The Saints come in at No. 12 overall in the rankings, up from No. 19 at the end of the 2012 season. Not bad for a team that didn't make the playoffs.
And ESPN's reasoning behind the ranking, provided by writer Mike Sando, proves the mainstream media is expecting the Saints to get back on track in 2013.
Saints will presumably pick up where they left off in 2011, as a good team.
Well isn't that sweet?
In fact, other than the Kansas City Chiefs no other team has risen more from their end-of-season rankings than the Saints, who jumped up 7 spots. To what can we attribute such a huge catapult in the rankings? Pat Yasinskas reveals his thinking:
I don't think it's just because they signed free-agent cornerback Keenan Lewis. I think the voters are looking at the return of coach Sean Payton and assuming that will make the Saints a much better team, which is probably true.
Yeah, getting your team's head coach back can really work wonders.