All stats via pfref.com

Per drive stats

Offense
Points per drive: 2.61 (3rd)
Scoring %: 45.5% (3rd)
Turnover %: 10.4% (14th)
Plays per drive: 6.5 (3rd)
Yards per drive: 38.0 (3rd)

Defense
Points per drive: 2.45 (29th)
Scoring %: 44.7% (29th)
Turnover %: 11.8% (13th)
Plays per drive: 6.1 (22nd)
Yards per drive: 36.5 (30th)

Just briefly looking at the rankings above, it’s plain the offense remains the strength of this team — solid #3 rankings across the board except for turnover % (the number of drives that end in a turnover) at 14th.  Coincidentally, turnover % is also the closest thing to a bright spot for the defense at 13th in forced turnovers.  But while the defense is better than average at taking the ball away it has struggled mightily (29th) in points per drive allowed, scoring % and (30th) in yards per drive allowed.

Overall stats

Passing Offense
Passer rating: 104.7 (3rd)
Yards per game: 326.7 (1st)
Sack %: 3.4% (3rd)
TD’s: 18 (2nd)
INT’s: 5 (14th)
EXP: 92.54 (3rd)

No surprise the passing offense is carrying the offense, which is carrying the team.  #1 in passing yards per game is almost a given in the Drew Brees’ era.  Passer rating is also a very solid 3rd, TD’s (2nd) and sack % (3rd).  Lone area of concern is INT’s at 14th, but the TD:INT ratio at 18:5 is very strong.  EXP is 3rd.  EXP is based on how many points the team scored on each play relative to what teams have historically scored on the same down, distance to go, and yard-line.

Passing Defense
Passer rating: 97.3 (24th)
Yards per game: 286.7 (29th)
Sack %: 3.7% (28th)
TD’s: 9 (11th)
INT’s: 3 (27th)
EXP: -87.39 (30th)

In recent years the pass defense has been terrible with this team.  This year, no exception, but there is one bright spot in passing TD’s allowed at 11th.  This is a very solid number for the Saints.  Passer rating of opponents has dipped below 100, always a good sign, but still not where you’d really want it to be (24th).  Sack % (28th) might improve with the return of Sheldon Rankins.  INT’s (27th) might improve with the return of Delvin Breaux.  EXP is at 30th, never a good sign.

Rushing Offense
Yards per game: 88.3 (25th)
Yards per attempt: 3.6 (28th)
TD’s: 6 (16th)
EXP: -12.32 (16th)

EXP at 16th is surprisingly good for the Saints.  16th in rushing TD’s is very solid for such a pass-happy team.  Yards per game (25th) and yards per attempt (28th) not good enough.  I think we’ll see these numbers improve going forward as the Saints are starting to figure out the importance of balance on offense.  We’ll see…

Rushing Defense
Yards per game: 110.7 (18th)
Yards per attempt: 4.3 (18th)
TD’s: 12 (31st)
EXP: 3.49 (23rd)

Good news here.  Yards per game (18th) and yards per attempt (18th), much improved from previous years.  Still allowing way too many rushing TD’s (31st).

Summation

Nearing the midway point of the season (after 7 games) the Saints are a team that still relies heavily on future HoF quarterback Drew Brees, as they should.  Offense has been super-efficient on a per drive basis, with the only blemish being a few too many turnovers, but still above average even at that.  Defense remains the weak spot, but significant strides have been made in rushing defense (18th in 2 key stats).  Pass defense has a long ways to go, but the bright spot there is 11th best in fewest passing TD’s allowed.  Saints have been without 3 starters at all 3 levels of their defense all year, but are beginning to get those players back: Rankins at DL, Ellerbe at LB, and Breaux at CB.  The return of these 3 players could make a dramatic difference, particularly Breaux at CB.

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