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Senior NFL Columnist

NFL Power Rankings: Biggest shocks? Sinking Falcons, Skins and Texans

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The hardest thing to do every year is to pick the NFL teams that were in the playoffs the previous season that won't make it in the coming season.

It's inevitable there will be a handful that won't get back since that's the way of the league these days, but figuring them out is the tough part.

Who had the trio of Atlanta, Washington and Houston missing out this season? Take a look at this batch of Power Rankings. Atlanta is ranked 29th, the Redskins 31st and the Texans, fresh off their loss to the Jaguars, are last at No. 32.

How does that happen?

For Atlanta, it was the injuries as much as anything. They had several key players go down early and then lost Julio Jones for the season in the fourth week. That changed their dynamic on offense. They went from 10 yards away from a Super Bowl to a last-place team.

The Redskins' failures came because quarterback Robert Griffin III wasn't able to come back as expected from a torn ACL. It didn't help that he and coach Mike Shanahan never seemed to be on the same page, and there is clearly friction between the two.

Shanahan is considering benching RG3, which is clearly a way to enrage owner Dan Snyder in an attempt to get fired. This thing has gone bad quickly.

Now what?

And in Houston, coach Gary Kubiak has already been fired and the coaching search has commenced. The Texans have two victories and came from behind in both those games or they could be 0-14.

The Minnesota Vikings are another 2012 playoff team that has no chance this season, but did anybody expect them to be there anyway?

As we head down the stretch, and the playoff field is set, don't beat yourself up if you didn't predict it right.

Atlanta, Washington and Houston are all the proof you need that picking this league is tough to do.

RANK TEAM MOVE (LW)

Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
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