Texans back on top of AP Pro32 NFL power rankings

NEW YORK (AP) - Houston and Atlanta traded places in the AP Pro32 NFL power rankings.

The Texans moved to the top on Tuesday following their 13-6 win over the Chicago Bears, while the Falcons dropped to second after their first loss of the season, 31-27 to the New Orleans Saints.

Houston (8-1) was a unanimous choice, receiving all 12 first-place votes and 384 points from The Associated Press’ panel of media members who regularly cover the league.

Atlanta, the NFL’s other one-loss team, received 362 points, while the Bears remained third with 341 points. San Francisco was fourth with 339 points, and Denver moved up three places to fifth with 334 points.

“Tough victory at Soldier Field earns Texans the No. 1 spot,” said Sporting News’ Clifton Brown.

Newsday’s Bob Glauber singled out the Texans’ defense, which forced four turnovers and sent Bears quarterback Jay Cutler to the sideline with a concussion.

“Some well-earned fist pumping from Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, whose unit one-upped the host team’s D,” Glauber said.

Houston was first in the power rankings for three weeks earlier in the season, but relinquished the spot to Atlanta after losing to Green Bay on Oct. 14.

Atlanta’s loss drew a variety of comments.

“Trust me, that loss will be good for these guys,” CBSSports.com’s Clark Judge said. “Now, the pressure they feel is not from trying to keep an undefeated season intact; it’s trying to win a playoff game.”

Then again, some voters saw a loss coming.

“The season-long problems rushing the football and stopping the run came back to bite the Falcons in their first loss against New Orleans,” said Foxsports.com’s Alex Marvez.

Despite the loss, the Bears held third as they prepare for Monday night’s showdown against the 49ers, whose quarterback Alex Smith left Sunday’s game with a concussion.

Peyton Manning and the Broncos are on the rise after their fourth straight win.

“Peyton + defense + special teams (equals) quite a combination,” said ESPN’s Chris Berman.

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