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Saints Week 17 Power Rankings: Saints mostly stay put after Alvin Kamara’s massive game

Despite a favorable outcome against a team that has given the Saints fits, the Vikings are still bad

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NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints clinched the NFC South with Friday’s 52-33 Christmas Day win over the Vikings on the back of a record-tying six rushing touchdowns from Alvin Kamara, but there’s still work to do. Now 11-4 with one game left in the season, the Saints have a long-shot chance at the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but more importantly, they can take some momentum into the playoffs.

Regardless of if they end up at one, two or three, it won’t be an easy postseason road. The Green Bay Packers are still sitting ahead of the Saints in most power rankings, and Friday’s win did little to change that. In fact, all most power rankers could talk about was why Kamara wasn’t allowed to go for seven TDs and set the record.

ESPN - #4 (+/-)

New Year’s resolution: End their 10-season Super Bowl drought

The Saints have plenty of things to worry about in 2021, such as managing some daunting salary-cap issues and possibly choosing a new quarterback. But first things first, they want to get back to the big game while they still have Drew Brees and this loaded collection of talent intact, as they’re approaching the 11-year anniversary of beating the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. — Mike Triplett

USA Today - #4 (+/-)

4. Saints: Still not sure why Sean Payton had to “Scrooge” Alvin Kamara out of the opportunity to score a league record seven rushing TDs on Christmas.

CBS - #5 (+/-)

It’s about time they gave Alvin Kamara more carries. He was special against Minnesota to lock up the division title.

NFL - #4 (-1)

Alvin Kamara did more than win a million fantasy leagues on Christmas Day. He showed the world that the Saints don’t need Vintage Drew Brees to operate with championship-level explosiveness. Kamara tied a 91-year-old NFL record (shoutout to Ernie Nevers!) with six rushing touchdowns in a 52-33 win that clinched the Saints’ fourth consecutive NFC South title. Kamara has been masterful this season, piling up 21 touchdowns and nearly 1,700 scrimmage yards as the engine of the New Orleans offense. Say what you will about the 41-year-old Brees, but Kamara’s role is far more defined than what it was when Taysom Hill was behind center. The best version of this Saints attack is the one that keeps No. 41 front and center.

Bleacher Report - #4 (-1)

After dropping two straight games for the second time this season, the New Orleans Saints badly needed a statement win—a victory that would remind the rest of the NFC that New Orleans is a top contender to rep the conference in Super Bowl LV.

The Saints got that on Christmas night against the Vikings thanks to a record-setting performance from running back Alvin Kamara.

To say Kamara had himself a game is one whopper of an understatement. The fourth-year pro rolled for a career-high 155 rushing yards and tied an NFL record set all the way back in 1929 with a jaw-dropping six rushing touchdowns.

After the game, he told reporters the team’s success Friday meant more than any individual accomplishment.

“It just feels good to have one of those days, just for the team. ... I’m not focused on personal, like, goals and yards and stuff like that,” Kamara said. “As long as the team has success, then personal success will come.”

With the win, the Saints are NFC South champions for the fourth consecutive season. And with only the Panthers left on the schedule, a third straight campaign with at least 12 wins is well within reach.

Yahoo - #4 (+/-)

Records matter. History matters. Alvin Kamara should have had seven touchdowns last week. Nobody in NFL history has ever done that. Instead, Sean Payton made the weird decision to get Taysom Hill a 1-yard touchdown late in the game. It’s not like the Vikings were stopping Kamara or anyone else. Kamara should have gotten that moment, and all football fans should have had the chance to witness it.

Sports Illustrated - #3 (+1)

How about a little credit for this defense, which essentially played a game-and-a-half’s worth of snaps against the Chiefs, then five days later had to go back out against a physical Vikings offense (that also happened to end their season last January). And if you already did give them a little credit, well . . . never mind then.

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