The Falcons have the NFC’s best record. They’re 8-2, having won eight of nine. In November alone they’ve beaten Tampa Bay, which is 7-3; Baltimore, which is 7-3, and St. Louis, which is 4-6 but was 4-1 at home before the Falcons showed up.
And yet: The ESPN.com home page as of 9:25 a.m. Monday asked two questions. “The NFC’s best team? Why not the Eagles?”
And Peter King of SI.com lists the Falcons No. 5 in his Fine Fifteen, with not one but two NFC teams above them. Asks King of Green Bay, which he ranks No. 1 in the league: “Who’s played better over the past month? Beat the Vikes 28-24, the Jets 9-0, the Cowboys 45-7, the Vikes again 31-3.”
Note to P.K.: Uh, maybe the Falcons? (And aren’t the Vikings and Cowboys, against whom three of those four Packer victories have been achieved, the NFL’s biggest duds? Didn’t one just fire its coach? Isn’t the other about to fire its coach?)
Understand: I’m ordinarily not one who believes The National Media Never Gives Atlanta Teams Any Credit. I don’t think there’s a vast right- or left-wing conspiracy out there to ignore our fair city. (And I would stipulate that Green Bay isn’t exactly the hub of 21st Century journalism.) That said …
The Falcons are playing pretty darn well. They’ve beaten the Saints (No. 6 according to King), the Ravens (No. 7) and the Bucs (No. 12.). They’ve lost only to the Eagles (No. 3) and the Steelers (No. 8), both of those coming on the road.
Side-by-side comparison: The Packers have beaten two teams that hold winning records; the Falcons have beaten three.
Further comparison: The Eagles have beaten four teams that hold winning records, the Falcons among them. And Philly beat the Falcons soundly using its backup quarterback. You can make the case, I submit, that the Eagles might — I said might — deserve to be placed ahead of Atlanta, but I don’t see a reason to elevate Green Bay above a team with a better record.
What’s that ? You say the Packers will play here this Sunday? How intriguing. And how convenient.
Guess we’ll do this the old-fashioned way. (Or, for you college fans, the non-BCS way.) Guess we’ll settle this on the field.