The NFC South is not what it used to be, and the New Orleans Saints aren't the same winning franchise it used to be, either.
The Saints currently sit in last place with a 1-3 record after Week 4's loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Given the relative strength of their division, the Saints still have a shot to make the playoffs (it's only Week 4, guys) but the more concerning aspect is how outright bad the team looks in 2022.
One could argue the Saints don't even deserve their lone win -- they only completed the comeback in Week 1 because Atlanta's defense collapsed in the fourth quarter. Without that Week 1 victory, NOLA would be winless through four games of the season.
And based on the Saints' weekly performances, that seems like a fair assessment of the team. They deserve to be last in the NFC South because they've been playing like the worst team in the division.
NOLA Saints are currently ranked last in NFC South in 2022
The NFC South power rankings look exactly the same as the current standings with the Buccaneers in first, the Falcons in second, the Panthers in third, and the Saints in dead last. Tampa and Atlanta have the same record but the Bucs are clearly the better team there. Carolina has the head-to-head win over the Saints so they're in the three-spot. That leaves NOLA in last place.
Between the Saints and the Carolina Panthers, it's tough to say which team needs more improvement.
New Orleans came off a surprisingly watchable game in which backup Andy Dalton put up a decent fight against a Vikings team that had most of its starters. The Saints, on the other hand, were missing Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, two of their most dangerous threats.
The Saints' defense remains arguably the best defensive unit in the division, yet the underperforming offense drags the team down all the way to the bottom.
Even the Atlanta Falcons, who have a mishmash of weapons in Marcus Mariota, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Drake London, have produced more efficient quarters of football and could be 3-1 right now were it not for their epic collapse to give NOLA their only win of the season.
Carolina's passing attack also hasn't yet found its groove with Baker Mayfield at the helm, and we can all tentatively agree Dennis Allen is a better head coach than hot seat candidate Matt Rhule; still, a healthy Christian McCaffrey and solid defense could at least keep them competitive. And don't forget, the Panthers beat the Saints last week.
Through four weeks of the season, the Saints are ranked dead last and absolutely deserve it. They'll need a miracle to get back to winning ways in 2022.