The Falcons sit one game under .500 but still remain alive in the NFC South race and, inherently, in the playoff race. Last Sunday, Cincinnati dominated Atlanta as Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, and the rest of the Bengals offense attacked the Falcons defense at will. Burrow threw for nearly 500 yards against an Atlanta secondary decimated by injuries. The offense couldn’t move the ball a lick in the second half, and outside of some heroics in the waning minutes of the first half, it was a terrible day for the Dirty Birds. Let’s see how the national media reacted in their NFL power rankings.
22. Falcons (17): “Plucky as they are, Sunday was a reminder Atlanta is ill equipped to come back from double-digit deficits given its limitations passing the ball. In a season-worst 18-point loss, top targets Kyle Pitts and Drake London each finished with 9 receiving yards.”
22. Falcons (18): “There is perhaps no team in football less schematically inclined to play from behind than the Atlanta Falcons. Arthur Smith’s bunch trailed by double digits for the final 50 minutes of play on Sunday against the Bengals, but still somehow ended the game with only 13 pass attempts. This is curious and a bit disturbing when you consider the Falcons invested top-10 picks in the past two seasons on wide receiver Drake London and tight end Kyle Pitts. It creates a strange dynamic in which the team’s offensive philosophies (run first, run forever) do not appear to be aligned with the organization’s roster building.”
19. Falcons (19): “It does not matter who it is. It does not matter the time of game. Arthur Smith will do his best to run the ball again and again. The Falcons, even after a blowout loss to Cincinnati on Sunday, have the No. 3 rushing attack in the NFL. It’s simply about how Atlanta’s head coach can control the game and be competitive every week. What’s impressive is that they are doing it with a converted receiver (Cordarrelle Patterson), a fifth-round pick (Tyler Allgeier), a player who started the year on the practice squad (Caleb Huntley) and a converted cornerback (Avery Williams). If Atlanta ends up as a surprise division winner this season, it’ll be on the strength of its ability to shorten games and be productive on the ground.”
20. Falcons (19): “The defense got exposed by the Bengals, but they are still in the NFC South race because the division is so bad. That was their one really bad game so far this season.”
17. Falcons (15): “Falcons had a rough go against the Bengals, but still sit in good division standing. Can’t get sidetracked by one bad result.”
Across the board, the Falcons fell. That’s to be expected after a thrashing like the one we saw in Week 7. Once again, the Falcons received their highest ranking from the team’s website (shocker). Thankfully, the Falcons have an extremely favorable stretch of games coming up to get above .500 for the first time since 2017 — vs Panthers, vs Chargers, @ Panthers, vs Bears, @ Commanders, vs Steelers. Those are all winnable games. If Atlanta can beat those teams, they’ll rise among NFL power rankings.