The Atlanta Falcons are poised to clinch their first playoff berth since 2012 this weekend. They have the league's best offense and the defense, while banged up, has undoubtedly turned the corner. In short, things are looking up. But alas, it's Tuesday, and y'all know what that means: power rankings! Let's break them down.
Matt Ryan didn't exactly hurt his MVP candidacy Sunday afternoon. No, the Falcons' franchise quarterback did not put up the "Tecmo Super Bowl" numbers that we saw against the Panthers earlier this season. But you don't have to throw for five bills to be a good quarterback. Ryan performed like a top-flight QB against the 49ers, completing 17 of his 23 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns. No turnovers. That's a 144.5 passer rating.
Julio Jones has missed the past two games, but that hasn't stopped the Falcons from scoring 40-plus points in each, and they also scored 45 earlier this season in a game in which he had 16 yards. Moral of the story: Jones is great, but the Falcons have a complete offense capable of scoring big without him. Atlanta heads to Carolina in Week 16.
Washington Post: 8th
The back-to-back 40-point games by the Falcons as the NFL's firing-and-hiring cycle gets under way can't hurt the head coaching chances of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
Yahoo Sports: 6th
The last two weeks, without the great Julio Jones, the Falcons have scored 42 and 41 points. There will be a long line of NFL teams wanting to hire Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan as their next head coach.
SB Nation: 3rd
CBS Sports: 5th
Matt Ryan continues to roll up big numbers as they push to a division title. He might be the MVP.
Bleacher Report: 5th
Atlanta's offense isn't lacking in big-play potential just because Julio Jones is sidelined. Just ask the 49ers secondary. It couldn't cope with receiver after receiver—Taylor Gabriel, then Aldrick Robinson, then Mohamed Sanu. Matt Ryan was judicious in finding them all. Ryan has thrown for 523 yards and five touchdowns in his last two games without Jones. Meanwhile, Vic Beasley added a sack to his rising totals. No one wants to block him in the postseason.
Given how bad the San Francisco 49ers have been this season, I'm not surprised these rankings basically mirror last week's rankings. Your thoughts?