NFC South defenses struggling

October, 31, 2011
10/31/11
10:57
AM ET
As we arrive at the midseason mark, one NFC South trend has become quite obvious. None of the NFC South teams are playing good defense.

Only one of the division's defenses ranks in the top half of the league. That’s the New Orleans Saints and they’re just barely above the bottom half. The Saints are No. 15 in overall defense. They’re 23rd against the run and No. 11 against the pass.

The rest of the NFC South is even worse. Surprisingly, Carolina has the division’s second-best defense. The Panthers, who don’t seem able to stop anyone, are No. 17 overall. They’re No. 29 against the run and No. 14 against the pass, but I think that ranking might be a bit inflated because the 2-6 Panthers have trailed in a lot of their games and opponents haven’t had to put up big passing yardage.

Atlanta ranks No. 20 overall. The Falcons’ defense is No. 7 against the run and No. 23 against the pass. Tampa Bay has the division’s worst defense statistically. The Bucs are No. 29 overall. They rank No. 22 against the run and No. 26 against the pass.

Offense is another story as most of the division teams rank in the top half of the league. New Orleans is No. 2 overall. The Saints are No. 1 in passing and No. 12 in rushing.

The Panthers are No. 5 overall. They’re seventh in rushing and No. 5 in passing. The Buccaneers are No. 15 overall (No. 23 in rushing and 13th in passing).

The Falcons are No. 17 overall. They are No. 17 in rushing and No. 18 in passing.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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