The New Orleans Saints (5-0) are an easy choice for No. 2 on this list, which is where they were voted unanimously. The Saints haven’t been quite as dazzling on offense as the No. 1 Denver Broncos and quarterback Peyton Manning. But New Orleans has been the more complete team, with standout performances from the defense and special teams on a weekly basis.
A case could be made that the Saints’ 26-18 road victory at the Chicago Bears on Sunday was the most impressive victory so far by either Denver or New Orleans, since the Saints proved they could adapt and win with a patient, ball-control offense. They've been finding different ways to win all season. Yet their passing offense still feels like a sleeping giant in some ways, with quarterback Drew Brees and weapons such as Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles and Marques Colston all in peak form.
It would be fascinating to see a Saints-Broncos shootout. Alas, we’ll have to wait for the Super Bowl for that possibility.
If the Saints win on the road again at the New England Patriots on Sunday, they may move up to No. 1, since Denver’s home date with the Jacksonville Jaguars won’t help the Broncos prove much of anything. Luckily for them, the BCS computers aren’t in charge of their fate.