Conner Orr of Sports Illustrated released his NFL Power Rankings this week, and the Atlanta Falcons are higher than expected after a blowout 32-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
READ MORE: Full NFL Power Rankings from SI
Orr has the Falcons 26th of 32 teams saying:
Atlanta’s Week 1 performance was one of the more stunning developments of the early season. While we did not expect Arthur Smith to have the Falcons as an immediate factor in year one, especially in a division with the Buccaneers and Saints, it would seem beneficial to pair Matt Ryan with the offense he last visited the playoffs with. Alas, the running game was nonexistent, which is often a non-starter for outside zone offenses. Kyle Pitts had a paltry 1.6 yards of average separation per route run. The urgency to rid themselves of Julio Jones is a bit more of a head scratcher now.
That Orr found six teams that looked worse than Atlanta in Week 1 is probably the most surprising part of his rankings.
The Eagles abused Atlanta on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
The Falcons had 124 yards rushing against the Eagles on Sunday which places them 14th in the NFL after one week. Their 4.8 yards per carry looks respectable too, but over 100 of those yards came in the first half. The running game was nonexistent in the second half, and the Falcons were shutout after the break.
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Orr questions getting rid of Julio Jones, but Jones was desperate leave Atlanta after three consecutive losing seasons. The Falcons wouldn't have traded him to the Tennessee Titans if he hadn't requested a move.
Philadelphia finished 18th on Orr's list, which seems a little low considering the lopsided nature of the road win by the Eagles and the Falcons are getting the benefit of being 26th.
At 26 in Orr's rankings, the Falcons finished ahead of Washington, Cincinnati, both New York teams, Houston, and Jacksonville.
Cincinnati beat Chicago 27-24 and Houston beat Jacksonville by more than two touchdowns, while Atlanta lost by nearly four touchdowns... at home... to a team that finished 4-11-1 in 2020.
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If the Falcons don't find improvements on the offensive and defensive line, 26 may be the high-water mark for this team.