I guess the only real surprise is that the Saints didn’t drop more. Voters Paul Kuharsky and James Walker each put the Saints at No. 8. I’d side more with them than I would with Ashley Fox and Mike Sando, who each put the Saints at No. 6. My theory is that if you lose to a winless team, you should drop at least five spots.
The Atlanta Falcons had a bye Sunday, but they still climbed two spots to No. 12. Sando and Walker each voted the Falcons at No. 10. Are the Falcons a top-10 team? It would be hard to say that because they’ve played only one real solid game all season -- a victory against Detroit the week before the bye. But the Falcons are 4-3 and on a two-game winning streak as they get ready for a game with Indianapolis. You could go ahead and pencil in a win for Atlanta against a winless team, but the Saints’ loss to St. Louis showed that’s not a good idea.
The other two NFC South teams dropped slightly. Tampa Bay, which had a bye Sunday, dropped two spots to No. 19. I guess the voters are still thinking of that loss to Chicago in London before the bye.
The Panthers dropped two spots to No. 25. Carolina got pretty generous treatment in the rankings early on because the Panthers were losing some close games to good teams. But they lost a close game to a bad team (Minnesota) on Sunday, so they deserved to fall.