New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) celebrates with quarterback Drew Brees (9) after making a fourth quarter touchdown catch against the Arizona Cardinals at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Power Rankings: Where are the Saints?

Kristian Garic
November 06, 2019 - 7:37 pm
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  1.  San Francisco 49ers (8-0):  I’m being objective.  The 49ers are the NFL’s lone unbeaten team.  They’re getting it done with a suffocating defense and a rushing attack that flat out mauls defenses in the trenches.  Their schedule so far hasn’t been all that tough, but that changes this week.  Six of the final eight games for the Niners include matchups with teams that have winning records.
  2. New Orleans Saints (7-1):  Coming off their bye week the Saints look to regain some key pieces on offense.  Running back Alvin Kamara missed two games before the bye with an ankle/knee injury, and tight end Jarred Cook hopes to return from an undisclosed injury.  The Saints faced early adversity with a brutal schedule early and quarterback Drew Brees missing time with a torn thumb ligament.  Brees is back and the Saints keep rolling.  New Orleans finally has a defense to match their potent offense.  The defense is top 10 in scoring defense, yards allowed and rushing yards allowed per game. 
  3. Baltimore Ravens (6-2):  So the Ravens beat the Patriots and I put them third?  Yep, but not just because they beat the previously unbeaten Pats.  The Ravens are explosive on offense leading the league in scoring.  Baltimore is also second in the league in total offensive yards per game (427.0).  The Ravens average 204.9 yards rushing per game.  That’s disgustingly good.  This team is a real threat to dethrone the Patriots in the AFC. 
  4. New England Patriots (8-1):  Look, the Patriots are the defending world champs, but after getting spanked in their first real test against Baltimore, it makes me wonder just how good the Patriots are.  Baltimore whipped the Patriots 37-20.  Prior to facing the Ravens, the Patriots played just one team with a winning record through their first eight games.
  5.  Green Bay Packers (7-2):  The Packers took a beating on the road against the struggling Los Angeles Chargers (26-11).  Now that hurts, but I still think because of Aaron Rodgers Green Bay is a top five team.  Am I putting too much on Rodgers?  Maybe.  But, he’s damn good.  Green Bay has 4 wins against teams with a .500 record or better.  That matters to me.  While Green Bay’s defense is a little leaky, they do play really well in the red zone and are 11th in the league in scoring defense, allowing 21 points per game.
  6. Seattle Seahawks (7-2):  Quietly QB Russel Wilson is having an MVP caliber season and the Hawks are on a roll.  Seattle averages nearly 400 yards a game.  On the other hand, the Seahawks defense makes the 12’s yearn for the “Legion of Boom defense.”   If Wilson continues to play like he has for the first half of the season, look out for the Seahawks.
  7. Kansas City Chiefs (6-3):  Probably should be higher, and will be once QB Patrick Mahomes II returns from a knee injury.   The Chiefs got a huge home win against the Vikings this past week.  If Kansas City can put it together on defense, I’d position them much higher.  The Chiefs rank in the bottom half of the league in scoring defense, yards allowed, passing yards allowed and rushing yards allowed.  That will be their eventual undoing post season.
  8. Houston Texans (6-3):  Houston can be a little puzzling to figure out sometimes, but when QB Deshaun Watson is on, the Texans are tough.  Defensive end JJ Watt is lost for the season due to injury.  Three potentially tough games await the Texans in the back end of the schedule.  This week on the road against the Ravens.  Indianapolis the following week and New England after that.  Outside of those three games Houston has relatively smooth sailing down the stretch.
  9. Minnesota Vikings defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo (95) and defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) celebrate after a sack against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium.
    Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
    Minnesota Vikings (6-3):  The Vikings have a healthy RB Davlin Cook this year and it’s paid off.   Minnesota is third in the NFL in rushing yards per game (153.0) and 11th in scoring (26.0 points per game).  On defense the Vikings are really tough allowing just 17.6 yards per game, and are top 10 in yards per game, passing yards per game, and rushing yards per game.   The Vikings have been really good at forcing turnovers sitting at +4 for the season.  Two of their three losses came against teams with a winning record.  If somehow Minnesota can overtake the Packers in the division and host a home playoff game, they will be very dangerous.
