WHERE THEY STAND
The Saints are coming off a bye after their 1-4 start. They are now tied with Carolina for last in the NFC South, 31/2 games behind first-place Atlanta.
The Saints face the Buccaneers at noon Sunday in Tampa, Fla., then play at Denver on Oct. 28.
JOB WELL DONE
QB Drew Brees
WHAT HE’S DONE: The word is out: This guy’s pretty good. With a subpar defense and minimal contribution from the running game, Brees has been responsible for almost single-handedly keeping his team in the game. He struggled with that at times, but has still thrown for 1,720 yards, 14 touchdowns and six interceptions.
WHAT’S NEXT : Obviously, the defense can give Brees a big boost by simply playing better. If the Saints can hold their opponents to fewer yards and points, that eases the pressure on Brees and his receivers.
ON THE SPOT
RB Mark Ingram
WHAT HE’S DONE: To date, not much. Yes, it’s true that Ingram hasn’t gotten many carries this season; he has 106 yards on 37 attempts (an average of 2.9 yards). The Saints have primarily used him as their No. 3 tailback. But perhaps that says it all. Is this what they expected when they traded first- and second-round picks to get him?
WHAT’S NEXT: To be fair, interim coach Aaron Kromer said this week that the team needs to do a better job of establishing the run. That plan probably includes the standard combination of Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
19.2 Number of rushing attempts per game by the Saints, who rank 31st in the NFL in that category, barely ahead of the Tennessee Titans.
5.0 Opponents have averaged 5.0 yards per rushing attempt against the Saints this season. New Orleans ranks 29th in the league in that category; only Atlanta (5.2) and Buffalo (5.8) have allowed a higher average.
4 6The Saints have converted on 46 percent of their third downs this season — the third-highest success rate in the NFL, behind the Steelers (52) and the Patriots (47).
5 The Saints had five sacks in their most recent game, a 31-24 home win over San Diego. They had a total of six sacks in their first four games.
“Obviously, defensively when you watch our games, we need to tackle better. We need to have confidence that we can and do it and play fast. Those are the things we’ve been working on.”
WHAT THEY’VE DONE: It wasn’t a thing of beauty, but the Falcons rallied to get past Oakland last week. They are the only remaining undefeated team in the NFL.
WHAT THEY’VE DONE: Tampa Bay’s only two wins have come against Carolina and Kansas City — two teams that have already defeated the Saints this season.
WHAT THEY’VE DONE: The good news: They enjoyed a much-needed bye last week. Bad news: They’ve lost three straight, and Cam Newton hasn’t looked like himself.
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