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Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Power Rankings: No. 2 New Orleans Saints

By Mike Triplett

A weekly examination of the Saints’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 14 | Last Week: 4 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The Saints (9-2) vaulted back up to the No. 2 spot in ESPN.com’s Power Rankings this week after losses by the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. In the process, the Saints set up a No. 1 versus No. 2 showdown with the top-ranked Seattle Seahawks on “Monday Night Football.”

Call it the NFL’s version of the BCS title game.

The Saints have climbed a total of four spots over the past three weeks by showing their resiliency while others have stumbled. The Saints won three games in a 12-day span -- including Thursday night’s 17-13 victory at the Atlanta Falcons.

They’ll have to be more resilient than ever at Seattle, where they’ll be facing one of the league’s toughest opponents, one of the league’s toughest home crowds and likely some tough weather conditions.

New Orleans has shown an ability to win these types of games this year, with patient offensive game plans in wins at Chicago, at home against San Francisco and at Atlanta. The Saints will be counting on their improved run game and offensive line play to continue against one of the league’s top defenses. Meanwhile, the Saints' defense will be eager to prove it’s just as capable as the more-hyped Seahawks unit in what could turn into a physical slugfest.

One thing’s for certain: The winner of Monday night’s game will be ranked No. 1 in next week’s Power Rankings. It also will greatly increase its chances of being ranked No. 1 come February.