Preseason: 14 | Last Week: 6 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002
The New Orleans Saints (7-2) surged back up into the No. 4 spot with a dominant 49-17 victory Sunday night over the Dallas Cowboys. It was an easy choice for the ESPN.com panel to move up the Saints, because the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers both suffered losses to drop them down in the rankings.
The Saints' victory over Dallas, which was equally impressive on offense and defense, proved that they have as high a ceiling as any team in the NFL when they're on their game. But they still need to show more consistency if they want to move ahead of the top three teams, all of whom have firmly established themselves this year (Kansas City, Denver and Seattle).
New Orleans will certainly get an opportunity to impress the voters. Over the next four weeks, the Saints will face No. 8 San Francisco, No. 29 Atlanta, No. 3 Seattle and No. 6 Carolina. The Saints will need to keep up their improved play along the offensive line against several physical defenses.