Atlanta Falcons Desmond Ridder and Bijan Robinson celebrate win over New Orleans Saints - Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
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NFL.com Not Sold on Atlanta Falcons, Week 13 Power Rankings

The Atlanta Falcons ended three-game skid on Sunday with a 24-15 win over the New Orleans Saints. In doing so, they took over first place in a watered-down NFC South and vaulted into a playoff spot.

NFL.com released its Week 13 Power rankings, and they’re not sold on the Falcons. Atlanta moves up four spots to No. 19, but remain behind the Saints who check in at No. 17.

“The Falcons have yo-yoed from the teens to the mid-20s in the Power Rankings all season — win or loss, back and forth — and there’s a reason for that,” wrote Eric Edholm on NFL.com. “Sunday’s victory marked a tick up in the right direction, as the team took an important step toward winning the NFC South. But two red-zone turnovers by the Saints — both tremendous plays by Jessie Bates III — were required for Atlanta to survive the game, even though the Falcons won by two scores.

“The run game has been the backbone of Atlanta’s offense all season, as it was Sunday, with even Cordarrelle Patterson getting in on the action. Desmond Ridder had two rough interceptions, but rallied for two late scoring drives. It’s the same formula we’ve seen time and time again. Will it be enough for the Falcons to take the division?”

It’s tough to blame Edholm for not buying what the Falcons are selling. They’re sitting at 5-6 and have losses against team currently picking No. 2 (Arizona), No. 5 (Washington), and No. 10 (Tennessee) if the NFL Draft started today.

The combined record of those three teams is 10-25. The Falcons take on the New York Jets on Sunday. The Jets are in the midst of a league-worst four-game-losing streak (Panthers and Patriots have also lost four straight).

The Jets are on their third quarterback of the season. However, Josh Dobbs was the Vikings’ third quarterback, and the Vikings left Atlanta with a W.

The Falcons can even their record with a win over the 4-7 Jets. Then they face the 4-7 Buccaneers and the 1-10 Panthers in Carolina.

3-0 in that stretch is the absolute minimum expected of head coach Arthur Smith and his Atlanta Falcons.

Those wins and 8-6 record might not help the Atlanta Falcons in the Power Rankings. However, they’ll go a long way to solidifying the Falcons’ spot atop the NFC South.

Scott Kennedy
Scott Kennedy is an Atlanta native and 20 year media veteran including time as Director of Scouting at Scout.com, Managing Editor at 247Sports, VP Content Operations at Sports Illustrated and more. Scott has appeared as a recruiting and NFL Draft analyst on dozens of media including ESPN, NFL Network, USA Today, NY Times, and more.
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