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NFL power rankings Week 9: The Falcons idled and lost no ground, so let’s talk about something else

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You can’t go anywhere in the power rankings if you don’t win or lose, he said thoughtfully.

New York Giants v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Look, I could waste your time by summarizing where the Falcons are in the power rankings after their bye week, but they literally did not do anything that would impact their stock one way or the other. Power rankings are enough of a subjective measurement to begin with, and when Atlanta isn’t even playing, you really don’t care.

Instead, let’s talk about a ranking for this week that more closely maps to what the Falcons have actually done on the field and then we’ll return to snapping up whatever SB Nation and ESPN have in store for our Falcons after this coming Sunday’s game.

The ranking I’m referring to is DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) Football Outsider’s acronym-heavy breakdown of team performance. FO has been pretty good at figuring out where Atlanta belongs over the years, consistently pegging the Falcons from 2010-2012 a little lower than you would have thought warranted based on performance and presumably crowing as they cratered in 2013-2014. In 2018, the Falcons have not been a great football team, and their DOVA (and amusingly, Total DAVE) have reflected that.

Post-Week 7, the Falcons clocked in at 23rd in the NFL overall, which is also around where they’ve hovered in various power rankings. They’re 10th in offense on that sliding scale, held back primarily by two anemic performances against Pennsylvania teams and a so-so ground game, but 31st on defense as one of the worst units in the entire NFL. All of that seems remarkably fair, and it’s a good reminder that Atlanta can keep putting right along on offense but will absolutely not be able to win enough games if they keep playing like the second-worst defense in the league.

My hope, which springs eternal, is that Atlanta will wind up a lot closer to the top ten in DVOA rankings and power rankings alike come the end of December.