NFL Power Rankings 2013: Saints Offense and Defense remain Elite

NFL Rankings after Week 16, for the NFC South - Jon Oliver

Despite a disappointing last-minute loss in Carolina, the New Orleans Saints remain among the best in the league... on both offense and defense.

Current NFL Rankings: (NFC South)

This Week

Offense

Defense

Passing

Rushing

Saints

5

4 (1)

2

25 (1)

Falcons

12 (4)

28 (1)

6 (2)

32

Panthers

25

2

28

11 (↓3)

Buccaneers

32

13

32

22

Despite the Week 16 loss, the New Orleans Saints improved slightly in the rankings.


Saintshelmet_medium New Orleans Saints (10-5):
After a heartbreaking last-minute loss in Carolina, the New Orleans Saints look to clinch their playoff birth with a win at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With a strong performance against a great team, the Saints improved their position in the standings, even despite the loss. Once again, the Saints would have won the game, had even one thing (of several) gone slightly differently.

A win against the Bucs this week would keep New Orleans in the playoffs, as would a loss by the Arizona Cardinals. A Saints win accompanying an unlikely Panthers loss would make the Saints division champions, and return them to the No.2 seed in the NFC. With the Panthers playing in Atlanta at 1pm, New Orleans will know whether we're playing for the division championship, or barely making the playoffs.

Either way, the Saints must focus on winning this Sunday's game. This Sunday afternoon, they return to the Superdome to host the Buccaneers for the last game of the regular season. Although Tampa Bay has had a terrible season, they have won four of their last seven games. And they always present a challenge, as a tough divisional opponent for the Saints. Although a Bucs upset is possible, Sean Payton's crew should get a solid win at home, and launch the team into January's postseason tournament.

[Current Bucs Rankings: Offense - 32nd; Defense - 13th; Passing - 32nd; Rushing - 22nd]

Falconshelmet_medium Atlanta Falcons (4-11):
The Falcons did surprisingly well in San Francisco on Monday night. Moments away from a game-winning touchdown, Matt Ryan threw a pick-6 which sealed a victory for San Francisco. This week, they host the Carolina Panthers for what will be Atlanta's final game of the season. A Falcons win would help the Saints, and result in a worse draft pick for Atlanta. However, after their effort against a tough 49ers team, it's possible that Mike Smith could manage an unlikely win for the hundred or so loyal Falcons fans in the Georgia Dome this Sunday.

[Current Panthers Rankings: Offense - 25th; Defense - 2nd; Passing - 28th; Rushing - 11th]

Panthershelmet_medium Carolina Panthers (11-4):
With a victory at home against eh Saints this past weekend, the Panthers clinched a berth in the playoffs. However, they must defeat the Falcons this coming Sunday in order to clinch the NFC South title and the No.2 seed in the NFC. Considering how terrible Atlanta's season has been, it should not be difficult for Carolina to secure a win against one of the worst defenses, and the worst rushing game in the NFL. However, the Panthers could find themselves upset if they do not face this game with the same intensity they displayed against New Orleans.

[Current Saints Rankings: Offense - 12th; Defense - 28th; Passing - 6th; Rushing - 32nd]

Bucshelmet_medium Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11):
After a solid loss in St. Louis, Tampa Bay travels to New Orleans to try and upset the home team's playoff hopes. The Buccaneers are finding themselves somewhat capable of playing football just in time to hamper some postseason plans, and drop a few places in the draft lineup. After two losses against the 49ers and Rams, Schiano will be trying to finish strong against a team which absolutely needs the win. With the way things have gone against New Orleans lately, a Bucs win is possible; however, it is extremely unlikely.

[Current Saints Rankings: Offense - 5th; Defense - 4th; Passing - 2nd; Rushing - 25th]


Saints Week 16 Performance:
(Saints 13, Panthers 17)

Offense
(Time of Possession: NO - 38:48, CAR - 21:12)

The New Orleans Saints controlled the ball almost twice as much as the Carolina Panthers. However, the home team was able to capitalize on a quick touchdown after intercepting the ball with two minutes to go in the first half. Cam Newton was also able to lead the winning touchdown drive at the end of the game, taking only 32 seconds to go 65 yards in 5 plays. Had the Saints offense managed a single first down on the drive prior, instead of being held to two consecutive three-and-outs after their fourth-quarter touchdown, New Orleans would have won the game.

Following the Rams' recipe for success, Carolina brought significant pressure against Drew Brees. With the Saints giving up either a sack or an interception on six of their seven first-half drives, New Orleans was unable to find the end zone before halftime. After the break, the Panthers were only able to sack the Saints quarterback once, and New Orleans moved the flags more often than they had in the first half. However, the two times they were held to three-and-out in second half were when they were trying to run the clock out to win the game.

Offense

TD’s

FG’s

Yards

1st Downs

3rd Down Conv

Sacked

Fmbl / Lost

Int

First Half

0

2/2

157

8

3/10 (30%)

5 (37 yds)

0

1

Second Half

1

0

108

12

2/8 (25%)

1 (5 yds)

0

1

Total

1

2/2

365

20

5/18 (28%)

6 (42 yds)

0

2

The New Orleans offense had a decent showing against a great defense, but fell short when it mattered.

Defense
The New Orleans defense performed well for the majority of the game, holding the Panthers to three-and-out on three of Carolina's six drives in the first half, and four of their six second-half drives. They also allowed fewer yards over four quarters than they allowed St. Louis in the first two a week prior. At the end of each half, however, they allowed the Panthers to score on quick touchdown drives... each time, erasing the great Saints defensive efforts for the half.

