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Power Rankings Roundup: Strong road performance helps Saints hold firm

The Saints are a Top 4 team, according to the latest roundup of Week 8’s power rankings.

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NFL: New Orleans Saints at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday afternoon saw the New Orleans Saints come from behind 17-7 against the Baltimore Ravens and hold onto a 24-23 victory. It came with some help, as Justin Tucker missed a sure extra point that would have tied things up with 10 seconds to go. Still, Sean Payton’s squad showed a lot of grit against a physical team and top defense, and that’s encouraging. Here’s Week 8’s snapshot of the power rankings for the black and gold, which still has them among the Top 5 in the NFL. Do you agree or disagree?

ESPN — 4th (Previous Week: 4th)

Need more from: CB Marshon Lattimore. The Saints are 5-1 despite a defense giving up 27.2 points per game (sixth most in the NFL) and a pass defense giving up 294 yards per game through the air (fifth most). The Saints have forced just five turnovers all season, tied for second fewest in the NFL, and Lattimore has no interceptions after picking off five passes last year. — 4th (Previous Week: 4th)

The Saints stay planted in the cleanup spot, with their head coach’s stamp all over Sunday’s win. Think of Sean Payton calling a successful fake punt on the opening drive. Exhibit B of Payton’s panache: Up 21-17 with three minutes to go on first-and-10, a situation in which nearly every team in the league would turn conservative, Brees threw a back-shoulder fade deep downfield to undrafted TE3 Dan Arnold. How about going for it on fourth-and-1, when New Orleans was trailing by three in the fourth quarter and already in field-goal range? (That’s not to mention calling for Brees on a quarterback leap over the top.) Then, on the next play, Payton called for a run on a pitch play to his other quarterback, Taysom Hill. That went for 11 yards. Again, protecting a narrow lead with only 2:15 left and the opponent holding a timeout, 90 percent of the coaches in the league would have called a running play on third-and-3, hoping for a 3-yard gain to force the other head coach to burn his last timeout. Payton called for his quarterback to roll out and go for the first down through the air. New Orleans didn’t get it, but you get the point.

SB Nation — 4th (Previous Week: 4th)

There’s no change at the top of this week’s power rankings after the top five teams all won on Sunday and the Ravens (No. 6) came close in a loss to the Saints (No. 4). While there’s still many questions to be answered regarding contenders and pretenders, the top teams (the Rams, Patriots, Chiefs, Saints, and Chargers) are starting to paint a clear picture of who they are this season.

Sporting News — 2nd (Previous Week: 3rd)

The Saints’ win in Baltimore was more than just luck with that extra-point miss. New Orleans was the grittier team in a tough game with the steadier quarterback play to match. The whole “they aren’t the same team outdoors” narrative is dead.

Yahoo — 4th (Previous Week: 4th)

Winning outdoors, in the whipping wind, is a good sign the Saints are here to stay. That was an impressive comeback, and under the radar due to the shock of Justin Tucker’s miss.

USA Today — 2nd (Previous Week: 3rd)

Secondary’s ongoing struggles a little easier to stomach given no defense is stopping opposition running attacks more effectively.

CBS Sports — 2nd (Previous Week: 2nd)

That was an impressive road victory against the Ravens. They are clearly the second-best team in the NFC, but face a tough road game at Minnesota this week.