Ryan Early's NFL Power Points:
Falcons stay at No. 1

Updated: December 10, 2002, 11:07 AM ET
By By Ryan Early
There were few major adjustments to the Power Points this week, leaving a battle of goliaths to take place as the third-ranked Buccaneers host Michael Vick and the No. 1 ranked Falcons this Sunday in a key division matchup with the division lead at stake. The Bucs have the top-ranked defense in the league, but right now Vick is playing football like no quarterback has before him. A closer look at the ratings shows that this game may be decided by special teams as the Falcons rank fifth in the often overlooked category while the Bucs are below average, ranked 18th.

The Dolphins were one of the few teams with an adjustment of more than a point to the overall Power Points after they found the blizzard in Buffalo not to their liking. Their home-field advantage increased to a whopping 8.0 points, the largest I have ever seen. That means they play like a team with a 11.2 rating at Pro Player Stadium but like a 3.2 rating team when they have to hit the road. Other teams with a large home-field advantage include Minnesota, which took the top-ranked Falcons to overtime this past week playing in the Metrodome, Jacksonville, which lost to Dallas on the road a week ago but almost beat the Steelers at home on Sunday, Kansas City and Detroit.

As the playoff push is upon us, every game takes on added emphasis. There are several games this week that have playoff implications. In addition to the Bucs/Falcons game, the Chargers/Raiders and Titans/Colts games will determine a division leader. Also, the Jets/Broncos, Patriots/Bills and Saints/Ravens games each feature two teams thick in the playoff hunt.

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