The NFL Top 5 Power rankings for Week 3 in the 2021-22 regular season.
After the second week of the regular season for NFL football was exhilarating for many, it was tumultuous for the Saints.
What a difference a week makes. The Saints and fans were still basking in their Week 1 victory over the Packers, but it all faded in a dreadful 26-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
What happened? Well, it isn't very easy.
Last week was a major blow to New Orleans by losing to a projected woeful Panthers team who is now undefeated in the NFC South at 3-0. The performance was one of the worse offensive games in Sean Payton's career as head coach of the Saints.
Several key defensive players were out, and COVID-19 annihilated eight coaches. Coach Sean Payton held a teleconference and expressed confidence that the coaches would be back by the New England game, but will we need more adjustments today?
"There’s a point where you’re just out of it because of time," Payton said. "You no longer are contagious. So that is going to involve a handful of them by the end of the week. So there’s no way with the current setup where all these guys are going to miss New England because they’ll be at the 10-day mark where there’s no longer any risk of giving it to anyone." Sean Payton
Defensively, the key issue was so many starters out. Offensively, Jameis Winston’s two turnovers and the measly offensive performance spelled disaster. Communication seemed to be another problem with the Saints, but today is an opportunity for redemption.
To add insult to injury, Caesar's Superdome roof caught fire on Wednesday. One bright note is the damage is superficial and will not affect the Saints returning home Week 5. The team and the city continue preparations for returning the Black and Gold to the crescent city when they face the Giants on Oct. 3 at home.
The Top 5 continues to take shape as Tom Brady and the Buccaneers keep rolling while the Saints and Chiefs slip. Today's action should be some exciting football to watch!
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Bucs continue to be dominant and have shown no signs of slowing down. Tom Brady continues to prove that he is one of the best yet again, this time throwing for 276 yards and 5 touchdowns in a 48-25 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
Rob Gronkowski looked like his vintage self, hauling in 2 touchdowns, while the defense came prepared with interceptions against Matt Ryan. If people were hoping for a Super Bowl hangover, they’d be disappointed with how Tampa started the season.
2. Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams did not have as impressive of a win compared to Week 1. They only defeated the Indianapolis Colts 27-24, but the Rams still have a very high ceiling this season.
Matthew Stafford had a solid game with 278 yards, but the show star was receiver Cooper Kupp who hauled in 9 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns. The Rams will break away from their competition much easier with an explosive offense and a star-studded defense.
3. San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers enter the top 5 for the first time this season after a 17-11 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Jimmy Garoppolo put up a solid performance by completing 73% of his passes without throwing an interception.
The Niners currently are tied with the Rams in a tough NFC West division. San Francisco is also battling some injuries but still has enough talent to win.
4. Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens had the statement win of the week, defeating Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs 35-36. This was the type of game that the Ravens and their star quarterback Lamar Jackson had waited for the past few years.
Lamar Jackson struggled throughout the game and threw two interceptions but came in clutch as he led the offense downfield and scored the game-winning touchdown in his first career win against the Chiefs. Baltimore should be able to use this momentum.
5. Kansas City Chiefs
Even in a heartbreaking 35-36 loss against the Baltimore Ravens in prime-time, it is still tough to bet against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Mahomes didn’t finish the game strong, throwing his only interception in September in his entire career.
The defense couldn’t get stops when it mattered most, but the Chiefs are still one of the most dangerous teams in the NFL. Don’t count on Kansas City being down for long.
*10. New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints had a discouraging game in their Sunday's 26-7 loss against the Carolina Panthers. The offense looked completely out of sync, only managing 128 total yards. The worn-down defense couldn’t get stops while being hobbled by injuries. The team was without numerous assistant coaches because of COVID-19.
Jameis Winston seemed to return to his old ways by throwing two interceptions, and Alvin Kamara looked pedestrian. However, there is a silver lining, as the Saints will eventually get all their big contributors back from injury soon. This game should be the lowest point for New Orleans this season, so expect them to improve.
Article contributor Sam Lucio, Saints News Network Intern.