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Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Falcons still on top in Power Rankings

By Pat Yasinskas

The Atlanta Falcons held onto the No. 1 spot in the ESPN.com Power Rankings for the fourth straight week -- but just barely.

With Paul Kuharsky continuing to refuse to vote for an NFC team at the top and Mike Sando jumping on the New England bandwagon, there actually was a tie at the top between the Falcons and Patriots. It should be noted that John Clayton and James Walker had the Falcons at No. 1.

Anyway, that forced Sando, who does all of the math on the Power Rankings, to pull out the tiebreaker rules and that’s how the Falcons won. It came down to the fourth tiebreaker and the Falcons got the edge because they were ranked higher than the Patriots last week.

We have two NFC South teams in the top five, which is appropriate for the best division in the NFL (in my eyes, anyway). The New Orleans Saints moved up a spot to No. 5. If they were in the AFC, Kuharsky would have voted them second.

Tampa Bay stayed put at No. 13, which seems fair because the Bucs lost a close game to Atlanta. Finally, the Carolina Panthers kept their lock on No. 32.

But I’ll fill you in on a little behind-the-scenes stuff on the voting. Kuharsky, in his wisest vote of the day, initially had the Omaha franchise of the United Football League at No. 32 and the Panthers at No. 33. When told he couldn’t vote for a UFL team, Kuharsky did the only thing he could do and elevated the Panthers to No. 32.