Falcons soar to top of AP Pro32 NFL power rankings

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NEW YORK (AP) - A close call on the field, a clear win in the AP Pro32 NFL power rankings.

The Atlanta Falcons soared to the top of the rankings Tuesday after a 23-20 win over the Oakland Raiders left them as the league’s only unbeaten team.

Atlanta (6-0) received 11 of the 12 first-place votes and 381 points from The Associated Press panel of media members who regularly cover the NFL.

“Good things always bode well for the last undefeated team standing,” Chris Berman of ESPN said after the Falcons won another close game, this time on Matt Bryant’s 55-yard field goal with a second left.

Then again, there’s still a nonbeliever.

“Undefeated, but they don’t pass the eye test for being the best team,” notes Clifton Brown of Sporting News after ranking the Falcons fourth with the New York Giants on top.

The Giants moved up five spots to second with one first-place vote and 364 points after a 26-3 win over San Francisco. The Baltimore Ravens were third with 352 points.

The Houston Texans, who held the top spot for three weeks before their first loss, 42-24 to Green Bay, were fourth, followed by the 49ers.

The Falcons became the fifth team to be ranked No. 1 this season. The others were Green Bay, New England, San Francisco and Houston.

Voters were impressed with the way the Giants came into San Francisco and dominated a team looking to avenge its overtime loss to New York in the NFC championship game last season.

“From an offense/defense/special teams standpoint, New York’s 26-3 win at San Francisco was the most impressive victory posted by any team this season,” said Alex Marvez of Foxsports.com.

Added Berman: “THAT’S why they’re the defending champs.”

Although the Ravens are third, there’s concern about how they will fare with star linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Lardarius Webb out for the season with injuries.

“Talk about a Pyrrhic victory. That Dallas game may have cost the Ravens more than they ever thought possible,” said Clark Judge of CBSSports.com.

On the upswing are Seattle, Denver and Washington.

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