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Power Rankings: No. 5 New Orleans Saints

A weekly examination of the New Orleans Saints’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 14 | Last Week: 5 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The New Orleans Saints (6-1) stayed put at No. 5 after a 35-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills. Apparently the ESPN.com voters weren’t any more impressed by the performance than the Saints (who admitted the sloppy start didn’t meet their high standard).

Opinions are a bit mixed on the Saints right now. Among the six members of the panel, the Saints received votes for third, fourth, fifth and sixth place.

They’ll have a chance to separate themselves from the pack over the next month, though, if they continue to win against better opponents. The next five games: at the New York Jets, home against Dallas and San Francisco, at Atlanta on a Thursday night and at Seattle on a Monday night.

The Saints have to feel good about where they are as the season nears its midpoint. They have the hunger of a team that still believes it hasn’t consistently reached its peak on offense. Yet the Saints can still turn it on when needed, as quarterback Drew Brees showed with five touchdown passes against the Bills. And weapons like Jimmy Graham and Lance Moore should continue to get healthier.