  10. Indianapolis Colts (5-3):  I never would have thought the Colts would be above .500 this season, after the abrupt retirement of QB Andrew Luck in the preseason.   Aside from Sean Payton, I think head coach Frank Reich should be considered for coach of the year honors.  He’s done a great job keeping the team together and winning some tough games.  The Colts prefer to keep the game close and win with their defense.  This is the team that went into Kansas City and beat the Chiefs in week 5 with a healthy Pat Mahomes II at quarterback.  That’s impressive.
  11. Dallas Cowboys (5-3):  Why do I have the Cowboys ranked lower than the Colts even though Dallas leads their division?  Four of the Cowboys wins came against teams with losing records and two of those wins are against the 2 and 7 New York Giants.  Not to mention Dallas lost to the lowly New York Jets in week six.  The Cowboys lead the league in total offense (436.8 yards per game).  They are also fifth in points allowed (17.8), sixth in total yards (318.1), seventh in passing yards allowed per game (220.9) and 11th against rush (97.2).  Ordinarily that would ordinarily impressive, but when you’ve done it largely against the likes of the Redskins, Giants, and Miami, it takes the shine off those numbers.
  12. Los Angeles Rams (5-3):  Super Bowl runner up hangover?  Perhaps the case for the Rams less than impressive first half of the season.   Saints fans show no sympathy for the Rams that I can assure you.  Want to know the biggest reason the Rams don’t have a better record?  They are even in the takeaway/giveaway ratio.  Last year the Rams were +11 in that category.  Their offensive numbers are just about what they were last year.  The defense is still as good as it was last season.  If the Rams start forcing turnovers, they will skyrocket up this list.  Los Angeles is a team to watch in the back half of the season.  The Rams vomit game came in a stunning home upset from Tampa Bay in a wild shoot out 55-40.
  13. Buffalo Bills (6-2):  How are the Bills ranked so low and behind a couple of teams with worse records?  This is a rankings format, not a playoff format.  Right now the Bills would be in the playoffs in the AFC as a wild card team.  The Bills have amassed all of their wins against teams with losing records.  Not to mention they play in the weakest division in football, the AFC East.  Make no mistake about it, the numbers look great for the Bills on defense.  Buffalo is third in the league in points per game allowed (16.4), likewise for yards allowed per game (296.2).  They’re also third in the NFL in passing yards per game allowed (184.6).  Strong, right?  Not when you dive into the opponents’ numbers.  The Jets are last in the league in scoring; the Giants are 24th in total yards.  The Bengals offense is terrible as well.  Get the point?  Need I go on? 
  14. Philadelphia Eagles (5-4):  Where do I begin with this team?  Nearly two full seasons removed from winning the Super Bowl the Eagles are an average team.  Their most impressive win came in week four against the Packers in Lambeau Field.  The Eagles most depressing loss came against the Atlanta Falcons in week two.  Maybe I should rank them lower after pointing that out.  None the less Philadelphia has a winning record.  Philly has three tough games in the remaining seven in the regular season.  This week it’s the Patriots at home, followed by the Seahawks also at home.  One more game against Dallas in week 16, and the Eagles might just scratch their way into the post season, if they can pull off an upset and win one of those tough matchups and win the winnable games down the stretch.
  15. Carolina Panthers (5-3):  Who would have thought the Panthers would be better without Cam Newton?  Well, I still don’t buy that argument.  The Panthers gave up 51 points to the 49ers in week eight and let’s face it, Kyle Allen isn’t better than Cam Newton.  The Carolina Cats are good to above average.  Offensively they are impressive in the running game averaging 132.9 yards per game.  Defensively Carolina gives up a lot of points and are in the bottom half of the league in rush defense, and yards allowed.  The Panthers placed Newton on injured reserve, and the Allen show will continue.  Running back Christian McCaffrey is going to have to put this team on his back for the Panthers to continue a playoff push.  Oh wait…he’s kind of already done that.
  16. Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws a pass against the Detroit Lions in the fourth quarter at Oakland Coliseum.
    Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
    Oakland Raiders (4-4):  I have to admit I have been wrong about the Raiders from the jump.  After the training camp fiasco with WR Antonio Brown and the soap opera it turned into, I thought the Raiders were in for a dismal season.  With that said they aren’t lighting it up, but they have far exceeded my expectations.  Let’s not go crazy, though.  It’s worth pointing out the Raiders’ decision to trade up in the draft for pass rusher Clelin Ferrell isn’t exactly going as planned.  Ferrell has 1 sack.  Keep in mind the Raiders drafted him 4th overall.  The Panthers picked pass rusher Brian Burns 16th overall and he’s turned in 4.5 sacks for Carolina.  The Silver and Black isn’t back, but they are at least respectable.
