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Falcons Week 6 power rankings: The team reaches a crater last explored in 2014

Don’t expect the Falcons to get the benefit of the doubt the rest of the way.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Falcons were hovering down in the mid-20s, which is where most outlets are putting them at the moment, the year was 2014 and the Falcons were on the cusp of firing Mike Smith. Atlanta’s three game slide has left them looking like one of the most porous teams in the NFL, and it’s little surprise they’re crashing down the ranks, as we said they might a week ago.

Power rankings can be like Pro Bowl votes for the first few weeks of the season: Based on past performance as much as current performance, and giving analyst favorites the benefit of the doubt. The ugliness of the Steelers loss will ensure that the Falcons are done getting that boost for the year unless they start winning, so if you’re a power rankings enthusiast, you may want to shy away from them for a while.

Here’s a sampling, for the morbidly curious. You’ll note that the mothership is right in line with and SB Nation, which is not a sign that the season is going well.

SB Nation: #25

The Falcons also took a plunge after another loss that has them safely at the bottom of the NFC South. Matt Ryan is getting sacked left and right, and the Falcons have almost no chance of making the playoffs.

Atlanta #25

Kept things close until things unraveled late in the third quarter vs. Steelers. Facing a must-win game vs. division rival Bucs next. #24

It’s going to be a long season in Hotlanta. In the wake of a vicious attack by the injury bug, Dan Quinn simply doesn’t have the horses on the defensive side of the ball. Look at this from a baseball standpoint. If you don’t have a shortstop, center fielder or left fielder -- and two of them are All-Stars -- it’s going to be awfully tough to win ballgames. Unless the pitching is spectacular.Matt Ryan was just that against the Saints in Week 3 and the Bengals in Week 4, when he piled up nearly 800 yards passing, eight touchdowns and no picks. You can’t expect a guy to play like 2007 Tom Brady every single week, with the pressure of knowing he must score 35 points to have a chance. Heck, Atlanta needed 45 points against its last three opponents.