The New Orleans Saints are set to face off against the Chicago Bears Sunday afternoon after being unable to secure the #1 seed in the NFC. With all eyes on the Saints and what could be a last Super Bowl run for future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, here’s where the Saints fall in the major power rankings heading into the first round of the postseason.
Pro Football Talk - #4 (+/-)
USA Today - #4 (+/-)
If recent playoff history is an accurate harbinger, RB Alvin Kamara (reserve/COVID-19 list) will miss the wild-card round, thus opening door for a fluky Chicago win.
CBS - #4 (+/-)
No running backs, no problem for the Saints on Sunday. Despite losing their entire running back room to COVID-19 protocols, the Saints rushed for 156 yards and dominated the Panthers on Sunday, 33-7.
New Orleans has the No. 2 seed in the NFC and will host the Chicago Bears on wild-card weekend.
NFL - #4 (+/-)
The Saints didn’t find their way to the NFC’s No. 1 seed on Sunday, but they accomplished everything else on their to-do list. Drew Brees looked a lot more like himself in an efficient three-touchdown performance, Ty Montgomery shined in place of Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray and the New Orleans defense piled up five interceptions in a 33-7 wipeout of the Panthers. A home matchup against the middling Bears is about as cushy a wild-card draw as any team can hope for, but these are the same Saints who ate it against the underdog Vikings in last year’s Wild Card Round. Sean Payton remembers that disappointment well, and he’s likely to remind his team of it this week (perhaps incessantly). The urgency should be through the Superdome roof for this Saints team.
Bleacher Report - #4 (+/-)
The New Orleans Saints faced major adversity entering Week 17. Thanks to a positive COVID-19 test from Alvin Kamara and contact tracing, the team’s entire running back room was unavailable Sunday in Carolina.
It didn’t matter. Saints wide receiver Ty Montgomery (who played running back in Green Bay) rushed for 105 yards on 18 carries in a blowout win over the Panthers.
The question now is how many of those players will be back for Sunday’s home date with the Chicago Bears in the Wild Card Round. That includes wide receiver Michael Thomas, who will be eligible to return from injured reserve.
“We’re headed into the playoffs, and I’m looking forward to it,” Sanders said. “I know that the intensity is going to be turned up more, the speed is going to be faster. And we’ve got to be ready for it; we’ve got to be prepared for it. But I’m looking forward to it.”
For Davenport, the edict for the Saints in their next game is clear: survive.
“If the Saints are going to knock off the Seahawks or Packers, it’s going to be an all-hands-on-deck situation,” he said. “But next week against the Bears, the Saints can probably get by short a guy or two. Getting a win is the most important thing. But getting healthy ahead of the divisional round is vital, too. Because at full strength, the Saints may be the most balanced team in the NFC.”
Yahoo - #4 (+/-)
Going 25-7 over two seasons and not getting a first-round bye in either season is unbelievable. If the Saints don’t win another Super Bowl before Drew Brees retires, they’ll look back and wonder how it eluded them.
Sports Illustrated - #4 (+/-)
How about a little credit for this defense, which essentially played a game-and-a-half’s The Saints weathered Drew Brees’s absence and posted a typical 12-win season we’ve come to expect from them. But speaking of weather, the road to the Super Bowl goes through Lambeau.
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