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Atlanta Falcons Bottom Out on ESPN’s NFL Power Rankings

The Atlanta Falcons once again find themselves at the bottom of ESPN’s NFL Power Rankings following their 31-27 loss to the defending Super Bowl Champions Los Angeles Rams. 

Coming into this game, ESPN had the Falcons ranked as the 29th best team in the NFL. The Falcons played a solid enough game against the Saints that even after a loss they still rose in the rankings. But, this week ESPN didn’t use this same logic. Are they anticipating it to get worse? 

The Falcons through the first three quarters of football looked absolutely atrocious. The defense couldn’t get a stop to save their lives, and the offense couldn’t get anything going. After going down 28-3, a score Falcons fans will always remember, the Falcons outscored the Rams 24-3. 

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Everything began to click; the defense began to get consistent stops, the offense came alive and began to put up points, and even the special teams unit made plays including a blocked punt by rookie Troy Andersen that was returned for a touchdown.

However, it seems as if ESPN turned the game off and didn’t watch the 4th quarter as they dropped the Falcons three spots in their latest rankings. Last week, the Falcons played a near perfect first three quarters but fell apart in the 4th, but still rose in the power rankings. And this week the Falcons play terribly in the first three quarters but have a near perfect 4th quarter and they fall in the rankings. 

ESPN’s Michael Rothstein criticized Falcons play calling for not getting Kyle Pitts involved enough in the offense, “he [Kyle Pitts] has increased his ability as blocker and has become a constant distraction for opposing defenses, but catch production is still catch production.”

ESPN also criticized the Falcons for the amount of mistakes that were made, “The Falcons were able to move the ball in the first half, but were done in by mistakes.”

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An interesting part of the latest rankings is the rise of a few teams. The New Orleans Saints, despite coming off a 20-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, rose one spot to the number 12 ranked team. This doesn’t make much sense as through two weeks of football, the Saints barely scraped out a win over the Falcons, yet leaped seven spots for beating lowly Atlanta.

They put on a poor performance against the Bucs and lose by double digits, and rise? The Saints haven’t shown us much to say they are a top 12 team in the NFL. 

Another interesting riser was the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams, through the first three quarters, looked like a team that had just won a Superbowl, clicking on both sides of the ball. But they began to fall apart against the number 29th ranked team Falcons and almost blew a 28-3 third quarter lead

They suffered an embarrassing 31-10 loss to the Bills in Week 1. Throughout the first two weeks, the Rams have looked very beatable. However, in ESPN’s latest rankings they have the Rams as the 4th best team in football. 

It’s as though ESPN is force feeding their rankings to fit a pre-existing narrative. 

This upcoming week, the Falcons will travel to Lumen Field to take on the No. 27 Seattle Seahawks at 4:25 p.m. EST. 

The Falcons, coming off an 0-2 start, feel due for a win. But, Seattle is a very hostile environment and should make for a very interesting matchup between two of the NFL’s lowest ranked teams.

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