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Saints atop the NFC in this week’s power rankings

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NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Week 6 of the NFL season starts tonight. Here are all of the major outlets’ power rankings. So how do the New Orleans Saints rank? (change from last week’s ranking is in parentheses)

ESPN - #2 (+1)

Surprise fantasy player: Jared Cook, TE

The Saints’ highest-profile free-agent addition hasn’t delivered much yet as the Saints continue to search for a reliable third option behind Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. But Cook did catch a season-high four passes for 41 yards and his first TD in Week 5, and he is third on the team with 23 targets this season. So there still should be some better days to come, mixed with some quiet ones. -- Mike Triplett

USA Today - #2 (+3)

Teddy Bridgewater is now attacking deep. The defense has elevated. Alvin Kamara isn’t being overused. Drew Brees will return fresh. Things couldn’t be much better after five weeks.

CBS - #3 (+1)

Teddy Bridgewater is 3-0 as the starter since taking over for Drew Brees. He has more than handled the challenge and is coming off his best game.

NFL - #2 (+1)

The Saints are now 3-0 in games started by Teddy Bridgewater. The difference in the latest win is that Bridgewater was a major factor against the Bucs. The backup quarterback threw for 314 yards and four touchdowns, significantly outplaying fellow former first-round pick Jameis Winston in a 31-24 victory at the Superdome. In fairness to Winston, Bridgewater has a vastly superior supporting cast on both sides of the ball. Michael Thomas finished with 11 catches for 182 yards and two scores, and cornerback Marshon Lattimore shut out Bucs Pro Bowl wideout Mike Evans on three targets. The Saints’ front seven was especially fearsome, hitting Winston eight times and finishing with six sacks. Bridgewater enjoyed the opposite experience: He was rarely touched as the O-line shut down NFL sack leader Shaq Barrett. The final score doesn’t reflect the superiority of the Saints here.

Bleacher Report - #2 (+1)

Week 5 Result: Won vs. Tampa Bay 31-24

Teddy B. heard you. He heard all of you. He heard you call him a game-manager.

And on Sunday in New Orleans, he answered.

Teddy Bridgewater had one of the best games of his career Sunday against the Buccaneers—314 yards, four touchdowns and a passer rating of over 130. And just like Drew Brees, Bridgewater looked Michael Thomas’ way early and often—13 targets, 11 catches, 182 yards and two scores.

”Just as videos emerged of Drew Brees chucking the (Nerf) rock around as he rehabs his bum thumb, Bridgewater sent a clear message that the Saints don’t have to worry about rushing Brees back,” Davenport said. “Better yet, Sunday’s big game against the Buccaneers showed Sean Payton that he doesn’t have to completely rein in the offense with Bridgewater under center. He’s not going to get MVP run, and as soon as Brees is healthy, it’s back to clipboard detail. But if the Saints make a deep playoff run in 2019, they’ll have Bridgewater to thank for saving the season.”

Yahoo - #2 (+1)

The Superdome crowd chanting Teddy Bridgewater’s name after his touchdown passes Sunday speaks to his popularity. It’s an awesome story he’s authoring. I know the Comeback Player of the Year Award is hyper-focused on a player who suffered a calamity the year before, but giving Bridgewater that award this season would be just fine, given the 2016 injury he overcame.

Sports Illustrated - #2 (+1)

Teddy Bridgewater had his best game in years and won his third start in a row with assists from Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. Add him to the list of backup QBs outperforming expectations.

Average Power Ranking Composite: #2 (+1)