Atlanta Falcons: NFC Power Rankings, Week 16

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In a city that has Bryce Harper, Alexander Ovechkin, and John Wall, there isn’t a more beloved player at the moment in Washington professional sports than Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins has given Washington consistency at quarterback they haven’t had in years and the Redskins are the favorites to win the NFC East.

What sets Washington apart from New York and Philadelphia this year is that the Redskins don’t get too high or low. This team has a steadiness to it that could allow it to win in the Wild Card round at home. Washington is 6-2 at FedEx Field this season and has two more big division games left on the slate (@Philadelphia, @Dallas) before it could win its first division championship since 2012.

Green Bay Packers. 3. team. 49. . . Previous:

The Green Bay Packers are 10-4, but aren’t a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Their offensive line is awful in pass protection and teams in the AFC South like the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans do a better job of attacking the field aerially in 2015.

What Green Bay has that other teams in the upper crust of the NFC don’t is that they know how to win in January. While the NFC Playoffs won’t run through the Frozen Tundra, Green Bay could play spoiler against the Panthers or Cardinals should they meet in the Divisional or Championship Round.

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. . Previous: . Arizona Cardinals. 2. team. 32

The Arizona Cardinals will have to play the rest of the season without its superstar defensive back Tyrann Mathieu. The Honey Badger tore his ACL after picking off Sam Bradford on Sunday Night Football with the Cardinals up 23 points.

This is as big of a blow for this team as it was losing quarterback Carson Palmer back in 2014. Arizona are the most complete team in the NFC, but losing a player and team leader like Mathieu could hurt their chances to play for a Super Bowl.

1. team. 87. . . Previous: . Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers have two division games left (@Atlanta, Tampa Bay) with the strong chance of going undefeated this regular season. The Panthers have had some close games, but have done a great job of blowing out teams regularly to make them the favorite to represent the NFC in Super Bowl 50.

Next: Atlanta Falcons waive guard Jon Asamoah

Cam Newton is the NFL MVP in 2015 and this team might go down as the best NFC regular season team since the 2011 Green Bay Packers or the 1998 Minnesota Vikings, both finishing 15-1. However, both the Packers and Vikings didn’t make it to the Super Bowl. Carolina needs to avoid a slip up in the next few weeks to avoid a national embarrassment with an pre-Super Bowl loss.