Dec 3, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints middle linebacker Manti Te'o (51) and defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) celebrate a defensive stop during the second half against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeat

Derek E. Hingle, USA Today Sports

Deke: Saints defense even better 2nd time around vs. Panthers

Deke Bellavia
December 03, 2017 - 9:51 pm

The Saints took on Carolina twice this season with the end result the same.  New Orleans swept the Cats with their thrilling 31-21 win.  The season sweep marks the first time since 2011 that the Black & Gold dominated the Panthers.

And Drew Brees is not surprised by the division accomplishment.  “We are in an extremely tough division.  We knew that this was going to be a tough game,” said the Saints QB.  “We came here to win and we were able to put players in the right place to make the plays,” said a confident Brees.

And Drew and the Saints offense have something to back them for the first time in a long time - a reliable defense.  The Saints gave up less yards, less first downs and far less third down conversions in their 31-21 win over Carolina.  

In the first meeting the Saints won 24-13 allowing 288 yards of total offense with Carolina gaining 132 yards rushing and 156 yards passing.  And Carolina was 7-of-14 on third down conversions.

But in round two, the Black & Gold defense stiffened more.  The Saints did allow 21 points, but Carolina only gained 279 yards of total offense - 112 yards rushing and 167 yards passing.

Saints DB Kenny Vaccaro had a sack along with LB A.J. Klien.  Toss in CB Ken Crawley’s three tackles and two big pass break-ups, Cam Jordan’s team high six tackles...and the Saints defense turned in another salty day in a packed & powerfully loud Superdome.

So, in this season’s two meetings the Saints gave Carolina on average 17 points, 283.5 yards of total offense, 122 yards rushing and 161.5 yards passing.  And the biggest difference the second time around - the Saints 3rd down defense.  Carolina converted only 3-of-10 third downs including just one third down conversion in the second half of the game.  So now the Saints are in sole possession of first place.  And they have three NFC South games left to play.

The Saints are 3-0 in division play with a win over the Bucs and a sweep over Carolina.  And now the Dirty ones from the ATL show up on the schedule.  Can the Saints win out and go a perfect 6-0 in the NFC South?  We shall see.  But I know for now the Black & Gold are still perfect in the South, in first place.  And that ain’t too damn bad!  Can I get a Who Dat?!? 

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