Does there have to be a No. 1 team? The NFL is wide freakin' open this year, and it took me at least six minutes to finally to decide who would lead this week's power rankings. After all, Atlanta is still tied for tops in the league, but Houston has all the momentum. And there are at least five other teams who deserve serious consideration. Something tells me the top 10 will change quite a lot over the next seven weeks.
1. Houston Texans (8-1, 3rd last week): Gutty victory in those conditions on the road. Love the makeup of this team, and the balance. Still fear they're going to fall flat on their faces in January.
2. Atlanta Falcons (8-1, 1st last week): But I don't feel any better about these guys, who don't play with the kind of passion required of a Super Bowl winner. Or at least it doesn't appear that way.
3. San Francisco 49ers (6-2-1, 2nd last week): I swear I almost knocked them down further just out of spite. Friggin' hate ties….
4. Green Bay Packers (6-3, 4th last week): With no one emerging as a clear leader of the pack this year, I'm starting to think Green Bay should be viewed as the Super Bowl favorite.
5. Baltimore Ravens (7-2, 7th last week): I don't care who you're playing, if you put up 55 points, you must move up in power rankings.
6. Chicago Bears (7-2, 5th last week): Not hating on them too aggressively considering the mess that was Sunday night's game. But they can't survive without Jay Cutler for an extended period of time.
7. New England Patriots (6-3, 8th last week): Those AFC East vs. AFC East games are so damn unpredictable. Win's a win, though, and the Pats are about to wrap this division up.
8. Denver Broncos (6-3, 9th last week): Peyton Manning is making one hell of a case for his fifth MVP.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4, 12th last week): The Bucs, who have only lost once since Sept. 30, appear to be doing the opposite of what they did last year. Looking forward to that home matchup with Atlanta in two weeks.
10. New York Giants (6-4, 6th last week): Boy, did they ever need this bye week. The Giants look like they're completely out of gas. Super Bowl hangover sinking in late or just another November swoon?
11. Seattle Seahawks (6-4, 11th last week): The toughest team in the league enters their bye with back-to-back double-digit victories. Can't wait to see 'em face the Bears in a few weeks.
12. Indianapolis Colts (6-3, 14th last week): I cannot believe the Indianapolis Colts, and their rookie quarterback — a team that was 2-14 last season — is now in the No. 12 spot. This is a playoff team.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3, 10th last week): For the second straight year, way too close for comfort with the Chiefs. And now they draw the red-hot Ravens on short rest.
14. Minnesota Vikings (6-4, 19th last week): I was ready to write them off, but instead they ended the Lions' season. With the league's hottest back and a solid defense, they'll be in it to the end.
15. Dallas Cowboys (4-5, 23rd last week): Quietly, Tony Romo's heating up. When DeMarco Murray returns, this offense could explode on a division that is suddenly very winnable.
16. Cincinnati Bengals (4-5, 20th last week): That defense can be so damn good and the sky's the limit for the offense, especially through the air. But can they become consistent?
17. St. Louis Rams (3-5-1, 21st last week): They're at least a year away, but that was an impressive performance in San Francisco. Love what Jeff Fisher's doing.
18. New Orleans Saints (4-5, 28th last week): You're 3-5 and you beat the league's last unbeaten team, you move up 10 spots. Fair.
19. Detroit Lions (4-5, 13th last week): They had to keep the momentum rolling. Now, they're going to get crushed by Green Bay coming off its bye.
20. Miami Dolphins (4-5, 15th last week): Tennessee 37, Miami 3. Most shocking final score of the season thus far. You can't lose back-to-back to Indy and the Titans and pretend to be for real.
21. Carolina Panthers (2-7, 17th last week): Whatever happened to Steve Smith? This is going to be a very interesting offseason in Charlotte.
22. Cleveland Browns (2-7, 22nd last week): I feel as though they're running into both Dallas and Pittsburgh at really bad times, but at least they're coming off the bye.
23. Tennessee Titans (4-6, 29th last week): That was an impressive victory in Miami, but it has to be frustrating that the league's most inconsistent player continues to tease the Tennessee fan base. Maybe Bud Adams has lit a fire under these guys.
24. Arizona Cardinals (4-5, 24th last week): Still haven't won since Sept. 30, but at least they didn't lose this week either.
25. Washington Redskins (3-6, 26th last week): I don't ordinarily move teams up or down after the bye, but no one below the 'Skins deserves to be any higher. No way.
26. Oakland Raiders (3-6, 16th last week): I can't believe I had them ranked 15th only two weeks ago. This is a team that has now given up 97 points in two games against…um…Tampa Bay and Baltimore.
27. San Diego Chargers (4-5, 27th last week): Wow, the AFC West is terrible. Why not just put Norv Turner out of his misery now?
28. Philadelphia Eagles (3-6, 25th last week): Ditto for Andy Reid in Philly.
29. Buffalo Bills (3-6, 30th last week): Respectable effort in Foxboro. Now of course they'll somehow get killed by Miami at home in prime time.
30. New York Jets (3-6, 18th last week): I held on for a while there, but now they plummet. Didn't expect much more in Seattle, but was waiting for something. They're getting worse each week on both sides of the ball.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (1-8, 32nd last week): Hey, they finally held a lead! That's enough to get you out of the bottom spot nowadays.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8, 31st last week): Oh, it's so sad to think about. Please tell me they'll at least draft Matt Barkley.