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Saints one of the NFL’s elite in season’s first Power Rankings

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NFL: Preseason-Miami Dolphins at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1 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 preseason rankings is in parentheses)

ESPN - #3

Who’s on the hot seat: Patrick Robinson, CB

Why his seat is warm: The 10th-year veteran revived his career by leaving New Orleans in 2015 and reinventing himself as one of the NFL’s better slot cornerbacks. But he broke his left ankle last September after returning to the Saints in free agency. So far this summer, he has been playing behind veteran P.J. Williams and rookie Chauncey Gardner-Johnson in nickel and dime packages. Robinson will need to regain a prominent role to play out his four-year contract. -- Mike Triplett

USA Today - #3 (+2)

Early boost already with return of DT Sheldon Rankins, whose Achilles injury became overshadowed aspect of 2018 playoff demise.

CBS - #7 (-1)

This team is just as good as the one that came within a bad call of going to the Super Bowl last year. Like Atlanta, they need to get the pass rush going other than Cam Jordan.

NFL - #3 (+/-)

OK, take me off the list of bozos who watched Drew Brees struggle down the stretch last season and saw it as a harbinger of doom for the future Hall of Famer. All I needed was one series in the preseason -- the 40-year-old’s only series of the preseason -- to be convinced that the Saintsremain in enviable shape at quarterback. Brees carved up the Jets on an eight-play, 72-yard touchdown drive, connecting twice with wide receiver Michael Thomas, including an absurdly placed 19-yard TD pass into a non-existent window. There are maybe four people on Earth who can make that throw -- live with that reality, Dude Perfect bros. Brees’ days of throwing for 5,000 yards may be over -- that’s not what Sean Payton is asking for in 2019 -- but New Orleans can put its Big Three ( Brees, Thomas, Alvin Kamara) up against anybody and like their chances in an “NFL Blitz”-like showdown.

Bleacher Report - #3

The New Orleans Saints have been waiting upward of eight months for a chance at payback. The Saints have week after week after week to relive their crushing loss to the Rams in the NFC Championship Game and the horrific blown pass-interference call that made it possible.

But now it’s time to put that out of their heads and get down to the business of getting back to the postseason.

It’s not going to be especially easy. The Saints open the season against a playoff team from last year when they host the Houston Texans on Monday night. All four of New Orleans’ games in September are against teams that made the playoffs in 2018—home dates with the Texans and Dallas Cowboys and trips to Seattle and Los Angeles to face the Rams.

It’s an opportunity for Drew Brees and the Saints to send a message that they remain one of the NFC’s best teams. But with the Panthers and Falcons nipping at their heels in the NFC South, the Saints can’t afford to falter over that stretch and land in an early hole.

Yahoo - #4

When an NFL offense boasts the likes of QB Drew Brees, RB Alvin Kamara and WR Michael Thomas, they have to be ranked as a Super Bowl contender. The New Orleans Saints were one missed call away from a Super Bowl berth in 2018 and you can bet the farm on this team being as motivated as any locker room in the NFL this season. With Brees in the twilight of his career, it’s now or never to get another ring in New Orleans.

Sports Illustrated - #3

This group is the team to beat in the NFC this season. Can the defense keep up with the offense?

Average Power Ranking Composite: #4