NFL Week 9 Power Rankings: First-place Falcons on the rise

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Just as we all thought, at the midway point in the season, the Falcons remain atop the NFC South in sole possession of first place in the division after their epic overtime win over the Panthers. With ten lead changes and six scores in the final quarter and overtime, Atlanta and Carolina put together one of the more entertaining games of the season, despite all the mistakes from both sides. As it stands, the Falcons could actually host a playoff game as the club sits with the same chances of making the postseason as the Buccaneers. Following their first-place win, the Falcons are risers around NFL Week 9 power rankings.

USA Today 

21. Falcons (22): “Hill has 961 receiving yards. Atlanta wide receivers have 943 … total. Still, hasn’t prevented this team from taking up residence atop the NFC South.”

18. Falcons (22): The benefits of having Younghoe Koo and not Eddy Pineiro cannot be overstated. The ever-dependable Koo booted a 41-yard field goal in overtime after two misses by Pineiro gave the Falcons extended life in a 37-34 win. “Our guys don’t blink,” said quarterback Marcus Mariota after a wild win that nearly became a loss when Atlanta’s decimated secondary allowed D.J. Moore to haul in a 62-yard TD in the final seconds of regulation. Mariota had two interceptions in the game but also threw for three touchdowns and completed 12 straight passes at one point. It was nice to see Arthur Smith give his veteran quarterback a chance to make some plays with his arm after weeks of run-dominant game scripts.


15. Falcons (19): “Admit it, you didn’t have the Atlanta Falcons in first place at midseason. It’s OK. Not many people, if anyone, did. But the Falcons have established themselves as the NFL’s No. 4 rushing attack by yardage. That they’ve done it with a converted wide receiver (Cordarrelle Patterson), a fifth-round pick (Tyler Allgeier), an undrafted free agent (Caleb Huntley) and a former cornerback (Avery Williams) is even more impressive. If the Falcons are going to continue this the rest of the season, it’ll come with their identity — meaning their run game — intact and continuing to be impressive. Doesn’t hurt, either, that only two Atlanta future opponents have an over-.500 record at the moment. — Michael Rothstein


16Falcons (20): “The first-place Atlanta Falcons. Say it again: The first-place Atlanta Falcons. Amazing.”

Team website

15. Falcons (17): “Sitting atop the NFC South. They’ll have to keep winning to stay there.”

This is the first week the team’s website wasn’t the highest ranking as ESPN joins with a No. 15 ranking. Regardless of the outcome, I love the Falcons in the 16-20 range. What’s most impressive about the Falcons’ overachieving is Arthur Smith, who is doing more than anyone with less, other than maybe Brian Daboll in New York. Atlanta will host the Los Angeles Chargers this week as field goal underdogs, but the stretch of opponents over the next month is incredibly favorable for the Falcons.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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