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Power Poll: Denver Broncos among AFC's elite teams

The AFC is taking a lot of heat this season for being the weaker conference. It should. ATL's weekly Power Poll entry hardly is scientific, but the bottom seven teams on the poll are all from the AFC.

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Still, the difference of high-quality teams between conferences is overstated. There aren't insanely dominant teams in either conference. The AFC is top heavy, but it has roughly the same amount of title contenders as the NFC.

The Houston Texans are as balanced as any team in football. The New England Patriots' roster is better than a year ago despite their record. This is a more talented group. The Denver Broncos have emerged as true threats with Peyton Manning playing so well. We have doubts about the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it would be stunning if one of them doesn't improve in the second half.

That's at least four Super Bowl contenders. The NFC has five: the New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons, and the Chicago Bears.

After that, there's a lot of mediocrity. This is the NFL in the 21st century. A lot of very good teams with noticeable flaws. No dominant squads. Just how the NFL likes it.

Here's ATL's Week 9 Power Poll entry:

1. Giants

2. Texans

3. 49ers

4. Patriots

5. Falcons

6. Packers

7. Bears

8. Broncos

9. Ravens

10. Seahawks

11. Dolphins

12. Steelers

13. Cowboys

14. Vikings

15. Eagles

16. Cardinals

17. Lions

18. Redskins

19. Buccaneers

20. Jets

21. Colts

22. Saints

23. Bengals

24. Rams

25. Panthers

26. Browns

27. Chargers

28. Titans

29. Bills

30. Raiders

31. Jaguars

32. Chiefs

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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