Atlanta Falcons: NFC Power Rankings, Week 15

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Dec 13, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) is sacked by Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Thomas Davis (58) and defensive end Mario Addison (97) in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Previous: . New Orleans Saints. 12. team. 15. .

The New Orleans Saints still have a shot at a .500 record in 2015 by beating division rival Tampa Bay on Sunday to move to 5-8 on the year. Surprisingly, the worst defense in football held Jameis Winston and company to only 17 points on Sunday. New Orleans normally gives up over 30 weekly on defense.

The Saints are an incomplete team, as their defense doesn’t stop most teams. However, they still have Drew Brees playing at a high level and if they can have a great offseason in 2016, then maybe New Orleans can put of their inevitable rebuilding period for at least one more season.

11. team. 57. . . Previous: . Chicago Bears

Field goal kicking has ultimately been what has ruined the Chicago Bears’ 2015 NFL season. Back-to-back weeks the usually reliable Robbie Gould missed two huge kicks, ultimately resulting in Bears’ loses to both the San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Redskins.

Had Gould hit either late game field goal, then we would have the Chicago Bears as a serious Wild Card contender at 7-6 with still a shot to win the NFC North. Instead 5-8 is where they stand and have now fallen back to Earth after their mid-season surge.

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. Previous: . Atlanta Falcons. 10. team. 44.

There isn’t a worse team in the NFL entering Week 15 than your beloved Atlanta Falcons. The only thing bailing Atlanta out in these power rankings was their hot start built on sweeping the NFC East. Atlanta is 0-4 in NFC South play and may face the unthinkable 0-6 mark in the division after going 5-1 in it in 2015.

Effort, personnel, coaching, execution, it’s all been poor at times. I haven’t seen a team swing this badly in a season, arguably ever. The last team I saw play like this was the 2011 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. What do those two teams have in common? Raheem Morris. Coincidence? Ehhh…

Previous: . Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 9. team. 48. .

What 2015 has proven to us about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is that this team can beat teams that it should. That is a great step in the right direction for a franchise that hasn’t made the postseason since 2007.

They have their franchise quarterback in Jameis Winston and six wins in his rookie year is a fantastic start for a team that almost never has a good offense. Tampa Bay is still alive in the NFC Wild Card race, but will likely have to wait until next year to end their NFC Playoff drought.

Next: Tier II: NFC Playoff Contenders