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Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
Email: bhandwerger@wwltv.com | Twitter: @wwltvsports

METAIRIE, La. ― For much of the season, the one knock on the Saints was their defense.

They couldn't stop the pass. They couldn't stop the run. They couldn't, well, get off the field. Blah blah blah.

That knock also couldn't have been more wrong as the season came to a close.

And the team who the Saints get compared to most often, the Green Bay Packers, have nearly the same track record.

In fact, the teams are eerily similar on both offense and defense, save for a few key categories.

Saints Offense

Total No. 1
Rushing O No. 6
Passing O No. 1
Yards per play No. 1
Yards per rush No. 4
Yards per pass No. 3
Third down percentage No. 1

Packers Offense
Total No. 3
Rushing O No. 27
Passing O No. 3
Yards per play No. 2
Yards per rush No. 26
Yards per pass No. 1
Third down percentage No. 3

Saints Defense

Total No. 24
Rushing D No. 12
Passing D No. 30
Yards per play No. 27
Yards per rush No. 29
Yards per pass No. 16
Third down percentage No. 5

Packers Defense

Total No. 32
Rushing D - No. 14
Passing D No. 32
Yards per play No. 31
Yards per rush No. 29
Yards per pass No. 30
Third down percentage No. 26

Saints Turnover Differential

Tied for 19th at minus-3 (16 takeaways, 19 giveaways)

Packers Turnover Differential
No. 2 at plus-24 (38 takeaways, 14 giveaways)

One other thing that didn't get ranked - the Saints have allowed only 39 trips total to get into the red zone on defense. That's the second-lowest total (Pittsburgh allowed only 31). The Packers allowed 56 trips into the red zone.

The biggest difference seems to come on third-down defense and turnover differential.

The Saints get off the field on third down, allowing conversions only 33.3 percent of the time while Green Bay gives up a first down on 42.6 percent of third downs.

Both teams went 8-0 at home while the Saints went 5-3 on the road to the Packers' 7-1. One of the Saints' losses came at Green Bay in the season opener.

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