Saints fielding elite defense during surge to top of NFC

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New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) closes in to sack Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan in the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Brett Duke)

By BRETT MARTEL

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Saints defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson and defensive end Cameron Jordan see the significance of New Orleans’ No. 1 defensive ranking in much the same way. It’s a number that means little if they can’t back it up in coming weeks. The Saints also rank second against the run. They’re fifth against the pass. They’re third in interception rate. They’re fourth in sacks per pass attempt and fifth in points allowed per game. The Saints visit the Falcons on Sunday. Atlanta offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter says he’s “never seen a defense ranked in the top 10 in so many categories.”