Saints rise to fourth in total defense in latest NFL stats

After holding their opponent to fewer than 200 yards for the second week in a row, the Saints’ defense moved up three more spots to fourth in total yards allowed in the updated NFL stats.

The Saints held the San Francisco 49ers to 196 total yards after giving up 191 in their previous game against the Dallas Cowboys and soared from seventh to fourth.

The Saints, who were allowing 333.1 yards per game just two weeks ago following a 26-20 loss to the New York Jets, are giving up 305.4 yards a game.

They also moved up six spots in rushing defense from 23rd to 17th after limiting the 49ers to 81 yards, dropping their average this season to 114.0 yards per game. They remained third in passing defense at 191.4 yards per game and are still fifth in scoring defense in allowing 18.3 points a game.

Offensively, the Saints remained in the same spot in four major categories — second in total yards (419.1), passing (321.9) and scoring (28.8) and 23rd in rushing (97.2).

Here are the pertinent numbers for Thursday night’s game with the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome:

SAINTS (8-2)

Offense: Total yards, 419.1 (2); rushing, 97.2 (23); passing, 321.9 (2); scoring, 28.8 (2).

Defense: Total yards, 305.4 (4); rushing, 114.0 (17); passing, 191.4 (3); scoring, 18.3 (5).

Turnover differential: Plus-3 (t12)/13 giveaways (8 interceptions, 5 fumbles), 16 takeaways (10 interceptions, 6 fumble recoveries).

FALCONS (2-8)

Offense: Total yards, 347.5 (14); rushing, 73.1 (31); passing, 274.4 (6); scoring, 21.4 (t22).

Defense: Total yards, 381.9 (26); rushing, 132.7 (30); passing, 249.2 (22); scoring, 29.2 (29).

Turnover differential: Minus-11 (t29)/19 giveaways (12 interceptions, 7 fumbles), 8 takeaways (6 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries).