Welcome to the kickoff of the first NFL Top 5 Power Rankings of the 2021 regular season! The Saints are marching into the new season as only New Orleans can: a quarterback competition and showdown, Hurricane Ida, and a borrowed home stadium, and of course, the COVID-19 variants continue.
The Saints will be out of New Orleans for a month, thanks to Hurricane Ida. The team will play the Green Bay Packers in Jacksonville, Florida, for the season opener on Sept. 12.
Precisely to 15 years ago, Hurricane Katrina touched down in New Orleans and damaged Louisiana Superdome. The iconic dome did not reopen until September 25, 2006, for the Saints' Monday night game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc on New Orleans and the surrounding area on August 30, 2021, and devastated the city with heavy winds, rain, and power outages. Once again, the Saints face uncertainty as the new season begins.
As the city of New Orleans moves forward to build back its infrastructure bigger and better, the team’s management has moved the black and gold to TCU’s football facility in Fort Worth, Texas to prepare for the season opener.
The team should be able to return to the Caesars Superdome to play their Week 4 game, said New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell in a news conference.
Some familiar faces are at the top of the NFL power rankings heading into the 2021-2022 season. Tampa Bay looks to repeat while Kansas City and Green Bay hope for redemption.
NFL TOP 5 POWER RANKING - WEEK 1
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers begin the 2021-2022 season as the NFL’s top team, and rightfully so. Tampa Bay brought back all 22 starters from last year, and quarterback Tom Brady defies father time.
Combine those two factors with their biggest division rival, the New Orleans Saints, with a new quarterback, and Tampa has a solid case to make it back to the Super Bowl. Watch out because Tom Brady could go for an unfathomable 8th championship ring.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
As long as the Kansas City Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes at quarterback and weapons like Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce on an explosive offense, the Chiefs will always be one of the top teams in the NFL. Last year didn’t end the way the Chiefs wanted, ultimately losing to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl.
Despite the defeat, Kansas City will have as good a shot as anyone to earn another trip to the Super Bowl and take home the Lombardi Trophy. Defense is still on the weaker side for the Chiefs, but they improved their offensive line that was exposed in the Super Bowl. Expect Kansas City to make another deep playoff run this year.
3. Buffalo Bills
Right on the heels behind the Kansas City Chiefs are the Buffalo Bills. Led by quarterback Josh Allen, the Bills have an electric offense that improved by adding wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
Each year it seems like Allen and the Bills take another step forward on the field, but they still have yet to pass the ultimate test of defeating the Chiefs. Buffalo has its sights set on a trip to the Super Bowl this year.
4. Green Bay Packers
Despite some offseason drama surrounding the Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay should be primed for another run at the championship.
This could very well be Rodgers’ last year in Green Bay, but the future Hall of Famer still has enough offensive talent surrounding him to take a shot at the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As of now, the Packers appear to be firmly set as at least the second-best team in the NFC.
5. Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens have consistently been one of the top teams in the NFL, and that trend continues heading into the 2021-2022 season. Baltimore has yet to convincingly make the sort of statement in the playoffs that a team with their talent is capable of.
Lamar Jackson is still one of the best young quarterbacks in the league, which alone will win you a plethora of games, and the defense continues to be top tier. The Ravens, however, are a notch below AFC rivals Chiefs and Bills, but they should still make a strong case to have a deep playoff run.
*8. New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints are in a peculiar position. Drew Brees is no longer with the team, which is huge, but many impact players are injured or were not re-signed due to cap restrictions.
There are still superb players on the Saints’ team, and Jameis Winston leads out front. There are concerns about turnovers and the team's resilience amid traveling on the road for home games.
Winston could have a breakout season which may lead to another winning season. There is no reason the New Orleans Saints can’t be a playoff team this season and prepare for another journey to secure another Lombardi Trophy.
Article contributor Sam Lucio, Saints News Network Intern.