FBO: Short term contender issues
Elements that could sink the Saints, Broncos, Eagles and Vikings
This is the first of a two-part look at the NFL midseason by Football Outsiders. In Part II, they will address teams with the broadest long-term concerns.
Can the New Orleans Saints stop the run?
The Saints have built a great all-around team this year. The offense has finally balanced the run and the pass. The defense has shut down opposing quarterbacks and ranks second against the pass in Football Outsiders' DVOA ratings. But there is one weakness: run defense. DVOA ranks the Saints just 25th against the run this season -- and you don't need advanced stats to see that the Saints can't stop the run. They rank 19th in the official NFL stats based on total rushing yards per game. That's a serious issue for a team whose opponents are never running out the clock in the fourth quarter.
To read more about potential short-term flaws in Weeks 10-17 and the playoffs for current NFL contenders, you must be an ESPN Insider.
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