Another week of preseason football is almost complete, and following a dominant first half performance by the New Orleans Saints‘ first team units, I began to wonder where the Saints would be placed on the preseason power rankings that will come out later this coming week. Following the first week victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans was all over the place. Elliot Harrison from NFL.com listed them at No. 21. A different power ranking I found placed them at No. 17, slightly better than the St. Louis Rams and behind the Dallas Cowboys.
What are we to make of these different power rankings? The truth must be in there somewhere.
First of all, I believe we can rule out a bottom 10 appearance by New Orleans. The Saints are in no way in the same boat as franchises such as the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, New York Jets or any of the other bottom feeders.
At the same time I believe that due to last season’s defensive disarray, New Orleans can safely be ruled out of the top 10 best teams in the power rankings. It’s not that I don’t necessarily believe that they lack the talent and skill to be in the top 10, but rather I believe they need to prove it before we adjust the power rankings accordingly. Sure, it’s great that Rob Ryan was brought in to be the new defensive coordinator with a new defensive scheme. It’s equally nice that the New Orleans’ defense did a great job in the first half against Oakland causing all sorts of problems for the Raiders. However, we must temper our expectations and remain cautious.
We need a larger sample size to analyze the new defense and we also need to see it in regular season action against franchises that aren’t suffering from instability or rebuilding. Preseason’s week three match up against the Houston Texans should be a good place to start as it is the next to last preseason game before the regular season commences. It will likely be the preseason game that best compares to a regular season contest. The Texans also made the playoffs last year, whereas the Chiefs and Raiders did not.
So get yourselves ready, Saints fans. The regular season Saints are just around the corner, and it’s then and only then that we can begin to accurately project their appropriate power ranking.