FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today's Early Bird Report includes the Falcons' spot in ESPN's very early power rankings for 2018 as well as the Lions officially announcing their new head coach.
FALCONS HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
ESPN: Way-too-early 2018 NFL power rankings
An exercise that has become fun to do – not necessarily fun in the sense that it brings joy to those who experience it but more so that a lot of people seem to do it, so it must be fun – is the creation of ridiculously early NFL power rankings. ESPN released their version of these power rankings just after the Eagles claimed their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
These rankings were made with an eye towards the 2018 season, so unlike, say, the final AP Polls in college football, they aren't meant as final power ranking at the end of this past season. Still, the first two teams aren't shocking, but the order is. The Patriots are listed as the top team ahead of the Eagles, despite losing in a Super Bowl against Philadelphia after trailing for the majority of the game.
As for the Falcons, ESPN has them slotted in at No. 7 for next season – sandwiched between the Saints and the Packers. Here's what they have to say about Atlanta:
"The Falcons' offense lost some of its luster in 2017," ESPN writes. "Matt Ryan didn't have a single three-touchdown game, and finished with half as many 30-yard pass plays as he did a season ago. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is slated to return in 2018 and no major pieces on offense are expected to leave, so perhaps a full year of experience under Sarkisian's system will do some good."
Here are more articles for Falcons fans:
- *AJC: *Atlanta takes Super Bowl hand-off from NFL
- The Falcoholic: Seven-round mock draft for the Falcons
BIGGEST NEWS FROM AROUND THE NFL
NFL.com: Patriots DC Matt Patricia named head coach of Lions
Now that the Patriots' season has officially come to an end, New England's former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is free to assume his next job. Patricia was announced as head coach of the Detroit Lions on Monday.
"This position comes with great responsibility, and I will commit every ounce of my energy to this football team, starting today," Patricia said in a statement, according to NFL.com's Edward Lewis. "My family is excited to become part of this wonderful city that displays so much passion for their teams.
"I can't express enough appreciation to the entire New England Patriots franchise, particularly Robert and Jonathan Kraft and their entire family. I will truly cherish these last 14 years as a member of this incredible organization."
Patricia has spent the past six seasons as the Patriots' defensive coordinator, leading a top-10 scoring defense each year and helping to win two Super Bowls in that time.
Here are some more articles from around the league:
- *Boston Globe: *Rob Gronkowski’s home robbed
- ESPN: McShay’s 2018 mock draft 2.0
- The Ringer: The 10 biggest questions heading into the offseason
- CBS Sports: What Eagles should do with Foles in 2018
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