The Atlanta Falcons couldn’t pull off a win on Sunday and now they’re officially on the outside looking in. They’ve got to figure out how to finish with a better record than of a couple similarly situated teams: the Carolina Panthers and the Seattle Seahawks. That’s definitely possible. Meanwhile, the pundits seem to feel like a loss to the Minnesota Vikings is nothing to be ashamed about. Not a ton of movement in this week’s power rankings. Let’s break ‘em down.
Vic Beasley accounted for 46 percent of the Falcons' sacks last season, so they got him a little help in the draft. First-round pick Takkarist McKinley has 5.0 sacks, the second-most on the team -- even more than Beasley (4.0).
Not much of a drop for the Falcons, despite the home loss. That was a Super Bowl contender that upended Atlanta on Sunday -- and the Falcons had a chance in the fourth quarter, but they couldn't finish.
That was a crushing loss for the Falcons, especially when paired with the Seahawks’ big win over the Eagles. Now the Falcons trail the Panthers and Seahawks by a game in the wild-card race, and teams like the Packers and Cowboys won last week to pull within a game of Atlanta. The Falcons are now in a brutal fight for a playoff spot, and they have a rough remaining schedule.
Julio Jones and the Falcons shredded the Bucs in Week 12, but in Week 13, they couldn’t do much of anything vs. the stout Vikings defense. Thursday’s showdown with the Saints is an enormous one for 7-5 Atlanta.
The Falcons have hung tough and are having a pretty good season. But pretty good is not quite good enough in the NFC. The Falcons were exposed Sunday by an excellent Vikings team. Julio Jones disappeared from the offense and no one else stepped forward to be a difference-maker.