Atlanta Falcons: NFC Power Rankings, Week 14

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44. . . Previous: . Atlanta Falcons. 8. team

How is Atlanta still in the top half of the NFC even after losing five straight games? It is because they momentarily sit at .500, good enough for eighth place in the mediocre, but competitive NFC. The turnovers on offense happen more often in Atlanta than anywhere else in the NFL. Atlanta’s play in the red zone isn’t great either.

Getting the 12-0 Panthers in Charlotte is a scary thought. Atlanta probably won’t win that game and would need to other teams in the NFC on the outside looking in to start losing at their rapid pace. I hope that the Atlanta Falcons can play .500 ball the rest of the way to at least finish at 8-8 in the first year of the Dan Quinn era in Flowery Branch.

team. 48. . . Previous: . Tampa Bay Buccaners. 7

As much as the Jameis Winston first-down run to set up the go-ahead Mike Evans touchdown pass hurt the Atlanta Falcons’ playoff chances, it was a reminder that Winston is going to become a special player in this league for years to come.

The Buccaneers hold the tiebreaker over the Falcons and are only a game back of Seattle in the NFC Wild Card race at 6-6. Tampa may not make the NFC Playoffs again in 2015, but expect them to stand as the best team to not get in this winter. The pairing of Winston and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter makes me envious.

More from Atlanta Falcons

Previous: . Minnesota Vikings. 6. team. 60. .

After blowing out the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome in Week 12, the Minnesota Vikings were promptly clobbered by the Seattle Seahawks in Week 13. Star running back Adrian Peterson complained about limited touches, but the Vikings were down 21-0 early to the ‘Hawks, so that’s why the running game fell to the wayside.

The Vikings are probably bound for the NFC Playoffs at 8-4. However, they’ll to have quarterback Teddy Bridgewater elevate his play in the final quarter of the regular season and in the Wild Card round to help get the Vikings to the divisional round. I don’t think he’s ready for that yet in only his second season in the NFL.

Previous: . Seattle Seahawks. 5. team. 36. .

The Seattle Seahawks have won three straight to put themselves in the thick of the NFC Wild Card race. They aren’t catching first place Arizona, but could stand as a terrifying fifth seed for the hapless winner of the weak NFC East.

Even without running back Marshawn Lynch or tight end Jimmy Graham, the Seahawks’ offense can now lean on quarterback Russell Wilson, running back Thomas Rawls, and wide receiver Doug Baldwin, all of whom are playing well in recent weeks. If the defense continues to round into form, the Seahawks could make the NFC Championship Game again in 2015.

Next: Tier I: NFC Projected Division Winners