12.6, and all of the AFC teams have a record better than .500.
NFC Team 12.3.
AFC South is 14.5 in the standings, but has a 3-5 record and is tied for first