*All stats from pro-football-reference.com.  Note also: these were compiled prior to the week 9 Monday Night game, so it’s possible the outcome of that game could affect these rankings.

Per drive stats

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

Defense
Points per drive: 2.45 (29th)
Scoring Percentage: 44.7% (29th)
Turnover Percentage: 11.8% (13th)
Yards per drive: 36.5 (30th)

It’s interesting to me the way these stats mirror one another for the Saints. Stout on offense, terrible on defense, with turnover percentage being the only saving grace for the defense, and also the only blemish for the offense.

Overall

Passing offense
Passer rating: 106.6 (3rd)
Yards per game: 326.3 (1st)
Completion percentage: 69.7% (2nd)
Yards per attempt: 7.7 (7th)
Adjusted yards / attempt: 8.3 (4th)
Adjusted net yards / attempt: 7.8 (4th)
Sack percentage: 3.3% (2nd)
TD’s: 21 (2nd)
EXP: 92.54 (3rd)

Passing defense
Passer rating: 98.0 (25th)
Yards per game: 300 (32nd)
Completion percentage: 65.4% (22nd)
Yards per attempt: 8.3 (30th)
Adjusted yards / attempt: 8.4 (29th)
Adjusted net yards / attempt: 7.9 (30th)
Sack percentage: 3.6 (30th)
TD’s: 11 (11th)
EXP: -87.39 (29th)

Notes on adjusted yards per attempt stat: It’s adjusted by giving bonus of +20 yards per TD and subtracting -45 yards per INT. Adjusted net yards takes into account sacks by subtracting sack yardage from the passing yardage.

Notes on EXP stat. Take each play in terms of down, distance, and yard line, and come up with an average number of points teams have historically scored in that same situation for a baseline. Now compare what a team actually did in a game against that baseline for each given down, distance, and yard line. Now add all those up and you get the EXP stat. Basically, the higher the number the better. Average team is not necessarily 0, it can be a positive or a negative number.

Not surprising at all to see the Saints passing attack is one of the best in the league, easily top 5 across the board in the major stats looked at here, except for the one 7th ranking in yards per attempt, but that stat is as much reflective of the offensive style as anything (lots of short passes). Defensively (yes, we do have to), opposing passer rating has dipped below 100 again, always a good sign. Saints are now 25th in that stat. Another semi-bright spot is the 22nd ranking in opponent completion percentage at 65.4%. Brightest spot of all is the 11th ranking in TD’s allowed (bear in mind some teams have played 9 games to the Saints 8).

Rushing offense
Yards per game: 108.3 (16th)
Yards per attempt: 4.1 (18th)
TD’s: 8 (13th)
EXP: -12.32 (16th)

Rushing defense
Yards per game: 108.5 (19th)
Yards per attempt: 4.4 (21st)
TD’s: 12 (28th)
EXP: 3.49 (24th)

Here again, offense is ahead of the defense, but the offensive numbers are still very average. I do expect these numbers to improve as the year goes on, however, because the Saints seem to have figured out running the football is a good idea. The defensive numbers of 19th in yards/game and 21st in yards/attempt, those are numbers we can certainly live with. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect those numbers to improve, but we’ll see.

Special Teams
Yards per punt return: 11.2 (8th)
Yards per kick return: 16.4 (31st)
Yards per punt return allowed: 7.8 (11th)
Yards per kick return allowed: 24.2 (25th)
XP percentage: 100.0% (1st)
Field goal percentage: 72.2% (29th) (but note 4 of the 5 misses have been from 50+ yards)
50+ field goals made: 3 (4th)
Yards per punt: 50.8 (1st)

Punt return and punt coverage teams are doing very well, but kick return and kick coverage teams, not so much. As noted above, 4 of the 5 field goal misses have been from 50+ yards. Lutz has not missed any from 40-49. The miss from 30-39 might be the one that was blocked against the Giants. Saints have attempted the 2nd most 50+ yard field goals at 7 (only the Raiders have tried more with 8 attempts). Kick off strategy for the Saints is simple: kick it deep. Return strategy should be equally simple: take a knee in the end zone.

That about covers it. One more bonus stat: offensive yards per play: 6.1 (3rd), defensive yards per play allowed: 6.4 (31st).

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