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2012 NFL Power Rankings Week 9: Houston Retakes Top Spot

The Texans beat the Bears in rainy Chicago Sunday night to take the top spot in this week's NFL power rankings. Good news to Arizona fans, as for the first time in over a month, a Sunday passed without Arizona losing.

Jonathan Daniel

1. Houston Texans (8-1) - The Texans proved that as of right now they are the best team in the NFL. The Texans defense dominated Chicago, and the offense did just enough to beat the Bears 13-6. Previous Ranking: 2

2. Chicago Bears (7-2) - I am not going to penalize a team that lost to the best team in the NFL by a touchdown. Chicago played Houston very tough, and that was without Jay Culter for most of the second half. The Bears have a great defense and are a force in the very strong NFC. Previous Ranking: 3

3. San Francisco 49ers (6-2-1) - I just have to ask, why do we have ties in professional football? The NFL is the only sport besides soccer that a sport can end in a tie. The 49ers and the Rams played 75 minutes of tough football and neither team came out with a win. The 49ers defense did look vulnerable early and Alex Smith was knocked out of the game in the first quarter. Previous Ranking: 4

4. Atlanta Falcons (8-1) - Well it finally happened, the Falcons finally lost a football game, 31-27 to the New Orleans Saints. Most believe that this will be good for the Falcons, as they no longer have the pressure of being undefeated on them. In a losing effort, Matt Ryan threw for 411 yards and three touchdowns as he continues his MVP-like season. Previous Ranking: 1

5. Baltimore Ravens (7-2) - The Ravens throttled Oakland 55-20 on Sunday. The Ravens scored twice on special teams and shut down the Raiders offense. Finally the Ravens look great against a bad team. Previous Ranking: 7

6. New England Patriots (6-3) - The Patriots are soft on defense, Ryan Fitzpatrick put up 337 yards and two touchdowns on the New England secondary. The Pats are in a position to make a run as they play Indianapolis, Miami and the New York Jets all in a row. Previous Ranking: 5

7. Denver Broncos (6-3) - Denver is starting to play really good football, as the Broncos have now won four in a row since their loss to New England. It looks like Denver will run away with the AFC West. Previous Ranking: 8.

8. Green Bay Packers (6-3) - Green Bay was off this past week, the Packers have won for straight games but begin a brutal stretch. The Packers face the Giants, Minnesota, Chicago and Detroit twice in their next five games. Previous Ranking: 9

9. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) - The Steelers escaped an upset big by the Kansas City Chiefs, winning in OT 16-13. Pittsburgh will likely be a wild card in 2012, but with that defense could be a force in the AFC. Previous Ranking: 10

10. Indianapolis Colts (6-3) - The feel-good story of the NFL continued, as the Colts throttled Jacksonville. The Colts are a legit playoff team and they have a future super star at quarterback. Previous Ranking: 13

11. New York Giants (6-4) - The Giants look like a team that is ready for their bye. After four straight victories, New York has lost two straight, including a 31-13 drubbing at the hands of Cincinnati. The Giants turned the ball over four times against the Bengals, they get a week off before facing Green Bay in week 12. Previous Ranking: 6

12. Seattle Seahawks (6-4) - The Seahawks dominated the NY Jets to the tune of a 21-point victory. Seattle is 5-0 at home and rookie qb Russel Wilson has thrown for over 2,000 yards and 15 TD's. Previous Ranking: 11

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4) - The Bucs continued their winning ways with a 34-24 win over San Diego. Tampa Bay has won four of their past five and lead the league in rushing defense. Previous Ranking: 12

14. Minnesota Vikings (6-4) - Adrian Peterson is not human. Seriously, the man leads the NFL in rushing after tearing his ACL 11 months ago. The Vikings go into their bye with four of the final six games against the Bears and Packers. Previous Ranking: 15

