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Saints still in bottom half of ESPN’s 2006 Week 3 Power Rankings

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But we’re on the rise heading into our return to the Dome!

New Orleans Saints v Green Bay Packers Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

It’s obviously been a rough year for the New Orleans Saints, the city of New Orleans, and the entire Gulf Coast region. But just like the area, the New Orleans Saints appear to be turning a corner and heading into the right direction.

ESPN had the Saints ranked 29th (out of 32 teams) before heading into Week 1 of the 2006 NFL season. Before Week 2, ESPN moved the Saints up five spots to 24th, saying this about the team’s performance 19-14 victory over the Cleveland Browns: “Thirty-six carries for 151 yards between Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush. The Saints will take that every week.” After beating Green Bay Packers 34-27, ESPN moved the Saints up seven more spots to 17th overall:

Yes, it’s just a football game, but it should be some scene Monday when the Saints host the Falcons in their first game back in New Orleans.

The Saints’ opponent for their much-anticipated return to the Louisiana Super Dome is the division rival Atlanta Falcons, ranked 5th overall in the NFL according to ESPN’s Week 3 Power Rankings:

The Falcons have rushed for an astounding 558 yards in two games, gaining 6.1 yards per carry. Their 558 yards are more than the bottom five rushing teams (TB, Det., Oak., Mia. And Ten.) have combined.

The Saints will clearly have an uphill battle Monday night against one of the NFL’s best in the Atlanta Falcons.

This year has seen the birth of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s first child (and they will certainly stay together forever, right?). Hopefully 2006 can also see a re-birth, if you will, of the New Orleans Saints.

But it starts against the Falcons.