The Falcons are coming off the franchise’s best win in quite a long time. It was surely the most impressive win of Arthur Smith’s short tenure, given the Falcons were nearly touchdown underdogs. Despite having a far less talented roster, Atlanta came out and dominated the Niners in almost every facet of the game. Smith has this team playing above their talent level, and the cultural shift is palpable in Atlanta. So, where does the rest of the NFL world see the Falcons in their power rankings?
“They are tied for the division lead in the NFC South. Beating the 49ers the way they did was impressive, but they face a tough game at Cincinnati this week.”
Week 6 ranking: 24
“The Falcons were supposed to be bad. Having a 3-3 record through six games with a clear plan is better than most could have expected. Contrary to my preseason thought, Atlanta has been able to run on any opponent it has faced with a multitude of backs, the league’s No. 3 rushing team. Its defense has been opportunistic and created pressure at key times. The cohesion of the entire roster, combined with a division void of a dominant team, should have Atlanta in the playoff conversation for many, many weeks to come”
Previous rank: No. 22
“The Falcons showed in the early weeks of the season how they can be competitive with just about anyone. On Sunday, they displayed their potential when they put forth a complete effort. Marcus Mariota was nearly perfect, connecting on 13 of 14 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns (he added 50 yards on the ground), while Dean Pees’ defense scored on a fumble recovery and pitched a second-half shutout in a 28-14 win over the 49ers. The outcome represented a season high for points scored and a season low for points allowed by the Falcons, who are tied with the Bucs atop the NFC South through six weeks. In a wide-open NFC, anything is possible.”
“The Falcons have commanded and earned your respect. This team is fun to watch.”
Obviously, the team’s website has the Falcons highest on their power rankings, and they also have the Chargers at No. 6, so I don’t know how much credit I’d give their rankings. In reality, you could make an argument for the Falcons to be as high as 15 or 16 and as low as 18 or 19.
Atlanta has surely exceeded the expectations placed on them prior to the season. Some outlets, like USA Today Sports, projected the Falcons to hold the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft cycle, and Vegas set the team’s win total at 4.5. Sitting at 3-3, it’s safe to say the Falcons won’t be in a position to select first in next year’s draft or win just four games. The NFL power rankings are reflecting that too as Atlanta sits among the league-average teams.