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Saints power rankings: Week 17

Saints take down Browns, but is it enough to rise in the power rankings?

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NFL: DEC 24 Saints at Browns Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

ESPN - #23 (From #24)

Defining moment: Promoting Dennis Allen to head coach.

It was obvious that Allen was New Orleans’ top coaching candidate from the moment Sean Payton stepped down Jan. 25, and the Saints made it clear that the intent was to keep the team intact instead of starting over from scratch. That meant retaining almost all of the assistants and promoting two of them to co-defensive coordinators instead of having one voice. It’s hard to know how the season would have gone with a fresh start, but the current 6-9 record has made one thing clear: The Saints can’t stick with the status quo if they want a winning record in 2023. — Katherine Terrell

USA Today - #21 (From #24)

They’ve suddenly won three of five but probably too little, too late. Sunday’s trip to Philadelphia will likely provide the final nail in New Orleans’ coffin.

CBS - #24 (From #26)

By winning at Cleveland in the bad conditions, they aren’t dead yet. It’s win the last two and then see what happens.

NFL - #23 (From #25)

The Saints are still alive in the NFC South after squeaking out a 17-10 win over the Browns that served as a battle against both the opponent and the elements in frigid Cleveland. Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara both scored on the ground and the New Orleans defense made a final red-zone stand, helped by some butterfingers — or, perhaps frozen fingers — by Cleveland pass catchers in and around the end zone. The Saints have won two straight for the first time this season, but the real test is just ahead with a road matchup against the mighty Eagles. Dennis Allen’s team could catch a break if Jalen Hurts (shoulder) is forced to miss another week.

NFL: DEC 24 Saints at Browns Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Bleacher Report - #23 (From #25)

Saturday’s contest in Cleveland was the coldest regular-season game in Browns history, and Cleveland is not exactly known as a balmy town. Given the brutal cold, high winds and just all-around winter misery, this was less a game to be won and more a contest to be survived.

The Saints did just that, and, in doing so, New Orleans kept their faint postseason hopes alive.

As one might expect in these conditions, the Saints rode the run game to victory, with Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara combining for 132 yards and both New Orleans touchdowns. It was a departure for a team that entered Week 16 21st in the NFL in rushing, and Hill lauded the team’s ability to control the line of scrimmage while talking to reporters after the win.

“When you can line up, and they know you’re going to run the ball, and you can still do it successfully, that’s big,” said Hill. “That’s what we came in wanting to do.”

For his part, Kamara just wanted to get somewhere warm.

“I didn’t want to be a part of that,” Kamara joked. “The elements are the elements, so you just use common sense out there. It was cold. Nothing was going to stop it from being cold. On those long runs, I was really more fired up to get back to the heat on the sideline.”

Kamara may have to wait a bit longer to warm up. Next week, the Saints travel to Philadelphia before closing the season at home against the Carolina Panthers.

PFT - #24 (From #25)

Make Taysom Hill the full-time quarterback, please.

Sporting News - #23 (From #25)

The Saints marched into cold and windy Cleveland and stayed gritty under Dennis Allen, keeping themselves in the NFC South race. They just haven’t been able to put their defense, running game and passing attack all together like they would have liked in a lost season under Kevin Stefanski.

Average ranking: 23 (From 25)

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