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Saints Week 5 Power Rankings: New Orleans proving impossible to figure out

Are they good? Are they bad? Or is it completely dependent on the week?

NFL: New York Giants at New Orleans Saints Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Analysts were right to be hesitant to read into the New Orleans Saints’ Week 3 win over the New England Patriots. They might be good, they might be bad, but they’re definitely inconsistent.

The time for dramatic drops and raises is over. Analysts are figuring out that this is who the Saints are: A consistent team that is is just as prone to inexplicable collapses as it is to bouts of greatness.

ESPN - #17 (From #15)

The Saints are averaging just 144 passing yards per game, while Alvin Kamara has set career highs with 24 and 26 carries, respectively, over the past two weeks. That kind of run-pass disparity worked when the Saints were running out the clock in big wins over Green Bay and New England but has been called into question now after they allowed the Giants to rally for a stunning comeback win Sunday. At some point, Sean Payton may need to rely more heavily on Jameis Winston and the passing offense. It will certainly help if WR Michael Thomas returns from his ankle injury when eligible after the Week 6 bye. — Mike Triplett

USA Today - #18 (From #16)

How unfamiliar is New Orleans amid a 2-1 start? Not one player is averaging even four catches or 40 receiving yards per game.Last week we asked one thing: Will the real Saints would please stand up? Well, they listened. New Orleans let the lowly Giants into their house and take a late, comeback win. Even tougher considering it was the first game actually in New Orleans this season.

CBS - #17 (From #14)

This team is hard to figure out. They look great one week and awful the next. They have to get more from their passing game in terms of chunk plays.

NFL - #19 (From #18)

Who are the Saints? That’s a fair question to ask after a 2-2 start in which New Orleans has alternated looking like a legit contender and a conference also-ran. We got a little bit of both on Sunday against the Giants: The Saints jumped out to a 21-10 lead behind a pair of Taysom Hill touchdown runs, but the offense went cold as the defense faltered in crunch time. New Orleans surrendered 11 unanswered points to close the fourth quarter, then allowed the Giants to march down the field for the winning touchdown on the first drive of overtime. Playing in front of a sold-out home crowd at the Superdome for the first time in 637 days, the final result couldn’t be considered anything less than an epic letdown.

Bleacher Report - #19 (From #15)

Good luck figuring out the 2021 New Orleans Saints.

For the second time this season, the Saints followed up an impressive victory with a lackluster effort. After blasting the Green Bay Packers in Week 1, the Saints laid an egg against the Carolina Panthers. After rebounding in Week 3 against the New England Patriots, it was right back to egg-laying against the hapless New York Giants.

The New Orleans offense more or less held up its end. Quarterback Jameis Winston avoided turning it over, and star running back Alvin Kamara rushed for 120 yards on 26 carries. But one of Taysom Hill’s three pass attempts was picked off, and Kamara wasn’t targeted through the air.

The real surprise was the Saints defense. After an excellent performance against the Patriots, the Saints were gashed for a whopping 485 yards by New York.

“Every time the thought half-enters my mind that the Saints might be more than an also-ran,” Davenport said, “they remind me that while they may not be bad, they aren’t especially good either. New Orleans may well get past a flawed Washington team next week, but the Saints aren’t more than a one-and-done squad even if they do manage to make the postseason.”

“No team in the league has been as inconsistent as the Saints, who have two 15-plus-point wins, a three-score loss and a defeat at the hands of the previously winless Giants,” Gagnon added. “But that shouldn’t be surprising because Winston has never been consistent, and he’s run into trouble without wide receiver Michael Thomas and left tackle Terron Armstead. The Saints occasionally battle because they’ve got enough talent to get by with a great head coach, but they’re no longer an elite contender.”

Yahoo - #21 (From #6)

There are bad losses and then there are the ones that are unspeakable. You have an 11-point lead over the winless New York Giants in the fourth quarter and let Big Blue run off 17 straight points. The Saints are turning into a Yo-Yo and that isn’t good for Sean Payton. Next: at Washington Football Team

Sports Illustrated - #14 (From #18)

Last week: Loss vs. New York Giants, 27-21 (OT)

Next week: at Washington

Like the Packers, Week 1 also seems to be a distant memory for the Saints, in the opposite way. After throwing five TDs in the opener, Jameis Winson has only passed for three total scores in the three weeks since. And the Saints defense, which had been the team’s strength, collapsed in the fourth quarter and overtime.

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