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Do the Saints (7-1) Now Deserve to be the NFL’s #1-Ranked Team?

After their exhilarating 45-35 win over the previously undefeated Los Angeles Rams yesterday, the (7-1) New Orleans Saints are now considered by many analysts that cover the NFL as the League’s brand new #1 team. But do the Saints deserve to be the #1 ranked team ahead still of the two other one-loss teams, both the (8-1) Rams and the (8-1) Kansas City Chiefs?

That all depends on your point of view at this point, although when the wide variety of the various Power Rankings are released later today and tomorrow, New Orleans — now owners of the NFL’s longest current winning streak with 7 straight wins in a row — is expected to be the top-ranked team by most of them.

Yesterday’s impressive victory by the Black and Gold certainly appeared to finally solidify their status as one of the NFL’s truly “elite” teams.

They proved that they were equally adept at winning at home in front of a sold-out Superdome crowd just as easily as they can as a visiting team this year as the League’s only undefeated on the road this season; including the previous two games leading up to their match-up yesterday with the Rams.

New Orleans has now won seven straight games since their rather embarrassing 48-40 loss in their season-opening contest at home to their NFC South Divisional rivals, the (3-5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Bottom line: this may be the most well-rounded Saints team that we have have ever seen under Saints head coach Sean Payton since his arrival prior to the 2006 season; and at this point New Orleans should be considered the #1 team at least within their own conference (the NFC) just slightly ahead of the Rams team that they beat yesterday inside of the Superdome.

Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Next Sunday, New Orleans will travel to Ohio to take on the (5-3) Cincinnati Bengals in Week #10.

After that, the Saints’ next three games are all against fellow NFC rivals of theirs. all of whom are still currently fighting for a playoff spot: the (4-4) defending World Champion Philadelphia Eagles (November 18th at the Superdome), the (4-4) Atlanta Falcons (Thanksgiving Night at the Superdome), and the Dallas Cowboys (at Dallas on November 29th).

Meanwhile: after they found themselves down by a score of 35-17 at halftime, L.A.’s furious comeback attempt came up short in New Orleans. The Rams were able to come back from 21 points down at one point to tie the score at 35-35 a piece in the 4th quarter, but the Saints ended up scoring the final 10 points to grab the victory. 

3rd year Rams QB Jared Goff still managed to throw for 391 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in their first loss of the season, but Rams head coach Sean McVay told reporters in the team’s post-game press conference that this will help the team for the future.

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

“We’re good, we love it,” McVay told USA Today writer Cameron DaSilva. “You find out about yourself when you have a little bit of adversity. I know that everybody in that locker room is going to respond the right way and I have full confidence in that.”

“Sometimes setbacks can be setups for comebacks and that’s the way we look at it. I think the motivation, the desire to be able to move forward in a positive way is something that we challenge everyone in our building to do.

“Can’t wait to go back to work, get ready to go for a tough Seattle team, being back at home. So it’s a setback, but we’re going to respond the right way and I have full confidence in that with our coaches and our players.”

Los Angeles will host their NFC West division rivals the (4-4) Seattle Seahawks next Sunday in Los Angeles, before traveling in 2 weeks from tonight to Mexico City, Mexico to face the team that many consider to be the League’s current #3 team at the moment, the very dangerous Kansas City Chiefs.

Yesterday in Cleveland, Ohio at the infamous “Dawg Pound”, sensational young Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes threw for 375 yards, three touchdowns and an interception against the struggling Browns. According to ESPN: Mahomes’ 29 touchdown passes are the most by any NFL quarterback through their first 10 games since 1950.

Not only is Mahomes setting (and breaking in some instances) a handful of personal records, but the Chiefs offense is close to shattering several long-time existing records of the franchise, which was originally founded nearly some six decades ago (58 years ago back during what was the inaugural 1960 season of the old American Football League).

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

As noted by the team’s official website: yesterday’s win over the Browns was the 5th-straight game in which the high-powered Chiefs offense scored at least 30 points, which ties them for the franchise record. It’s also their 8th game this season of at least 30 points, which also ties them for that franchise record. 

And it’s been the young 2nd year star who some within the Media have compared to a young Brett Favre coming out of college in the early 1990’s (because of Favre’s similar athleticism and extremely strong and accurate throwing arm back in those days), that has allowed Kansas City’s own red-hot start to continue in the weeks and months ahead,

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid told reporters in his post-game press conference yesterday that he isn’t worried one single bit that Mahomes’ early success will go to his quarterback’s head.

“You appreciate him when you’re around him every day and just the spirit that he brings, the attitude he has,” Reid explained to ESPN. “You don’t even worry about him getting a big head or getting complacent. It’s a weird deal. He just goes out and he plays. He works hard and he loves doing it. He just goes about his business the way you’re supposed to do it.”

Kansas City very likely will be considered heavy favorites to win yet once again next week against the woeful (1-7) Arizona Cardinals; but make no mistake about it: football fans everywhere have the Week #11 contest in two weeks from tonight, circled on their calendars when two of the League’s top-rated offenses will square off head-to-head against each other in “prime time” live from Estadia Azteca (Aztec Stadium) in Mexico City.

And let’s be sure not to forget to mention the (6-2) New England Patriots. who last night managed to finally pull away with a 31-17 win at home in suburban Boston over the visiting Green Bay Packers. They too won again on NBC Sunday Night Football in a game which gave us a rare match-up of two of the sport of Pro Football’s all-time great (and legendary) passers Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.

Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)

It was the ageless Brady (who turns 42 next August) who won that battle; and you can bet that the 5-time Super Bowl winner and his New England team mates will likely be heavily favored to win their next two games against the (3-4) Tennessee Titans and the (3-6) New York Jets.

Long story short for Saints fans: New Orleans is clearly playing some of the best football of any team at any level of the sport right now, and yesterday’s 45-35 win was certainly evidence of that fact.

But does New Orleans DESERVE to be ranked as the undisputed #1 team in the entire NFL? The debate for that question unfortunately, is unlikely to end anytime soon….

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Saints News Network Editor / Featured Columnist Barry Hirstius is a 51-year old semi-retired journalist, former New Orleans-area sports editor, and columnist previously with several sites that exclusively cover the New Orleans Saints football team. Additionally, he is a recurring guest on a variety of local Sports Talk Radio programs. Barry is also a New Orleans native who grew up as a fan of the team while attending games as a young boy at the old Tulane Stadium in the early 1970’s, originally following and now covering the team for a span of over 40 plus years. And perhaps most importantly of all: he is the Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity.....

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