NFL Power Rankings for December 5th, 2012

Both Atlanta and Houston have played some outstanding football this season. And in our last power rankings, we thought that the Texans had played just a little better than the Falcons. But as most fans know, the NFL is quite a grind and injuries can really take a toll on power rankings. That said, let’s reveal who our new number one team is along with the rest of the top 10.

1. Atlanta Falcons (11-1) – Much of the focus to open this season was on the Falcons’ high-powered offense that features Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez. However, the defense has been taking center stage lately after intercepting Drew Brees five times last game, and holding rookie standout RB Doug Martin to 50 rushing yards the previous week.

Last Game: 23-13 win over New Orleans Saints
Next Game: at Seattle Seahawks

2. Houston Texans (11-1) – The Texans drop out of the top spot this week simply because they lost another good defensive player in CB Brice McCain to a foot injury. But Houston has found ways to win all season, so we’ll see if McCain’s season-ending injury is devastating or just another bump in the road.

Last Game: 24-10 win over Tennessee Titans
Next Game: at New England Patriots

3. New England Patriots (9-3) – Since the early part of the year, few teams have played better football than the Patriots. In fact, you could even say that they’ve been the league’s best team over the past few weeks. New England gets a chance to prove this in a huge game against the Texans.

Last Game: 23-16 win over Miami Dolphins
Next Game: vs. Houston Texans

4. Denver Broncos (9-3) – Who knew a surgically-repaired Peyton Manning would make this big of a difference? The Broncos have skyrocketed up the rankings over the past few weeks because, well, they just keep winning.

Last Game: 31-23 win over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Next Game: at Oakland Raiders

5. Baltimore Ravens (9-3) – Once you get past Denver, things get a lot more muddled – especially with many top teams losing last week. As for Baltimore, they dropped a game to the Charlie Batch-led Steelers, which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. However, with just three losses on the year, it’s hard to bash Baltimore for one recently terrible game.

Last Game: 23-20 loss to Pittsburgh Steelers
Next Game: at Washington Redskins

6. Green Bay Packers (8-4) – One week after getting walloped by the Giants, Green Bay came back strong with a win against their division rival Vikings. Unfortunately RB James Starks could miss the rest of the year after an injury, but Alex Green will try once again to fill this role.

Last Game: 23-14 win over Minnesota Vikings
Next Game: vs. Chicago Bears

7. San Francisco 49ers (8-3-1) – As long as the 49ers don’t have to face St. Louis in the playoffs, they should do alright. San Francisco fell to 0-1-1 against their lesser division foes last week. Still, they have one of the league’s best defenses and Colin Kaepernick now has two games as a starting QB under his belt.

Last Game: 16-13 (OT) loss to St. Louis Rams
Next Game: vs. Miami Dolphins

8. Indianapolis Colts (8-4) – Indianapolis is far from a complete team as the Calvin Johnson-torching of their secondary showed last week. But with super-rookie Andrew Luck at the helm, the Colts have played to the AFC’s fourth best record thus far.

Last Game: 35-33 win over Detroit Lions
Next Game: vs. Tennessee Titans

9. Seattle Seahawks (7-5) – For the time being, Seattle looks like a top 10 team after beating Chicago in a close game. Rookie QB Russell Wilson is finally hitting his stride and looks poised to carry this team. Unfortunately, starting cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are likely to be suspended for PEDs.

Last Game: 23-17 (OT) win over Chicago Bears
Next Game: vs. Arizona Cardinals

10. Chicago Bears (8-4) – Just a few weeks ago, we were admonishing ourselves for not putting the Bears as the league’s number one team….then injuries happened. The latest involves what could be a season-ending hamstring injury for Brian Urlacher.

Last Game: 23-17 (OT) loss to Seattle Seahawks
Next Game: at Minnesota Vikings

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