Following a 23-17 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, many fans of the New Orleans Saints were thankful to see a mark in the win column following a tough divisional matchup. That the Saints defeated the Falcons was great, but what was equally nice to see was that it was New Orleans’ defense that essentially won the game for the Saints with an interception in the end zone by Roman Harper.
New Orleans’ offense was good, not great, but fans were able to breath a sigh of relief after they got to see first hand what Rob Ryan was going to bring to the table in his role as the new defensive coordinator. It was a huge question mark on the defensive side that I think caused fans, analysts and the NFL in general to overlook the Saints as the season was getting ready to begin.
Now, with a defense that looks like it has a little bit of its swagger and energy back, New Orleans suddenly looks a lot more dangerous. If the Saints can beat another divisional opponent in Week 2 in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and put up a solid defensive effort, I wholly expect their place in power rankings to go up.
Entering Week 1, ESPN had New Orleans at the no. 13 spot, while FOX Sports had them at no. 16. After the victory over the Falcons, ESPN moved them five positions to the no. 8 spot and FOX Sports had them improved to the no. 12 spot. I am not arguing over their power rankings in either case as the Saints did have some question marks entering the season.
However, with a defense that looks to be much improved from last year, head coach Sean Payton‘s return and that same dangerous offense, New Orleans looks primed for success this season. By the end of Week 2, if New Orleans puts up a solid effort against Tampa Bay, I think more people might start to look at the Saints a little harder and adjust their power rankings.
Don’t be surprised to see them in the top five after Week 2.