For the third straight week we have a new No.1 in SB Nation's NFL power rankings. Week 3 brought us a 49ers' upset, three undefeated teams remaining and the Patriots under .500 for the first time in nine years.
So basically a normal week by the NFL's standards.
The best team in the NFL is officially up for debate. My vote is below:
1. Atlanta Falcons (LW: 4, 3-0): A new No. 1 for the third consecutive week. Picking Atlanta or Houston here is coin flip territory. They've both made their case to be No. 1. The Falcons get the nod here partially because I think they're only halfway there at 3-0. I see three more games in the next three weeks they should win. 6-0 is on its way.
2. Houston Texans (LW: 2, 3-0): The second best team in the NFL, or the losers of the coin flip. The Texans are every bit as legit as the Falcons and their win over the Broncos was solid. I can't wait until a two-game stretch in October -- Packers and Ravens. If they're elite, they'll show us in those two games.
3. Baltimore Ravens (LW: 6, 2-1): Two weeks ago this was our No. 1 team. A tough (and questionable) loss to the Eagles followed by a nice Sunday night win over the Patriots brings them back up near the top. What does it mean that I'm no longer stunned by a big performance from Joe Flacco?
4. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 1, 2-1): Last week's No. 1 goes down in an upset to the Vikings. Don't worry, 49ers fans. You're still one of the NFL's best teams. That defense will keep you in most games.
5. New York Giants (LW: 9, 2-1): Too high? That was the battle cry from commenters last week. That drubbing of the Panthers solidifies their spot in the top five.
6. Green Bay Packers (LW: 3, 1-2): Before the Monday Night Football games, I do my rankings and leave the two teams playing that night as TBD. The Packers were third before that game. I can not in good faith drop them any lower than this. They were screwed. Everyone knows it. Packers fans, vent here about the call.
7. New England Patriots (LW: 7, 1-2): So how low do you drop New England for losing to my third-ranked team? Call me stubborn but I'm keeping them here pending next week's game in Buffalo.
8. Chicago Bears (LW: 13, 2-1): This is my "They're ranked way too high" team. I wouldn't call them a stable team -- I feel like they could implode at any time -- but when they're on, they're very good. Give it to me, commenters.
9. Arizona Cardinals (LW: 16, 3-0): SBNation.com reader Ryan helps me out on the 3-0 Cardinals' ranking: "No. 15 is the worst I would put them. No. 12 sounds about right but I think you could make a case for all the way up to No. 9 just because the schedule favors them coming into this stretch. But no higher." No. 9 sounds about right.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 5, 2-1): No. 5 was probably too high last week.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 8, 1-2): I still say this is a playoff team, despite the loss to the Raiders. But for real: How do you blow that lead against the Raiders?!?
12. Seattle Seahawks (LW: 23, 2-1): That's a win over the Cowboys and the Packers (yes, that game still counts as a win). Impressive.
13. Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 18, 2-1): Next three: Jaguars, Dolphins and Browns. 5-1 coming to Cincy?
14. Dallas Cowboys (LW: 15, 2-1): That offense really needs to improve. It can't keep up that pace and continue winning.
15. San Diego Chargers (LW: 10, 2-1): The Chargers were all alone atop the AFC West last week. Now they're playing to maintain their first place lead. Chargers-Chiefs and Raiders-Broncos in Week 4. An AFC West special.
17. Buffalo Bills (LW: 19, 2-1): If the Bills win next week, they'll have a two-game lead on the Patriots. Think about that.
19. Minnesota Vikings (LW: 25, 2-1): They're probably still not getting enough credit from me, especially after beating the 49ers. Four of their final six games of the season are division games. That's looking kinda important right now.
20. Detroit Lions (LW: 12, 1-2): It's early and things can (and likely will) change but if Matthew Stafford can't play next week and the Lions drop to 1-3, that's a hell of a hole to dig yourself out of.
21. Washington Redskins (LW: 17, 1-2): First-ranked
offense, 29th-ranked defense. Got a feeling we'll see numbers like a few more times in the RGIII era.
22. New Orleans Saints (LW: 14, 0-3): Last week they were No. 14. Another loss drops them to No. 22. Another loss next week and they drop to...?
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 24, 1-2): Seven-point loss in New York and a six-point loss in Dallas. Tough road trip.
25. Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 28, 1-2): Much needed win for my Chiefs. Unfortunately, beating the Saints doesn't look as impressive as it did three weeks ago.
27. Carolina Panthers (LW: 22, 1-2): Ouch. The Giants beat them down on Thursday Night Football. All that preseason hype around Cam Newton and the Panthers is fading.
30. Oakland Raiders (LW: 31, 1-2): Sorry, Raider fans. I should be recognizing the win over the Steelers but I'm having trouble justifying them any higher. How high should the Raiders be?
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 32, 1-2): Similar deal with Oakland. A win last weekend should move them up more. In Jacksonville's case, that's one spot.
32. Cleveland Browns (LW: 30, 0-3): They actually have a somewhat bright future, which is more than you can say for some of the other teams this low on the list.
Read the original article here: http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2012/9/25/3403922/nfl-power-rankings-week-4-falcons-texans