Saturday, September 11, 2021

New Orleans Saints Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 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: 17.2 (T-18th)
  • Best ranking: 15th (
  • Worst ranking: 19th (Multiple)

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the Saints in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 19

People on the hot seat: QBs Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill

Both QBs have a great opportunity to inherit a playoff offense in the wake of Drew Brees' retirement. And both have shown enough growth through three weeks of training camp to prove they deserve a legitimate shot at an NFL starting gig. But the runner-up in this battle will face a very uncertain future. Both are scheduled to be free agents after this season, and it's hard to imagine either one of them will find an opportunity this good on the open market next year. -- Mike Triplett -- Rank: 15

The damage caused by Hurricane Ida has forced the Saints to open their season in Jacksonville instead of New Orleans, an undeniable competitive setback for a team that has historically enjoyed one of the better home-field advantages in football playing under the roof at the raucous Caesars Superdome. Consider it just one more layer of uncertainty for a Saints team that has more question marks than perhaps ever before during Sean Payton's long and successful tenure with the team. One of those question marks surrounds Jameis Winston, whose golden opportunity for a career rebirth begins in earnest against the Packers.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 19

Jameis Winston opens as the starter at quarterback in the post-Drew Brees era, but you know the Taysom Hill gimmick will be a big part as well. Sean Payton loves the makeup of this team, but will the fallout from being displaced by a hurricane impact their start?

USA Today -- Rank: 16

Who wasn't a little jazzed about watching new QB1 Jameis Winston slinging it deep downfield in preseason, something we didn't see retired predecessor Drew Brees do effectively in recent years? But also hard not to be concerned for a team again relegated to itinerant status as it waits for New Orleans to become habitable following the wrath of Hurricane Ida.

The Athletic -- Rank: 17

Why they're ranked here: Our panel apparently has quite different opinions on the Saints: One person put them at No. 7 and another at No. 26. Some have faith Sean Peyton can deliver another high-powered offense, now with Jameis Winston at the helm. Others aren't buying Winston and fear the defense could regress after an impressive 2020.

One big question: Can Winston clean up the turnovers? We all remember his 30 interceptions in his final year as a starter in Tampa Bay, but he ranked in the top 20 of passing DVOA in each of his four years as a starter before that. So can he get back to playing like he did in 2017, when he averaged 7.7 yards per attempt?

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