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In the Numbers: Hard Times

Well, last week was something.

And this week could be, too.

For the second week in a row, the Saints (5-2) play a winless team and if anything goes like it did a week ago, it could be a long day for St. Louis (0-6).

The Rams, a year after fighting for a playoff spot, are now fighting for the worst record in the NFL. Hard times, indeed.

The Saints, meanwhile, are looking for consistency a week after a 55-point win.

It's All History
New Orleans and St. Louis have played 69 times, the Rams owning a 38-31 advantage in the series.

The teams have split their past four games, but with Sean Payton at the helm, the Saints are 2-1 and have won the past two games.

In 2009, the Saints' Super Bowl season, New Orleans struggled in a 28-23 win, a Courtney Roby kickoff return aiding in the win. A year ago, the Saints jumped out quickly and never really was in danger of losing.

Of course, the play of the game was Sam Bradford chasing down Roman Harper after an interception.

Saints amongst the NFL
Time to check in on where the Saints fit in in the NFL since Payton took over in New Orleans prior to the 2006 season.

Not shockingly, the positive numbers are pretty much all on offense.

Since 2006, the Saints are third in the NFL in scoring (27.4 ppg) but lead the league this season (34.1 ppg).

The Saints are tops in the NFL in total offense since 2006 (394.3 ypg) and second this season (467.1 ypg).

New Orleans is second since 2006 in third-down completion percentage (47.5) and first this season (57.9).

They have the second-most first downs since 2006 (1912) and lead this season (183).

The defense, too, has some top-notch stats since 2009, when Gregg Williams took over as defensive coordinator.

Since 2009, opponents have the fifth-lowest passer rating (77.0).

They've allowed the second-fewest touchdown passes (40) and have the second-most interception return yards (823).

Leading the pack:
Team leaders for the Saints heading into Jacksonville
Rushing (Total) Mark Ingram: 85 carries, 329 yards, 3 TD
Rushing (YPC) Darren Sproles: 7.4 yards per carry on 39 runs
Receiving (Total) Jimmy Graham: 45 catches for 674 yards, 5 TDs
Receiving (Catches) Jimmy Graham: 45 catches for 674 yards, 5 TDs; Darren Sproles: 45 catches for 329 yards, 2 TD
Scoring (non-kicker): Jimmy Graham: 30 points (5 passing TD); Darren Sproles 30 points (2 passing TD, 2 rushing TD, 1 return TD

Comparing the Teams (stats/rank)

Offense Yards/Game: Saints (467.1/2); Rams (301.2/28)
3rd Down %: Saints (57.9%/1); Rams (28.7%/30)
Red Zone %: Saints (52.8%/14); Rams (28.6%/32)
Defense Yards/Game: Saints (349.3/14); Rams (410.3/29)
Sacks recorded: Saints (15); Rams (11)
3rd Down %: Saints (38.9%/16); Rams (42.7%/25)
Red Zone %: Saints (68.7%/31`); Rams (58.8%/23t)

2011 3's Company (third-down analysis)

95 plays overall of which 23 were runs and 72 were passes. They have averaged 8.09 yards per run and 8.9 yards per pass play.
Third-and-short (1-2 yards) - 16 runs, 13 first downs; 7 passes, 4 first downs
Third-and-(3-5) - 5 run, 3 first down; 21 passes, 10 first downs
Third-and-(6-10) - 2 runs, 1 first downs; 30 passes, 17 first downs
Third-and-(11-15) - 0 run, 0 first downs; 9 passes, 7 first downs
Third-and-(16-plus) - 0 runs, 0 first downs; 5 passes, 0 first downs

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