NFL Power Rankings: Saints finally have a defense, and it’s making them contenders
Brees, one of the generational quarterbacks of his time, has carried the Saints on his right arm for years, putting up gaudy numbers and having them go to waste because of his historically bad defenses.
That isn’t the case this season. The Saints are tied atop the NFC South with a 6-2 record after ripping off six consecutive victories, including dominating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday in New Orleans.
The Saints are doing it with defense, which hasn’t forced Brees to need 400-yard passing games just to compete.
The Saints are still one of the NFL’s top offenses, ranking sixth in the league in scoring at 27.1 points and second in yards (392.5 per game). But it’s the defensive numbers that stand out. The Saints are tied with the Los Angeles Rams for ninth in scoring defense at 19.4 points per game. That’s coming from a team that was 31st in scoring defense in 2016 at 28.4 points per game.
Credit goes to defensive coordinator Dennis Allen for improving a unit that is sprinkled with talented young players. Defensive lineman Cam Jordan should be in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year honors, and corner Marshon Lattimore is a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate.
The offense hasn’t been asked to put up video-game numbers this season, even though I still think Brees can do so if need be. That’s why this team is so intriguing right now and ranked fifth in my Power Rankings.
Coach Sean Payton is one of the great offensive minds in the league and Brees is still the sharpest quarterback at the line of scrimmage in the league. If needed, they can still light it up.
But in the six-game winning streak, the defense has given up 12.6 points per game, which is playoff good. They haven’t exactly played a group of high-powered offenses — they got the Packers without Aaron Rodgers — but the improvement is still noteworthy.
Because of it, the Saints are a legitimate Super Bowl contender if things continue this way.
Powered by WPeMatico