Considered one of the toughest divisions in football, the Saints and their three rivals are taking a hit in prestige this season, especially on defense.
Carolina is the second worst in the league in points/game and sixth worst in yards/game, while Tampa is second worst in yard/game and fourth worst in points/game.
One statistic the Saints are excelling in is allowed 3rd down conversion percentage. Sixth best in the league, the Saints allow a first on only 35% on third downs. The Panthers and Falcons are both in the bottom nine in the league.
Only Atlanta is in the top half of the NFL in terms of yards allowed on defense, and they are a middling 15th best.
Thanks to football statistics site profootballfocus.com, it is clear that the reason for the division's problems on defense all stem from missed tackles. The Falcons are the best in the division, but are eighth worst in the league in terms of missed tackle percentage, as calculated by Pro Football Focus.
The Bucs lead the league in missed tackles with 92, missing an average of 15.54% total attempts. The article makes an effort to point how how poorly the Bucs have tackled, this after leading the league in missed tackles last year as well.
The Panthers are third, with 71 missed tackles, 12.46% of total attempts. The Saints are fifth, missing 66 tackles, 12.18%. The Falcons have missed 59, 10.83% of all tackles.
In what must remind many of the early 90s, the 49ers, Cowboys and Bills have the three best tackling defenses, with the 49ers leading the way with only 30 missed tackles on the season, 6.04%.