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Saints power rankings: Week 9

Saints look to move up in the rankings after shutout win

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Las Vegas Raiders v New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The Saints are coming off their best performance of the season, and are still somehow just a game back in the NFC South, and now to a team which they own a tiebreaker against in the Falcons. A Monday night matchup with a strong Ravens team looms, but this team should be confident going into a home primetime game after reminding themselves how good they can be. The Raiders may be 2-5, but they are a talented team who had been playing much better up until Sunday. Hopefully the Saints can use this shutout win as a springboard to a return to form.

ESPN - #21 (From #26)

Reason for optimism: They’re capable of playing mistake-free football

The Saints have lamented being their own worst enemy for almost the entire season, turning the ball over in a loss to the Bucs, allowing a late touchdown against the Bengals and throwing two pick-sixes against the Cardinals. But they showed against the Raiders that they’re still capable of playing the kind of defense that led them to wins in the past few seasons. They also didn’t turn the ball over Sunday, sparking hope that perhaps Alvin Kamara’s accountability speech to the team helped them turn the corner. — Katherine Terrell

USA Today - #20 (From #21)

Note to Dennis Allen – QB Andy Dalton is historically dreadful against Baltimore and has lost four consecutive appearances to the Ravens. Might be time to page Jameis.

CBS - #20 (From #21)

The defense finally showed up this season in beating the Raiders. If the Saints play like that, they can still be a playoff team in a bad division.

Las Vegas Raiders v New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

NFL - #17 (From #21)

The Saints are one of the NFL’s genuine mystery teams as we spin toward the season’s second half. The good version of Dennis Allen’s bunch showed up on Sunday, beating up on the Raiders on both sides of the ball in a 24-0 win. The star of the day was Alvin Kamara, who scored three touchdowns a little over a week after he gave a passionate speech to teammates imploring the Saints to play up to their potential. “I stick to what I said,” Kamara said after the shutout. “We was going to go out there and beat their ass, and we did that.”

Bleacher Report - #19 (From #26)

A funny thing happened on the way to mediocrity.

The Andy Dalton-led New Orleans offense has gotten good.

The 24 points the Saints put up Sunday against the Raiders was actually their lowest-scoring game since Week 3. After running back Alvin Kamara publicly stated the Saints were going to “whoop” the Raiders, they went out and did just that—in no small part because of Kamara’s three-touchdown afternoon.

Kamara was the star Sunday, but he was quick to credit his teammates while speaking to reporters after the win.

“I stick to what I said,” Kamara said. “We was going to go out there and beat their [butt], and we did that. We came in wanting to kind of just impose our will. I was talking about getting back to playing our style of football. Obviously, it looks like it’s me, but it’s a team thing. So, it’s refreshing to kind of get that.”

The shutout win was easily the Saints’ best performance of the season. And for Davenport, it raised an interesting possibility.

“If these Saints can get any kind of consistent effort from the defense,” he said, “then they might well be the best team in a bad NFC South. The New Orleans offense is easily the most explosive in the division, with Andy Dalton providing a spark that was missing under Jameis Winston. Week 9 will bring a chance for the Saints to show they are more than mediocre. They host Lamar Jackson and the 5-3 Ravens.”

PFT - #25 (From #29)

If the defense keeps playing like it did on Sunday, they can become a factor.

Sporting News - #23 (From #28)

The Saints stuck with Andy Dalton to facilitate their playmakers, Alvin Kamara and Chris Olave. But they needed that kind of defensive performance for Dennis Allen to get some confidence back there. They are right back in the NFC South race.

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