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latimes.com

Pompei's NFL power rankings

Dan Pompei

On the NFL

7:24 PM PDT, October 9, 2012

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1. Texans (3 last week): They have outscored opponents by 76 points this year, which tells you something about all three phases of their game.

2. Falcons (2): It has been difficult for opposing offenses to hang with the Falcons' offense, which is averaging 30 points per game.

3. 49ers (5): This team has had more dominating victories than any other.

4. Ravens (4): Well, what do you know — they can play defense, too.

5. Patriots (8): They have the most explosive offense in the NFL, and as long as they take care of the ball it could keep getting better.

6. Bears (9): Their defense has become one of the best offenses in the NFL.

7. Cardinals (1): There is much to question, but we still have to respect their 4-1 record.

8. Steelers (16): Their victory over the Eagles could have been a turning point. The Steelers might be starting to come on.

9. Eagles (6): Unless Michael Vick starts taking better care of the ball, the Eagles will continue to drop.

10. Giants (10): We will find out everything we need to know about the Giants on Sunday when they visit the 49ers in an NFC championship game rematch.

11. Packers (7): How many losses that are "exceptional" can we grant the Packers before we start believing they are what their 2-3 record says they are?

12. Vikings (13): They have done everything the good teams do except convince everyone they can do it for 16 games.

13. Chargers (11): They lost on the road to the Saints but appear to have the running game going: That's something to build on.

14. Bengals (12): Good teams don't lose at home to the Dolphins. The Bengals need more offensive consistency.

15. Rams (27): The Rams above .500? That's enough to make a front office guy faint.

16. Seahawks (17): Being the worst team in the NFL's best division isn't so bad, if that's what the Seahawks are.

17. Broncos (14): We know they can score, but they need to be able to score before they are out of the game.

18. Cowboys (15): They took last Sunday off. Some will tell you they also took the previous Monday off as well.

19. Redskins (18): Keeping RGIII standing and bringing down opponents may be conflicting interests. But the Redskins need to protect the QB.

20. Lions (19): Tom Lewand is right: They are better than 1-3. They will show us how much better in their next two games against the Eagles and Bears.

21. Saints (31): Apparently all they need is to have Sean Payton in the stadium and they are a different team.

22. Colts (30): Emotion is a powerful force in football, and right now the Colts have it on their side.

23. Dolphins. (26): Both Ryan Tannehill and the defense have shown improvement, and the Dolphins could become a dangerous team.

24. Jets (21): Seems like every week is another week closer to Tebow Time.

25. Buccaneers (24): They are 1-3 but they have been in every game in the fourth quarter.

26. Raiders (25): They have struggled on defense. And here comes Matt Ryan and company.

27. Bills (20): They have given up at least 45 points in their last three losses. The line of quarterbacks who would like to play the Bills starts on the right.

28. Panthers (25): Cam Newton's second year tumble is almost as stunning as his first year success.

29. Chiefs (23): The ship looks like it's going down, and it looks like it's Brady Quinn's turn to start bailing.

30. Titans (28): In each of their four losses they have been outscored by at least 21 points.

31. Jaguars (29): The problem with the Jaguars is if Maurice Jones-Drew gets shut down, they have no other way of beating a team.

32. Browns (32): As the NFL's only remaining winless team, they are now officially the favorite in the Geno Smith sweepstakes.