Thursday, December 24, 2020

New Orleans Saints Week 16 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2020 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the New Orleans Saints rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 4.2 (4th)
  • Best ranking: 4th (Multiple)
  • Worst ranking: 5th (CBS Sports)

Below you will find a Week 16 roundup for the Saints in our consensus 2020 NFL Power Rankings.

The Athletic -- Rank: 4

Wish: A healthy and effective Drew Brees. They lost to the Chiefs, but there were encouraging morsels in that game if you're a Saints fan. Mahomes did Mahomes things, but New Orleans' defense made him work and hit him often. The problem was the Saints' offense, which failed to gain a first down on its first four possessions and scored just one touchdown in the first half. It was Brees' return from 11 rib fractures, and the Saints were playing without Michael Thomas. But still, they looked completely out of sorts. New Orleans finishes the season against the Vikings and Panthers. Earning the top seed is unlikely, but the Saints need their offense to find a rhythm to have a chance of making noise in the postseason.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 5

They've lost two straight games, which isn't a good way to be playing down the stretch. Drew Brees didn't look good for much of the Chiefs game, but he rallied late.

USA Today -- Rank: 4

They're staggering down the stretch, but New Orleans historians will recall a similar December 11 years ago that ended with a Lombardi Gras party.

ESPN -- Rank: 4

Most underrated star: DE Trey Hendrickson

The fourth-year pro is tied with Aaron Donald for the NFL lead with 12.5 sacks this season -- including two Sunday against Patrick Mahomes, along with five QB hits and a forced fumble. Hendrickson was a rotational backup for most of his first three seasons, and not even the Saints saw this breakout coming, as they tried very hard to sign Jadeveon Clowney the week before the season started. The 6-foot-4, 270-pounder stepped up in a big way when projected starter Marcus Davenport missed the first four games because of injuries, and he hasn't slowed down since. -- Mike Triplett -- Rank: 4

Drew Brees returned to the lineup, but he wasn't really back. The veteran quarterback, who missed the previous four weeks with broken ribs and a collapsed lung, started 0-for-6 passing with an interception and looked like a diminished version of himself for most of Sunday's 32-29 loss to the Chiefs. Brees did improve as the game went along, but not enough to keep up with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, who rolled up over 400 yards offense in a ho-hum performance by their standards. How Brees progresses over the next three weeks will likely decide whether the Saints belong in the conversation of Super Bowl contenders. That road just got a lot tougher: Back-to-back losses likely take New Orleans out of the running for a first-round bye and the home-field advantage that comes with it.

Previous update: New Orleans Saints Week 15 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

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