NFC South: 2013 NFL Week 2 Power Rankings

Power Rankings: No. 8 New Orleans Saints

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
12:30
PM ET
A weekly examination of the Saints’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 14 | Last Week: 13 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The New Orleans Saints jumped up five spots after their impressive opening win against the Atlanta Falcons.

But I’m not sure that putting the Saints at No. 8 even does full justice. The Falcons still are ranked No. 4.

Shouldn’t the Saints be ranked ahead of the Falcons after beating them? John Clayton and Kevin Seifert were the only members of the voting panel to put the Saints ahead of the Falcons, and I tend to agree with them.

Yeah, I still want to see how the New Orleans defense holds up over the long term. But I think you have to give the Saints more props than they got for beating the team that was No. 2 in last week’s rankings.

Power Rankings: No. 28 Buccaneers

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
12:30
PM ET
A weekly examination of the Buccaneers' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 19 | Last Week: 22 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

After watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hand a victory to the New York Jets in the season opener, I’m not so sure the voters are doing justice to the Buccaneers. No. 28 seems a little kind to me.

I think John Clayton was the only voter who placed the Bucs precisely where they belong at the moment. Clayton had the Bucs at No. 30, ahead of only the Oakland Raiders and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Raiders and Jaguars widely were expected to be the worst teams in the league. A lot of people saw the Bucs as a middle-of-the-pack team, maybe even a team that could sneak into the playoffs.

But the Bucs may be sneaking up on the Raiders and Jaguars if they keep playing like they did against the Jets.

Power Rankings: No. 24 Carolina Panthers

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
12:30
PM ET
A weekly examination of the Panthers’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 23 | Last Week: 23 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

So the Carolina Panthers dropped a spot in the rankings to 24th after losing 12-7 to Seattle (the No. 1 team entering Week 1) in a game they could have won had it not been for a fourth-quarter fumble at the Seahawks' 8-yard line.

Go figure.

Instead of gaining respect for basically playing even with a team picked by many to go to the Super Bowl, the Panthers lost respect. Apparently, so did Seattle, as it fell to No. 2 behind the San Francisco 49ers to set up a one-versus-two showdown this week.

There's no consistency here, though. The Buffalo Bills, Carolina's opponent on Sunday, moved up a spot to 29th with a 23-21 loss to the New England Patriots. And the Patriots moved up a spot to fifth after narrowly beating a team it was supposed to destroy.

So the Bills gained respect, and so did New England.

Go figure.

I guess this means the winner between Carolina and Buffalo is destined to drop a spot.

Or gain a spot.

Go figure.

Power Rankings: No. 4 Atlanta Falcons

September, 10, 2013
9/10/13
12:30
PM ET
A weekly examination of the Falcons’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 4 | Last Week: 2 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The Atlanta Falcons tumbled only two spots after a close loss to New Orleans Saints on the road.

That’s not a great start for a team that I picked to win the Super Bowl. But I also predicted the Falcons would lose to the Saints in the opener. My thinking was based on the crowd at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome being fired up by the return of coach Sean Payton after last season’s suspension.

It was, and the Saints rode the wave of emotion. But it’s not time for the Falcons to panic and it’s not time for voters to drop them out of the top five.

This is still a very good team and the loss in New Orleans was only a minor speed bump. In fact, it might even have served as a wake-up call for the Falcons.

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