Atlanta Falcons rise to top 10 in latest ESPN power rankings


The Atlanta Falcons were dominant in a lopsided victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday evening, and as a result, it appears as if the national media has begun to buy in to the team’s long-term potential. In their last NFL power rankings, ESPN places the Falcons as the 9th-ranked team in the NFL, and after a dip following Atlanta’s loss to Cincinnati during the previous week, this ranking represents an eight-spot jump.

"Julio Jones on Thursday caught a career-high five passes thrown at least 15 yards downfield, for 120 yards, most such receptions in a game by any receiver this season."

The above blurb was the cited statistic from ESPN to go along with their rankings, and it is no secret that the duo of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones is a huge reason for Atlanta’s success during the 2014 campaign. At the moment, Ryan ranks second behind only Nick Foles in passing yards with 965 in three games, and his overall efficiency places him fifth in quarterback rating. Julio Jones has been similarly dominant at the wide receiver spot, leading the NFL in receiving with 365 yards, and posting three touchdowns.

It is, unequivocally, a good thing that Atlanta’s lone loss came to an undefeated team in Cincinnati, but at this point, that defeat also represents the only road contest of the season. The Falcons travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings in Week 4, and while that is a team in unquestioned turmoil, it will be interesting to see how Mike Smith’s team responds away from the Georgia Dome for the second time this season.