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Falcons Rise Up the SBN Power Rankings

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You may have read how just about everyone outside of Atlanta had counted out the Falcons for the 2014 season. Even though it was just #onewin, the Falcons have made a big jump up the SBN power rankings.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Power rankings are great because they allow everyone to overreact way too early to small things. As someone who idiotically occasionally jumps the gun, the official SBN rankings are a great way to talk about how each team looks after just one game.

First, lets take a quick look at where we were last week.

14. Atlanta Falcons

Injuries have already taken a heavy toll, with Sean Weatherspoon and Sam Baker done before the season even begins. Most concerning is that it the Falcons really didn't do anything to improve on the meager 32 sacks they collected last season.

14 did not seem to be a bad spot, plugging the team right in the middle of the pack. While plenty of TV personalities and twitter folk seemed confident the Falcons were the favorite for the 1st overall pick in 2015, SBN had more realistic expectations. Was Matt Ryan a mediocre quarterback that succeeded only because of his playmakers? Could a trained seal put together a better roster than Thomas Dimitroff? Was whatever Jamie Dukes has said going to be true?

Nope, nope and never, respectively.

Realistically, the Falcons needed their defense to hold up together better than their "2013 wet tissue paper" scheme and let the offense do the heavy lifting. Atlanta's meager 32 sacks is not too far off their sack total every year for nearly the last decade, so no big changes there.

Even with Baker out and Jake Matthews hurt, the line was much improved and the Falcons ran a beautiful wide receiver-heavy offense that spread out the Saints defense. The offense was about as good as you could hope for, easily compared to the Packers or the Broncos offense at their peak.

After all that, where are we at now?

8. Atlanta Falcons (14)

The Falcons made a statement in Week 1 that last year's 4-12 finish was a fluke, beating their division rival Saints while jumpstarting their offense. Matt Ryan threw for 448 yards, the run game was effective, and Julio Jones and Roddy White returned with a bang. If Atlanta can shore up its defense, it could return to prominence among the best in the NFL this year.

Wonder no more if you should love SBN. There was no doubt this was a statement game, easily in my top five of the Matt Ryan era, that has popped our team up the rankings just one game after a four-win season.

The Falcons have another tough game on Sunday, traveling to Cincinnati to play SBN's #7th ranked Bengals. If they can outlast Andy Dalton the Bengal defense, expect Atlanta to be considered one of the top teams next Victory Monday.

Thoughts on this power ranking? Power rankings in general? Things Jamie Dukes has said? Tell the comments all about it.