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Thanks to a last-second win over the New York Giants, the Patriots remain undefeated and may continue to do so with a fairly easy schedule for the rest of the season. It's very possible we're looking at another undefeated regular season for the Pats, though through most of their game with the Giants, they showed they can be beaten.
Unfortunately, one of their biggest challengers in the AFC is no longer unbeaten after the Cincinnati Bengals suffered their first defeat. An embarrassing 10-6 loss to the Houston Texans now has many wondering if this Bengals team can actually challenge the Patriots for the AFC.
After all, the Texans were ranked near the bottom of nearly every power ranking going into Monday's game. Anytime you lose at home to a team like that, there's sure to be backlash in power rankings, and now the Bengals find themselves no longer in contention for the top spot.
ESPN lowered Cincinnati down to the No. 5 spot in their latest round of power rankings while noting how the Texans simply have Andy Dalton's number.
The undefeated season is over thanks to Andy Dalton's kryptonite. Dalton is now 1-4 in his career against the Texans (including playoffs), his worst record against a team he has played more than twice.
Making this even worse is that career-backup T.J. Yates now somehow has three wins over the Bengals, as NFL.com's Eliot Harrison writes.
Hey, there's no shame in losing your perfect season to T.J. Yates and the Texans, right?
What an ugly loss. Tyler Eifert's Barry Bonds elbow armor finally stopped him from catching perfectly thrown balls. Did A.J. Green look like he was jogging on a route that was broken up on that last drive? Or show any sense of urgency to recover his fumble at the end? Upon further review, maybe he just couldn't locate the ball. Thoughts, Who Dey Nation? ( @HarrisonNFL) Overall, the offense appeared to disappear. Just a grotesque first blemish -- on the national stage, to boot.
The good news is, Harrison still has the Bengals as his No. 3 team, as does Yahoo Sports' Frank Schwab, who also isn't that down on the Bengals following their first setback of 2015.
Get ready for a week of "See? Andy Dalton stinks!" It's one bad game. Don't overreact on the Bengals. They're still a good team.
Every major power ranking is keeping the Bengals inside top five this week, though they've been bounced out of the top two discussion. The Bengals still have the NFL's third-best record and are still just one game behind the Patriots for the best record in the AFC. The truth is, there's still great reason to believe this Cincinnati team can make a run in the playoffs and contend for a Super Bowl, despite one loss.
SB Nation, who dropped the Bengals lower than any other site, to the #5 spot had this to say:
The Houston defense confounded Andy Dalton all night, intercepting him once while sacking him four times. The Texans now share the lead in the AFC South. Go figure.
Elsewhere, it's been a massive fall from grace for the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers, two teams who opened the season at or near the top of every major power ranking. After all, those two teams went into overtime to decide the NFC Championship winner last year and have made the playoffs a combined 10 times since the 2009 season.
However, the Packers have lost three straight after starting the year perfect, which looks even worse after the Detroit Lions came into Green Bay and came away with an 18-16 win this past Sunday. The Seahawks are 4-5 after losing at home for the second time this year on Sunday when the Cardinals came into town and walked away with a 39-32 win.
And then there's Denver. The Broncos were dominated at home by a Kansas City Chiefs team that had just three wins coming into Week 10, and Peyton Manning looks like he needs to be enjoying retirement right now rather than playing quarterback for an NFL team. Between Denver, Green Bay and Seattle, that's three teams that were in the top five of every power ranking not long ago, but are no longer at the top. For the most part, the top five teams across the board are the Patriots, Panthers, Bengals, Cardinals and Vikings, just not necessarily in that order. Who would have thought the Vikings would be a top five team in a list that doesn't even include the Packers?
Hey, maybe one loss for the Bengals isn't that bad when you see what's happening to other so-called Super Bowl contenders.
Here's a roundup of each major power ranking from this week compared to last week.
|CBS Sports (Pete Prisco)||2||3||-1|