Atlanta Falcons: NFC Power Rankings, Week 6

4 of 5

Oct 11, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) celebrates against Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett (72) in overtime at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati defeated Seattle 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Even at 2-3, I still think the Washington Redskins are a good football team in 2015. That defensive line of theirs is about to become one of the most ferocious in football. No quarterback should feel comfortable in the pocket versus the Redskins. The secondary actually did a great job playing short-handed against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

What it will come down to with Washington is if the running game can stay consistent. That will open up the game more for QB Kirk Cousins. He is improving as a passer, but isn’t reliable enough yet to lead his team to 4th quarter comebacks under center regularly. I think Jay Gruden is turning it around in Year Two. Expect the Redskins to contend in the NFC East and finish around .500 in 2015.

. . Previous: . Minnesota Vikings. 7. team. 60

The Vikings benefit from not playing a game this weekend. Like the St. Louis Rams, I don’t have a strong feel on this team yet. My guess is that they’ve been put on a pedestal a year too early, but will show signs of tenacity this season. Adrian Peterson is still one of the best running backs in football. Can they count on QB Teddy Bridgewater to win close games for them in 2015?

Minnesota hasn’t figured out the quarterback position since moving on from Daunte Culpepper a decade ago. The defense is still young, but malleable for HC Mike Zimmer. Fortunately for the Vikings, they are entering a soft part of their schedule in the next five weeks (Kansas City, @Detroit, @Chicago, St. Louis, @Oakland). Going 4-1 during that stretch should help the Vikings through their brutal Weeks 11-14 (Green Bay, @Atlanta, Seattle, @Arizona).

More from ATL All Day

Previous: . Seattle Seahawks. 6. team. 36. .

A loss to the Carolina Panthers at home on Sunday and the reigning NFC Champions will not stay in Playoff position. I’m doing everything in my power to keep the Seahawks in a contending position, but not being able to win on the road is making that increasingly difficult.

The 12th Man might have to carry the ‘Hawks on Sunday against an undefeated Carolina Panthers team because the team has some serious issues. Russell Wilson has to run an offense with no strong wideouts, a porous offensive line, an All-Pro TE being used as a blocker, and a running game that is toothless without Marshawn Lynch. The Legion of Boom got exploited by Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton on Sunday. Maybe this Seahawks team isn’t playoff bound after all?

Carolina Panthers. 5. team. 87. . . Previous:

The Panthers have had two weeks to prepare for the 12th man in Century Link Field. Cam Newton plays his best football when the moments are the biggest. Carolina has a strong offensive line and a defense that has played well without LB Luke Kuechly and DE Charles Johnson.

Cam may not have the weapons to light up the stats sheet, but the Panthers seem to generate enough offense to win with their terrific defense. The Panthers are 4-0 playing a very soft first four games (@Jacksonville, Houston, New Orleans, @ Tampa Bay). Beating Seattle at Century Link is usually impressive, but that would mean the Seahawks would fall to 2-4. Even with a Week 6 win to move to 5-0, we still may not know if the Carolina Panthers are a great football team.

Next: Tier I: Projected NFC Division Winners