Bill Belichick and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork (75) have a decisive opportunity ahead of them this monday night against the Texans. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

AFC Power Poll: Patriots leapfrog Ravens for #2, Date with Texans looming

In the world of Power Polls, there are so many different formulas to determine placement that perhaps the truth gets lost in the mad shuffle.  That’s why our power poll is based solely on the one statistic that means everything above all else:  Win and loss record.  It’s incredibly unscientific but, as a person smarter than me once quipped, you can’t argue with record.

 

Seemingly every sportswirter not in the city of Houston has made a bold prediction that it is the Broncos and Patriots – not the Texans – that are the cream of the NFL crop and will meet in the AFC Championship game in late January…

…and that’s beauty of this Power Poll.  The only criteria is won \ lost record and the appropriate tie breakers.  It leaves nothing to chance.

And the only way that the Texans are going to stop the confounded noise about being an AFC also-ran is to go into Foxborough, Massachusetts next Monday night and destroy the New England Pariots.  Just a nail-biting win isn’t going to quell talk of Houston losing their composure as the season progresses.  It’s going to take a solid victory.

Has there ever been a more under appriciated 11-1 team in the history of professional football?

1. Houston Texans (11-1) – The Texans find themselves in a precarious spot.  At 11-1, they still have not clinched their division, thanks to the Indianapolis Colts and their sensational play.  At 8 -4 they are not going to catch the Texans for the division crown, but they have two opportunities to play spoiler to Houston’s goal of earning the top seed and a first round bye.  If the Texans can’t handle the Patriots’ relentless offensive attack next Monday night, the Colts – or even the Vikings for that matter – could drop the Texans right out of the top 2…

2. New England Patriots (9-3) – The Patriots leap-frogged Baltimore for the second seed in the AFC by virtue of having a superior conference record in a 3-team tie with the Ravens and the surging Broncos – two teams certainly heading in different directions.  The Patriots host the game of the year against the Texans this coming Monday night, and the winner will have a leg up to the regular season conference crown.  Rumor out of Foxborough is that…well, we’ll cover that a bit later…The Patriots are on a serious roll…

3. Baltimore Ravens (9-3) – The Ravens are old on defense and just plain bad on offense.  How this team has lost only 3 games is a genuine mystery.  And to add injury to insult, Terrell Suggs, their best player on either side of the ball was left screaming in agony on the turf in Baltimore last evening…so it’s a certainty that they will lose a few more…They might still win the division, but that’s the only thing any Raven will win the rest of this season.

4. Denver Broncos (9-3) – When Peter King of SI.com picked the Denver Broncos to win the AFC this season, I was aghast at his ignorance.  Now I am aghast at my own ignorance.  But King has flip-flopped a bit on his prediction, as he is picking the Broncos and the Patriots to meet in Foxborough in late January for the right to represent the Conference in the Super Bowl…Brady vs. Manning once more?  Yes, please!  For the record, King now says it will be the Patriots in New Orleans against the Falcons…stay tuned…

5. Indianapolis Colts (8-4) – Colts fans and media are absolutely giddy about their team this morning.  And why not?  There hasn’t been a better ending to a football game that I’ve witnessed in a long time.  Watching Andrew Luck play should make fans for every other NFL team feel a little queasy about the future, especially those teams in the AFC South.  This Colts team is going to dominate the division for years to come.  Sorry Houston.  You are about to learn this in a couple of weeks…

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) – And that is why one should never count out the Pittsburgh Steelers.  That win against the hated Ravens last night will be talked about for years to come, solely because it was gutty Steelers football from back in the day.  Old-school Steelers.  They could still conceivably catch the Ravens for the division crown, but those are some long odds even though Ben Roethlisburger should be back this week.

Lurking in the weeds: Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)  One slip by the Steelers could mean everything to the surging Bengals…

Tags: New England Patriots

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