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Not much movement at top of NFL rankings
October 30, 2012 - Troy Hyde
There are nine teams that can win the Super Bowl this season and those chances are even greater with my top five teams on this week's power rankings. Not much movement is happening near the top as the best of the best are starting to rise up.
Here is what my rankings look like after Week 8.
1. Atlanta Falcons, 7-0
Matt Ryan is a top five quarterback in the league this year and I don't think that can be questioned after what he has done to keep the Falcons undefeated. The offense has plenty f weapons and the defense continues to play better than most expected. The Falcons will likely lose a game, but it is hard to say when that will happen because even when they are challenged, they find a way to get past it.
2. Houston Texans, 6-1
I continue to just love what Houston does each week. The defense is nasty and J.J. Watt is a freak. As an old school football fan, I also love that they win with a solid running game behind Arian Foster and Ben Tate.
3. New York Giants, 6-2
I didn't punish the Falcons for winning close games so I cannot punish the Giants for nearly losing the last few weeks. New York has a way of just finding ways to win late, but Dallas certainly had a hand in the win this week as the Cowboys go the other way and find ways to lose.
4. San Francisco 49ers, 6-2
If Alex Smith plays the way he played Monday night, it is of my opinion that the 49ers are this year's Super Bowl winner. We already know they have one of the league's best run games and a top three defense (depending on who you ask). Smith was a dropped pass from being perfect Monday night and he did not turn the ball over. When the Niners do not turn the ball over, San Francisco does not lose. Period.
5. New England Patriots, 5-3
The Patriots three losses have been by the slimmest of margins and when they win they do so in dominant fashion. I don't trust the defense, but as long as Tom Brady is leading offense it likely won't matter until the playoffs.
6. Chicago Bears, 6-1
I was this close to pushing the Bears past the Niners this week but then the Bears almost lost a woeful Panthers team and the Niners blew out a good Arizona squad. The Bears defense is another top three unit, but Jay Cutler scares me. The Bears and Niners are a lot alike -- two strong defenses, two great running games and each has a quarterback that can beat you when they aren't turning it over.
7. Green Bay Packers, 5-3
The Packers are missing some key members on both sides of the ball, but we have seen this song before. The last time they played a season with so many injuries, they got healthy at the right time and won the Super Bowl. I would still take Aaron Rodgers as my QB if I was starting a team right now. And when key guys return on the offense, you'll take him, too.
8. Baltimore Ravens, 5-2
Unlike the popular trend, I have not given up on the Ravens just because of some key injuries. They still have a great rushing attack, an emerging QB, a great coaching staff and the defense still has elite talent despite the loss of Ray Lewis.
9. Denver Broncos, 4-3
There is no QB in the league playing better right now than Peyton Manning. Some of that may be that he is starting to get back to old form and some may be because he is not playing elite defenses. Still, if Manning is back and fully effective, the Broncos have to be a favorite to win the AFC.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers, 4-3
By default I am going with the Steelers and it is because they have been here before. Minnesota, Arizona, Seattle and Miami were all considered but I just think that Pittsburgh will be better than all of these teams at season's end. They also have Super Bowl winning QB directing the offense.
Bottom Five: 5. New Orleans Saints, 4. Cleveland Browns, 3. Carolina Panthers, 2. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1. Kansas City Chiefs.
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