The Saints were close to perfect during their 38-17 dissection of the Patriots on "Monday Night Football."
That helped New Orleans emerge as a unanimous No. 1 choice in ESPN.com's NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 13.
Jeff Chadiha and I moved the Saints into the top spots on our ballots at the Colts' expense. I took another step by moving the Vikings into the second spot, with the Colts third, even though Indianapolis improved to 11-0 with a comeback victory over the Texans.
These are power rankings, not straight standings, and I think Minnesota might have the most complete team in the league. Nothing personal, Colts fans.
The chart shows my votes in the first column, followed by votes from Clayton, Paul Kuharsky and Jeff Chadiha.
A look inside the rankings ...
Rising: The Broncos, Titans and Bills each rose three spots, the largest gains from last week. The Chargers, Bengals, Ravens and Falcons each rose two spots. The Cowboys, Eagles, Packers and Jets rose one spot apiece.
Falling: The Giants fell four spots, the largest drop from last week. The Jaguars, Steelers and Cardinals each dropped three spots. The Redskins, Dolphins and Patriots each fell two places. The Chiefs and Panthers dropped one spot each.
Unchanged: Rankings for the Saints, Colts, Vikings, Texans, 49ers, Bears, Seahawks, Raiders, Lions, Bucs, Rams and Browns did not change.
Deadlocked: We broke no ties this week.
Groupthink: All four panelists ranked the Saints first, the Lions 29th and the Browns 32nd.
Agree to disagree: The Packers and Ravens generated the widest gap between highest and lowest votes, five spots apiece. Four other teams generated disparities of at least four spots:
Packers (5): Chadiha ranked them eighth, higher than any voter ranked them. Sando and Kuharsky ranked them 13th, lower than any voter ranked them.
Ravens (5): Sando 10th, Kuharsky 15th.
Patriots (4): Kuharsky fourth, Clayton eighth.
Falcons (4): Kuharsky 12th, Chadiha 16th.
Jaguars (4): Chadiha 15th, Sando 19th.
Bills (4): Sando 22nd, Kuharsky 26th.
Power rankings histories: These colorful layered graphs show where each NFL team has ranked every week since the 2002 season.
Ranking the divisions: Teams from the AFC South ranked 13.3 on average, higher than teams from any other division. Teams from the NFC West ranked 20.5, lower than teams from any other division.
A voter-by-voter look at changes of at least four spots since the Week 12 rankings:
Sando: Giants (-5), Panthers (-4), Bills (+5)
Clayton: Steelers (-4), Patriots (-4), Texans (-4), Ravens (+4)
Kuharsky: Titans (+4)
Chadiha: Texans (-4)
The file includes a "powerflaws" sheet pointing out potential flaws in voters' thinking by showing how many higher-ranked opponents each team has defeated.
A quick primer on the "powerflaws" sheet:
Column Y features team rankings.
Column Z shows how many times a team has defeated higher-ranked teams.
Change the rankings in column Y as you see fit.
Re-sort column Y in ascending order (1 to 32) using the standard Excel pull-down menu atop the column.
The information in column Z, which reflects potential ranking errors, will change (with the adjusted total highlighted in yellow atop the column).
The lower the figure in that yellow box, the fewer conflicts.