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Saints Trending Up in Preseason Week 3 Power Rankings

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Strong defensive showings have gotten the team noticed.

NFL: Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints were able to shut out the Houston Texans in the dress rehearsal to the 2017 regular season, showing for the second week in a row a young and improved defensive unit. This has garnered recognition from Saints fans and football analysts alike, with the Saints moving up two spots to #17 in Bleacher Report’s most recent power rankings.

The New Orleans defense is about to turn the corner and be a formidable unit. How can you not be excited about how guys like Sheldon Rankins and Hau'oli Kikaha look running around making plays up front? The real strength of this defense is its secondary, though...This pass-defense unit is talented, it's deep and it's starting to gain confidence. If the Saints defense can find a confidence level similar to the one the team has on offense, watch out. This is why the Saints are one of the sleeping giants in the NFL.

But, of course, with a Saints team in the Sean Payton Era, it’s the offense that remains the focal point of the team. And while Drew Brees’s golden arm is typically what the offense flows through, the Saints ground game is actually an overlooked strength for the team.

Yes, the Saints have a prolific passing offense, but head coach Sean Payton is never afraid to lean on the ground game when it is functioning well. This year, the offense should be balanced.

It’s hard to argue against a trio of Mark Ingram, Adrian Peterson, and Alvin Kamara running wild in the NFC South. Across the rest of the division, the Atlanta Falcons fell down three spots to #8 after showing signs of the loss of key players on both sides of the ball this past offseason. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also fell two spots to #20 after the Bucs run game has failed to impress thus far. And the Carolina Panthers, the final team in the NFC South, fell three spots to #24 despite an uptick in their running game. That means the Saints were the only team trending up this week.

The Saints Week 1 opponent, the Minnesota Vikings, are one spot ahead of the Saints at #16 overall, up one spot from the week before.