NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Remember when the New Orleans Saints were all offense and no defense, when they had to score 30 points or more just to ensure a win?
Well, thankfully, those days are long gone. The Saints no longer are Drew Brees and the 11 defensive dwarfs. In fact, their defense might be more fearsome than their offense.
With offensive stars like Brees, Alvin Kamara, Jared Cook and Terron Armstead sidelined by injuries, the Saints have had to lean on their defense more than ever this season. And so far, the 'D has delivered.
The defense saved the day again in the Saints’ 26-18 win against Atlanta on Thanksgiving. The unit forced three turnovers and sacked Matt Ryan a team-record nine times. And they did it while playing an exhaustive 93 plays.
The more I watch the Saints, the more impressed I am with this defense. It’s not the most opportunistic group the Saints ever had. That would be the 2009 Super Bowl defense, which forced 39 turnovers and returned seven of them for touchdowns. And it’s not the most dominant defense, either. That, of course, was the Dome Patrol of the mid-80s and early-90s.
But this just might be the most complete defense the Saints have had in the Payton-Brees era. It’s sound from front to back and has plenty of star power in Cam Jordan, Demario Davis and Marshon Lattimore. There simply aren’t many weaknesses for opposing offenses to exploit.
This Saints defense doesn’t have a catchy nickname or eye-popping stats. But like the city it represents, it’s a resilient bunch of blue-collar tough guys.
And it just might be good enough to get the Saints back to the Super Bowl.