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Tuesday, October 4, 2011
NFL Power Rankings: Saints solid No. 2

By Pat Yasinskas

The latest ESPN.com Power Rankings are out and it doesn’t look like there are any huge shakeups in the NFC South.

The New Orleans Saints remain at No. 2, which is precisely where they belong after four weeks. The Saints are behind only the Green Bay Packers, a team they played very closely to on the road in the opener. The Packers are the defending Super Bowl champions and have done nothing to suggest anyone should take them out of the No. 1 spot. The Saints are a very solid No. 2 right now and are only a Green Bay stumble from being No. 1. There’s irony here. The Packers play at Atlanta on Sunday night. Could New Orleans fans actually find themselves rooting for the Falcons?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are tied with the Saints for the NFC South lead at 3-1. But the Bucs are sitting at No. 11. That’s a slight climb from last week. But I think the ranking is about right. As I wrote after Monday night’s sloppy victory against the Colts, we still don’t know for sure if the Bucs are for real.

The Atlanta Falcons stayed put at No. 19 despite a narrow win at Seattle. That beats the alternative, but you can’t really get too excited about a win against the Seahawks after you almost squandered a 24-7 halftime lead.

The Carolina Panthers dropped two spots to No. 24 after a close loss to Chicago. The Panthers are on the right path and they’re going to win some more games before all is said and done. But they’re 1-3 right now, and I thought the voters had Carolina ranked a bit too high last week. I think they’ve got the Panthers in just about the right spot this week.