I've hesitated to put the Atlanta Falcons atop these weekly NFL power rankings things. Not to avoid looking like a homer, but because I didn't really believe it. But, as I wrote almost a week ago, I really thought the Green Bay Packers were just about the NFL's best team, and the Falcons just beat them with as little peril as a last-second win can offer. If Green Bay had a running game or Aaron Rodgers hadn't fumbled it would've been a bigger challenge, but for the first time in almost a decade I'm seriously impressed with my team's chances to do postseason damage.
Five very good teams, the Patriots, Steelers, Saints, Ravens, and Jets, all have multiple really, really close calls or outright losses against inferior competition -- the Falcons squeaker win over the 49ers isn't looking all that bad in light of the Steve Johnson drop, is it? I'm not saying the Falcons won't get upset by a bad team here on out, and I'm certainly not saying they won't lose. But to this point they've lost in overtime to the Steelers and had a bad game against the Eagles. No other team's losses can stack up.
Is it time to take the Bears seriously? Dumb question, as they just beat everybody's favorite team, right? They win in hideous fashion, and Calvin Johnson was robbed, but they'd have to collapse to not make the playoffs. Birds fans, it's OK to openly hope they keep it rolling. Please, please, please send Jay Cutler to the Dome in January.
I picked the Chiefs to win the AFC West, but God help the AFC if the Chargers suddenly put it together, as it appears they have. With four straight in the bag and five winnable games down the stretch, the Bolts are about to become the team everybody hopes somebody else knocks out of the playoffs.
As always, this chart gladly demonstrates the effect but-team-7-beat-team-6 should have on eyeballin' rankings at this point in the season.