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NFL power rankings: national media is still confident in the Atlanta Falcons

Fact: Robert Alford can punt a spaghetti squash 40+ yards

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Atlanta Falcons v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Today is a bad day to be an Atlanta Falcons fan. We now know the Falcons defense will be without Deion Jones when they take on the Carolina Panthers this weekend. And while Jones might be able to play later in the season, he will be on IR until at least week 9. Meanwhile the Falcons just promoted Brian Hill from the practice squad, which doesn’t engender positive thoughts about Devonta Freeman’s status. So given all that, power rankings are probably the last thing you’re worrying about right now. But it’s Tuesday, so let’s break ‘em down!

ESPN: 10th (down one spot)

Falcons first-round pick WR Calvin Ridley went catchless in his debut, getting only two targets on 37 routes run. Only Mohamed Sanu (40) and Julio Jones (43) had more routes run on Thursday.

USA Today: 6th (down three spots)

Still essentially remain one play inferior to Philadelphia, so matters could be worse. But Atlanta’s uneven offense needs more diversity.

Sports Illustrated: 8th (same)

CBS Sports: 11th (down four spots)

It’s hard to win on the road in the NFL, so don’t overreact to the Week One loss to the Eagles. This team will be a playoff team. 7th (up one spot)

Falcons move up despite the season-opening loss due to ugly performances from the Saints and Steelers. Not to mention, these guys had a real challenge Thursday night. You try going into the home of the world champs, having your best running back limping on the sideline, losing your defensive enforcer for the season and going against a crowd ready to douse its Pabst Blue Ribbon on your head.

There’s one key takeaway here: the national media isn’t as worried about the Falcons as their fans are. These rankings obviously precede the news about Debo’s trip to IR and Hill’s promotion. And if the Falcons can’t get their act together on Sunday, I’d expect them to free fall in next week’s rankings.

As always, we take these “rankings” with a grain of salt, inasmuch as this isn’t college football and they don’t actually matter. (In other words, save yourself the time and effort involved in typing out “who cares?!” or “these mean nothing!!”)