Checking NFC South Power Rankings

The New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons are the two best teams in the NFC, but that doesn’t mean they’re among the top five teams in the NFL. That’s according to the latest ESPN.com Power Rankings.

The voters have the Saints at No. 6, one spot ahead of the Falcons. The two NFC South squads are behind five AFC teams. I can’t really argue with that because the AFC clearly has been stronger this year. In fact, Philadelphia (No. 10) is the only other NFC team in the top 10.

Are the Saints and Falcons really the two best teams in the NFC? Atlanta’s coming off a loss to Philadelphia in which the Falcons were totally outplayed. The Saints have been playing ugly most of the season, but they finally put together a complete game against Tampa Bay on Sunday. I don’t think you can say either team is ready to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

But I look around the rest of the NFC and don’t see too many other teams that are viable candidates. It’s a long season and lots of things can happen, but I think whichever team wins the NFC South is going to be in very good shape. The teams in the NFC East and NFC North are going to beat each other up, and the NFC West will have a team in the postseason only because that’s required.

Heck, although Tampa Bay is coming off a loss, the No. 19 Bucs are only one spot behind Arizona, the top-ranked team in the NFC West.

Finally, the winless Carolina Panthers are No. 31 and the only reason they’re not No. 32 is because the Buffalo Bills have been even worse.