NEW YORK (AP) -- Comments on the New Orleans Saints by the AP Pro32 panel (ranking in parentheses):
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (15)
Chris Berman (ESPN, 13) -- 0-4 hole now means REAL trouble in five-day span.
Clifton Brown (Sporting News, 10) -- Loss to 49ers hurt. Could be the best team that misses the playoffs.
Cris Collinsworth (NBC Sports, 16)
Rich Gannon (CBS Sports/SiriusXM NFL Radio, 15) -- Still dangerous despite the league's worst defense (32nd).
Bob Glauber (Newsday, 11) -- Saints can't protect Drew Brees against 49ers' ferocious defense, so they take a major step backward in the wild card race. They'll need some help down the stretch.
Rick Gosselin (Dallas Morning News, 17) -- The Saints are on pace to allow a record 7,277 yards, almost 500 yards more than the current record. New Orleans ranks last in defense, last in run defense and 30th in pass defense.
Clark Judge (CBSSports.com, 11) -- Joe Vitt's Interim Coach of the Year campaign just got derailed.
Ira Kaufman (Tampa Tribune, 16) -- A daunting schedule and this soft defense suggest it's not their year.
Pat Kirwan (SiriusXM NFL Radio/CBSSports.com, 11) -- The Saint defense is now adequate, but not good enough to overcome Drew Brees interceptions for touchdowns. They can still make the playoffs with most of the other wildcard candidates losing this week.
John Lynch (Fox Sports, 15) -- The 49ers are really good. Just ask the Saints.
Alex Marvez (Foxsports.com, 17) -- Drew Brees clearly didn't help matters with two interceptions returned for touchdowns, but the Saints' defense remained disastrous in last Sunday's 31-21 loss to San Francisco.
Dan Pompei (Chicago Tribune, 12) -- After a tough loss to the 49ers, they face a near must-win at Atlanta on Thursday.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.