Here’s how the five major power rankings view the Saints heading into Week 3.
“The Saints went the first 118-plus minutes of the season without allowing a touchdown — against the Panthers on Monday, they became the final NFL team to surrender one this season. That’s a testament to how good their defense is, but it’s been a lot more effort on offense. Depending on the severity of the Jamaal Williams injury, New Orleans could be a little shorthanded in Green Bay on Sunday, with Alvin Kamara still suspended for another game. Tony Jones Jr. gave the Saints a spark in short-yardage situations, but they might need more big pass plays like the ones they got from Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed late in Week 2. You can see Derek Carr’s frustration at times, but this passing game is still getting its timing down.”
Player to watch: Michael Thomas:
Thomas’ contract automatically voids in 2025, but he’s essentially playing on a one-year deal with the way his contract is structured. Thomas and the Saints reworked his contract in March due to massive roster bonuses that would have gone into effect this year, and they’ll face a similar situation in 2024. This makes it an important season for Thomas, who played in only 10 regular-season games from 2020 to 2022 due to injuries. — Katherine Terrell”
“The New Orleans Saints are raising winning ugly to something of an art form. But just like their NFC South counterparts in Atlanta and Tampa Bay, the Saints are a surprising 2-0 after outlasting the Panthers in Carolina.
Mind you, this wasn’t a game where the Saints played especially well. Derek Carr completed 21 of 36 passes for 228 yards with an interception and a passer rating that barely cleared 65. The Saints amassed 134 yards on the ground, but it took 33 carries to do so.
However, while the Saints were faltering offensively again, the defense stepped up. New Orleans held the Panthers to just 239 yards of offense and 14 first downs. The Panthers converted just four of 14 third down attempts.
But thanks to a late Panthers touchdown, for the second time in as many weeks the Saints went down to the wire—and that left Davenport with a measure of skepticism about how good this team really is.”
“Their defense is going to win a lot of games for them. The offense needs to do more, but that defense has a nasty look about it.”
“The defense looks to be in midseason form, having held 10 consecutive opponents to 20 points or fewer. The offense does not, but QB Derek Carr is still acclimating and awaiting Alvin Kamara’s return – which could be key given New Orleans’ depleted running back room.”