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NFL power rankings: They like us! They really like us!

Fact: Mohamed Sanu can pat his head and rub his tummy simultaneously

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons are hitting their stride and their timing is impeccable. They may have the NFL’s toughest remaining schedule, but this team has suffered through adversity several times this season. They aren’t easily fazed now and they don’t back down from a challenge. Pundits are finally starting to recognize the Falcons as a real threat, and it shows in this week’s power rankings. Let’s break them down.

ESPN: 9th (same)

Atlanta's specialty this season has been moving the chains. The Falcons have converted 48 percent of third downs, best in the NFL. It also would be the best by the Falcons since the 1999 team -- which made the Super Bowl -- converted 54 percent of third downs. 9th (same)

Who doesn't like it when Mohamed Sanu rares back and launches a moon ball, a la Steve Bartkowski circa 1980? Awesome stuff, man. Julio Jones (253 yards) looked like he might go for three bills a little over a year after doing just that against the Panthers.

CBS Sports: 8th (up one spot)

They are getting the offense going at the right time. They face a big one this week against the Vikings defense.

Bleacher Report: 8th (up one spot)

Watch out for the Atlanta Falcons. They're starting to find their groove, and the offense is playing with confidence. This is finally looking like the team we saw get to the Super Bowl in 2016.

Washington Post: 8th (up one spot)

The Falcons have regrouped with three straight wins. They are clearly the league’s best third-place team, which just might be enough to get them into the playoffs. But their schedule gets difficult down the stretch. Atlanta hosts the Vikings on Sunday, and still must face the Saints twice and the Panthers once.

There’s no doubt now that this is a legitimate top ten team. These outlets just don’t have anything negative to say about them right now. A win on Sunday against the formidable Minnesota Vikings will have the Falcons approaching top five status.

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