NFL Week 16 Power Rankings: Falcons recent skid continues

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The Falcons returned from the bye week to play the rival Saints in New Orleans. But it was no ordinary tilt; Atlanta turned to rookie third-round pick Desmond Ridder in his NFL debut. The Superdome is an intimidating place to play, regardless of how poor the Aints are doing. Ridder’s performance was forgettable; he struggled early but did seemingly settle as the game progressed. It was pretty much exactly what one would expect from a Day 2 pick starting his first game. Even despite the team’s overall poor performance, the Falcons had a chance to tie or even win the game late in the fourth quarter. A fourth-down completion to Drake London extended the drive, but the hard-running London had the ball poked out, effectively ending the game. And the loss has the Falcons skidding down NFL Power Rankings.


25. Falcons (22 last week): “The Falcons declined the fifth-year option on their former first-round pick back in May — and McGary responded with his best and healthiest season of his career. Always considered a strong run-blocker, McGary has shown marked improvement as a pass-blocker in Falcons coach Arthur Smith’s scheme with a career-high pass block win rate against single defenders (78.6%) and double teams (91.1%). McGary has played well enough to believe there could be reason for a continued relationship beyond this season if both player and franchise can find reasonable financial terms. Huge, huge win for McGary.” — Michael Rothstein


26. Falcons (25 last week): “Well, Desmond Ridder didn’t answer any questions at quarterback. He didn’t break 100 yards passing. There’s still a few games for Ridder to show he can be the quarterback of the future but his first start wasn’t the best.”

26. Falcons (25 last week): So maybe that’s why Arthur Smith was so hesitant to turn to Desmond Ridder? The rookie quarterback looked quite green in a 21-18 loss to the Saints, tentative in the pocket on a 97-yard passing day. Ridder should improve as he adjusts to the pro game, but it will be a bumpy ride that likely takes Atlanta out of contention in the absurd NFC South. The biggest bright spot on offense on Sunday? Running back Tyler Allgeier, who rushed for a career-high 139 yards and a touchdown on a gorgeous 8.2 yards per attempt. Cordarrelle Patterson continues to produce, but Allgeier now looks like the potential future of Atlanta’s backfield.

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26. Falcons (22 last week): Falcons have really struggled in one-score games. Gotta get better in the fourth.”

The Falcons have three games remaining against the Cardinals, Ravens, and Buccaneers. All winnable contests. Baltimore and Arizona will likely be without their starting quarterbacks, and Tampa Bay is downright not a good football team. Neither are the Falcons, but Arthur Smith’s team is pesteringly persistent. They never quit. Still, results are important, but the expectation for the Falcons was never to make the postseason. And their placement in NFL Power Rankings reflects that reality — never appearing in the top half of a national outlet’s ranking. Success is measured differently by rebuilding clubs.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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