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Saints drop below unbeaten 49ers in this week’s power rankings

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NFL: New Orleans Saints at Jacksonville Jaguars Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Week 7 of the NFL regular season is almost upon us. 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 (+/-)

Biggest weakness: Scoring points

So far, this hasn’t hurt the Saints because their defense is playing so well. They are a remarkable 4-0 since Drew Brees underwent thumb surgery but rank 25th in the NFL over the past five weeks in both yards per game (311.6) and offensive points per game (17.0). And it won’t get any easier this week at Chicago. It’s not as simple as just pointing to the switch at QB, where Teddy Bridgewater has been more efficient than electrifying. The Saints rank 27th in the league in red zone efficiency over that same span -- and first in offensive penalties. -- Mike Triplett

USA Today - #2 (+/-)

When you’re getting a shoutout from the Pope — intentional or not — sure seems like you’re in midst of a season that could prove special.

CBS - #3 (+/-)

Teddy Bridgewater is 4-0 as a starter, which is truly impressive considering the opponents. The defense has really dominated.

NFL - #3 (-1)

The Saints are now 4-0 since Drew Brees went on the shelf with a thumb injury. The defense once more did the heavy lifting in a 13-6 win over the Jaguars. Said Sean Payton after the game: “I told our defense, if we would’ve played eight quarters today, I don’t think they would have scored a touchdown, honestly.” That’s some serious swagger from the coach, but his confidence is understandable, given New Orleans’ monster efforts week after week on defensive coordinator Dennis Allen’s side of the ball. This is all playing out ideally for the Saints, who are winning every week without having to worry about a distracting and potentially chemistry-altering quarterback controversy. Teddy Bridgewater (who’s been fine overall) will go back to No. 2 status when Brees is ready. And when Brees is ready, the Saints could go Full Juggernaut.

Bleacher Report - #2 (+/-)

Week 6 Result: Won 13-6 at Jacksonville

When Drew Brees went down with torn ligaments in his thumb against the Los Angeles Rams, it wasn’t unreasonable to assume the New Orleans Saints were in big trouble. Not many NFL teams can weather the loss of a no-doubt first-ballot Hall of Famer under center.

The Saints have played four games since that injury occurred—and haven’t lost once.

The Saints have done a fantastic job as a team of rallying around backup Teddy Bridgewater and doing whatever it takes to get a win. Whether it’s the run game, the wide receivers or the defense, just about every position group on the team has improved since Brees got hurt.

The original plan in New Orleans was probably just to hold on—try not to fall too far off the pace in the race for at least a wild-card spot and hope Brees’ return would help spur a late surge.

But home-field advantage is still on the table, and the Saints don’t necessarily need to rush Brees back until his hand has healed fully.

Yahoo - #3 (-1)

This might be Sean Payton’s finest season. The Saints have reinvented themselves without Drew Brees and have gone 4-0 without him. And that means Brees is coming back to a very well-rounded team.

Sports Illustrated - #3 (-1)

New Orleans’ defense saved the day against the Jaguars, continuing a streak of three consecutive games holding their opponent under 300 total yards as the Saints move to 4-0 without Drew Brees.

Average Power Ranking Composite: #3 (-1)