NFC South Power Rankings: Preseason Week 2 standings

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

3. New Orleans Saints

The 2014 season was tough pill to swallow for the New Orleans Saints. A shocking 0-2 start seemed more of an anomaly than a preview, but their aspirations of a Super Bowl soon evaporated to dust.

Their only glimmer of hope came with their home form. After starting 3-0 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, an overtime loss to the 49ers was followed up with a crushing defeat at the hands of the Bengals, and the aura of playing in New Orleans was gone.

The Saints lost all three remaining home games to finish 3-5 in New Orleans and 7-9 overall. Importantly, they were sat at home in January for only the second time in six years.

Their 31st-ranked defense was largely to blame, although Drew Brees’ form late in games proved costly at times too. All in all, it was potentially a worrying glimpse of the future for Saints fans, who were hit with the harsh reality that Brees’ best days are behind him.

What’s next for New Orleans? Early in the offseason it seemed like they were ready to completely rebuild after trading Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks, but the free agent acquisitions of Brandon Browner and C.J. Spiller soon quashed that theory.

Performing better on defense simply has to happen for the Saints to have any hope of a playoff berth. It seems the run game will be leaned on with Mark Ingram and Spiller, especially considering Graham and Kenny Stills have departed.

Brees’ Super Bowl window is shutting fast, and I’m not sure the Saints have enough left to make even a Wild Card push.

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