Defense Wins Championships: Comparing the ’09 and ’19 New Orleans Saints Defenses Through 8 Games
In 2009 the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl and started the season 8-0. The 2019 New Orleans Saints are 7-1 and have many drawing comparisons between the two.
It’s a tale as old as time; if you’re going to be a champion, you better bring some defense. The New Orleans Saints are following that principle.
While the ‘09 Saints defense will go down as one of the most opportunistic in NFL history, the ‘19 defense is looking to make a name for themselves as well.
The cornerstone of any defense is stopping the run. Through eight games, the Saints have given up 674 rushing yards for an average of 82 yards per game. Additionally, they have not allowed a 100-yard rusher. Equally as impressive are the seven touchdowns allowed on the ground.
For comparison, in ‘09, New Orleans allowed eleven rushing touchdowns while giving up an average of 112 rushing yards per game. Rushing yards and touchdowns allowed aren’t the only categories this year’s defense ranks better in.
Getting to the quarterback has been a specialty for the boys in Black & Gold. Cam Jordan leads the team with eight sacks, accounting for one-third of the teams’ total. That’s right, through eight games, the Saints have 24 sacks. In 2009, New Orleans tallied 19 through the first eight games.
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Passing yards allowed is a virtual scratch between the two defenses as the ‘09 squad allowed 102 fewer yards at the mid-way point of the season. To date, New Orleans has allowed 1,858 passing yards and ten passing touchdowns.
This is where things get a bit lopsided. Saints fans need not fret, the following numbers would be hard for any defense to keep up with.
Interceptions, forced fumbles, fumbles recovered and total turnovers all belong to the ‘09 Saints.
Forced and recovered fumbles have the smallest differential between the two with each defense having forced two more fumbles than they were able to recover. New Orleans forced 10 fumbles in ’09 and 8 in ’19.
Maybe the most impressive defensive statistics from ’09 comes in the form of interceptions. Led by Darren Sharper and Tracy Porter, New Orleans forced SIXTEEN picks mid-way through the regular season.
While this year’s secondary has only accounted for three interceptions, they have done a fantastic job of keeping opposing receivers at bay. Look no further than the zeros in the stat line of Mike Evans for proof.
If you’re keeping tally, New Orleans was able to take the ball away from their opponent 24 times through eight games back in ’09. The ’19 defense has nine takeaways for a difference of 15.
Yards per game and turnovers are great indicators for how well a defense is performing. However, in the end, there is only one number that matters. The one on the scoreboard.
Although the ’09 Saints’ defense seemed magical in the way they were able to take the ball away from the opponent, they did allow 21.75 points per game the first half of the season. The ’19 defense has been able to best that by 2.25 points, allowing an average of 19.5 points per game.
Appearing in the NFC Championship game last year and winning more than 10 games the last two years has this team thinking Super Bowl or bust. Cam Jordan, Demario Davis, Marshon Lattimore, and company know they can be great.
In February I expect there to be one more commonality between the two. Each defense will have played their final game in South Beach.