Friday, September 8, 2023

New Orleans Saints Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2023 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 2023 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 19

On the hot seat: DE Payton Turner

The No. 28 pick in the 2021 draft was a healthy scratch at times last season and was injured at other times. Saints coach Dennis Allen said he's looking for the guy to play next to Cameron Jordan, and a now-healthy Turner has a prime opportunity. If he doesn't take a step forward this season, the Saints will likely start looking elsewhere. -- Katherine Terrell -- Rank: 16

The year is 2023, and we're still talking about Michael Thomas and Jimmy Graham in New Orleans. How wild is that? Graham is back with the Saints for the first time since 2014, and it's a story few could have imagined after Graham didn't play in the league last season. But of the two, I believe it's Thomas who has the best chance to rewrite his career script -- and also make the Saints contenders this season. His injury issues have been nearly unending since 2020, but Thomas just might be ready for another big season after three years of pain. If Derek Carr has enough weapons and time to throw, the Saints could reclaim the NFC South in what feels like a transition period in the division.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 19

They have the tools to win the division, but age is creeping in at some spots. Getting Derek Carr does upgrade the quarterback spot, which is why they are favored to win the division.

USA Today -- Rank: 10

Being without RB Alvin Kamara (personal conduct policy violation) for the first three games is hardly ideal, but his absence could be more than offset if former All-Pro WR Michael Thomas is truly healthy ... to say nothing of the arrival of RB Jamaal Williams, who led the NFL with 17 rushing TDs in 2022. Oh yeah, and QB Derek Carr.

The Athletic -- Rank: 18

Best-case scenario: Benefitting from the easiest schedule in the league (by projected win total), New Orleans runs roughshod over the worst division in football. After finishing seventh in yards per route run (2.4) among all wide receivers last season (behind Hill, Justin Jefferson, A.J. Brown, Waddle, Stefon Diggs and Davante Adams), Chris Olave emerges as a bona fide superstar with Derek Carr throwing him the ball. Michael Thomas remains intact, and the defense stays nasty. They rack up enough wins to make the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC go through the Superdome.

Worst-case scenario: Carr looks more like the 2022 version of himself than the 2021 version, and a roster that ranks as the oldest in the league suffers injury and steep decline.

FOX -- Rank: 14

I try not to overreact to preseason football, but I'm buying a little Saints hype after seeing Derek Carr in action with his new team. There's always going to be concern about the age and injury history of this roster. But the Saints have the best quarterback in the NFC South, the easiest strength of schedule in the league and a ton of veteran production. It's not going to be surprising if they win a lot of games, even if they're not quite as good as the league's elite.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 17

Derek Carr looked sharp in the preseason. Michael Thomas is still healthy. Alvin Kamara's three-game suspension wasn't close to as bad as it could have been. Juwan Johnson looks like a breakout tight end. And Chris Olave is going to be very good. This Saints offense is underrated going into the season.

PFT -- Rank: 24

They're good enough to win the division. Will they be good enough to win in the playoffs?

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