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Super Bowl contenders surfacing in latest power rankings
November 27, 2012 - Andy Heintz
It is getting to the point of the National Football League’s season where we are starting to figure out what teams will be in line to fight for a Super Bowl and which teams are simply pretending to be anything other than a first-round exit playoff team. In my opinion, there are only nine teams currently that I could see winning a Super Bowl title and that number is probably on the high end. Here is my rundown of this week’s NFL Power Rankings.
1. Houston Texans, 10-1
The Texans are winners of five straight and is 8-0 against the AFC. They survived a poor effort on Thanksgiving Day and pulled off a win over a desperate Detroit Lions team on the road. The Texans’ offense ranks second in the NFL, and the defense is good enough despite losing a key member in Brian Cushing.
2. Atlanta Falcons, 10-1
The Falcons continue to push the limits against inferior teams. But winning those games is much better than losing, which they have done just once this season. The Falcons defense ranks sixth in points allowed per game and still have a dynamic offense with Matt Ryan leading the way. Atlanta is 6-1 against the NFC and has not been beaten at home.
3. San Francisco 49ers, 8-2-1
The Niners pulled off a tough road win against New Orleans when the Saints absolutely needed a victory. Colin Kaepernick improved to 2-0 as starter and looked impressive doing it. He brings a new element to the offense that Alex Smith doesn’t bring, and the Niners’ defense ranks first in points allowed per game and second in yards allowed per game.
4. New England Patriots, 8-3
The Patriots are putting up points with ease lately and currently lead the NFL in points per game at 37 per tilt. They have won five straight games and are 7-1 against AFC competition. And they have Tom Brady at quarterback, which makes them as dangerous as any team in the league as the playoffs near.
5. Denver Broncos, 8-3
Peyton Manning has been super impressive in leading the Broncos to six straight wins, and the defense is coming along, too. Denver is 6-2 against the AFC and the offense is third in the NFL, scoring 29 points per game. The defense though also is fourth in the league in yards allowed per game.
6. Baltimore Ravens, 9-2
It is not the Ravens’ fault that the San Diego Chargers gave up a first down on an impossible 4th and 29 to extend the game. The Ravens still had to execute a play and should be commended for getting the ball to their best player and hoping he can make a few guys miss. Baltimore has now won four straight games and is 8-1 against the AFC.
7. Chicago Bears, 8-3
The key to the Bears’ season will be keeping Jay Cutler upright and on the field because they looked lost against the 49ers when someone other than Cutler was playing quarterback. He is a top 15 QB and may be in the top 10 but he has to stay healthy down the stretch if the Bears want any shot. The defense is good enough to win a Super Bowl but if Cutler goes down they are merely a one and done team in the playoffs.
8. New York Giants, 7-4
The Packers were on a roll and the Giants knocked them square on their rear ends. The Giants once again have re-emerged as contenders and they are doing it in typical Giants fashion – with several bumps in the road along the way. They are 6-2 though this year against the NFC, including an impressive win over San Francisco.
9. Green Bay Packers, 7-4
The Packers are 4-1 in their last five games but took a bad loss against the Giants on national television this past Sunday night. They are fighting with plenty of injuries and Aaron Rodgers sometimes looks human. But this team is still good enough to win it all when they are totally healthy and totally right.
10. Indianapolis Colts, 7-4
The Colts have gone 4-1 in their last five games are in the top 10 because of their record. I do no think they are Super Bowl contenders yet but you have to give them credit for completely re-vamping their roster and still finding a way to be in the mix for a playoff spot. They are, however, the only top 10 team with a scoring differential in the negative.
Bottom Five: 5. Tennessee Titans, 4. Philadelphia Eagles, 3. Arizona Cardinals, 2. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1. Kansas City Chiefs.
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