Saints move up a spot to fourth in NFL in scoring defense

After giving up a season-high 434 total yards to the Chicago Bears in a 26-18 win on Sunday, the Saints’ defense slipped a bit in the latest NFL stats through Week 5.

But at the same time, the Saints (5-0) are still among the league leaders in scoring defense — which is the most important stat for Sean Payton and his defensive coaches.

Going into Sunday’s game with the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass., the Saints have given up just 73 total points for an average of 14.6 points a game to rank fourth in the league.

The Saints have held each of their five opponents to 19 or fewer points.

They slipped five spots in total defense, going from sixth to a tie for 11th at 330.4 yards per game. The Saints, however, improved four spots against the run and are 18th in giving up 108.6 yards per game and are now 12th against the pass at 221.8 yards per game after ranking fifth last week.

Offensively, the Saints remained fourth in total yards (405.0) and are second in passing (326.8) for the second straight week, but dropped one spot to 26th in rushing (78.2).

The Saints lead the league in time of possession in averaging 34 minutes, 37 seconds per game and are tied for fourth in turnover differential at plus-6 with 11 takeaways — which is tied for fifth in the league — and only five giveaways.

Individually, tight end Jimmy Graham leads the league in receiving yards with 593 yards through the first five games.

Even though they’re 4-1, the Patriots are uncharacteristically struggling on offense. They rank 18th in total yards (343.4), 21st in passing (227.0) and 14th in rushing (116.4).

Here are the pertinent numbers for Sunday’s game in Gillette Stadium:

SAINTS

Offense: Total yards, 405.0 (4); rushing, 78.2 (26); passing, 326.8 (2); scoring, 26.8 (9).

Defense: Total yards, 330.4 (t11); rushing, 108.6 (18); passing, 221.8 (12); scoring, 14.6 (4).

Turnover differential: Plus-6 (t4)/5 giveaways, 11 takeaways.

PATRIOTS

Offense: Total yards, 343.4 (18); rushing, 116.4 (14); passing, 227.0 (21); scoring, 19.0 (24).

Defense: Total yards, 345.0 (16); rushing, 116.4 (23); passing, 228.6 (14); scoring, 14.0 (2).

Turnover differential: Plus-4 (t8)/6 giveaways, 10 takeaways.