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NFL power rankings, Week 5: Here comes the autumn of descent for the Falcons

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The Falcons were preseason darlings, but the last couple of weeks have sent them plummeting.

Dallas Cowboys v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

I’m not going to round up a bunch of different power rankings this week, chiefly because there’s no outrageous drop or amazing rise that’s worth discussing. The Falcons are going to be pretty properly rated by most outlets this week, as they marvel at the offense and cringe at the defense and wonder aloud whether a preseason Super Bowl favorite can get back on track before it’s too late.

They’re currently 18th in the NFL, ahead of the Bucs (who are catastrophically imploding, as they do) and many of the NFL’s lesser lights. They might have moved them down further, but the Falcons aren’t making it easy on them with their gifted offense and penchant for keeping things close before falling apart.

Here’s NFL.com, which has them at #18:

Falcons supporters aren’t going to like this low ranking, especially with the painful way the team has lost three games this season. The problem is that Dan Quinn doesn’t possess the personnel he needs on the back end. On that note, what was CB Isaiah Oliver thinking on the A.J. Green touchdown? The guess is that he was concerned about the running back leaking out of the backfield. Yet, Mark Walton was 10 yards from paydirt. Oliver must get depth in that situation, forcing Andy Dalton to attack the tightest of windows between the corner and the safety. If Dalton did dump it to Walton, Oliver (or whoever else) would have had plenty of time to make the tackle. With under 10 seconds remaining, the clock could’ve struck midnight on the Bengals, too. Ugh.

So there’s your representative power ranking for the week. It matters little, because this team is still a work in progress, but remember that this team is currently teetering between a possible bottom ten finish and a highly improbable top ten one at the moment. With 12 games left, the roads are open, and the power rankings are not yet hardened concrete. They just need to play a hell of a lot better to justify the early faith in their abilities, which is of course easier said than done.