Saturday, September 10, 2022

New Orleans Saints Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2022 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the New Orleans Saints in our consensus 2022 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 20

Who's on the hot seat: QB Jameis Winston

The Saints showed they weren't exactly all-in on Winston when they tried to trade for Deshaun Watson this offseason, and the short-term nature of Winston's contract backs that up. The Saints didn't go after a quarterback in the draft, but Winston has a lot to prove after starting only seven games last season before an ACL injury to his left knee. Winston needs a healthy and productive year to keep his job long-term, especially considering Andy Dalton has played well in the preseason while Winston recovers from a sprained foot. -- Rank: 13

Can the offense be trusted? The Saints will enter Week 1 against the Falcons with a deep and talented defense that should give opponents fits all season if it can stay healthy. The offense comes with legit upside, as well, but that remains much more of a projection. The blocking front took a hit with the loss of stalwart left tackle Terron Armstead in free agency, and the attack is no longer led by its visionary, Sean Payton. Then there's the uncertainty around Jameis Winston, a famously unpredictable quarterback who also happens to be returning from ACL surgery. If Winston gets protected and can avoid the backbreaking turnovers, he should be able to put points on the board with playmakers like Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and promising rookie Chris Olave in tow.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 6

The defense will carry this team to the postseason. It will be a nasty group. They just have to hope Jameis Winston doesn't turn it over.

The Athletic -- Rank: 20

The good news: Even after the Chauncey Gardner-Johnson trade, there are high hopes Dennis Allen's defense can still be one of the best in the league. If Jameis Winston and Michael Thomas remain healthy, maybe the offense can take advantage of a weak division.

The bad news: Defensive success is notoriously volatile year over year, and there are legit questions about the Saints' ability to protect Winston after Armstead's departure and Trevor Penning's slow start. Even worse, if things go south, the Saints don't own their first-round pick. Few teams enter 2022 with such a wide variance of possible outcomes, from an NFC South championship to a one-and-done year for Allen and the crew.

Nugget to remember: The offensive line is an extra concern because of Winston's playing style. No quarterback took at least three seconds to throw more often than Winston last season, per TruMedia.

The Ringer -- Rank: 18

The Trevor Siemian–Jameis Winston–Taysom Hill quarterback trifecta in New Orleans was a catalyst to a disastrous offense in 2021. The best-case scenario for 2022 is that even without now-retired coach Sean Payton, Winston leads a much-improved offense while throwing to a revamped receiving corps that includes a healthy Michael Thomas, first-round pick Chris Olave, and sure-handed slot receiver Jarvis Landry. Defensively, the hope is that everything stays the same, and new head coach Dennis Allen continues to maximize the team's talent like he did as the defensive coordinator for the last seven seasons.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 18

The Saints' trade of versatile defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson to the Eagles was surprising. Gardner-Johnson could become a free agent next offseason, but he could have helped this season and the Saints didn't get much back (a 2023 fifth-round pick, the lowest of the Eagles' two 2024 sixth-rounders and a 2025 seventh-round pick). Gardner-Johnson wanted a new deal but it's not like he'd sit out all season. An odd move.

PFT -- Rank: 20

The departure of Sean Payton is being met with a surprising degree of nonchalance. It's a huge void, and it's still not clear whether anyone still on the coaching staff will be able to fill it.

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