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Dissecting a popular Super Bowl pick to open the 2021 season will do a lot to raise your profile. That’s what the New Orleans Saints experienced in updated NFL power rankings ahead of Week 2, having beaten the Green Bay Packers in every phase of the game.
Between Jameis Winston’s near-flawless execution of the offense and a stifling defensive effort, New Orleans had the game well in hand before the fourth quarter. And they’re being recognized for it across the NFL media landscape. See for yourself:
USA TODAY Sports, Nate Davis (5)
"5. Saints (16): New NBC football analyst Drew Brees kidded (right?) Sunday that "I guess apparently this is what the Saints have been missing." He was referring to QB successor Jameis Winston, who struck downfield – a capability that should open up the entire attack and especially help RB Alvin Kamara. Is this offense actually better? So far, so good given what New Orleans just did to the Packers ... and under suboptimal circumstances."
Touchdown Wire, Nick Wojton (8)
"Last week: 17
After everything the Saints and New Orleans went through in recently weeks, they deserved to roll against the Packer and they did just that. The game had everything the Saints would love… Jameis Winston post-game interview and all."
NBC Sports, Justin Leger (6)
"Previous ranking: 10 Jameis Winston and the Saints had a field day vs. the Packers on Sunday. Winston threw five touchdown passes in his Saints debut while Packers QB Aaron Rodgers tossed two picks and failed to get a tally in the TD column. New Orleans' defense limited Green Bay to three points in a 38-3 stunner."
NFL.com, Dan Hanzus (10)
"Previous rank: No. 15
Jameis Winston has experienced an odd NFL career, so consider it fitting his debut as the Saints' QB1 featured one of the stranger final lines you'll ever see: 14 for 20, 148 passing yards, five touchdowns. Yep, New Orleans did pretty much anything it wanted to the Packers, bullying the defending NFC North champs on both sides of the ball and sending Aaron Rodgers to the bench for good with 11 minutes to play in the fourth quarter. This outcome tells you so much about the health of the organization: Playing at "home" in Jacksonville in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, the Saints would've gotten a pass if they'd laid an egg against an elite Packers team. Instead, they trounced them, radically recalibrating 2021 expectations as a result."
CBS Sports, Pete Prisco (6)
"Previous ranking: 19 They had the most impressive victory of the weekend in blowing out the Packers. The defense was truly impressive in limiting Aaron Rodgers."
SI.com, Connor Orr (12)
"Last week: 15 Jameis Winston is the perfect Week 1 overreaction avatar. Three of his five touchdowns were either the product of a phenomenal receiver catch or a shovel pass. Sean Payton will have this team relevant, but we’d all be safe to pump the breaks on the idea that Drew Brees has been replaced. One can believe in Payton and the Saints’ roster without buying high on the quarterback."
Bleacher Report, NFL Staff (10)
"Last Week: 18
Week 1 Result: Won vs. Green Bay 38-3
No playoff team from last year was facing more questions entering 2021 than the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints are breaking in a new quarterback in Jameis Winston. Their top wide receiver (Michael Thomas) is out indefinitely with an ankle injury. Things didn't look good for a Week 1 showdown with a Green Bay Packers team that went 13-3 in each of the past two seasons.
So of course, the Saints pounded the snot out of Green Bay.
Winston completed 70 percent of his passes and threw for five touchdowns. Defensively, the Saints held the Packers to only 229 total yards and forced three turnovers.
It was the most surprising outcome of Week 1, without question."