Ryan Early's NFL Power Points:
Falcons soar to No. 1

Updated: December 3, 2002, 1:07 PM ET
By By Ryan Early
Last week's No. 1 ranked team, the Buccaneers, had a strong defensive outing against the Packers and improved their overall rating by 1.5 points. But the Falcons and Eagles had even more impressive outings and both passed the Bucs on the chart. Michael Vick and the Falcons are the league's hottest team, going 6-0-1 in their last seven games. The Eagles proved to the world on Monday night that they can get along just fine no matter who is under center. With Donovan McNabb on the sidelines, Koy Detmer led the Eagles to a strong lead over the 49ers before leaving the game with a dislocated elbow. A.J. Feeley came in and finished the job on a 21-point road win.

This has truly been the year of the backup quarterback. Not only did the Eagles have a big win without their starter, Ray Lucas led the Dolphins to a blowout win over the Chargers, Chad Pennington took his Jets over the Bills, Danny Wuerffel and the Redskins beat the Rams, Matt Hasselbeck and the Seahawks outlasted the Chiefs, Jeff Blake and the Ravens squeaked by the Titans, and Chad Hutchinson got his first win of the season taking his Cowboys over the Jaguars.

The Power Points measure each team's performance over the entire season, but the most recent games are weighted to give an accurate reflection of how teams are playing right now. Winning and losing streaks can push a team quickly up or down the table. The Falcons have taken their streak all the way to the top spot, but they aren't the only team on a role. The Jets have won four straight and have entered the top 10. They'll get a strong test on Monday night against the Oakland Raiders. Meanwhile, the Cardinals' five straight losses, by an average margin of 18 points, have made them hit rock bottom. A defensive collapse combined with a string of injuries has coach Dave McGinnis unable to find any way out of the basement. To make matters worse, the Cards have a difficult remaining schedule with only a Week 14 game against the Lions to give them any relief.

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