Malcolm Jenkins had a key interception in the first half, to produce the only turnover the Saints had all game, and was also credited with a pass deflection. Akiem Hicks, Cameron Jordan, Curtis Lofton, and Junior Galette each grabbed a Cam newton sack, with Jordan's delivering a 17-yard loss. Adding to the disappointment of the two quick Carolina touchdown drives, particularly the game-winning drive at the end of the fourth quarter, was the loss of star rookie defender Kenny Vaccaro in the first quarter to a broken ankle.

Defense

TD’s
allowed

FG’s
allowed

Yds
allowed

1st Downs
allowed

3rd Down Conv.
allowed

Sacks

Fumbles
Forced /Rec

Int

Points
Scored

First Half

1

0

97

5

0/4 (0%)

2 (28 yds)

0

1

0

Second Half

1

1/1

125

5

0/5 (0%)

2 (12 yds)

0

0

0

Total

2

1/1

222

10

0/9 (0%)

4 (40 yds)

0

1

0


The New Orleans defense performed admirably for the majority of the game, but failed critically at the end of each half.

Passing
With rookie Terron Armstead filling in for Charles Brown at left tackle, Drew Brees was sacked six times in Carolina. According to Sean Payton, Armstead was to blame for two of those sacks, and the Saints coaching staff were pleased with his performance. Although Brees getting sacked five times was incredibly concerning for Saints fans, at the very least, it was good that Carolina only managed one more sack after halftime.

Drew Brees completed passes to all ten of his targets in Charlotte, though his favorite targets had some of the worst completion percentages. Jimmy Graham only pulled in 5 of his 11 targets, though he garnered 73 yards (long of 46 yds) and a short touchdown. Marques Colston caught 5 of 10 passes for 63 yards (long of 35 yds).

Pierre Thomas (5 rec, 7 yds) and Darren Sproles (3 rec, 18 yds) were each targeted five times; and Kenny Stills (23 yds, long of 19) caught two of his four targets. Benjamin Watson (26 yds), Robert Meachem (14 yds), and Jed Collins (3 yds) were each successful on both of their passes from Brees. Even Mark Ingram was used in the passing game, making a 7-yard completion of his sole target.

Brees Countdown: Drew's 281 passing yards in Charlotte put him at 4,781 for the season thus far. With another 219 passing yards against the Buccaneers in the Superdome this coming weekend, Drew will have an NFL-record third consecutive season (and fourth total) with at least 5,000 passing yards. After his success against a great Panthers defense in the rain, it should not be too difficult for Brees to give Saints fans another record performance at home this Sunday afternoon.

Passing

Yards

Attempts

Complete

Yds/Att

Int

Sacked

1st Downs

TD’s

First Half

124

24

17 (71%)

5.2

1

5 (37 yds)

4

0

Second Half

157

21

13 (62%)

7.5

1

1 (5 yds)

8

1

Total

281

45

30 (67%)

6.2

2

6 (42 yds)

12

1

The passing game had a fairly strong second half, though not strong enough to dig themselves out of the first-half deficit.

Rushing
Mark Ingram led the Saints rushing efforts against Carolina, grabbing 83 yards in 13 carries (6.4 ypc, long of 34). Khiry Robinson had the second-most carries, and put up 18 yards in 6 carries (3.0 ypc, lon of 7). Pierre Thomas added 8 yards on 4 attempts, while Jed Collins added 8 yards on 3 attempts. Darren Sproles only had one carry, for two yards.

In a game full of attempted misdirection, Sean Payton grabbed 3 yards on a left end to Kenny Stills in the second quarter, and lost five yards on a right end to Robert Meachem in the fourth quarter. Drew Brees added 9 yards on the ground when he had the middle of the field open ahead of him.

Whether Mark Ingram is breaking out as a starter for the rushing corps, or Sean Payton has been trying to rest Sproles and Thomas somewhat to have them healthy for the postseason, Ingram is definitely showing his potential.

Rushing

Yards

Attempts

Yds/Carry

Longest Run

Fmbl / Lost

1st Downs

TD’s

First Half

70

10

7.0

34 yds (M. Ingram)

0

3

0

Second Half

56

20

2.8

9 yds (M. Ingram)

0

3

0

Total

126

30

4.2

34 yds

0

6

0

The Saints split the passing plays and running plays equally during the second half; and it almost worked for them.

Lagniappe: The Best and the Worst in the NFL

Who currently holds the best and worst ranks in the NFL in each category?


Best
(Current #1 Rank)

Worst
(Current #32 Rank)

Offense

Broncoshelmet_medium
Denver Broncos

Last week: Denver


Bucshelmet_medium
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Last week: Tampa Bay

Offense

Defense

Seahawkshelmet_medium
Seattle Seahawks

Last week: Seattle

Cowboyshelmet_medium
Dallas Cowboys

Last week: Dallas

Defense

Passing

Broncoshelmet_medium
Denver Broncos

Last week: Denver

Bucshelmet_medium
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Last week: Tampa Bay

Passing

Rushing

Eagleshelmet_medium
Philadelphia Eagles

Last week: Eagles

Falconshelmet_medium
Atlanta Falcons

Last week: Atlanta

Rushing

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Canal Street Chronicles

You must be a member of Canal Street Chronicles to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Canal Street Chronicles. You should read them.

Join Canal Street Chronicles

You must be a member of Canal Street Chronicles to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Canal Street Chronicles. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker