NFL Week 12 Power Rankings
- Green Bay Packers (10-0)-The Bucs have now laid the blueprint for beating the Packers. Will it happen? This remains to be seen. Can it happen? The way the Packers defense is playing, it can happen on any given Sunday.
- San Francisco 49ers (9-1)-The 49ers rank 6th in rushing yards and have the league’s most dominant rush defense led by Patrick Willis. They have a quarterback that is not making crucial mistakes. No matter how much the NFL has changed in recent years, these are still the key ingredients of a Super Bowl contender.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3)-The bye week could not have come at a better time for Pittsburgh, allowing Roethlisberger’s fractured thumb crucial extra time to heal. With significant showdowns against Cincinnati and San Francisco looming, the Steelers need to get healthy quick.
- Baltimore Ravens (7-3)-As the big home win against the Bengals proved, when Cam Cameron feeds Ray Rice the ball for 15 plus carries, they are very hard to beat. Why this doesn’t happen every game with an inconsistent quarterback like Joe Flacco is beyond me. In Ravens losses this season, Rice has had 13, 8, and 5 carry games.
- New England Patriots (7-3)-Do they have a weaknesses? Yes. Do they still have Tom Brady? Yes. They have just as good a chance to get hot and make a run as anyone. Scoring 34 against Kansas City in a game when their offense wasn’t even clicking for the whole game is a perfect example.
- New Orleans Saints (7-3)-When the Saints stay relatively balanced, they’re a tough out for anyone. Whether they’re contenders or pretenders remains to be seen. Big matchups await them.
- Detroit Lions (7-3)-Shaky outing against Carolina, but Cam Newton can give any defense headaches, and the Panthers are a dangerous team regardless of record. Who else is excited for a legitimate Thanksgiving matchup in Detroit for once?
- Dallas Cowboys (6-4)-There is potential for greatness in Dallas this season. When they’ve looked good, they’ve looked as good as anyone. Still, isn’t potential an all too familiar word for the Cowboys in the Tony Romo era. It will be interesting to see which of the NFC wild-card contenders fades down the stretch. The Cowboys are a usual suspect for this.
- Atlanta Falcons (6-4)-With a disappointing pass rush, and all around lackluster secondary, it’s hard to envision the Falcons knocking off either the Packers or the Saints come playoff time. It’s a weakness that will be exposed.
10. New York Giants (6-4)-Disappointing road loss to the desperate Eagles leaves more questions than answers for the G-Men. They need Ahmad Bradshaw back, Brandon Jacobs simply isn’t the player he used to be.
11. Cincinnati Bengals (6-4)-The Cincinnati Bengals have lost two in a row and no contending NFL team believes in moral losses. However, in these last two weeks the Bengals have showed a lot of promise, fight, and resiliency. Expect a strong stretch run.
12. Chicago Bears (7-3)-The most important and uncharacteristic thing the Chicago Bears are doing this season is beating the teams they should beat. Every team they have lost to are NFC contenders. With such an easy schedule down the stretch, it would be hard to fathom the Bears not making the playoffs. However, with Jay Cutler likely out for the remainder of the season with a fractured thumb and the unknown Caleb Hanie leading the way, it would be just as hard to fathom the Bears going anywhere in the playoffs.
13. Houston Texans (7-3)-I see no chance for the Texans without Matt Schaub. It’s a shame, as it finally seemed liked the year when the Texans would put it all together. They’ll probably still make the playoffs out of the weak AFC South, but they won’t go anywhere.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (4-6)-The Eagles are unlikely to make the playoffs this year, but despite having a record of 4-6 they are still a better team than the entire pack sitting at 5-5, as well as the 6-4 Raiders. Their season may be ultimately remembered as disappointing, but as the Giants win on Sunday night showed, right now they’re still dangerous.
15. New York Jets (5-5)-The Jets are the latest team to be Tebow’d. All they can hope for now is a wildcard, but with the way they’re playing even that seems unlikely.
16. Oakland Raiders (6-4)-The Raiders are 6-4, and Carson Palmer is starting to play a little bit better. They may even win the pathetic AFC West with San Diego reeling in the second half of the season. With all this being said, I still have a hard time considering the Raiders a quality football team.
17. Buffalo Bills (5-5)- Embarrassing loss to Miami. Just what exactly has gone wrong in Buffalo? For one thing, they’re not winning the turnover battle like they were earlier in the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown two or more interceptions in 4 out of his last 5 games.
18. San Diego Chargers (4-6)-Another puzzling year in San Diego has come to fruition. I’m as puzzled as the next guy. This year, they’re not even dominating statistically like they have in years past.
19. Tennessee Titans (5-5)-The Titans supposedly have one of the premier running backs in all of football, and an experienced offensive line to open up holes for them, yet they are ranked dead last in rushing. Of course every defense would rather force Matt Hasselback to beat them, but still, something doesn’t add up here.
20. Denver Broncos (5-5)-Another anemic statistical performance from Tim Tebow, another Broncos win. They seem to have found some odd type of winning formula. Maybe the supposed “winning formula” of the NFL is a bit of a myth after all.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6)-The Bucs looked strong in defeat against the Packers, but they failed to finish the same way they started.
22. Kansas City Chiefs (4-6)-It’s tough to expect much offensive production out of K.C. with Tyler Palko running the offense. Still, scoring only three points against a weak Patriots defense is embarrassing for any offense.
23. Seattle Seahawks (4-6)-The Seahawks have won two in a row, moving their record to 4-6. In a typical year in the NFC West, they would be right in the thick of the race at this point.
24. Cleveland Browns (4-6)-If it wasn’t for a truly outstanding pass defense that keeps them in a lot of games, the Browns would be far worse off. Still, their record seems to suggest that they’ve made more strides under rookie coach Pat Shurmur than they actually have.
25. Miami Dolphins (3-7)-The Dolphins, now winners of three in a row, have embraced the spoiler role with glowing results. As a winless team, they were never actually as bad as their record was.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7)-With the worst ranked passing offense in the entire NFL, the Jaguars front office has to be second guessing their decision to cut David Garrard prior to the start of the season. I bet Jack Del Rio would feel more comfortable about his own job security if Garrard was still throwing for him as well.
27. Washington Redskins (3-7)-The Skins’ lost a heart-breaker to Dallas in a game that was worthy of the rivalry. The season has truly gotten away from Mike Shanahan. At this point, why not just be patient, except losing, and provide John Beck with some valuable experience for the future? Rex Grossman will never be the answer in Washington.
28. Arizona Cardinals (3-7)-The Cardinals were dominated by the 49ers in San Francisco. John Skelton has been awful, even by the standards of an inexperienced, developing quarterback.
29. Carolina Panthers (2-8)-I wasn’t surprised to see the Panthers give the Lions such a tough outing Sunday. Cam Newton gives these Panthers a chance to win every week, despite whatever other weaknesses on the roster may exist. Now hopefully for Panthers fans, they don’t finish too strong and have the chance to address some of these needs in the upcoming draft.
30. Minnesota Vikings (2-8)-It has turned into a transition year for the Vikings, as FSU alum Christian Ponder continues to develop. This beats starting Donovan McNabb and having a similar, if slightly better record.
31. St. Louis Rams (2-8)-The Rams have scored 120 points in 10 games, including 11 defensive points. An overhaul of this pathetic offensive line is sure to take place in the offseason.
32. Indianapolis Colts (0-10)-Expect the Panthers, a struggling team with hope, to dominate the hopeless Colts in Indy on Sunday. No one, not even Peyton Manning, could have expected things to get this ugly.