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Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Power Rankings: No. 29 Atlanta Falcons

By Vaughn McClure

A weekly examination of the Falcons' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 4 | Last Week: 26 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

Not to sound repetitive, but 3 seems to be the Atlanta Falcons' unlucky number.

For the third straight week, they've fallen three spots in the ESPN.com Power Rankings, down from No. 26 to No. 29 after a 33-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks -- their third straight defeat. Now, the 2-7 Falcons hope to earn their third victory of the season this Sunday at Tampa Bay.

OK, enough with the play on numbers. What the Falcons have to worry about is playing better against a Buccaneers team they struggled against in Week 7 before pulling out a 31-23 home win. The playoffs shouldn't even be a part of the discussion despite whatever optimism still exists inside the Falcons locker room. The last seven games should be more about building toward next year. And that doesn't necessarily mean playing the young players. Some veterans should be playing with a sense of urgency considering their futures with the team remain uncertain.

Right now, the Falcons deserve to be considered among the league's worst teams. They have failed to find consistency on offense and can't stop anybody on defense. It's pretty telling when the highest ranking in terms of any league statistical category is sacks allowed (fourth), and that number is skewed by Matt Ryan taking shorter drops and releasing the ball quicker.

If the Falcons lose on the road to a team that just won its first game of the season, then they probably deserve to drop three more spots -- to dead last in the Power Rankings, even behind the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars.