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2021 NFL Power Rankings: New Orleans Saints

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the New Orleans Saints rank in terms of average, best and worst:

Below you will find a Week 18 roundup for the Saints in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 19

New Year's resolution: Surround the next QB with more talent

Choosing the right quarterback in 2022 is obviously the top priority for a Saints team that has used five different QBs over the past calendar year. Jameis Winston probably remains the front-runner, but the Saints will consider all options -- blockbuster and otherwise -- because Winston is an unsigned free agent recovering from a torn ACL. Regardless of whom they choose, the Saints must surround their next QB with better pass-catchers and a more complete offensive line. Injuries were a major factor in 2021. WR Michael Thomas missed the entire season, while linemen Terron Armstead, Ryan Ramczyk and Andrus Peat missed ample time. Now the Saints will face some tough financial decisions about how many of those guys they can bring back in 2022, in addition to adding more reinforcements. -- Mike Triplett

NFL.com -- Rank: 16

The Saints are somehow still alive in the NFC playoff picture -- a testament to great coaching and the fight of a decimated team that has battled through adversity. The defense again played the starring role against the Panthers, piling up seven sacks of Sam Darnold in an 18-10 win at the Superdome. The pass rush was led by Cam Jordan, who's on a heater right now: The veteran had 3.5 sacks Sunday and has posted at least two sacks in three straight games. A win over the hated Falcons, coupled with a Niners loss to the Rams, puts New Orleans in the dance.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 17

At 8-8, they are still alive, but they need help. The defense was impressive against the Panthers.

USA Today -- Rank: 17

Speaking of the virus, DE Cam Jordan has 7 1/2 sacks over the last three games since COVID forced him to miss the first contest of his 11-year career. Sure seems like he's trying to will New Orleans into postseason to get that game back.

The Athletic -- Rank: 19

Future MVP: Marshon Lattimore. It's an unusual time in the Big Easy, where the Saints' identity under Sean Payton comes from their defense. That's the reality until Taysom Hill or another quarterback revitalizes the offense. Lattimore, a Pro Bowl selection in four of his five seasons, leads the NFL with 18 pass breakups, according to Pro Football Focus. Anyone who regularly watches the shutdown cornerback knows that statistic makes all kinds of sense.

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