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Power Rankings: Saints spring forwards after convincing win over Tampa Bay

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NFL: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s where the New Orleans Saints stand heading into their final regular season game against the Atlanta Falcons.

NFL.com - 17 (+6)

“It was nice to see the middling Saints play their best all-around game this season in a now-or-never situation, thoroughly thumping the Buccaneers in Tampa. But could they not have performed like that sooner? Because of some earlier-season losses to teams they’re now going head-to-head against for playoff spots, the Saints need to beat Atlanta and receive help to get into the postseason. But the NFC South remains open, and as much of a long shot as it might be, in this season — especially in that division — it’s safe to say we should not assume anything is going to happen as expected. One big development Sunday was Derek Carr delivering a dialed-in performance. I believe the chances of Carr being back in New Orleans next season as the Saints’ starter are higher than they were a month ago. Let’s see how Week 18 plays out, though, before we start forecasting what their offseason might look like.”

ESPN - 19 (+4)

Biggest offseason contract to watch: RT Ryan Ramczyk

The Saints will have to do their yearly series of restructures to get in compliance with the salary cap, but Ramczyk’s is tricky due to his injury situation. Ramczyk said he has a serious knee issue that could put his future in jeopardy. He’ll spend the offseason consulting with doctors, but in the meantime, his 2024 salary cap figure is $27 million. If he plays in 2024, the Saints will restructure it and push the money down the road, but it’s likely they’ll need to wait for more answers on his knee before touching the contract. — Katherine Terrell”

Bleacher Report - 17 (+3)

“The New Orleans Saints went into Week 17 with their backs against the wall. Lose to the red-hot Buccaneers, and that’s it—no playoffs.

Well, behind a defense that forced four turnovers and an efficient game from quarterback Derek Carr, the Saints are still alive in the NFC South. But while addressing the media after the game, Carr said his team can’t afford to relax ahead of next week’s meeting with the Atlanta Falcons.

‘We can’t feel satisfied because we got a win. We came in with the expectation to win. We had to win and we did,’ the quarterback added. ‘It feels good, but we’ve got to play another team that we haven’t beat this year. I’m looking forward to that matchup. Until we run out of time, I’m going to keep believing and keep working.’

Frankly, next week’s matchup at the Superdome may not matter—if the Buccaneers beat the two-win Carolina Panthers next week, they’ll win the South and the Saints and Falcons are out of luck.

But with both teams taking the field at 1 p.m. ET next week, the Saints won’t know whether hope lives until well into their own game—so there’s all sorts of motivation for New Orleans to bring its A-game.”

CBS Sports - 16 (+6)

“By beating the Bucs on the road, they are still alive in the playoff race. They need to beat the Falcons and hope the Bucs lose to the Panthers.”

USA Today - 15 (+2)

“Win Sunday, and they’ll be 25-26 over the past three seasons … and very likely without a playoff berth to show for it.”

AVERAGE RANKING: 17 (+4)

Poll

Where would you rank the Saints heading into Week 18?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    1-10
    (3 votes)
  • 19%
    11-15
    (13 votes)
  • 57%
    16-20
    (39 votes)
  • 8%
    21-25
    (6 votes)
  • 10%
    26-32
    (7 votes)
68 votes total Vote Now