Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 11: Saints undeniably NFL's best team after smashing defending champs
Plus the hot Cowboys, a rookie debut to remember for Lamar Jackson and more from NFL Sunday
No NFL team has a higher ceiling on a weekly basis than the New Orleans Saints. And right now, the Saints are hitting that ceiling on a weekly basis as they've quickly ascended to earn the status of most dangerous team in the NFL. With their win on Sunday, a 48-7 throttle-job of the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles, the Saints moved to 9-1 and put themselves in prime position to win the NFC South and potentially much more.
New Orleans' only slip up this season was a 48-40 loss to the Buccaneers in Week 1, an outcome that's difficult to fathom in the wake of the Saints winning their ninth straight game. The Saints have won five games since their bye, three of which were on the road, and all against would-be playoff contenders. The combined record of those teams? 28-20-1. The combined outcome of those games? Saints 198, opponents 99.
Yes, the Saints have nearly a plus-100 point differential in just their last five games, all against upper-tier opposition.
And they're winning in the same way the Saints won last year: the offensive line is mauling people, Alvin Kamara/Mark Ingram are unstoppable in the run game, Drew Brees is deadly accurate and the defense is quietly good again.
New Orleans has been a top team against the run all year, but the passing defense is starting to get back to 2017 levels. Carson Wentz was unable to get anything going, finishing 19 of 33 for 156 yards and a 31.9 passer rating, the lowest single-game outing of his career.
There's also this attitude pervading the Saints, and it starts with Sean Payton, who is engaging in a Burn It All world tour right now. You could tell he wanted to send a message to the Eagles, last year's champion. Up 31 points, on fourth down, Payton had Brees take a shot deep down the field. And it hit.
The only time the Saints didn't score? When they got into the red zone on their final drive of the game and actually decided to kick a field goal. The result was Brees' postgame disappointment.
What's really wild about the day is the Saints used a ton of younger/inexperienced guys, including rookie Tre'Quan Smith, who had a monster game, as well as two dudes named Keith Kirkwood and Austin Carr, neither of whom started for your fantasy team.
The Saints are going to get another big test soon. They draw the Falcons on Thursday night for a Thanksgiving special, but New Orleans is a double-digit favorite and could hang a crooked number on Atlanta, their least favorite rival. After that, they'll play the Cowboys the week after on TNF, their first of three straight road games. The last of those games is their first of two matchups against the Panthers in the final three weeks of the season; if New Orleans keeps playing the way it has the last month, those two matchups might not matter for the division.
Somehow the Dallas Cowboys are not dead. Two weeks after losing at home on Monday night to the Titans in a game where Dallas looked to be cooked, the Cowboys suddenly have new life. Their win over the Falcons on the road moved them to 4-4 and put them within a game of the Redskins, who fell to 6-4 and lost quarterback Alex Smith for the season.
and net Garrett an extension. Do not sleep on them.
Lamar's debut a success
Andrew Luck is now 10-0 in his career against the Titans after Indianapolis shellacked Tennessee -- . Indy is stout
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