- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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We’ve discussed it several times already, but now it’s official. The Atlanta Falcons are the best team in the NFC.
That’s because the ESPN.com Power Rankings say so. Our voters have the red-hot Falcons at No. 4, behind three AFC teams -- the Steelers, Ravens and Jets. I won’t argue on the Steelers and I haven’t seen the Ravens and Jets in person. But I thought there was no doubt the Falcons were the best in the NFC and the voters backed it up.
After a dismal loss to the Cardinals, the Saints tumbled all the way to No. 9. I’ve been having some fun with John Clayton this season because he tends to rank the Saints pretty low. But I think I might call Clayton the voice of reason this week because he’s got the Saints at No. 14. At the moment, at least, that might be more accurate than calling them a top-10 team.
The voters still aren’t sold on the 3-1 Buccaneers. I understand the reluctance, but the Bucs probably should be a little better than No. 16 in my eyes. But if the Bucs knock off the Saints this week, I’m going to call Clayton and lobby him to give Tampa Bay a spot in the top 10.
Finally, there is the sad story of the Carolina Panthers. They are No. 31, according to the voters, although I’ve got to give credit to Mike Sando for putting Carolina at No. 32. I can’t imagine a worse team. Then again, I have seen some video clips of the Buffalo Bills, who have a lock on No. 32. The Bills are bad, but, hey, it means the Panthers still have something to shoot for.