NFL Power Rankings: Why the Atlanta Falcons Are Ranked Too High

Corey FincherContributor IISeptember 26, 2011

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 25:  Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons fakes a handoff against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers September 25, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Despite starting the season 1-2, the Atlanta Falcons are still ranked 11th in the Week 4 NFL Power Rankings. The Falcons don't deserve this power ranking due to inconsistency. 

The Falcons started the season with an embarrassing loss to the Chicago Bears. Atlanta, however, bounced back with a big win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2. Then, the Falcons lost again to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3.

Watching these first three games, it was obvious the Falcons couldn't find a shred of consistency on either side of the ball.

In Week 1, both the offense and defense was weak. On defense, there were gaps in zone coverage that a high school quarterback could throw against. On offense, Atlanta simply looked uncomfortable. The Falcons didn't score a single offensive touchdown the entire game.  

Then, in Week 2, a completely different Falcons team beat the Eagles. Atlanta suddenly had an offense that could produce points and a defense that was able to keep the Eagles from running up the score.

Maybe this had something to do with the Falcons playing at home. We all know that Matt Ryan magically becomes twice as good when he's in the Georgia Dome. Still, this was a much different performance than the sad one the week before.

Finally, in Week 3 the Falcons traveled to Florida to battle the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The same Falcons secondary that had been leaving huge holes in zone coverage was much tighter this week. Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman was forced into check down passes most of the day.

This was a good sign, but still much different than what we had seen so far.

Also, in Week 3 the Falcons offense barely existed in the first half. The offense proved to be much better, however, in the second half. Ryan showed that he still enjoys and can perform in the no-huddle style offense.

Had it not been for a costly and pathetic mistake by the Falcons defense at the end of the game, Ryan would have had a chance at another comeback win.

This mistake came when DT Corey Peters jumped the gun on a Josh Freeman hard count. This penalty gave the Buccaneers a first down and ended the game.

The Falcons have shown nothing but inconsistency this season. The only consistent play has been in the offensive line and that isn't the type of consistent play a team wants.

Ryan has taken a beating every week. The Falcons' O-line couldn't protect Ryan at this point if their lives depended on it.

Until the Falcons can show consistent play, they shouldn't be ranked 11th in the Power Rankings.

At this point, any sign of consistency would be good for Atlanta. For example, seeing the Falcons run the no-huddle offense and produce touchdowns against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 4 would be great.

We all know the Seahawks aren't a very talented team, but running a consistent offense against anyone would be huge for Atlanta.

Also, the Falcons' secondary needs to continue their tighter coverage in Week 4. Pass defense has been an issue for Atlanta the past couple seasons and that has to change before they can be ranked with the top teams.

So far, the Falcon's can't keep these two areas consistent from week to week. One area will perform while the other doesn't and at times the offense or defense looks good for only one half of the game. 

If the Falcons don't find a consistent rhythm, it will continue to be a guessing game with their ranking. This guessing game, caused by this inconsistency, should move Atlanta down in the NFL Power Rankings.