  17. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4):  The defense is the story for the Steelers.  After losing QB Ben Roethlisberger in week two, Pittsburgh hasn’t been very good on offense with Mason Rudolph at the helm.  The fact that they’ve stayed around .500 this season without WR Antonio Brown, RB Le’Veon Bell and now Big Ben is pretty amazing to me.  Because I don’t have much else to say about the Steelers, here’s a fun fact.  The inventor of McDonald’s Big Mac sandwich is from Pittsburgh, sooooo there’s that!
  18. Detroit Lions (3-4-1):  The Lions might be one of the more talented teams in the league without a winning record.  Quarterback Mathew Stafford has just been wasted in the years he’s been in “Motown.”  His head coach Matt Patricia came to the Lions as a defensive guru having coached the Patriots defense to a Super Bowl win.   Patricia’s defense is the reason Detroit is not winning games.  Dig this:  the Lions are giving up 424.1 yards a game on defense.  That’s one before last in the league.  Yikes!  I hope Stafford eventually finds his way out of Detroit, or the Lions organization gets him some help.  He’s a stud, the defense is a dud.
  19. Los Angeles Chargers (4-5):  The biggest disappointment of the season is easily the Chargers.  Many, present company included, thought the Chargers were the biggest threat to the Patriots in the AFC headed into the season.  If I had a crying emoji I would use it here.  The Chargers are -3 on the season, and that’s the biggest reason why they are sitting in the position with a losing record.   The Bolts looked like they turned it around to a degree this past week beating the Green Bay Packers for their second straight win.  Maybe a turnaround is coming in Los Angeles.
  20. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5):  “Minshew Mania” burned as fast as a poorly rolled cigar.  QB Gardner Minshew was the talk of the league early in the season, after replacing the injured Nick Foles.   All four wins for the Jags came against teams with losing records.  Nick Foles is on the mend from a broken collarbone.  Can Nick salvage their season?  Maybe!  If he doesn’t, I suspect changes are a coming to Jacksonville.
  21. Tennessee Titans (4-5):  When you bench QB Marcus Mariota in favor of Ryan Tannehill. it’s a sign that you have problems.  Big ones!  Mariota was selected by the Titans No. 2 overall back in 2015.  That hurts big time!  I like their uniforms, though.  What can I say?  This Tennessee team isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.  Don’t worry Titans fans, you have great music to listen to. 
  22. Arizona Cardinals (3-5-1):  This is a team that I think isn’t far away from being a problem.  Not saying that it’s this year, but in the future.  Arizona hit on Kyler Murray at QB.  Give him time and some help and Murray will be a huge problem in this league.  The Cardinals gave the 49ers all they wanted in week 9, falling 28-25 to the top ranked team.  The defense is the big issue in the desert.  The Cards D is near the bottom of the league in almost every important category.  Arizona is a team that could potentially go from pushover to bully in the next couple of seasons.
  23. Denver Broncos (3-6):  I have a ton of respect for Vic Fangio as a defensive coach.  So far in his first go as a head coach things aren’t going so well in the Mile High City.  The Broncos have been plagued by an anemic offense, stalled largely by ineffective play at quarterback.   Denver lost three games this year by two points.  They are actually close.  My goodness… if you look at the defense, it’s scary good.  The Broncos allow just 18.9 points per game and are fourth in the NFL in total yards allowed per game.  Trying to pass the football on the Broncos has been especially tough for opponents, giving up just 202.1 yards a game through the air, good for 4th best in the NFL.  The offense is the problem!  General Manager John Elway might have overstayed his welcome.
  24. Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry (80) runs the ball in the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High.
    Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
    Cleveland Browns (2-6):  “The Browns won the offseason; they are playoff bound,” is what we heard all spring, right?  Ha!  If I was right about one thing this year, it was the Browns hype.  That’s all it was, hype!  I said early on…don’t buy into this team with all these personalities like OBJ, Jarvis Landry, and QB Baker Mayfield.  The biggest reason was the head coach.  Freddy Kitchens was the running backs coach this time last year.  He had no experience managing personalities that large.  I want the Browns to be good.  Their fans deserve it!  The Browns just keep Browning their way out of serious consideration.  Until they win something, I’m not in on this organization.  Oh and then you have your leader (Baker Mayfield) walking out of a press conference, after a tough question from a reporter?  Come on!  You think Drew Brees, Tom Brady or any other strong leader would do that?
