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Texans return to top of NFL Power Rankings

November 13, 2012 - Andy Heintz
The weekly power rankings in the National Football League are in and there was plenty of movement this week in my top 10. I think right now, through nine weeks, that there are about nine teams that could win the Super Bowl. Eight of those teams are listed in my top 10 and the other team is the New York Giants. I can’t see them winning it this year, but don’t we say that every year, and they have only won two of the last three.

Here is my top 10 right now and of course, the ever-popular bottom five.

1. Houston Texans, 8-1

The Texans right now are the most complete team in the league with a strong defense and a solid offense. If you look at the top five teams on this list, the Texans offense is the only one that features a strong running game and a strong passing game. The win in Chicago was impressive given the field conditions. And they would have won even if Jay Cutler didn’t go down in the game.

2. Atlanta Falcons, 8-1

The Falcons weren’t going to go undefeated anyway so losing to their rival on their homefield isn’t all that bad. The thing that concerned me after this game was New Orleans’ ability to run the football against the Falcons’ defense. Atlanta’s secondary had trouble tackling and that may come back to haunt them in the playoffs against some of the better running teams in the league in Chicago and San Francisco.

3. San Francisco 49ers, 6-2-1

It wasn’t a loss but it may as well have been for the 49ers against the rival Rams. Any division game is tough and the Rams made that no exception. Jeff Fisher threw out all the stops with two fake punts and several other gadget plays. The 49ers lost Alex Smith in the first quarter, and that may have hurt them early on until Colin Kaepernick got settled in. Still, the Niners kept the reins on Kaepernick in the passing game, which limited the 49ers ability to move the football. David Akers also has let the Niners down in key moments this year when he was so money last year in those spots.

4. Chicago Bears, 7-2

The Bears obviously will move up this list if they can beat the 49ers in San Francisco on Monday night. For now, the offense leaves a lot to be desired and can turn the ball over too much against good defenses. I think the Niners are better on paper anyway but if neither starting QB returns from their concussions, that tips the scales even further toward San Francisco. I think the Bears have the best defense in the league though so neither team will likely be able to move the ball much.

5. Baltimore Ravens, 7-2

The Ravens impressed me this week with a 55-point outburst. The defense can still play and the offense will continue to go as far as Joe Flacco (not Joe Cain) takes them. The AFC will likely come down to the Texans, Ravens and Patriots.

6. Green Bay Packers, 6-3

The Packers continue to deal with injuries as starting tackle and former Hawkeye Bryan Bulaga has been placed on IR and will miss the rest of the season. They continue to win though even without Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson on the field but they both may return this week after a much-needed bye week. The Packers still have the best QB in the game and that makes them dangerous no matter who is on the field.

7. New England Patriots, 6-3

The Patriots can score with the best of them but continues to struggle to stop other teams from scoring. Not sure how this will work out in the end because eventually a good defense is going to get them. The three losses they have have been by the slimmest of margins, which means they should be able to continue to at the pace they are on and still finish with 10 or 11 wins. Just another successful year for Tom Brady and Bill Belichek.

8. Denver Broncos, 6-3

The Chargers are helping out the Broncos each week with their mistakes so the division may already be decided. The Broncos have flaws no doubt. But they also have a Peyton Manning that looks better and better each week. They are one of the nine teams I feel can win the Super Bowl because of him and a better-than-average defense.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers, 6-3

My list of Super Bowl contenders should feature the Steelers but it doesn’t at this point. And with the status of Big Ben uncertain after an injury Monday maybe they will go backwards. The franchise always finds a way to win though and the defense seems to be settling in as the season progresses.

10. Indianapolis Colts, 6-3

This is not a typo. The Colts are here simply because of their record, but with Andrew Luck playing the way he is, the team doesn’t appear to going anywhere but forward. And playing for their coach will go a long ways too. They may not be the 10th best team in the league but they deserve to be here this week.

Bottom Five: 5. Carolina Panthers, 4. New York Jets, 3. Cleveland Browns, 2. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1. Kansas City Chiefs.


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