NFL Power Rankings: What Super Bowl hangover? Falcons firing on all cylinders
The Falcons look like a team capable of repeating as NFC champions and returning to the Super Bowl
We're just two games into the NFL season, but it seems like the Atlanta Falcons have found the remedy for the Super Bowl hangover.
It's called having a damn good team.
Since they blew the 25-point lead to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl last February, all we've heard about was how they would have problems responding to that loss.
As a team, they did a lot of things to overcome it, including training with Navy Seals, having head coach Dan Quinn reach out to a lot of coaches in other sports who had those types of losses, and having their MVP quarterback go into a funk for two weeks before snapping out of it.
It all seems to have worked.
The Falcons blew out the injury-plagued Green Bay Packers Sunday night to stake a claim as the best team in the NFC, and right now the top team in my Power Rankings.
I thought all summer that the Falcons would have no issues bouncing back from the loss in large part because I thought their team would be much improved on defense. The offense can still be a points machine, which we saw glimpses of Sunday night, but it's that defense that will make this team better -- and a real threat to get back to the Super Bowl.
Against the Packers, the Falcons had three sacks and two takeaways, returning one for a touchdown, while showing off their defensive strength. Corner Desmond Trufant, who didn't play in the playoffs last season after being lost with a shoulder injury, got the touchdown on a fumble recovery and also had an interception of Aaron Rodgers.
The rest of the defense is playing much faster, mainly because they are a year older. This was a defense that started four rookies in the Super Bowl.
So about that Super Bowl hangover, you can forget about it. Being good, which the Falcons are again, is a cure for it.
|1||Falcons||They still haven't quite clicked on offense yet, but it's coming. When it does, watch out.||1||7-9-0|
|2||Steelers||Here's another team that hasn't been as good as expected on offense. Maybe Le'Veon Bell missing the preseason matters now.||1||9-6-1|
|3||Chiefs||This team is for real, which I didn't expect. They have two victories over two good teams. Watch out in Los Angeles this week.||1||12-4-0|
|4||Patriots||That team we saw in New Orleans is the one we expected to see all season. The defense made big strides.||1||11-5-0|
|5||Packers||The injuries are really starting to pile up. It would be nice to see this team at full strength.||4||6-9-1|
|6||Raiders||That offense is going to put up a ton of points. It must be nice to have one of the league's best offensive lines.||1||4-12-0|
|7||Broncos||If Trevor Siemian keeps it going, they will be a deep playoff team. But now they have to play their first road game at Buffalo.||5||6-10-0|
|8||Buccaneers||The defense was impressive against the Bears, which could make this team even better than expected.||2||5-11-0|
|9||Seahawks||Where is the offense? It can't do much without an offensive line. Chris Carson did give them some hope in the fourth quarter running the football.||1||10-6-0|
|10||Lions||Winning on the road against the Giants Monday night is a good sign. That defense is much improved over a year ago.||1||6-10-0|
|11||Dolphins||That was a big-time win on the road after dealing with a lot of issues the past few weeks. Jay Cutler did some good things in that victory.||--||7-9-0|
|12||Cowboys||The loafing in the blowout loss to the Broncos was not a good look. Neither was Jason Garrett putting the offensive issues on Dak Prescott.||6||10-6-0|
|13||Panthers||The defense is off to a fast start, but Cam Newton hasn't looked himself throwing it. Maybe that shoulder is still an issue.||2||7-9-0|
|14||Ravens||The defense is playing great football, and taking it away. They haven't played good offenses yet, and won't this week against Jacksonville.||2||10-6-0|
|15||Eagles||The defense has impressed in the first two weeks. The front four is nasty.||2||9-7-0|
|16||Vikings||I didn't think they would win at Pittsburgh with a healthy Sam Bradford, but now his knee might be an issue going forward. That's not good.||2||8-7-1|
|17||Cardinals||They haven't looked good the first two weeks, but now come home for a big one against Dallas. They had five offensive starters out last week against the Colts.||2||3-13-0|
|18||Titans||The Titans were staring 0-2 in the face, but had a big second half against the Jaguars to get back on track. They looked like the team we expected to see before the season.||3||9-7-0|
|19||Redskins||They ran all over the Rams, which is a good sign for the offense. Now they have to amp up the passing game.||6||7-9-0|
|20||Rams||What happened to the defense? Wasn't Aaron Donald back for this one? It wasn't good.||2||13-3-0|
|21||Chargers||The same old song: Losing close games. When does it end?||1||12-4-0|
|22||Giants||The offensive line is killing this team. They have a survival game this week at Philadelphia.||5||5-11-0|
|23||Jaguars||The offense is pedestrian, which is why the defense will be stressed all season long. They have to be able to throw it better.||1||5-11-0|
|24||Texans||Deshaun Watson did some good things with his legs against the Bengals, but he has to be better throwing it.||1||11-5-0|
|25||Bills||Their offense has to improve. They didn't do anything against the Panthers. LeSean McCoy needs more touches than what he got against Carolina.||2||6-10-0|
|26||Saints||The defense is the same as always: Horrible. Do they cover anybody?||--||13-3-0|
|27||Bengals||It's now eight quarters being shutout. Do they really think a change in coordinators will matter? The line stinks.||3||6-10-0|
|28||Browns||DeShone Kizer will have growing pains like he did against the Ravens. It happens to rookie passers. This is a learning year.||--||7-8-1|
|29||Bears||Why don't they just play Mitchell Trubisky? It's clear they aren't going anywhere.||--||12-4-0|
|30||Colts||They competed against the Cardinals, which is an improvement. Andrew Luck is sorely missed.||--||10-6-0|
|31||49ers||They ran the ball well against Seattle, so they have that to build on. The passing game has to be better.||--||4-12-0|
|32||Jets||They make so many mistakes. It's going to be a long, long season.||--||4-12-0|
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