METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints' defense might be starting to catch up with its offensive counterpart.
The Saints are the highest-scoring team in the NFL, so the defense has a ways to go to equal the offense. But New Orleans is making significant progress and has allowed a season-low in points the last two weeks.
After beating Cincinnati 51-14 two weeks ago, the Saints extended their NFL-best win streak to nine games with a 48-7 victory against the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Against the Eagles, the Saints allowed just 196 total yards, including 58 rushing, and limited Philadelphia to 3-of-10 on third-down conversions and 0-of-2 on fourth-down conversions. New Orleans intercepted Carson Wentz three times and also sacked him three times.
With the offense and defense working hand in hand, the Saints held the ball for more than 37 minutes.
"We just keep getting better and better each week," Saints running back Mark Ingram II said. "We're just putting together complete games, offensively, defensively and on special teams. That is the main goal, be healthy and get our next game plan down and move on to the next one."
The next one is a Thanksgiving night game against Atlanta in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
These teams met in Week 3 in Atlanta and New Orleans prevailed in a shootout, 43-37, in overtime.
"I feel like it's a natural progression of us aspiring to be a better defense every week," New Orleans defensive end Cameron Jordan said. "We come out and play a game against a tough opponent. Then you have early success, you're able to get the ball back to the quarterback, back to Drew [Brees] and back to our offense early on. They automatically put points up on the board on each and every one of those drives.
"It creates a landslide and I mean the momentum just completely shifts and you're able to really get after them."
New Orleans leads the NFL in run defense and has not allowed a 100-yard rusher this season.
"We are trying to eliminate big plays and that's really our main focus, just trying to be better as a defensive unit," Jordan said. "You talk about this game, as much success as we've had, we still had a 20-, 25-yard run that resulted in points on the board this past week. [That] is something that we're going to focus on and try and get better from."
The Saints have six takeaways in the last three games. Two of the interceptions against the Eagles came in the fourth quarter.
"When you're up by so many points, they have got to take deep shots," Jordan said. "Their route tree becomes manageable. We take advantage of what we can."
S Chris Banjo is primarily a special teams contributor, but he saw extended snaps Sunday as Saints head coach Sean Payton started pulling starters once the game was well in hand. Banjo wound up with the first two-interception game of his career.
WR Austin Carr caught his first career touchdown pass on a 3-yard toss from Drew Brees on Sunday. Carr became the 49th different Saints player and 64th different NFL player to catch a touchdown pass from Brees. Tom Brady holds the record with touchdown passes to 71 different players.
P Thomas Morstead had an unusually busy day Sunday even though he punted just twice. There have been two games this season in which Morstead did not punt and in five other games he punted just once.
WR Tre'Quan Smith had the most productive game of his rookie season one week after having no impact. Smith had 10 catches for 157 yards and two touchdowns against the Eagles after he wasn't even targeted a week earlier against Cincinnati. Smith's catches and yardage nearly matched his season total through nine games. He entered Sunday's game with 12 catches for 214 yards. His only other significant game was against the Redskins when he caught three passes for 11 yards and two touchdowns, including the pass on which Drew Brees broke Peyton Manning's record for career passing yardage. Smith did not participate in practice Monday because of a foot injury.
T Jermon Bushrod, who started in place of injured Terron Armstead on Sunday, did not practice Monday because of a hand injury. Armstead also missed practice and he's expected to miss a couple more games because of a pectoral injury.
C Max Unger did not practice because of a quad injury.