NFL Power Rankings: Falcons No. 2

The latest edition of the ESPN.com Power Rankings is out and the Atlanta Falcons have moved up to No. 2.

The Falcons are behind only the Houston Texans, who were the almost unanimous choice at No. 1. Only AFC North colleague Jamison Hensley, a very smart man, put the Falcons at No. 1. Atlanta was No. 3 last week, but No. 1 San Francisco lost, clearing the way for the Falcons and Texans to move up.

Baltimore and San Francisco, each with one loss, are third and fourth. Like Houston and Atlanta, Arizona also is undefeated, but it looks as if voters aren’t certain on the Cardinals yet and have them ranked No. 5.

There’s a long drop from the Falcons to the rest of the NFC South teams. Next in line are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 20. I guess close counts for something because the 1-2 Bucs actually climbed a spot after Sunday’s loss to Dallas.

The Carolina Panthers are No. 23. They were No. 19 last week, but tumbled after an embarrassing loss to the New York Giants on Thursday night. I would have dropped them even a couple more spots after that fiasco.

Finally, the winless New Orleans Saints are No. 28, down four spots from last week. This is my fifth season covering the NFC South and I can’t remember the Saints ever having such a low ranking. Sad part is, it might be even lower next week, after Sunday’s trip to Lambeau Field, where I’m sure the Packers will be looking to work out some frustration after Monday night’s controversial loss to Seattle.