NFL Power Rankings: Cardinals rise, Broncos fall in Week 15

8 of 33

Dec 13, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) throws the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. New Orleans Saints defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


Last week: 28
Change: +2

The New Orleans Saints snapped a four-game losing stretch to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a win that effectively ends the Bucs’ playoff hopes. Running back Tim Hightower stepped in for the injured Mark Ingram and received plenty of action, carrying the ball 28 times for 85 yards and a touchdown.

Drew Brees stepped back 41 times and threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns. The Saints dominated time of possession by 15 minutes. They held the football for an entire quarter more than the Bucs. This was achieved with plenty of running backs, and great efficiency on third down. The Saints were 12-of-17 on third down, the Bucs 4-of-11.

It’s a meaningless victory for the Saints, and they now enter three games with teams likely out of the playoff race themselves. The final three is Detroit, Jacksonville and Atlanta. The only team with a chance of reaching the postseason is the Jaguars, although that’s unlikely.

The final few weeks will be to set up draft position. The win moves the Saints up to the ninth overall pick. Maybe at this time of year a loss is actually more like a win.

Next: No. 25