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Patriots' lead as NFL's top team shrinks in latest Vegas Rankings

The New England Patriots' injuries are starting to pile up. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

LAS VEGAS -- The New England Patriots remain No. 1 in the NFL Vegas Rankings, but their lead is slipping. New England was not only removed from the ranks of the unbeaten with its 30-24 overtime loss in Denver this past Sunday night; its ever-increasing injury list has led to ESPN Chalk's panel of NFL handicappers -- Sal Selvaggio, Erin Rynning and yours truly, Dave Tuley -- to drop the Patriots' power rating by 1.5 points, They're now just half a point ahead of the three teams tied for No. 2: the undefeated Carolina Panthers, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Arizona Cardinals, all of which won in Week 12 (though the Cardinals didn't cover in their 19-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers).

Just three weeks ago, the Patriots were rated 3 points better than the No. 2 teams (the Broncos and Bengals at the time).

Speaking of the Broncos, they had been dropped when Peyton Manning was sidelined, but they had the biggest increase of 2 points in this week's power ratings after backup quarterback Brock Osweiler led them to their second-straight victory in as many starts in relief of Manning.

Movin' on up

Besides the Broncos,