NFL Power Rankings: Falcons drop to No. 2

After a four-week run in the top spot, the Atlanta Falcons have fallen to No. 2 in the latest ESPN.com Power Rankings.

The Houston Texans have moved into the No. 1 spot after Atlanta’s 31-27 loss to New Orleans on Sunday. The voters were unanimous in putting the Falcons at No. 2, but I’m not so sure that’s the right move.

Yeah, at 8-1, the Falcons and Texans are tied for the best record in the NFL. But, at least for the moment, I’m not so sure the Falcons are actually better than teams like the Bears, 49ers, Ravens, Packers, Broncos and Patriots. Can the Falcons be the best team in the NFC or in the entire NFL when all is said and done? Yeah, it’s possible, but they have some work to do. Right now, they’re very good, but not great, which is pretty much what they’ve been all season.

I’m more than a little surprised the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stayed put at No. 13 for a second straight week. The Bucs had a nice 34-24 victory against San Diego on Sunday and have been playing good football for the last month or so. I’m looking at the Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks, the two teams immediately ahead of the Bucs, and thinking Tampa Bay might be better than both of them.

The New Orleans Saints made the biggest jump of any team in this week’s rankings. They’re up six spots to No. 16. I’d say that’s about right after they knocked off the No. 1 team.

Finally, there are the Carolina Panthers. They stayed put at No. 29, which only makes me wonder how bad Cleveland, Kansas City and Jacksonville actually are.