If New Orleans Saints’ Defense Falters Down the Stretch, Playoff Appearance at Risk

By Alejandro Aviles
Saints defense
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints’ defense has been surprisingly good this season after giving up the most yards in NFL history last year. In their Sunday game against the Carolina Panthers, the Saints’ defense was holding their own, but did not show up when it mattered.

The defense only made 45 tackles, but they did do a good job of pressuring Cam Newton as they had four sacks and one interception. However, none of that mattered as the Saints’ defense gave up a last-minute touchdown that sealed the Panthers’ victory.

With 23 seconds left to go in the game, Newton was able to throw a touchdown pass to Domenik Hixon and ultimately gave the Panthers the 17-13 win. This game definitely was a defensive struggle and the Saints certainly had a chance, but their defense could not make the stop when they needed to the most.

Luckily for the Saints, their season finale will be back at home and against their divisional rivals, the 4-11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs are last in the league with 178.1 passing yards per game, so the Saints’ defense should be able to bounce back. However, the Saints will be without rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro as he sustained a fractured ankle and is done for the season. Nevertheless, the Saints’ defense has played pretty well this season and the next man up should be able to help the team.

All the Saints have to do is win next week and they will make the playoffs, so I would expect the defense, as well as the entire team, to play with a sense of urgency. The Saints’ defense could not get it done down the stretch, but you can expect they will play much better in the season finale.

Alejandro Aviles is the Featured Writer for the New Orleans Saints at Rant Sports @aaviles312.

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