This week's look at the various NFL power rankings shows that the Falcons appear to keep climbing after Sunday's 21-14 win over Chicago. First up, ESPN.com, where the Falcons moved up one spot to No. 7. The comment: "Matt Ryan seems to be hitting his stride for the Falcons, a good thing while the run game finds its way."
That's somewhat curious as Ryan posted his worst quarterback rating of the season with a 68.4 on Sunday, owing to two interceptions. Perhaps the memory of Ryan's strong performance in the previous week's 45-10 win over San Francisco was still fresh.
The Falcons also moved up to No. 7 in FoxSports.com's rankings. The difference, however, is that Fox moved the Falcons up three spots. Comment: "Atlanta's played a relatively tough early slate, and seem to have recovered nicely from their learning experience loss in New England in Week 3 — beating the Niners and Bears in successive weeks."
Let's take a departure from national media for a look at what a regional newspaper is saying. Maybe it's a little NFC South bias, but the New Orleans Times-Picayune is showing the Falcons some love, ranking them at No. 5. (Although it's hard to argue with ranking them ahead of the New York Giants after what the Saints did to the G-men on Sunday.)
In fact, the Times-Picayune rates the Falcons as the best team in the NFL outside of the four unbeatens. The comment: "The Falcons are keeping the Saints within reaching distance." No. 1 in the Times-Picayune poll? The Saints.
And this week's opponent? There also seems to be a consensus there. Fox ranks the Cowboys No. 16, as does the Times-Picayune. ESPN.com is a little less generous to the Cowboys, putting them at No. 19.
Of course, none of that guarantees anything when it comes time for Sunday.