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NFL power rankings: Falcons get middling marks before season opener against Eagles

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As anticipated, the Falcons will have to earn widespread respect.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

SB Nation's 32 NFL editors got together and ranked every team in the NFL for this week's edition of NFL power rankings, and they were...not incredibly kind to the Falcons.

Ultimately, the editors' average was #21, behind the Saints (#17), Panthers (#20), and ahead of the Buccaneers (a brutal, possibly unfair #31). Nobody in the NFC South is expected to be stellar, in other words, and the Falcons have some work to do in order to convince pundits that they're for real. For what it's worth, I ranked them top 15, because I'm unrepentant homer.

The group of teams from Nos. 15 to 25 all feel like they could go either way this year. The Chargers, Dolphins, Saints, Panthers and Falcons all have established or up-and-coming quarterbacks, but questions of balance and depth remain.

This is a fair perspective, by the way. It's impossible for us to look at this team, which was putrid last year and still nearly won eight games, without thinking the team has improved. The rest of the NFL landscape sees an improved team, maybe, but one that was awful a year ago and needs time to rebuild. We'll wind up seeing whether the optimistic or more nuanced view winds up being the correct one in 2015.