NFC South: 2012 Week 16 NFL power rankings

NFL Power Rankings: Falcons stay put

December, 18, 2012
12/18/12
12:30
PM ET
The Atlanta Falcons are coming off their most impressive win of the season and they remain tied for the league’s best record. But that’s not enough for them to make a move in the latest edition of the ESPN.com Power Rankings.

The Falcons stayed at No. 5 for the second consecutive week with only John Clayton showing them much respect. Clayton had the Falcons at No. 1 on his ballot. He also had the Falcons at No. 1 last week, even before the 34-0 victory against the Giants. I talked to Clayton about his vote last week and he said he put the Falcons there because he thought their record should count for something. I talked to Clayton on Monday and he felt some vindication about his vote.

But the rest of the panelists placed the Falcons at No. 5 or No. 6, which I think is at least a couple spots too low.

The New Orleans Saints also recorded a shutout Sunday (41-0 against Tampa Bay) and they jumped four spots to No. 18. The Saints are the highest-ranked of the 6-8 teams, so I think it’s fair to say they’re the best 6-8 team in football.

Despite their horrendous performance, the Bucs fell only two spots to No. 20. The Carolina Panthers, who had a big win against San Diego, climbed three spots to No. 23. At this point, I think you could at least make a case the Panthers are better than the Bucs based on how both teams have played recently.

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