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49ers 3rd best, Raiders 5th worst in latest USA Today rankings

5:27 AM, Oct 10, 2012   |    comments
San Francsico 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree (15) tries to elude Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore (27) in the first quarter at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
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USA TODAY Sports' view of the strength of all 32 teams entering Week 6 action. Last week's ranking in parentheses.

1. Houston Texans - Brian Cushing's season-ending knee injury takes the heart out of arguably the NFL's best defense. (1st)

2. Atlanta Falcons - First the Oakland Raiders at home, then a bye. Talk about maxing out your vacation. (2nd)

3. San Francisco 49ers - Since slip in Minnesota in Week 3, 49ers outscored next two foes 79-3. (3rd)

4. Baltimore Ravens - Ravens leave "A" game at home but still leave Kansas City with a victory. (4th)

5. New England Patriots - Patriots running game getting as scary as Tom Brady's arm. (7th)

6. New York Giants - Running game gets rolling, but 49ers might bring it to a halt. (12th)

7. Chicago Bears - Over the last three weeks, the Bears' five interception returns for TDs are more than the passing TDs 21 teams have generated, including the Chicago offense. (15th)

8. Green Bay Packers  - Cedric Benson's injury is a major blow to a befuddled team. (5th)

9. Denver Broncos - Have dominated the fourth quarter, outscoring opponents 58-6. But that doesn't help when you're in the habit of falling behind 20-plus points. (9th)

10. Pittsburgh Steelers  - Rashard Mendenhall provided much-needed instant spark to the running game. Now if the receivers could just hang onto the ball. (14th)

11. Minnesota Vikings - Defense has given up 33 points over its last three games combined. (16th)

12. San Diego Chargers - Broncos' visit on Monday Night Football looms large in AFC West. Can Chargers continue to have Peyton Manning's number? They won five of the last six meetings against him. (10th)

13. Philadelphia Eagles - Just when Michael Vick was starting to take care of the football Team is 31st in points per game with 16.0. (8th)

14. Arizona Cardinals - Offensive line is a mess and backfield is without both Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams. (6th)

15. St. Louis Rams - Loss of wide receiver Danny Amendola, who had more than double the receptions of everyone else on the team, leaves Sam Bradford throwing to a cast of unknowns. (22nd)

16. Seattle Seahawks - No. 1-ranked defense will be put to the test as the Patriots come to town. (23rd)

17. Cincinnati Bengals - Must correct third-down woes if they want chance of competing in AFC North. (11th)

18. Dallas Cowboys - Did bye week provide answer for inept offense producing 16.3 points a game? (13th)

19. Detroit Lions - As opponents take away the deep ball, the Lions must eliminate drive-killing mistakes. (17th)

20. Washington Redskins - What do Alfred Morris and Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson have in common? They're the only rookies to rush for at least 75 yards in each of their first five games. (18th)

21. New Orleans Saints - Drew Brees gets record in win; interim coach Joe Vitt returning soon. (24th)

22. Indianapolis Colts - After emotional win, team could stay hot with Jets, Browns and Titans coming up. (28th)

23. Miami Dolphins - With a few breaks, Joe Philbin's young team could have easily been 4-1. (29th)

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Did bye week provide enough opportunity for Josh Freeman and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan to get on the same page? (26th)

25. New York Jets - Thanks, we know you want to help, but Mark Sanchez doesn't need any more tips. (20th)

26. Buffalo Bills - Only the 1950 New York Yanks - yes the Yanks - surrendered more yards in consecutive weeks (1,227 to 1,201). The Bills have also been outscored 90-17 in their last six quarters. (19th)

27. Carolina Panthers  - They'll never become a contender until someone other than Cam Newton is the leading rusher. (21st)

28. Oakland Raiders - Have given up more than 30 points in three consecutive games. A road trip to Atlanta likely makes it four. (30th)

29. Kansas City Chiefs - Brady Quinn expected to start while Matt Cassel recovers from a concussion - and possibly beyond. (25th)

30. Tennessee Titans - Chris Johnson has fewer than 25 rushing yards in four of five games this season. (31st)

31. Jacksonville Jaguars - We're all thankful for the bye week. (27th)

32. Cleveland Browns - Cornerback Joe Haden returns from suspension in time to cover A.J. Green. (32nd)

USA Today

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