15. Cincinnati Bengals (4-5) - The Bengals halted a four-game losing streak with a dominating 31-13 win over the Giants. A.J. Green continues his Pro Bowl season as the second year wide receiver caught seven passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. Previous Ranking: 18

16. Dallas Cowboys (4-5) - The Cowboys might have saved their season with a 38-23 victory over division rival Philadelphia. The Cowboys have Cleveland, Washington, Philadelphia and Cincinnati on their upcoming schedule so Dallas as a chance to pile up wins. Previous Ranking: 17

17. New Orleans Saints (4-5) - We have heart beat in New Orleans, as the Saints are just one game below .500. The Saints have won three of four and play Oakland next, meaning that they will soon be .500. Previous Ranking: 20

18. Detroit Lions (4-5) - Afte two straight victories, many thought the Lions would rise to playoff contention. And then Adrian Peterson put them into place. The Vikings had 403 total yards, 171 of those from Peterson. Previous Ranking: 16

19. Miami Dolphins (4-5) - Like Detroit, many thought the Dolphins were in playoff contention, however a 37-3 loss to the Titans ended that. The Dolphins have been better than most expected, but they are not a playoff contender. I will personally apologize to Mrs. Tannehill if SB Nation allows me to. Previous Ranking: 14

20. San Diego Chargers (4-5) - There may not be a hotter seat in professional football than Norv Turner's. The Chargers are below .500 and most likely not going to make the playoffs. Unless their December success comes early this year, San Diego will be home for the playoffs, again. Previous Ranking: 19

21. St. Louis Rams (3-6-1) - The Rams went into San Francisco and played with the 49ers. The Rams had multiple attempts to win and they showed they can hang with the elite of the NFC. Previous Ranking: 23

22. Philadelphia Eagles (3-6) - The Nick Foles area will begin in Philly, as Yahoo! reported earlier today that the Eagles will sit Michael Vick the rest of the season. The seat in Philly is beginning to heat up for Andy Reid. Previous Ranking: 21

23. Washington Redskins (3-6) - The Skins were off last week, the wheels are coming off the track in Washington, as the Redskins have lost four of their last five. With Philly, Dallas and the Giants upcoming, Washington may fall into a deep slide. Previous Ranking: 24

25. Buffalo Bills (3-6) - The Bills three weeks ago were tied for first place in the AFC East, oh how times have changed. The Bills have been competitive the last two weeks, a 21-9 loss to Houston and a six-point loss against New England. Previous Ranking: 26

26. Arizona Cardinals (4-5) - The Cardinals have not won a football game since September 30th. Good news for the fans is that Arizona did not lose this past Sunday, they were off last week and play in Atlanta next week. Previous Ranking: 26

27. Tennessee Titans (4-6) - The Titans rolled the Miami Dolphins by a score of 37-3. The Titans still play Jacksonville twice and the Jets so the Titans have a chance to finish with a respectable record. Previous Ranking: 28

28. New York Jets (3-6) - The Jets continue to be a diaster. Three straight losses, including the last two by 21-points. The Jets have scored one touchdown in their last two games. Previous Ranking: 22

29. Carolina Panthers (2-7) - For a split-second, it looked like Carolina might give a scare to the Broncos. However between Peyton Manning and the Broncos special teams, Carolina did not stand a chance. Hopefully nobody gets fired this week. Previous Ranking: 29

30. Cleveland Browns (2-7) - The Browns were off this week, meaning Cleveland fans were most likely happy on Sunday afternoon for the first time in a while. Previous Ranking: 30

31. Kansas City Chiefs (1-8) - I give credit to the Chiefs. I actually watched the Monday night game last night, and Kansas City played very well. There is no quit in this team and that is why I moved them out of the celler of our power rankings. Previous Ranking: 32

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) - The Jaguars have been outscored by 109 points this season, that is the most in the NFL. Jacksonville has scored the fewest amount of points (127), and the defense isn't much to write home about either. Previous Ranking: 31