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Week 15 Saints Power Rankings: Playoffs a longshot, but Saints retain glimmer of hope

Alvin Kamara’s return was electric, and he has to be the star if the Saints have a chance to make the postseason

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing the Saints do right now is pretty. In a 30-9 win, it’s hard not to notice how hard the offense has to work for every yard. Alvin Kamara’s return, however, makes things flow a little smoother. The star had 31 touches in his first game back from injury, and he made every one count with 120 rushing yards and 25 receiving. The offense runs through Kamara, particularly Taysom Hill’s offense.

The competition gets a lot steeper next week against the Buccaneers. There’s some solace in that the Saints are 3-0 against the Buccaneers in their last three regular season meetings, but the decks haven’t been stacked this much against them. In an NFC Wild Card race where 9-8 might get you into the playoffs, this game could make all the difference for New Orlean

ESPN - #22 (From #22)

This has been a bizarre season as compared to so many past campaigns in Drew Brees’ prime, when the offense was dominant, and the defense held the Saints back. But these numbers make perfect sense in a season in which they’ve been without their QB1, WR1, RB1, TE1 and OT1 and OT2 for long stretches. The good news is that the Saints should be about as healthy as they have been all season on both offense and defense down the stretch — which could keep their faint playoff hopes alive. — Mike Triplett

USA Today - #22 (From #23)

No running back in league history has more catches through five seasons than Alvin Kamara’s 362.

CBS - #23 (From #23)

The defense won that game against the Jets, but Taysom Hill showed improvement throwing it. Now comes a huge game with Tampa Bay.

NFL - #23 (From #26)

Few players are as important to their team as Alvin Kamara is to the Saints. The Pro Bowl running back returned from a four-game absence and whipped up on the Jets, rushing for 120 yards and a touchdown in a 30-9 win. Kamara counts as the only real firepower on an offense that lacks proven playmakers and is counting on Taysom Hill, a quarterback who wasn’t a natural thrower of the football before he jacked up his finger. Hill didn’t look great against the Jets, and it was a surprise to see how long it took for his rushing ability to be integrated into the attack on Sunday. The Saints need Hill in that dual-threat mode to survive.

Bleacher Report - #23 (From #24)

After Week 14, there are now five teams fighting for the seventh seed in the NFC at 6-7. Among those, the New Orleans Saints sit last in the pecking order.

However, after dropping five straight games, any win was a good win, even if it came against the lowly Jets. The Saints won in runaway fashion, as well, piling up 203 yards on the ground while giving up only 256 total yards to the Jets.

After the game, quarterback Taysom Hill talked up the importance of the game with reporters.

“This has been a tough stretch for this team,” said Hill. “It’s been a foreign thing, losing so many games. ... It’s nice to get this win.”

However, once the rush from this win wears off, the Saints will find themselves in a precarious position. Next week, they play host to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in a game that’s pretty close to a must-win.

However, if New Orleans can somehow find a way to upset the defending champs for the second time this season, three games (and at least an outside shot at the playoffs) against teams with losing records follow.

So, you’re saying there’s a chance?

Yahoo - #22 (From #23)

Alvin Kamara came back and promptly rushed for 120 yards on 27 carries. He also had four catches for 25 yards. So much for easing him in. You can’t blame the Saints for giving Kamara all he could handle; he is pretty much all they have on offense as they try to stay in the wild-card hunt.

Sports Illustrated - #18 (From #22)

A team I wouldn’t want to see at any point from here on out. Taysom Hill is fun to watch and, while perhaps a bit combustible in big spots, will make life miserable for the division-rival Buccaneers and maximize the Saints’ far flung playoff chances.

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