Sunday's game was, in a word, "frustrating." At 6-4 and still trying to sort out their identity, a bye week is just what the Atlanta Falcons need. The team will have some much-needed time to reflect, recover, and reenergize as they look to avoid another second half collapse. I'm optimistic but guarded. Meanwhile, it's Tuesday, so there are new power rankings. Huzzah! Let's break them down.
The highlight shows provided everyone with slow-mo of Julio Jones dropping that football on fourth down, but Jones' gaffe (?) did not lose that football game in Philly on Sunday. Like it or not, this is who Atlanta is.
Opponents are completing 68.2 percent of their passes against the Falcons this season, the third-highest completion percentage allowed. That's also the same as QB Matt Ryan's completion percentage this season. Atlanta will undoubtedly work on its pass defense while on bye this week.
They lost a tough road game at Philadelphia, really no shame in that. But they're not going to win many games in which Julio Jones is the only offensive threat. Aside from Taylor Gabriel's 76-yard touchdown, nobody other than Jones had a play longer than 17 yards. Jones had 10 catches for 135 yards, the rest of the offense (other than Gabriel's big play) went for 104 yards on 20 touches.
The Falcons are securely in first place in the NFC South. The division seems to lack a legitimate challenger. But more and more, Atlanta no longer looks like a threat to Dallas and Seattle in the chase for NFC supremacy.
Atlanta's offense consisted of three parts Julio Jones and one part field-goal tries last season. That gross recipe appeared again a season later. I still believe Matt Ryan and Co. are better than Philadelphia, but their touchdown-scoring issues of the past can't become the same ones in the present. There's cause for alarm on defense, too. Atlanta's athletic front parted like the Red Sea for a bigger, stronger Eagles O-line. Then, speedy linebackers tried and failed to arm-tackle Ryan Mathews. That can't happen.
I can't necessarily say that any of these rankings are unfair, though the Washington Post seems to be judging the Falcons a little harshly. The Philadelphia Eagles aren't a bad football team, and the Falcons were bound to have an off game offensively sooner or later. Now they have plenty of time to fix what ails them. Your thoughts?