So that wasn’t much fun. The New Orleans Saints disappointed everyone from their fans to neutral observers in the media with a loss to the San Francisco 49ers this past Sunday, which was reflected in an update to NFL power rankings after Week 12. Here’s what is being said about the Saints from national outlets and team blogs around the league’s media landscape:
Ranking: 24 (Last week: 22)
Author: Mark Lane, Touchdown Wire
“The Saints were playing one of the top-4 teams in the NFC on their home field. The defense did their part to hold San Francisco down, but the offense was nowhere to be found, which has been the case for the Saints in 2022.”
Ranking: 27 (Last week: 25)
Author: Nate Davis, USA TODAY Sports
“Now 4-8, they’re headed for double-digit losses in a season for the first time since 2005, the year ruined by Hurricane Katrina and the season before former coach Sean Payton and QB Drew Brees arrived.”
Ranking: 26 (Last week: 21)
Author: Dan Hanzus, NFL.com
“You can’t win if you can’t score, and the Saints saw their fading playoff hopes take another hit in a dispiriting shutout loss to the 49ers in Santa Clara. Alvin Kamara lost two fumbles and New Orleans came up empty on two trips into the red zone, wasting a game effort by a Saints defense that cooled off a Niners attack which had entered Sunday on a roll. Kamara has now matched a career high with four fumbles, and the New Orleans running attack remains completely missing in action. Sunday’s leading rusher? Andy Dalton, who churned out 21 yards worth of scrambles. This is not a very good or disciplined team, and it’s fair to wonder if Dennis Allen will pay for it with his job.”
Ranking: 21 (Last week: 21)
Author: Katherine Terrell, ESPN
“The Saints mathematically have a shot at the NFC South like everyone else, but they’ve squandered every opportunity they’ve gotten to make any progress in the division by beating themselves with poor play. While a best-case scenario has them winning out to finish with a winning season, a more realistic one has them getting more snaps for players like Trevor Penning, Rashid Shaheed and Alontae Taylor to get them ready for next season.”
Ranking: 21 (Last week: 19)
Author: Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
“The offense didn’t score a point against the 49ers. Is it time to go back to Jameis Winston?”
Ranking: 27 (Last week: 23)
Author: Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports
“The Saints’ leading rusher Sunday was Andy Dalton, who had 21 yards on four carries. There’s a lot wrong with the Saints’ offense, and it’s a guarantee they won’t score much if their leading non-Dalton rusher has 13 yards.”
Ranking: 28 (Last week: 24)
Author: Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk
“Is it crazy to think they should offer Sean Payton $30 million a year to come back?”
Ranking: 28 (Last week: 23)
Author: Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News
“The Saints marched into San Francisco with no offense despite a scrappy performance by Dennis Allen’s defense. It’s been trying overall season of injuries and inconsistency and there’s not enough duct tape.”
Ranking: 24 (Last week: 21)
Author: Bleacher Report NFL Staff
“It has been a long while since the New Orleans Saints were shut out—in fact, it hadn’t happened since 2001.
Until Sunday, that is.
It’s not like the Saints didn’t have opportunities against the San Francisco 49ers. Twice in the second half, the Saints drove deep into San Francisco territory only to be turned away. Five times, the Saints made it inside the San Francisco 45-yard-line, only to come up short each time. After the loss, an exasperated Dennis Allen made no excuses about his team’s Week 12 performance.
“We had some opportunities, and you’re not going to beat a good team unless you make plays that are there to be made,” the Saints coach said. “If you turn the football over, you’re not going to beat a good team.”
Now at 4-8 and in last place, any hope the Saints had on making the postseason is gone.
Or at least, it should be. The Saints play in the NFL’s worst division, so while they are a bad team with no real shot at the playoffs, they are still mathematically alive.
But let’s be real. This isn’t a good team. And with no first-rounder in 2023 and the worst salary-cap situation in the NFL, it’s not easy to see how things are going to get better.”
Ranking: 19 (Last week: 18)
Author: Brandon Lee Gowton, Bleeding Green Nation
“Do you think Saints management regrets trading their 2023 first-round pick to Philly after watching their team drop to 4-8 with a shutout loss? A pick that’s currently set to be No. 7 overall. Of course, they’re not actually dead in the NFL playoff picture yet by virtue of their awful division. But they MUST beat the Bucs in Tampa on Monday night to stay alive.”
Ranking: 24 (Last week: 23)
Author: Dalton Miller, Pro Football Network
“The Saints’ offense wasn’t as bad as the shutout would suggest, but any time an NFL team comes away from a game with zero points, it leaves a bad taste. New Orleans finished the game with two red-zone turnovers, and if those two possessions go a bit differently, the Saints are 5-7 and very much still in the NFC South playoff hunt.
They still are, somehow, but the Saints have lacked offensive and defensive consistency all season. Nevertheless, Chris Olave looks like a potential star among a group of incredibly talented rookie receivers. Once again, he was the Saints’ leading receiver.”