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Experts agree: Saints best in the NFL in this week’s power rankings

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Pittsburgh Steelers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Week 16 of the NFL regular season is now in the books. Here are all of the major outlets’ power rankings. So how do the New Orleans Saints rank? (change from the previous week are in parentheses)

ESPN - #1 (+/-)

Non-QB MVP: WR Michael Thomas. An equally strong case could be made for RB Alvin Kamara, DE Cameron Jordan and maybe DT Sheldon Rankins, among others. But Thomas gets my nod because the Saints have been so thin at wide receiver this year that they have often forced the ball to him in double coverage -- and he so often delivers. Thomas leads the NFL in receptions with 120, to go with 1,376 yards and nine touchdowns. -- Mike Triplett

USA Today - #1 (+/-)

You picking against them next month? Last time New Orleans had home-field advantage, in 2009, team rode Cajun cooking to its only Super Bowl.

CBS - #1 (+/-)

The playoffs go through New Orleans in the NFC. They will be tough to beat.

NFL - #1 (+/-)

The Saints did nothing to suppress the notion that they are top-shelf, once again taking an opponent’s best punch and emerging with a win. So many huge plays contributed to what was an epic contest with the Steelers on Sunday. There was the third-and-20 completion to Ted Ginn Jr. and multiple penalties on Pittsburgh’s secondary -- the last being a drive-extender that led to New Orleans points. Alvin Kamara procured two chunk plays in the passing game, the first on a humdinger of a swing pass -- an old-fashioned throw incredibly difficult to deliver in stride -- fromDrew Brees. The defense? Not as fierce as it has been over the past month and a half, but wouldn’t you know it, that unit won the day in the end. Sheldon Rankins, known for his patented spin move, spun JuJu Smith-Schuster around while ripping the ball out. For an NFL defensive tackle, it was the equivalent to an NBA center’s 360 dunk (not that traditional centers make much difference in pro basketball anymore). The Saints jacked up their own three Sunday, as in jacking up the playoff hopes of an opponent for a third straight week.

Bleacher Report - #1 (+/-)

Sunday was a very good day for the New Orleans Saints and a very bad day for the rest of the NFC playoff teams.

Thanks to a three-point win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Superdome, the Saints insured that every playoff game they participate in in the 2018 playoffs this side of Super Bowl LIII will take place in said Superdome.

It’s a recipe the team had a fair amount of success with back in 2009.

The game was a great example of why the Saints so badly wanted home-field advantage. The Saints were actually outgained by a fairly sizable margin, but a few opportune big plays made the difference. Some of those miscues by the Steelers may have had something to do with the fact they couldn’t hear themselves think.

”As soon as the final gun sounded and the Saints earned the No. 1 seed,” Davenport said, “New Orleans became the heavy favorite in my mind to rep the NFC in Atlanta. In the controlled environment of their home stadium, the Saints have a considerable advantage.”

Gagnon’s not so sure.

”New Orleans got the win, but it needed a lot of breaks to beat a flawed Steelers team at the Superdome,” he said. “The Saints are the league’s best team, but that’s almost by default. There truly are no really great NFL teams this season. And that’ll make for a fun January.”

Yahoo - #1 (+/-)

The Saints’ locker room dance party (Teddy!) might be the best thing about this NFL season.

Average Power Ranking Composite: #1 (+/-)