Every week, the worldwide leader in sports puts together a panel and votes on the latest “power rankings” for all 32 teams in the NFL. After week 3, however, the news wasn’t great for the Atlanta Falcons.
The last time we checked in with ESPN on these rankings, the Falcons were sitting at #4 after their week 1 loss to the Saints on the road. Obviously, that wasn’t a devastating fall from grace (they were at #2 in preseason), but after this week’s loss to the Dolphins in maddening fashion, the team has plummeted from #6 to #14 and the team was given this caption:
Miami held Matt Ryan to 1-of-9 passing and an interception at least 15 yards downfield in Sunday’s loss. Last year, Atlanta didn’t lose a second game until Week 14.
Yikes. For the purposes of this, I won’t comment on the Matt Ryan negativity (he played well on Sunday), but rather focus on the harsh reality that the team didn’t fall victim to a 2nd loss until very late in the 2012 season. This is arbitrary in the grand scheme, but it does indicate the early-season struggles from Atlanta this year, and with the Patriots on the schedule for Sunday night, things aren’t getting easier.
On the record, I would certainly pick the Falcons over the Colts and Texans on a neutral field (each was ranked higher this week), but unfortunately, it’s tough to quibble with any other ranking. It’s put up or shut up time for Matt Ryan, Mike Smith, and company, and this is a huge week.