Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer 21d

Falcons remain atop ESPN Power Rankings


Things are lining up for the Atlanta Falcons to start 5-0 before a Super Bowl rematch with New England on Oct. 22.

The Falcons, now 3-0, remained atop this week's ESPN NFL Power Rankings after pulling off a 30-26 win in Detroit. They join the Kansas City Chiefs as the only undefeated teams in the league after three weeks.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Falcons are the sixth Super Bowl loser in the last 35 years to start the next season 3-0.

"We’ll go right back to the process every week to treat it the same," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. "For us, we feel like we’re just getting rolling. It’s just three games into it, and there is a lot of work to be done."

Next up for the Falcons is a home matchup with the 2-1 Buffalo Bills, who sit 15th in the power rankings and just pulled off a surprising, 26-16 win over the Denver Broncos without star running back LeSean McCoy (14 carries, 21 yards) getting going on the ground.

"I think the way they’re built, you can count on their run game being rock solid, and that starts with Shady [McCoy], it goes through Mike Tolbert, and Patrick DiMarco is the lead blocker there," Quinn said. "They’ve got a good offensive line, and their quarterback (Tyrod Taylor) can really run and is athletic. I guess this will be about three weeks in a row that we see a guy that can extend plays and get outside the pocket.

"Defensively, I’ve known [Buffalo coach] Sean McDermott for years. He was a player at William & Mary when I was coaching there, and professionally I’ve followed him through Philly, Carolina, and now at Buffalo. He’s always had a hard-nosed approach. They’ll be really good tacklers, and they’ve got a talented front."

After the Bills, the Falcons have a bye week to rest up and get healthier, with key players such as pass rusher Vic Beasley (hamstring) and free safety Ricardo Allen (concussion protocol) on the mend. Then in Week 6, the Falcons host the Miami Dolphins (1-1), who stand 26th in the power rankings and are fresh off a 20-6 loss to the lowly New York Jets (1-2), ranked 31st.

The Patriots (2-1) are third in the power rankings behind the Falcons and Chiefs after a 36-33 win over the Houston Texans.

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