NEW ORLEANS, LA (WLOX) - Over the last five games the New Orleans Saints have rung up 2 wins and 3 defeats, losing back-to-back games on the road the past two weeks at St. Louis and at Carolina.
The once high-octane offensive attack led by quarterback Drew Brees has taken a severe nose dive in the last five games. Instead of ripping opponents defenses to threads, Brees and company have averaged a luke warm 17 points an outing.
Despite a lack of success in finding the end zone, the Saints have the second best passing team in the NFL with just over 303 yards per game.
When it comes to the running game, New Orleans ranks 25th with 91.7 yards an outing.
Tampa Bay defensive lineman Gerald McCoy knows statistics don't win or lose football games. It's what happens on Sunday that counts and he says defending Brees will be a difficult assignment.
It's definitely difficult. He's done a great job of moving in the pocket,"stated McCoy. "I think people underestimate his athleticism and he's real crafty. A lot of people get him on the ground but he gets the ball out."
New Orleans always plays solid football in the Superdome running off a perfect 7 and 0 record this season, hoping to pick up an 8th win on Sunday. Tampa Bay safety Dashon Goldson says playing before a loud Saints crowd in the Superdome only adds to the steep climb the Buccanees face in trying to upend Brees and company but believes Tampa Bay can pull the upset.
If it wasn't for the leadership of Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, New Orleans may not be in playoff position it finds itself with a shot at gaining the Number 2 overall seed in the NFC behind Seattle, if things fall into place.
Ryan has turned a defenseless defensive unit into an man eating defense that chews up opposing quarterbacks.
Ryan admits while his players kept the Panthers at bay for most of the day last Sunday, that defense bent and broke in the final minute allowing Carolina quarterback Cam Newton to lead his team to a last second victory, securing first place atop the South Division standings holding a one game lead.
Ryan said,"Bottom line is, it doesn't matter. We've got to get it done on Sunday and we don't want to make any excuses."
The Saints defense has racked up 47 sacks on the season to rank 4th in the NFL. The Saints defense could be the key to victory by putting heat on Tampa Bay rookie quarterback Mike Glennon.