Coming off a blowout win against the Houston Texans on Monday night, the New England Patriots maintain their hold on top spot in the TSN.ca NFL Power Rankings.
New England will effectively get to defend top spot this week when they host the second-ranked San Francisco 49ers. Head-to-head results don't determine the rankings, but the Niners are close enough that a win at New England would make it likely that they would overtake the Patriots but, as the Texans found out, that's no easy task.
With four straight wins and an apparently healthy quarterback, the Washington Redskins climbed from 14 to eight and the Carolina Panthers, a lively underdog late in the season, moved up from 22 to 19.
Four losses in five games contributed to the Chicago Bears dropping from seven to 11, while the Buffalo Bills were victims to a number of winners in the lower third of the rankings, so Buffalo's loss (along with the season-ending injury to RB Fred Jackson and knee injury to starting centre Eric Wood), coupled with wins by the Chargers, Browns and Jets, dropped the Bills from 21 to 26.