Saints rank sixth in total offense, defense in NFL stats

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- New Orleans Saints outside linebacker Junior Galette (93) and New Orleans Saints strong safety Roman Harper (41) sack Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) during the third quarter Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- New Orleans Saints outside linebacker Junior Galette (93) and New Orleans Saints strong safety Roman Harper (41) sack Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) during the third quarter Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, at the Mercedes Benz Superdome.

The Saints now rank sixth in both total offense and total defense in the updated NFL stats following a 31-13 blowout of the Carolina Panthers on Sunday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Saints’ defense moved up two spots from eighth at 313.6 yards per game after holding the Panthers capable offense to just 239 yards — which was highlighted by a five-sack night of quarterback Cam Newton.

The Saints dropped one spot to 17th in rushing defense (114.3 yards per game), but moved up one spot to third against the pass (199.3).

With the five sacks of Newton, the Saints have recorded 43 for the season — which has them tied for second with the Kansas City Chiefs — and just one behind the Buffalo Bills, who have 44. The Saints had 30 sacks in 2012.

Defensive end Cameron Jordan, who got to Newton twice, is tied for fourth in the NFL with 11 1/2 sacks.

Meanwhile, the Saints’ offense held steady in sixth with 373 total yards after rebounding from a subpar 188-yard effort in its previous game with the Seattle Seahawks.

The Saints, who averaged 394.3 total yards per game, rose one spot to second in passing (302.9) and dropped two notches to 25th in rushing (91.4).

Individually, the Saints’ Jimmy Graham leads all NFL tight ends in catches (74) and receiving yards (1,046). He also has 14 touchdowns to lead all NFL rushers and receivers.

Sunday’s opponent, the St. Louis Rams, rank 27th in the NFL in total offense (318.5) and 19th in total defense (357.6). They rank 22nd against the pass (248.8).

They rank in the top 10 in sacks, where they’re tied for seventh with 38 and in turnover differential at plus-7 with 24 takeaways.

Here are the pertinent numbers for Sunday night’s game with the Rams in the Edwards Jones Dome:

SAINTS (10-3)

Offense: Total yards, 394.3 (6); rushing, 91.4 (25); passing, 302.9 (2); scoring, 26.4 (t7).

Defense: Total yards, 313.6 (6); rushing, 114.3 (17); passing, 199.3 (3); scoring, 18.7 (5).

Turnover differential: Plus-3 (12)/14 giveaways (8 interceptions, 6 fumbles), 17 takeaways (10 interceptions, 7 fumble recoveries).

RAMS (5-8)

Offense: Total yards, 318.5 (27); rushing, 112.8 (t17); passing, 205.7 (26); scoring, 22.2 (20).

Defense: Total yards, 357.6 (19); rushing, 108.8 (13); passing, 248.8 (22); scoring, 23.7 (14).

Turnover differential: Plus-7 (t7)/17 giveaways (9 interceptions, 8 fumbles), 24 takeaways (12 interceptions, 12 fumble recoveries).