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Senior NFL Columnist

NFL Power Rankings: Underwhelming Saints need to turn it around quick

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If you scan this batch of my Power Rankings, starting from top to bottom, it could take a while to find the New Orleans Saints.

A team that some considered a Super Bowl contender, a team picked by most to win the NFC South, is way down near the bottom in the 26th spot.

As we head to October, the Saints are 1-3, coming off an embarrassing loss to the Dallas Cowboys, and feature a defense that is having major problems tackling, stopping the run, and covering the pass.

Other than that, it's been pretty good.

The list of questions for this unit is longer than Rob Ryan's hair. Tony Romo carved them up Sunday night, and that's pretty much been a season-long theme for that unit.

The offense has moved the football, but in the past two games it is a group that scored a combined 37 points. The Saints are third in yards per game, but tied for 14th in scoring.

That's not good enough. Not with Drew Brees and all those weapons.

The Saints play a home game against Tampa Bay this week, but then the schedule really gets tough. The next six after that are: at Detroit, home against Green Bay, at Carolina, and then home against San Francisco, Cincinnati and Baltimore. That is brutal.

If the Saints are going to make it through that schedule, they have to fix the defense and improve the offense.

If not, those Super Bowl dreams will be over before they ever really got started.

RANK TEAM MOVE (LW)

Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
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