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Falcons hanging on to top spot in power rankings

November 6, 2012 - Andy Heintz
The cream of the crop teams in the National Football League are starting to rear their heads. There are about nine or 10 team that have a legitimate shot to win the Super Bowl this season and all 10 are featured in my top 10 of this week's power rankings.

The Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals had nice runs in the first half of the season, but now appear to be who we thought they were. Coaches in San Diego, Philadelphia, Dallas, Kansas City and the New York Jets need to probably start typing up a resume just in case things don't get better soon.

Here is a list of my 10 teams this week and as always, a run down of the worst five teams in the league.

1. Atlanta Falcons, 8-0

The Falcons continue to be tested and continue to find ways to win. That's the mark of a great team. As much as I liked that the Falcons hung on for the victory, part of the win should go to the Dallas coaching staff for their poor coaching. Dallas has talent and should be much better. And better coaching in that game may have knocked off the Falcons. That is not Atlanta's fault though. 8-0 is 8-0 and the Falcons continue to get it done.

2. Houston Texans, 7-1

The defense is still playing well without Brian Cushing and that run game is lethal -- no matter who carries the ball. The Texans control their own destiny at this point and the highly-anticipated matchup with the Bears this weekend should get a lot of play. Win that road game, and there is no reason why people won't amp up the Super Bowl talk a little higher.

3. San Francisco 49ers, 6-2

The Niners did not play but because of the Giants home loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday, they moved up in the rankings. When the Niners do not turn the ball over, there aren't many teams in the league -- if any -- that can beat them. The defense is too good and the running game keeps the other team's defense on the field.

4. Chicago Bears, 7-1

The Bears continue to play well every week and they continue to get doubted. They haven't played top-notch competition like some of the other elite teams, but that will come with games against Houston and San Francisco on the horizon. Win those two games, and they become an instant favorite in the NFC. The defense is nasty and when Jay Cutler is right, he is a valuable weapon in the Bears' offense.

5. New York Giants, 6-3

The Giants took a step back Sunday but the Steelers defense is second to only San Francisco in the league. Eli Manning needed to be better in the spotlight but did not come through for the first time in a long time. The Giants are still a great team and will show that, but they need to fix November if they want to have any shot a home playoff game. They are 4-9 since 2009 and have lost four straight games in the month.

6. Green Bay Packers, 6-3

No Jordy Nelson and no Greg Jennings turned out to be no problem for the Packers in recent weeks. Aaron Rodgers is playing better than any other QB in the league right now and is getting plenty of help from Randall Cobb and James Jones. Clay Matthew will be out a few weeks it looks like so it will be interesting to see if the injuries catch up to the Packers.

7. New England Patriots, 5-3

Bill Belichek was voted one of the most overrated coaches in the league, according to Sporting News in a recent poll of 103 NFL players. Tom Brady though is not overrated and as long as he is in New England, the Patriots will always have a chance.

8. Denver Broncos, 5-3

This team is rising because Peyton Manning is playing great football again. Tim Tebow was winning games with Denver last year, but Peyton is leading the league in several passing categories with the same exact weapons that Tebow had last year. Manning looks like he is fully back from surgery but the Broncos haven't exactly played the best defenses either. To be continued on this team.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers, 5-3

The win over the Giants was impressive and the defense appears to be settling in like it does each and every year. To hold the Giants to 20 points is an accomplish and to hold them to no points in the fourth quarter is even more impressive. The running game found new life too. Big Ben is still Big Ben and the passing game will get better as long as Mike Wallace gets targets and Antonio Bryant is not out for significant time.

10. Baltimore Ravens, 6-2

Everyone thought the Ravens were done when they lost a few players, but they are still 6-2. There is just something telling me that this team is closer to falling back than moving forward, which is why they dropped this week. It is time for Joe Flacco to show he belongs in the National Football League.

Bottom Five: 5. Tennessee Titans, 4. Washington Redskins, 3. Cleveland Browns, 2. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1. Kansas City Chiefs


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