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Week 14 Power Rankings: Injuries continue to keep Saints out of playoff conversations

While the Saints aren’t dead at all, it’s hard to consider them a contender with stars hurt

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

At 5-7, the New Orleans Saints could be in far worse shape. However, due to five straight losses, they don’t feel like a 5-7 team. As injury after injury continues to pile up, the Saints are essentially trotting skeleton crews out. After a blowout loss to the Bills and a loss to the Cowboys in which they were at least competitive under Taysom Hill, they go into a game against the Jets with a backfield that may at least have Hill and Alvin Kamara.

Analysts aren’t sure what to do with the Saints due to all of their question marks. Even in an NFC with a field of mediocre No. 7 seed contenders, a suspension to Deonte Harris further harmed an already-thin receiving corps. The reality is the Saints simply haven’t had the firepower to keep up in recent weeks, and with their situation offensively that trend is unlikely to be broken.

ESPN - #22 (From #20)

This one’s kind of obvious, isn’t it? This could be Hill’s last real chance to prove he should be considered as a legitimate QB option — and it couldn’t have started much worse than his four-interception game in Week 13. To ramp up the degree of difficulty, Hill also suffered a mallet finger injury on his throwing hand, and he is still dealing with a partially torn plantar fascia from Week 10. The good news? He could get vital reinforcements such as running back Alvin Kamara and offensive tackles Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk back as early as this week. And expectations couldn’t be lower for Hill — so an unlikely playoff run could go a long way in boosting his reputation. — Mike Triplett

USA Today - #23 (From #23)

Coach Sean Payton had never lost five straight in New Orleans since his arrival in 2006 ... until now.

CBS - #23 (From #22)

They’ve had so many injuries to deal with that it’s just too much to overcome. The fast start has faded into the background.

NFL - #26 (From #25)

Taysom Hill added some much-needed excitement to the offense, but the desired result remained elusive for the Saints, who continued their stumble out of the playoff picture in a prime-time loss to the Cowboys. The game turned during a disastrous fourth-quarter sequence that featured three interceptions in six pass attempts by Hill, who was clearly affected by a finger injury suffered in the first half. New Orleans could still make noise with a win streak, but that’s not happening unless they get healthy at key spots along the offensive line (Terron Armstead, Ryan Ramczyk) and at running back (Alvin Kamara). Hill’s finger issue is a concern, as well, though it’s unclear if it’ll require surgery in the near term or if he’ll be able to play through it.

Bleacher Report - #24 (From #23)

A couple of weeks ago, the New Orleans Saints shocked many by inking quarterback Taysom Hill to a four-year, $40 million extension that could be worth a whopping $94 million if he meets incentives.

If Hill’s first start under center in New Orleans this season was any indication, there’s zero chance he’ll hit those incentives. And the $40 million was a massive overpay.

Yes, Hill topped 100 rushing yards in Thursday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Yes, he played through a finger injury suffered in the game. But he was atrocious throwing the football, completing less than half of his passes and tossing four interceptions.

Still, despite that performance, head coach Sean Payton stuck up for his quarterback.

“I thought he played with a lot of heart, a lot of guts. We didn’t help him any in the first half,” Payton told reporters after the game.

Here’s the reality of the situation. Hill couldn’t beat out Jameis Winston before the season. He’s limited (at best) as a passer. The Saints are 0-5 since Winston suffered a season-ending injury in Week 8,

The 2021 season is over. If Payton thinks Hill is a long-term solution at quarterback, 2022 won’t be far behind.

Yahoo - #23 (From #21)

Taysom Hill did add a dimension to the offense, with 101 rushing yards. The problem was that he threw the Saints out of the game with four interceptions. There’s no reason to turn back now. The Saints aren’t doing anything better with Trevor Siemian, Ian Book or anyone else taking over at quarterback.

Sports Illustrated - #22 (From #19)

The Saints have a better team than their place in these power rankings indicates. But they’re simply too injured to consider a playoff hopeful. Whether it’s quarterback Jameis Winston, or quarterback Taysom Hill, or running back Alvin Kamara, or wide receiver Michael Thomas, or any number of others, a team with a deep roster has encountered too much damage to make a realistic push.

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