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Week 1 Result: Lost 23-17 at New Orleans
Last Week: 3
Move: Down 5
I understand that a five-spot drop seems a little harsh for a team that played well and lost to a good team on the road. But I had to reward Houston, Seattle and New England for winning tough games, as well as the 49ers and Packers, both of whom I thought looked like top-five teams, regardless of the outcome of that game.
And of course, I had to move New Orleans up because I picked them to win, they did win, and I would pick them to win again if these teams played tomorrow.
So the Falcons get the short end of the stick with the No. 8 spot, but they still make the cut for the elite tier of NFL teams.
First, the good: Matt Ryan was 25-of-38 with 304 yards and two touchdowns. He was credited with an interception, but it came on a fourth down at the end of the game, so it doesn't really count. He spread the ball around well and dealt with a lot of pressure, not to mention an uninspired effort from the ground game.
The only question is, why couldn't they punch it in at the end? I feel like I have seen that game-winning drive from "Matty Ice" so many times, yet he falls short against the Saints D? Does that mean the Saints defense might be for real? We'll get to that.
Now, the bad: Steven Jackson. I don't care what the stats say, he didn't look good to me. The box score says he ran 11 times for 77 yards, which is a fantastic yards-per-carry average. However, he broke one run for 50 yards (I'm still not quite sure how, seeing as he was running in slow motion). So if you take that one away, he ran 10 times for 27 yards. That's not such a great average.
Lastly, the average: Atlanta's defense. Drew Brees is good for 300 yards a game, so I wouldn't worry about his 357-yard performance. Atlanta limited New Orleans to just two touchdowns and held on three drives to force field-goal attempts. The Falcons even picked Brees off once.
I mean, what are you going to do? If you had told me the Saints would score just 23 points, I would have told you the Falcons would win.
Atlanta is going to be fine; it is still a 10-win team. But the offense may have taken just a tiny step back.