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Saints back to where they were pre-Brees injury in this week’s Power Rankings

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Week 5 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 - #3 (+4)

FPI chance to make the playoffs: 64.4%

How to increase their playoff chances: Wake up the offensive line. With or without Drew Brees at quarterback, the offensive line was the one unit you figured you could count on the most in New Orleans -- with four starters who either were second-team All-Pro or made the Pro Bowl last year. Instead, the O-line might be the most inconsistent unit on the team, thanks in large part to a barrage of penalties. It needs to be much better for backup QB Teddy Bridgewater to find a groove while Brees is sidelined. -- Mike Triplett

USA Today - #3 (+5)

Teddy Bridgewater may have already saved their season. If defense that stifled Dallas hangs around, pencil them in for home-field advantage. Again.

CBS - #4 (+5)

Winning two games with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback against two quality teams is a big-time feat for this team. The defense was outstanding against the Cowboys.

NFL - #3 (+8)

It’s not just that the Saints are now 2-0 with Drew Brees sidelined. It’s who they’ve beaten -- the Seahawks in Seattle and the Cowboys at the Superdome -- and the manner in which they’ve done it. These have been team-wide efforts illuminating just how deep and well-coached this group is. You’d have to think these are two of the most rewarding regular-season wins of Sean Payton’s illustrious run in New Orleans. On Sunday, the Saints’ defense forced three turnovers and held a talented Cowboys attack to just 257 yards in a 12-10 win. It was the rarest of outcomes for New Orleans, which won for the first time in the Payton era without scoring a touchdown. It would help if Brees’ fill-in at QB, Teddy Bridgewater, gave the team a little more -- he’s been more down than up so far -- but the Saints are showing they don’t need a star under center to stack wins. How many teams can claim that?

Bleacher Report - #3 (+3)

We’ll start this one off with a mea culpa from Davenport.

”When Drew Brees went down,” he said, “I thought the Saints’ days as a legitimate Super Bowl contender were done. I was wrong. At least crow tastes a little better with Cajun spices.”

The Saints didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard Sunday night against the Cowboys. The team had just 266 yards of total offense and didn’t find the end zone. But the Saints also allowed only 257 yards to the high-octane Dallas offense and forced three turnovers.

Brees or no Brees, Gagnon considers the Saints among the best teams in the league not located in Boston or Kansas City.

”I think there’s a huge drop-off from the Patriots and Chiefs to everybody else, even after both New England and Kansas City cut it close in Week 4,” he said. “That said, it’s hard not to give the top ‘best of the rest’ spot to New Orleans, which has defeated two 2018 playoff teams in back-to-back weeks without its starting quarterback. That’s a damn good sign that this team is both deep and mentally tough. It might be stronger than ever when Drew Brees returns.”

Yahoo - #10 (+3)

The Saints are winning in different ways, but they’re not looking for style points. Going 3-3 without Drew Brees, if he misses six games, seemed to be a reasonable goal to stay in contention. At 2-0 against two quality opponents, maybe the Saints can do much better than .500 with Teddy Bridgewater starting at quarterback. If that happens and Brees looks close to 100 percent upon his return, the Saints are probably the favorite in the NFC.

Sports Illustrated - #8 (+9)

The league’s 24th-ranked defense played stifling at the right times against the Cowboys. This team can win big games without scoring big.

Average Power Ranking Composite: #3 (+5)