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Week Nine power rankings

Dallas Cowboys v Atlanta Falcons

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 4: Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons gets set to take the field against the Dallas Cowboys at the Georgia Dome on November 4, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons defeated the Cowboys 19-13. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

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1. Falcons (six first-place votes): The headline in Atlanta said, “Halfway to Perfect.” But halfway to perfect is 9.5 wins, not eight.

2. Texans: Instead of wagging a finger at the Houston sideline, former Texans defensive end Mario Williams should have flapped his checkbook.

3. Bears: With that defense, maybe the offense never needs to fully wake up.

4. 49ers: Does Jim Harbaugh get mad at the officials even during the bye week?

5. Packers: Aaron Rodgers quietly is inching toward back-to-back MVP trophies.

6. Giants: The usual strong start to the season has ended, and the usual midseason swoon has begun.

7. Patriots: With Aqib Talib coming to town, it’s probably wise to lock up the muskets. Allegedly.

8. Broncos: Mike Brown doesn’t own the Bengals; with an 8-0 career record against Cincy, Peyton Manning does.

9. Steelers: As usual, Mike Tomlin finds a way to get the most out of whatever hand he’s dealt.

10. Ravens: When the coach regards a game against the Browns as a “must” win, it’s obvious things aren’t going well.

11. Colts: Indianapolis at Denver in the first round of the playoffs would be one of the most memorable postseason games in NFL history. Which means it likely won’t happen.

12. Seahawks: Once this team figures out how to win on the road, they’ll be on their way to contending for a title.

13. Dolphins: Colts defenders are still grabbing for air after that Reggie Bush juke.

14. Lions: If the Madden curse means that a guy will be banged up but play really, really well, plenty of players would sign up for it.

15. Buccaneers: By making it known he doesn’t like to be called “Muscle Hamster,” Doug Martin has just earned that nickname. For the rest of his life.

16. Vikings: Lose to the Lions, and 5-2 could end up 5-11.

17. Chargers: We’re starting a “which week will Norv be fired” office pool. I’ve got Week 12.

18. Bengals: The distinction between beating bad teams and losing to good teams has finally disappeared in Cincy, but not in the way they’d hoped.

19. Saints: When the Falcons come to town on Sunday, the Superdome will be a-rockin’. You know the rest.

20. Rams: With two of the next four games against the 49ers, this year’s record is going to start looking a lot more like last year’s record.

21. Cardinals: Is it too late to trade for Mike Vick?

22. Panthers: Cam Newton’s press conferences are a lot more interesting after a loss.

23. Cowboys: The question isn’t whether the owner should fire the G.M. The question remains whether the owner ever should have hired the G.M. in the first place.

24. Redskins: Maybe if the players are being “evaluated,” the head coach won’t be.

25. Eagles: They now have to go 5-3 to be just good enough to get Andy Reid fired.

26. Jets: How bad are the Jets? They didn’t play this week, and no one noticed.

27. Raiders: Doug Martin already has become more than Darren McFadden ever was.

28. Titans: Owner Bud Adams will be firing off plenty of middle fingers and pink slips, soon.

29. Bills: After the loss to the Texans, Mario Williams was overheard saying, “Consequences, shmonsequences, as long as I’m rich.

30. Browns: Pat Shurmur’s fourth-quarter decision-making will make it easier to make it easier for Joe Banner to make a decision when the fourth-quarter of the season ends.

31. Jaguars: Is it worse to be “embarrassed” or “shocked and perplexed”?

32. Chiefs: Romeo Crennel firing himself as the defensive coordinator wasn’t the termination Chiefs fans have been looking for. But they’ll surely regard it as a good start.