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Unbeaten Falcons still top AP Pro32 power rankings

Posted: October 31, 2012 - 12:04am
FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2012 file photo, Atlanta Falcons kicker Matt Bryant (3) reacts after kicking the game winning field goal during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, in Atlanta. Bryant led the NFL in field-goal percentage last year and hit his first 10 attempts to begin this season. Bryant, at 37, is still focusing on how he can improve to help Atlanta stay unbeaten.  (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)  John Bazemore
John Bazemore
FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2012 file photo, Atlanta Falcons kicker Matt Bryant (3) reacts after kicking the game winning field goal during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, in Atlanta. Bryant led the NFL in field-goal percentage last year and hit his first 10 attempts to begin this season. Bryant, at 37, is still focusing on how he can improve to help Atlanta stay unbeaten. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

NEW YORK — Still unbeaten, still No. 1 in the AP Pro32 NFL power rankings. The Atlanta Falcons easily retained the top spot following a convincing win at Philadelphia, with the New York Giants edging the Houston Texans for second place in the latest rankings. The league’s only undefeated team received nine first-place votes and 319 points Tuesday from 10 of the 12 media members on The Associated Press panel reporting their ballots.

The Giants had the other first-place vote and 303 points, two more than the third-place Texans as the top seven teams held steady from a week ago.

Indianapolis made the biggest move, advancing eight spots to No. 16 after a win over Tennessee. Miami, Detroit and Tampa Bay each moved up seven spots. The Dolphins are 11th, the Lions 14th, and the Buccaneers 19th.

San Diego and New Orleans took the biggest tumbles, each dropping six places — the Chargers to 22nd, the Saints to 23rd.

After Matt Ryan threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns in Atlanta’s 30-17 over the Eagles, the voters were raving about the Falcons.

“Most impressive win of the year. Over 50 percent of 7-0’s make the Super Bowl,” said ESPN’s Chris Berman.

“Crushing Philadelphia after the Eagles’ bye convinced me: No one is better,” said CBSSports.com’s Clark Judge.

“Those Matt Ryan MVP chants are getting louder, and with good reason,” said the Tampa Tribune’s Ira Kaufman.

The Giants, who blew a 23-point lead but hung on to beat Dallas 29-24, are still tops with one voter, who took things a few steps further.

“How would an Eli Manning-Peyton Manning Super Bowl strike you?” asked the Chicago Tribune’s Dan Pompei.

The Texans had a week off, but head into Week 9 at 6-1, the best record in the AFC. Buffalo visits on Sunday.

“The Texans win their division by the first of December,” said Judge, who voted Houston third behind Atlanta and Chicago. “I haven’t seen a race this easy to call since Secretariat ran the Belmont.”

Speaking of horses, the Colts galloped past a bunch of teams following a 19-13 overtime win over the Titans. Voters are actually talking playoff possibilities.

“More Andrew Luck magic, this time with the winning touchdown pass in OT as Indy’s resurgence continues. Wild card contender? Could be,” said Newsday’s Bob Glauber, who had the Colts 17th.

“This is a fact that shouldn’t be taken lightly — the Colts (4-3) are legitimately the second-best team in the AFC South,” said Foxssports.com’s Alex Marvez.

Miami, too, earned praise after a 30-9 romp over the New York Jets.

“Dolphins coach Joe Philbin is doing a remarkable job,” said Fox Sports’ John Lynch. “On Sunday, he lost his outstanding rookie QB Ryan Tannehill, but the Dolphins still beat up the Jets for their third straight victory.”

Watch out for Denver, too. Peyton Manning and the Broncos improved to eighth this week after a third straight win.

“Manning and the passing game finding their groove along with that defense. Watch out!” said CBS Sports/Sirius XM’s Rich Gannon.

The Saints, meanwhile, fell to 2-5 and are losing any support they had after two straight wins.

“How bad is the Saints defense — 50 yards worse than anyone else in the league. The Saints are allowing 474 yards per game,” said the Dallas Morning News’ Rick Gosselin.

Kansas City is 32nd and last.

“The Chiefs are not good!” said Lynch.

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