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ATL stays at top, Ravens plummet in power rankings

October 23, 2012 - Andy Heintz
There wasn't a lot of movement in this week's power rankings, but we are starting to learn more and more each week about which teams will stick around and which teams are only a flash in the pan.

Here is my rundown of the top 10 teams in the NFL as well as a listing of my top five worst teams.

1. Atlanta Falcons, 6-0

The Falcons did not play and remain the only unbeaten team in the league. So, until they get beat -- and maybe even after they get beat -- they will remain at the top of my rankings. I love what the defense is doing and Matt Ryan has proven to be clutch in the closing minutes of games this season.

2. Houston Texans, 6-1

I expected the Texans to bounce back from a bad loss to Green Bay but did not expect to see that kind of a victory over a quality Ravens team. Houston manhandled Baltimore in every facet and should still be a favorite in the AFC. They can run the ball and are exceptional on defense. If Matt Schaub doesn't lose games for them, they should be able to maintain their success.

3. New York Giants, 5-2

The Redskins are proving to be no easy win for anyone anymore so to come away with a victory when you don't play your best is saying something. Eli Manning made the throw when his team needed it and the Giants survived another week. Big game looming with arch rival Dallas on Sunday. The Cowboys beat the Giants in New York during the first week of the season.

4. San Francisco 49ers, 5-2

It is hard for me to be sold on Alex Smith, but if the 49ers continue to win with their running game and stout defense then they are easily one of the best teams in the league. Smith wasn't the biggest reason San Fran lost to the Giants but played a huge part with multiple interceptions. The 49ers defense will be up to the task in most games but even they can't always overcome poor offensive play.

5. Chicago Bears, 5-1

I was pretty close to pushing the Bears past the 49ers this week, but I still am unsold on their offense as well. The Niners have shown more offensively despite a downgrade at QB. The Bears defense though may be the best in the league, and that is saying something. Cutler needs to be more consistent, but they have the personnel to be a contender this year.

6. New England Patriots, 4-3

I know, I know. The Patriots haven't looked the part of a top 10 team, but I just don't see Tom Brady being denied. The fact that they finally won a close game match turn the tide for this team. The AFC is down this year, and with the Ravens looking horrible against Houston and losing some key pieces, the Patriots may be the second best team right now. All three losses have been by a combined four points and they still have a plus-54 in point differential.

7. Green Bay Packers, 4-3

Aaron Rodgers is playing way better than any other QB over the past two weeks, and is pretty much saying that he is going to put this team on his back. The loss of Charles Woodson hurts an already subpar defense. If the offense continues to play like it is, who plays defense may not matter.

8. Minnesota Vikings, 5-2

I am not sure how the Vikings continue to do it, and I still think their second-half schedule will turn things in the other direction, but for now, they deserve a top 10 ranking. Adrian Peterson is fantastic and Percy Harvin is electric. Both help hide Christian Ponder's deficiencies, but Ponder has turned it over more of late. The Vikings defense continues to impress but they have not faced a dynamic offense either.

9. Baltimore Ravens, 5-2

The Ravens will limp into their bye week with their tail between their legs after a crushing loss to Houston last week. Injuries have played a role in the season so far, but they are still one of the best teams in the AFC, which may not be saying all that much. It's time to get Ray Rice going on offense to keep the defense off the field more.

10. Denver Broncos, 3-3

There is no real clear-cut team I wanted to put here so I went with the Broncos because of quarterback play. Of all the 3-3 teams in the league right now, the QB playing the best is Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. The Broncos team is better than the Colts so they get the nod. This position may look different in a few weeks though.

Bottom Five: 5. Panthers, 4. Raiders, 3. Jaguars, 2. Browns, 1. Chiefs.


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