The New Orleans Saints appear to be on the verge of turning their season around, winning two consecutive games after dropping four to start the year. While fans pointed to the team's defense as a major concern during the losing streak, there has not been much improvement in the Saints' wins. With a high-powered offensive team up next on the schedule in the Denver Broncos, the defense will have to tighten up quickly if the Saints are going to shock the league with a postseason run.
Through six games the Saints have allowed opponents to gain at least 421 yards of offense in every contest. The Kansas City Chiefs accumulated 510 yards in the Saints' third loss, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers racked up 513 in the last New Orleans win. Opponents are averaging 466 offensive yards per game. Furthermore, the defense has not held an opponent under 24 points so far this year, allowing an average of more than 30 points each week. That is simply too much for the offense to overcome every game.
Teams like the Bucs, Chiefs and Carolina Panthers have seemingly had their best games against the Saints, never a good sign for a team with postseason hopes. However, the season is long and there could still be time for a change. For one thing, the coaching staff will regain some stability as interim head coach Joe Vitt returns from his suspension. In addition the defense stopped the Bucs when it mattered most last week. Following a 95-yard pass play, for example, the defense stopped the Bucs on four straight goal line runs to take over on downs. The offense then took the opportunity to drive down the field for the game-winning touchdown.
As a Saints fan, I am fine with the defense allowing a team to gain yards as long as they can find a way to limit the points. Drew Brees and this offense will score and do not need the defense to pitch shutouts. Unfortunately, if the Bucs gained 500 yards, it is scary to think about what Peyton Manning and the Broncos could do next week. I just hope the defense can limit the damage and that the offense can pile up enough points for a win. One big play on defense could be the difference for either team.
Mike Patton is a sports fan who grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. As a kid in 1987, he made his first trip to Wrigley Field and also slept outside of the Louisiana Superdome to purchase playoff tickets for the Saints' first postseason appearance. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.
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