Vikings slide in AP Pro32 rankings

While there was debate about the top team, the Vikings were sliding in the middle of the rankings with the voting members questioning their ability to beat the better the teams.

The New England Patriots are moving up in the AP Pro32 power rankings, thanks to another second-half-of-the-season winning streak.

While the Houston Texans remained on top for the third straight week, the Patriots jumped three places to fourth in voting by The Associated Press' panel of 12 media members who regularly cover the league.

San Francisco and Atlanta stayed second and third, respectively.

"Pats are on fire, scoring a combined 190 points in their last four wins. Defense is getting better, too," said Bob Glauber of Newsday. "Ready for another Super Bowl run?"

New England (8-3) routed the New York Jets 49-19 on Thursday night for its fifth straight win. Tom Brady and the Patriots closed out the previous two regular seasons by winning their final eight games.

"Why worry about defense when you average 37 points per game?" said Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune.

The Texans (10-1) won their second overtime game in five days last week, topping Detroit 34-31 on Thursday. Houston received seven first-place votes and 370 points.

"Their defense looks more vulnerable, but Matt Schaub is on a roll," said Clifton Brown of The Sporting News after listing Houston sixth on his ballot.

"Two straight wins in overtime shows this team knows how to finish," countered Rich Gannon of CBS Sports/Sirius XM after voting the Texans first.

The 49ers, 8-2-1 after their 31-21 win at New Orleans with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback, had three-first place votes and 365 points. The Falcons, who edged Tampa Bay 24-23, had 354 points — two more than the Patriots, who received the other two first-place votes and 352 points.

THE RANKINGS

The Associated Press Pro32 NFL Power Rankings, as voted by a 12-member panel, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Nov. 27, total points based on 32 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 32nd-place vote, and previous ranking:

Pl. Team W L T Pts Pvs
1. Houston Texans (7) 10 1 0 370 1
2. San Fran 49ers (3) 8 2 1 365 2
3. Atlanta Falcons 10 1 0 354 3
4. New England Pats (2) 8 3 0 352 7
5. Denver Broncos 8 3 0 337 4
6. Baltimore Ravens 9 2 0 333 6
7. New York Giants 7 4 0 316 9
8. Chicago Bears 8 3 0 305 8
9. Green Bay Packers 7 4 0 286 5
10. Indianapolis Colts 7 4 0 260 15
11. Cincinnati Bengals 6 5 0 252 17
12. Tampa Bay Bucs 6 5 0 248 12
13. Seattle Seahawks 6 5 0 237 10
14. Pittsburgh Steelers 6 5 0 233 11
15. New Orleans Saints 5 6 0 232 12
16. Washington Redskins 5 6 0 214 18
17. Minnesota Vikings 6 5 0 187 14
18. Dallas Cowboys 5 6 0 181 16
19. Miami Dolphins 5 6 0 159 24
20. Detroit Lions 4 7 0 157 19
21. San Diego Chargers 4 7 0 140 20
22. St. Louis Rams 4 6 1 129 26
23. Buffalo Bills 4 7 0 117 22
24. New York Jets 4 7 0 102 21
25. Cleveland Browns 3 8 0 91 29
26. Carolina Panthers 3 8 0 88 28
27. Tennessee Titans 4 7 0 87 23
28. Arizona Cardinals 4 7 0 76 25
29. Philadelphia Eagles 3 8 0 45 27
30. Jacksonville Jags 2 9 0 43 31
31. Oakland Raiders 3 8 0 27 30
32. Kansas City Chiefs 1 10 0 13 32

COMMENTS ON THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS (17)

Chris Berman (ESPN, 18) — Heavy NFC North schedule now will be tough.

Clifton Brown (Sporting News, 24) — After a strong start, this team looks vulnerable to a late-season slide.

Rich Gannon (CBS Sports/SiriusXM NFL Radio, 16) — We know they can beat Detroit in the division, but not so sure about Chicago and Green Bay.

Bob Glauber (Newsday, 18) — Remember that 4-1 start? Seems like forever ago for a team that's 2-4 in its last six.

Rick Gosselin (Dallas Morning News, 15) — Adrian Peterson has rushed for 100 yards in five consecutive games but saw his four-game scoring streak come to an end last weekend against the Bears.

Clark Judge (CBSSports.com, 18) — There's just too much schedule and not enough Adrian Peterson for these guys to overcome.

Ira Kaufman (Tampa Tribune, 17) — As talented as he is, Adrian Peterson can't do it alone.

Pat Kirwan (SiriusXM NFL Radio/CBSSports.com, 16) — The Vikings look like a team from the ‘best of the rest' group. Christian Ponder is going to have to be better to beat the good teams. AP can only do so much and without Percy Harvin the big play isn't there. This week no one averaged over 11 yards a reception.

John Lynch (Fox Sports, 17) — Tough week for the Vikes to face the Bears on the road after the Bears were embarrassed on Monday night by San Fran and had their QB Jay Cutler back.

Alex Marvez (Foxsports.com, 16) — It was fitting that running back Adrian Peterson arrived late to pregame warm-ups because the Vikings looked like they were sleepwalking in last Sunday's 28-10 loss to Chicago.

Dan Pompei (Chicago Tribune, 17) — If Adrian Peterson ever misses the team bus again, the Vikings should send a luxury limo to pick him up.

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