Week 14 NFL Power Rankings
- Green Bay Packers (12-0)-The Packers survived what was probably there biggest scare of the season so far. The defense must start playing better come playoff time.
- Baltimore Ravens (9-3)-Ray Rice had a huge game in Cleveland, proving once again that the Ravens are a tough team to beat when he gets enough carries. Ricky Williams also had his best performance of the season, as the Ravens rushed for a whopping 290 yards on 55 carries.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3)-The Steelers were able to come through with their statement win on Sunday against Cincinnati. It was the type of complete performance they have been looking for all season with total domination from the offense, defense, and special teams. It was a record breaking performance for three different Steelers. Roethlisberger broke Terry Bradshaw’s club record for completions, Hines Ward eclipsed 12,000 yards for his career, and James Harrison joined Chad Brown and Mike Merriweather as the only players in team history to record at least two three-sack games in the same season.
- New Orleans Saints (9-3)-Drew Brees had another monster performance in a win against the Lions, becoming the first ever NFL quarterback to eclipse the 4,000 yard mark through only 12 games. He also became the second quarterback, along with Peyton Manning, to pass for over 4,000 yards in 6 straight seasons.
- San Francisco 49ers (10-2)-The 49ers clinched their first NFC West titles since 2002 in a shutout win against the lowly Rams. No matter what happens for the rest of the season, 49ers fans have a lot to be excited about in the future.
- New England Patriots (9-3)-No matter how you slice it, Dan Orlovsky’s stat line has to be pretty concerning for Patriots fans. Orlovsky, who nearly led the winless Colts to a miraculous comeback victory in the 4th quarter, was 30 of 37 for 357 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged 9.5 yards per passing attempt. It’s tough to consider a team one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl when they’re lucky to beat the Colts and their weaknesses can be exposed by even struggling teams.
- Houston Texans (9-3)-I was the first one to write off the Texans following Matt Schaubs season ending foot injury, but you have to give the Texans serious props for the way that they’ve responded and battled through the adversity since then. Sundays win against Atlanta was a statement win. Unfortunately for Houston, the injuries seem to keep piling up as Andre Johnson left the game in the third quarter with a hamstring injury.
- Dallas Cowboys (7-5)-If not for the fact that most of the everyone else at 7-4 also lost, the Cowboys would certainly have fallen more following a very disappointing loss in Arizona. Maybe they are the same old fraudulent Cowboys after all. Still, they hold the driver’s seat in the surprisingly weak NFC East.
- Atlanta Falcons (7-5)- The Falcons should have the talent to beat the Texans without Matt Schaub, but the underachieving which has been indicative of the Falcons this season continued in Houston.
10. -New York Jets (7-5)-The Jets won ugly and did what they needed to do at Washington. Jets fans really can’t act for much more the way this season has been going.
11. Detroit Lions (7-5)-With the Bears fading fast, the Lions have a good shot at claiming the final NFC wildcard.
12. Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)-The Bengals will have to regroup quickly following their toughest loss of the season, as they are right in the midst of a heated AFC wildcard race against the Jets, Raiders, and Broncos.
13. Tennessee Titans (7-5)-Chris Johnson has certainly found his stride at the perfect time. If Johnson continues to run well, expect the Titans to make the playoffs.
14. New York Giants (6-6)-The Giants are still contenders in the NFC playoff race thanks to Bear, Lion, Saint, and Cowboy losses. They played about as well as they could have hoped for against the Packers. The good news for the Giants is that with two matchups against Dallas still remaining on the schedule, they have a chance to play themselves into the playoffs. The bad news is also that they have two games against Dallas remaining, as well as one against the Jets.
15. Denver Broncos (7-5)-Next week’s matchup hosting Chicago should be very interesting. Rarely do two teams matchup going in such completely opposite directions.
16. Oakland Raiders (7-5)-The Raiders were absolutely destroyed by the Dolphins. Carson Palmer is going to have to start playing better for them to have any chance even if they do make the playoffs.
17. Chicago Bears (7-5)-Who would have thought that the Bears, who just a few weeks ago were looked at as one of the few teams that could knock off the Packers in the NFC, would have slip this far in the rankings. Things are spinning out of control quickly in Chicago. Caleb Hanie has been even worse than expected and Matt Forte left the Kansas City game with a knee injury.
18. San Diego Chargers (5-7)-You know the Chargers have fallen pretty far when you’re surprised that they were able to beat blowout the Jaguars. That’s just what they did however, and they’re still technically in the AFC West race.
19. Miami Dolphins (4-8)- The Dolphins are playing about as well as anyone in the league barring the top five teams in these rankings. Look for more upsets from Miami from here on out.
20. Carolina Panthers (4-8)- The Panthers absolutely embarrassed the Bucs Sunday. With Cam Newton’s 3 touchdown performance on the ground, he set the NFL record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a single season. No one expected Cam Newton to break any type of records this year.
21. Seattle Seahawks (5-7)-Marshawn Lynch eclipsed 100 yards for the fourth time in five game. This type of production and a sturdy defense has kept them competitive.
22. Philadelphia Eagles (4-8)-It doesn’t look like the Eagles will finish the season any stronger than they started it. As the Dream Teams season continues to spiral into a nightmare, the question now becomes how much house cleaning will take place in the offseason.
23. Buffalo Bills (5-7)-The Bills, now 2-7 since their 3-0 start, have officially faded once again into obscurity. The defense can’t seem to stop anyone and the offense has sustained too many injuries.
24. Arizona Cardinals (5-7)-The Cardinals once again beat the Cowboys at home for the seventh time in eight tries. After getting off to a horrible start, the Cardinals have now won four of five.
25. Kansas City Chiefs (5-7)-The Chiefs are still technically alive, now two games back with four games remaining, but this season died a long time ago with Jamaal Charles’ ACL.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-8)-The Bucs do essentially nothing well on defense and clearly the offense is not good enough to make up for this issue. With so many young starters on defense, maybe they should have never have been expected to do that well this year.
27. Washington Redskins (4-8)-The Redskins played reasonably well, but couldn’t finish against the Jets. Redskin fans should really be excited about Roy Helu however, as they haven’t had a runner with close to as much upside since Clinton Portis.
28. Cleveland Browns (4-8)-The Browns played about exactly as you would expect them to play against the Ravens. The pass defense played well as usual and held Joe Flacco in check, but they couldn’t stop the run if their lives depended on it. What’s even more concerning for the Browns future is that Peyton Hillis hasn’t looked like the same player this season.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-9)-Things are getting really ugly in Jacksonville. Interim coach Mel Tucker really has his hands full as the Jaguars had to play last night without their top three cornerbacks. If I were Maurice Jones-Drew, I would certainly want out after this season.
30. Minnesota Vikings (2-10)-The Vikings were Tebow’d as expected, although they did keep things close. It doesn’t say much about this pass defense that even Tebow was able to find some success through the air against them, throwing for 202 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 15 passes.
31. St. Louis Rams (2-10)-This offense is so unbelievably bad, I’m not even surprised that they were shutout at San Francisco. Not even Steven Jackson is producing for them anymore, as defenses can just load up against the run and penetrate the running lanes against their depleted offensive line.
32. Indianapolis Colts (0-12)-The Colts showed a lot of heart against the Patriots. Maybe it’s just something about this rivalry that the game will always be competitive no matter how bad one of the teams is. It seems worth asking why Dan Orlovsky, who found a lot of success against New England, didn’t play sooner for the Colts this season. Or maybe it is just that the Patriots pass defense is so awful that they give any quarterback the capability of looking like Tom Brady. No matter which way you look at it, the game provided more questions than it did answers.