Falcons rise universally across media’s NFL power rankings

NFL: SEP 10 Panthers at Falcons

The Falcons weren’t highly regarded by the national media this offseason, but the tune has begun to change following the club’s 14-point victory over the Panthers. Across the NFL landscape, Atlanta rose universally in power rankings.

CBS: 19th (28th last week)

“They ran the ball and played good defense in beating the Panthers. The dominant showing by the defense was a bit surprising, but now they face a tougher challenge in the Packers.”

NFL.com: 16th (17th last week)

“The run-heavy script was what we expected. But it’s a little concerning that, of the Falcons’ 18 throws in their win Sunday, only four went to Kyle Pitts and Drake London. And that was against a Carolina defense that was missing its best corner for much of the game. Pitts logged a few big catches, plus a 26-yarder called back on a London penalty, and running backs Tyler Allgeier and Bijan Robinson really looked great together. But otherwise, the offense didn’t get it done. It was Week 1, sure, but even the respected O-line was a mixed bag. Desmond Ridder also didn’t do much to quiet any doubters. The defense played great — really, that unit won the game. Can the Falcons expect outstanding showings from Jessie Bates and Grady Jarrett every week? They might have to.”

The Athletic: 12th (21st last week)

“Positional value, schmitional value. The Falcons, who are paying a guard $100 million and drafted a running back in the top 10, gave safety Jessie Bates III a contract this offseason that could pay him $64 million, and it’s looking like he’s worth it. Bates delivered two interceptions and a forced fumble in his Atlanta debut. The Falcons are going to upend everything the league knows about paying players at this rate.”

ESPN: 23rd (28th last week)

“The Falcons paid Bates one of the biggest safety contracts in league history to come from Cincinnati to Atlanta, and he showed every bit of that investment Sunday. He became the first player since Chinedum Ndukwe in 2007 to post double-digit tackles, multiple picks and a forced fumble in a game. Bates provides stability in the back line of the defense and is an instinctual player who should be able to create big defensive plays and prevent large offensive ones.” — Michael Rothstein

Regardless of where you look, the Falcons have jumped up power rankings, and they have a chance to rise even more following Week 2. The Packers are the talk of the town right now following Jordan Love’s impressive performance.

If Atlanta can upset Green Bay, more heads will turn to what Arthur Smith is building. This is an excellent litmus test for the Falcons; the Packers are a legit playoff contender and should win the NFC North in my estimation.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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