Saints rank outside the top five in end-of-season power rankings

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Saints were the No. 2 seed in the NFC entering the playoffs and ended outside the top-five in’s final power rankings.

It was a disappointing end to the 2020 season for the New Orleans Saints. We’ve said that before though.

After a 12-4 season, the Saints barely missed out on the top seed in the NFC. While that may have just elongated the team losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, having an extra week may have helped them.

Either way, the Saints needed to be better than they were.

While you can look at the team’s final 30-20 loss and blame Drew Brees and his three interceptions, it was really Jared Cook’s fumble that turned the game upside down and started the beginning of the end.

The Saints also needed to quickly get ahead but instead settled for two early field goals.

But, one game shouldn’t define their season. What some will remember as defining their season are the two losses that really shouldn’t have been on their resume — one to Philadelphia and the other to Oakland.

That said, the Saints were placed sixth in the power ranking, right behind the Baltimore Ravens. It went Bucs, Chiefs, Packers, Bills, Ravens then Saints, so the Saints were sixth in the league and third in the NFC.

The Bucs were the main team that soared ahead despite having more losses than many of the other five teams in the top six. But, when you win the Super Bowl and put on a commanding performance, that’s what you get.

“Now what? The Saints were turned back at the gate of the Super Bowl once again this January in what was very likely Drew Brees’ final bite at the apple. Sean Payton told Good Morning Football that New Orleans has “big interest” in bringing back Jameis Winston (a pending free agent) and jack-of-all-trades Taysom Hill is under contract. The Saints have continually said they believe in both players — we’ll find out in the next two months if that’s legit or merely a smokescreen ahead of an aggressive next step,” Dan Hanzus wrote.

He’s right. The Saints need to find out what the lies after the Drew Brees era. Jameis Winston is the obvious answer, but both Taysom Hill and drafting a quarterback with their first-round pick could be options.

Payton must find out how this team can continue to win, and with Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas on the roster, they’re set up for success both in the short and long term.

Navigating their extreme salary cap situation while finding a way to improve is in their immediate future, so we’ll have to see how Mickey Loomis operates in the next few months to make sure that happens.

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Either way, this team should be solid, and despite a sixth-place finish, they could continue to be even better without future Hall of Fame quarterback Brees in 2021.