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Matt Tabeek's Wildly Important NFL Power Rankings: Streaking Falcons continue to jump; a new No. 1


We've reached the midpoint of the season and if you're still in the postseason hunt, well, that's all that really matters. And while there are some clear-cut division leaders at the moment, all of that can change over the final eight games of the season.

Speaking of leaders, the top five teams in this week's Wildly Important NFL Power Rankings remain the same but … the order has changed. Since Week 4 of these oh-so-important rankings, the Rams have ruled the top spot.


That streak came to a screeching halt on Sunday when the Saints (7-1) handed Los Angeles (8-1) its first loss of the year in the Superdome, 45-35. After being dismantled in Week 1, Drew Brees and the Saints continue to roll. As a result, New Orleans is the new No. 1 here.

Another team on a roll are the Atlanta Falcons, winners of three straight. The Falcons (4-4) knocked off the Redskins (5-3) for a huge road win and will head to Cleveland (2-6-1) next. The Falcons also jump three spots to No. 15 this week. You can check out the rest of my rankings below:

Table inside Article
1 Saints (7-1) Huge statement game, handing the Rams their first loss. Could end up determining the top seed down the road. 2
2 Rams (8-1) It’s tough winning all 16 games and tough winning in the Superdome. Surrendering 45 points is a concern though. 1
3 Patriots (7-2) It was billed as GOAT vs. the GOAT. And the GOAT won. And FWIW, five of their next seven look very winnable, too. 3
4 Chiefs (8-1) They faced the Patriots once already and lost. But it sure looks like they’re on a crash course for a rematch. Mahomes is a machine. 4
5 Chargers (6-2) I keep saying it (and will continue to), no one wants to play the Bolts. I do think they’ll need Joey Bosa back healthy by December. 5
6 Steelers (5-2-1) The Steelers are very good and continue to work out the kinks – and win. And they’re doing it without Le’Veon Bell. Impressive. 6
7 Panthers (6-2) Cam Newton is quietly putting together one of his best seasons with a line that was hit hard with injuries early in the season. 8
8 Texans (6-3) Winners of six straight now. They weren’t all pretty, but who cares – they’re running away with the AFC South. 11
9 Vikings (5-3-1) The NFC North is shaping up to have an amazing finish. Yes, the Vikes are technically behind the Bears in the standings, but not here. 9
10 Bears (5-3) Huge stretch coming up: They face the Lions twice in the next three weeks with the Vikings sandwiched in between. 14
11 Bengals (5-3) BYE WEEK. They can make a huge statement of their own with the Saints coming to town. And they’ll have to do with without A.J. Green, their best player. 12
12 Packers (3-4-1) They’ve fumbled away huge opportunities in their last two games against the Rams and Patriots – and drop two spots. They need a win badly. 10
13 Eagles (4-4) BYE WEEK. The NFC East is wide open and it won’t surprise me at all to see the defending champs winning back-to-back division titles in the end. 16
14 Seahawks (4-4) Go back and look at their schedule and results. They’re a good team. We’ll find out how good when they take on the Rams on Sunday, too. 15
15 Falcons (4-4) They’ve won three straight and have the Browns and Cowboys on deck. There’s a chance they could head into New Orleans with a 6-4 mark. Hello. 18
16 Redskins (5-3) They’re offensive line is in shambles right now (four of five are hurt and two lost for the year), and their strength is running the football. That’s not good. 7
17 Dolphins (5-4) They had dropped four of their last five before squeaking past the Jets for an important division win. 17
18 Titans (4-4) Impressive road win against the predictable Cowboys in prime time. It was an equally important showing for Marcus Mariota, too. 20
19 Ravens (4-5) They limp into their bye week dropping four of their last five. Remember when they were 3-1? 13
20 Jaguars (3-5) BYE WEEK. Up next: Road game vs. Colts. 22
21 Buccaneers (3-5) It was too little too late for the FitzMagic against the Panthers. The good news is that they have three winnable games coming up. 23
22 Cowboys (3-5) So much for the Amari Cooper trade solving their offensive woes. The problems look much deeper in Big D these days. 19
23 Lions (3-5) They traded away their best receiver and, shockingly, they could only muster nine points in a loss to the Vikings. 21
24 Broncos (3-6) They came up short (or wide right) in a home loss to the Texans. You’ve got to wonder how much John Elway can stomach after a while. 25
25 Colts (3-5) BYE WEEK. Up next: Home game vs. the Jaguars. Huge opportunity for them to put a nail in the Jags' coffin. 26
26 Jets (3-6) They’ve got the hapless Bills coming up and a chance to head into their bye week with a win. 24
27 Browns (2-6-1) It’s been a tough season for the Browns, but there are signs of hope. Their defense has forced a league-best 23 turnovers and Baker Mayfield is a fighter. 27
28 49ers (2-7) Speaking of hope, how great was that Nick Mullens performance against the Raiders? One of the feel-good stories of the season. 32
29 Cardinals (2-6) BYE WEEK. Up next: Road game vs. the Chiefs. Good luck. 29
30 Giants (1-7) BYE WEEK. Up next: Road game vs. the 49ers. Remember when this matchup was once must-see TV? 30
31 Bills (2-7) So who will line up under center this week for the Bills? The quarterback situation in Buffalo is abysmal. 28
32 Raiders (1-7) And the fire sale – and losing – continues in Oakland. Defensive end Bruce Irvin is the latest player to part ways with Jon Gruden and the Raiders. 31

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