NFC South Power Rankings: End of preseason standings

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Aug 22, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks (10) celebrates following a touchdown against the New England Patriots during the second quarter of a preseason game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

3. New Orleans Saints
Last week: 3

The injuries are piling up in New Orleans, and worryingly they are on the defensive side of the football, the place the Saints can ill-afford to lose bodies. Cornerback Keenan Lewis is going to be out up to six weeks after needing hip surgery, third round pick P.J. Williams has been placed on injured reserve and safety Jairus Byrd could miss the start of the season. A lot will rest on free agent acquisition Brandon Browner.

The depleted Saints’ defense faces a daunting start to the season, with games against the Cowboys, Eagles, Falcons, Colts and Giants inside the first eight games. They will need some good fortune on the health front up against some of the league’s best receivers.

Offensively, we will find out if the doubters are right about Drew Brees’ declining play or whether he can still play at an elite level. One thing we can be sure of is that he will be handing the football off more often this season with Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller aiming to form a 1-2 punch in the backfield. Losing Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills increases this probability, too.

Next: No. 2