2012 NFL Power Rankings: Week 16
Being No. 1 doesn't seem to agree with the New England Patriots.
For the second time this season, Tom Brady & Co. couldn't hold serve after being handed the top spot. Their Sunday night loss to the San Francisco 49ers opened the door for several teams to potentially reach the summit. In addition to San Francisco, the Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers were all victorious in Week 15.
So whom did our voters (ESPN.com's John Clayton, ESPN.com's Ashley Fox, NFC East blogger Dan Graziano, AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley and NFC West blogger Mike Sando) award? It wasn't unanimous, but San Francisco was given the nod over red-hot Denver and 12-2 Houston.
The Patriots dropped to No. 4, followed by the Falcons and Packers.
Can the Niners handle prosperity better than New England? It won't be easy. Their first challenge is navigating a trip to Seattle, where the surging Seahawks are 6-0.
Another Seattle home victory will likely mean more significant movement among the elite, which has been the norm in recent weeks.