NEW YORK (AP) Comments on the New Orleans Saints by the AP Pro32 panel (ranking in parentheses):
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (13)
Chris Berman (ESPN, 12) - Run from 0-4 to this. Very impressive.
Clifton Brown (Sporting News, 10) - If defense can hold up, the offense could carry Saints to playoffs.
Cris Collinsworth (NBC Sports, 13)
Rich Gannon (CBS Sports/SiriusXM NFL Radio, 14) - Defense will prevent them from making the postseason.
Bob Glauber (Newsday, 13) - Remember that four-game losing streak to start the season? It's a distant memory for the Saints, winners of four of their last five, including Sunday's rousing effort against previously unbeaten Atlanta.
Rick Gosselin (Dallas Morning News, 14) - Drew Brees topped 300 yards passing in five of the first six games this season. But he has been under 300 in each of his last three starts.
Clark Judge (CBSSports.com, 15) - I think I speak for Don Shula and every member of the 1972 Miami Dolphins when I say, "Thank you. Your complimentary bottle of Dom Perignon is waiting in the lobby."
Ira Kaufman (Tampa Tribune, 13) - It's hard to imagine a defense this soft still playing in January.
Pat Kirwan (SiriusXM NFL Radio/CBSSports.com, 15) - Right now they probably deserve to be higher in these standings but they have early failures that can't go away just yet. New Orleans is running the ball, Brees is unstoppable and the defense is getting more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
John Lynch (Fox Sports, 16) - The offense remains explosive and is improved as they are utilizing their RB's more often and effectively. The defense is improving ... baby steps on defense.
Alex Marvez (Foxsports.com, 17) - The Saints continue to surrender yards at a record-pace, but the defense did come through with two goal-line stands that yielded only three points in a 31-27 victory over Atlanta.
Dan Pompei (Chicago Tribune, 15) - They look like a different team since Joe Vitt came back from his suspension.