This season is at a very weird crossroads. The Saints are 3-0 with Taysom Hill at quarterback, and they’re No. 1 in the NFC. Yet, many analysts just don’t know what to do with them. They keep winning, but they aren’t winning in ways people like to see.
With the Steelers losing, the race for No. 1 in power rankers’ hearts is wide open. However, many analysts still seem unsure about where the Saints stand among the Packers and Steelers, the other teams clearly rounding out the top four right now with the Chiefs standing squarely atop the rest of the league.
Person with most at stake: QB Taysom Hill
Hill probably won’t get four weeks. We don’t even know for sure yet that he’ll get another start, depending on when Drew Brees can return from his broken ribs and punctured lung. But every audition will count for Hill as he tries to prove that he can become Brees’ successor. Hill has exceeded some expectations as a pocket passer during his 3-0 stint as the Saints’ starting QB, but he also has shown some inconsistency and inexperience in the role. — Mike Triplett
USA Today - #2 (+1)
Maybe there is something to the idea of Taysom Hill: Quarterback after all.
Making his third NFL start as a passer, and his second against the Atlanta Falcons, Hill showed that there is more to his game than just some scripted throws and his ability as a runner. Hill made some impressive throws against the Falcons, including a pair of early touchdowns. One play after his on 43-yard run, Hill came out firing out of play-action to find Tre’Quan Smith on a crossing route for a touchdown, his first passing TD of his career:
Later in the first half, Hill found Jared Cook with this red zone throw that is a great example of a quarterback climbing in the pocket before firing:
To their credit, the Falcons kept battling, and had a chance to win the game late trailing by just five. But the Saints defense stopped Atlanta on downs, preserving the win. With the victory the Saints clinched a playoff berth, becoming the first team this season to secure their spot in the postseason.
Next up for New Orleans? The struggling Philadelphia Eagles. That could give the Saints a chance for a tune-up kind of outing before taking on the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15. Super Bowl Preview?
CBS - TBD
NFL - TBD
Bleacher Report - #3 (+1)
For the third time in as many starts, Taysom Hill led the New Orleans Saints to a win in Week 13. For the second time over that three-week span, that victory came at the expense of the Atlanta Falcons.
It wasn’t a one-man show. Both Alvin Kamara and Hill eclipsed 80 rushing yards, keying a ground game that racked up 207 yards and 5.8 yards per carry. Wide receiver Michael Thomas had a big game, hauling in nine passes for 105 yards. The New Orleans defense notched three sacks and a turnover while holding the Falcons to 332 total yards.
Add it all together and the Saints maintained their hold on the top seed in the NFC playoffs while locking up a postseason berth.
On Monday, Saints head coach Sean Payton indicated there is no definitive timetable for the return of Drew Brees from his rib injury. Given how well Hill has played, he’ll likely start this week in Philadelphia against the floundering Eagles.
But with the Kansas City Chiefs coming to town for a Super Bowl preview in Week 15, you can bet the rent that the timetable Payton allegedly doesn’t have involves Brees being out there in two weeks.
Yahoo - #3 (+/-)
Taysom Hill has looked good in two of three starts. Maybe that’s because the Falcons aren’t very good. But if New Orleans had the idea of Hill taking over for Drew Brees when Brees retires, they have to feel better about that being a viable plan.
Sports Illustrated - TBD
Average Power Ranking Composite: #3 (+/-)
Do you agree with these rankings? Let us know in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, on Instagram @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel.