Each week, we look through the Sunday NFL results to find one team that’s rising, one team that’s sinking, and one team that stays at the same level. You’ll see these changes reflected in our weekly Football Relativity comparison of all 32 teams.
Rise – San Diego Chargers – Don’t look now, but the Chargers seem to be putting together their typical late-season charge. They blasted the Bills 37-10, in large part to a fake punt that safety Eric Weddle called and then ran. The Bolts are now 6-7, but they’re still looking up at both the Raiders and the Broncos in the AFC West. While they probably won’t make the playoffs, they are dangerous once again – and that’s enough to put them on the rise.
Sink – San Francisco 49ers – While the 49ers are still in line for a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs, Sunday’s 21-19 loss to the Cardinals revealed one of the team’s weaknesses – red-zone offense. The 49ers can’t count on playing low-scoring games throughout a playoff run, but that’s what they’ll have to do if they can’t solve the red-zone woes. Maybe they will, but for now we have no choice but to knock them down a level.
Float – Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons gave up 23 straight points in the first half against the Panthers, but they rallied with 24 unanswered second-half points for a 31-23 road win. The game revealed that the Falcons still have some problems – most notably, a defense that is far from the shut-down level and a hole at right guard. But it also showed that adding rookie WR Julio Jones in the offseason made the Atlanta offense more explosive and gave the Falcons a much bigger margin for error. That’s a big step forward. We still don’t see the Falcons winning a game in the playoffs, but they should make it, and if Jones and Roddy White go nuts in a playoff game, who knows?