By RICHARD ROSENBLATT, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — With Arian Foster running and J.J. Watt swatting away passes, the Houston Texans remained unbeaten and tightened their grip on the top spot in the AP Pro32 NFL power rankings.
The Texans improved to 5-0 with a 23-17 win over the New York Jets on Monday night. They received 10 of the 12 first-place votes and 382 points Tuesday from the 12-person panel of media members who regularly cover the NFL.
Atlanta, the NFL's only other unbeaten team, held on to second with 336 points. San Francisco received two first-place votes and 333 points to stay third.
"The Texans are the class of the league right now with dominant players in J.J. Watt, Arian Foster and Andre Johnson," said voter John Lynch of Fox Sports. "Fun to watch!"
Houston hosts the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, and will be without star linebacker Brian Cushing, out for the year with a torn left knee ligament.
"Losing Brian Cushing will hurt, although they have dealt well with injuries before," noted Clifton Brown of Sporting News.
Indianapolis jumped nine spots to 22nd after rallying to upset the Packers 30-27 on Sunday in its first game without coach Chuck Pagano, who is being treated for leukemia.
"A win for Chuck Pagano and the human spirit," said ESPN's Chris Berman.
Baltimore remained fourth, New England advanced to fifth and Chicago improved three places to sixth off its 41-3 win against Jacksonville.
"As long as they keep scoring TDs on defense, I'll keep moving them up the list," said CBS Sports/Sirius XM's Rich Gannon, who put the Bears seventh.
Also moving up the rankings were Minnesota and Pittsburgh. The Vikings, a surprising 4-1, advanced six places to eighth, and the Steelers moved up six spots to ninth after their win over Philadelphia.
Atlanta may be 5-0, but until the Falcons win a playoff game there will be questions.
Says Clark Judge of CBSSports.com: "Let's just fast forward to the playoffs so we can see if Matt Ryan can do there what he does the first 16 games of the season."
The 49ers have a loss, but two voters had them first.
"Niners have outscored last two opponents by a combined 79-3. Right here, right now, they're the most complete team out there," said Newsday's Bob Glauber, one of the 49ers' backers.
Buffalo had the biggest drop, seven places to 27th after a 45-3 loss to the 49ers.
Cleveland, the league's lone winless team, is 32nd and last.
"As the NFL's only remaining winless team, they are now officially the favorite in the Geno Smith sweepstakes," said Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL
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