Power Poll: Why the Atlanta Falcons are No. 4


Atlanta Falcons fans haven't been happy with me the last few weeks because I haven't ranked them No. 1 in ATL's entry of the Power Poll.

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Yes, they are the only undefeated team in the NFL. But the Power Poll is not supposed to be a list of the standings. It's a list of who you think is the best team in the league at the current moment. I still have them fourth. I like the San Francisco 49ers first and no one seems to agree.

The case against Atlanta: Teams like the Oakland Raiders and Carolina Panthers outplayed them in the Georgia Dome. Atlanta deserves a lot of credit for finding a way to win those games, but to ignore that luck is a huge factor in close NFL games is to ignore reality. Five of the Falcons' wins have been by one score. They have only played one team all season that currently has a winning record: the Denver Broncos.

The Falcons are very solid on both sides of the ball. That's why they are in the top five. Top five is good. But they are lucky to be 8-0, and I don't think they are particularly better than the top-shelf of teams, including the 49ers, Houston Texans, New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and New York Giants. This is a debate we could be having for a while because Atlanta has a great chance to win the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

After all, they play only one team with a winning record (New York Giants) the rest of the season.

The rest of ATL's Power Poll is below. You can look at the complete Power Poll or check out all 13 analysts picks right here. I'm stunned to learn I'm the only writer who doesn't have the Falcons first. On a neutral field, I strongly doubt everyone would really pick them over the other 31 teams.

1. San Francisco 49ers
2. Houston Texans
3. New England Patriots
4. Atlanta Falcons

5. Green Bay Packers
6. New York Giants
7. Chicago Bears
8. Denver Broncos
9. Seattle Seahawks
10. Pittsburgh Steelers
11. Baltimore Ravens
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
13. Detroit Lions
14. Miami Dolphins
15. New Orleans Saints
16. Indianapolis Colts
17. Minnesota Vikings
18. Dallas Cowboys
19. Philadelphia Eagles
20. New York Jets
21. Washington Redskins
22. San Diego Chargers
23. Carolina Panthers
24. Cincinnati Bengals
25. Arizona Cardinals
26. St. Louis Rams
27. Cleveland Browns
28. Buffalo Bills
29. Oakland Raiders
30. Tennessee Titans
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
32. Kansas City Chiefs

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.