  25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6):  No surprise here for me.  When it comes to the Bucs, I feel the same way as I do about the Browns.  Win something!  Heck…have a winning season and I’ll take them seriously.  Tampa’s issues actually don’t fall at the feet of QB Jameis Winston.  Surprising, right?  The defense is a shipwreck (see what I did there).  Tampa gives up an eye popping 31.5 points per game.  Enough said.  Side note:  If you go to Tampa and like Italian food.  Go to Gio’s…it’s stellar!
  26. Chicago Bears (3-5):  Oh boy!  Da Bears!  Well, not so much.  The Monsters of the Midway are actually the Micro’s of the Midway.  Chicago was thought to be a dark horse Super Bowl contender this year, after a tough playoff loss last post-season.  That narrative didn’t age well at all.  The problem is easy to detect in the Windy City.  The Bears have a problem at quarterback.  Mitchell Trubisky is simply not the guy.  Chicago averages 186.2 yards passing per game, and that’s due in large part to Trubisky’s inaccuracy.  Chicago should be in the market for a QB this off-season.  General Manager Ryan Pace might have hitched his fate to the wrong guy.  Instead of selecting Pat Mahomes II or DeShaun Watson with the second overall pick of the 2017 draft, Pace decided Trubisky was the guy to lead them to the promise land.  Man…that is a costly mistake. 
  27. New York Giants (2-7):  The G-Men are obviously not very good, but you get the sense they feel good about the future of the organization.  Eli Manning will no longer be in New York next season with rookie Daniel Jones now the starting QB.  Running Back Saquon Barkley is the only real offensive threat, and the defense…well they’re just dressed for the game, if you understand my point.   The Giants are the better of the two poor New York teams.
  28. Atlanta Falcons (1-7):  I know Saints fans would love for me to put Atlanta at No. 32, but I can’t in good consciences.  The Dirty Birds are gross on so many levels.  I don’t know how Dan Quinn is still head coach.  Saints fans are loving the demise of the Falcons.  From afar it seems like they have never recovered from the 28-3 halftime lead they blew to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.  Oh well!  With the Saints at 7 and 1 and the Falcons at 1 and 7, life is grand in the Big Easy.
  29. Washington Redskins (1-8):  Oh my!  What a disaster in the nation’s capital.  I could make the argument this is the worst team in the league.  The Skins lone win came against the 1 and 8 Miami Dolphins.  Ironically, the Dolphins just got their first win against the New York Jets, who are also 1 and 7.  Okay, back on track here.  Jay Gruden was fired after Washington started off 0-5.  The Redskins score an average of 12 points per game, 12 points per game!  My goodness…that’s hard to do in today’s offensive driven league.  Ironically, that’s not last in the league.  Only two logical choices as to who could be dead last in scoring points.  Dolphins or Jets? 
  30. Miami Dolphins (1-7):  Go Dolphins! They won a game! Miami beat the other team that’s terrible in their division, the New York Jets. The Tanking for Tua theme continues for Miami. Most Fins fans have been chilling on South Beach all season.  Some have even been spotted mumbling gibberish that sounds like “Dan Marino…where are you?”
  31. New York Jets (1-7):  Did they really just lose to the Dolphins?  The Jets have the worst offense in the league.  This off-season New York hired Adam Gase as their head coach after Miami fired him. Yea, that was smart!  The Jets are bad all the way around. It’s so bad for the Jets, the quarterback was mic’d up during a recent Monday night football game against the Patriots and was heard saying “I’m seeing ghosts.”  Wasn’t “Ghostbusters” filmed in New York City? Ironic! The Jets are an abysmal -7 for the season. Yep, that explains a lot.
  32. Cincinnati Bengals (0-8):  Do I really need to give insight here?  Okay, I’ll humor you…and me.  The Bengals took the great approach of hiring anyone who’s ever had a cup of coffee with Los Angeles Rams Coach Sean McVay.  Enter Zac Taylor, and we see the results.  Taylor had never even been a coordinator before landing the head coaching gig in Cincy. The Bengals benched starting quarterback Andy Dalton in favor of Ryan Finley, you know that rookie out of NC State?  The Bengals might be the new Browns for a while.  Cincinnati is famous for their chili.  That might be the only thing to talk about in the Queen City this football season. 
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