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Explaining a certain power ranking

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
First, a pre-emptive word about my highly controversial decision to slot Atlanta at No. 5 in ESPN.com's weekly power rankings -- 10 spots higher than their final destination.

Yes, it's true: I had the Falcons ranked No. 32 when the season began. But I covered their 22-20 victory Sunday over Chicago and saw a good bit of their Oct. 5 win over Green Bay. To my amateur eye, they're a well-rounded team that doesn't have an obvious attack point.

Quarterback Matt Ryan is pretty polished for a rookie. Ryan has some scary weapons and a creative play caller in offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey. Defensively, the Falcons won an interior slugfest with the Bears' offensive line. And you always have a chance to win a close game with Jason Elam as your kicker.

No. 5 is pretty high, especially compared to the votes of my colleagues, but to me there's something interesting going on in Atlanta.

Meanwhile, here's a look at where the NFC North stands: