15. Dallas Cowboys (Previously New York Jets)
The Cowboys made it look more difficult than it should have early in the game vs the Seahawks, but unlike the Giants were able to overcome their sluggish start and win the football game. The Cowboys have a favorable schedule upcoming, Buffalo, Washington, Miami, Arizona before meeting up with the Giants on December 11th, which could be a huge game (already slated for the NBC prime time game).
The last time the Cowboys played the Bills, the Bills gave them all they could handle on Monday night, that team wasn’t nearly as good as this team is. Can the Bills bounce back after a rough loss to the Jets to beat the Cowboys. That would say a lot about the Bills And the Cowboys.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers (previously the Bengals)
They are only 14th right now because two losses in their division could come back to haunt them in the playoff race. Right now the Bengals are 1-0 in the division and the Ravens are 2-0 (and hold both of their victories in the division over the Bengals). The Steelers have three loses in the conference. Any way you slice it they are behind in the tie-breakers. Will they make the playoffs? Probably. But they are not in as good a position as either the Bengals or Ravens.
13. Chicago Bears (Previously Chicago Bears)
An impressive performance by the Bears to go to the Linc and play that kind of game vs a team that had started to heat up over the past few weeks. They really kept the Eagles offense in check for the entire game. Jay Cutler really played well, and avoided a lot of pressure to keep the Bears mostly ahead of the chains. With only 12 teams making the playoffs, I think the Bears are the first ones out as of right now, which makes them 13th. If they beat the Lions they will be sitting in a good position.
12. Detroit Lions (previously Atlanta Falcons)
The Lions were on a bye here’s what I had to say about them last week.
My power rankings philosophy. Division winners go 1-8, top wild card team (of one conference) 9, 1st wild card team of other conference (10), 2nd wild card team 11, 2nd wild team card 12. Etc.
11. New York Jets (Previously Baltimore Ravens)
And here come the Jets. A couple of weeks ago you can tell that they finally got back much close to their ground and pound philosophy and since then they have been a better football team. The remergence of Plaxico Burress also helps as well. The Jets are tied with the Patriots and Bills atop the A.F.C. East and probably have the inside track over Buffalo to make the playoffs.
10. Cincinnati Bengals (previously Lions)
I’ve been written for over a month that the Bengals were the league’s most under-rated team, but they have been so good they can’t be conisdered that any longer. The Bengals hold ‘their destiny in their hands” even if they split the season series with both the Ravens and Steelers they will make the playoffs over the Steelers who have lost two games to the Ravens and another game in the conference. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green are going to be a dynamite combo for years to come. If the Raiders play poorly enough the rest of the season they could add Trent Richardson into the mix too for a truly fantastic offense to go with one of the league’s top five defenses.
9. Atlanta Falcons (previously Lions)
Ran all over the Colts and look like the best non-divison winner right now (as they should have been heading into the season). The Buccaneers are playing very inconsistent football because Josh Freeman is having an up and down year. Like the Jets, the Falcons have rediscovered that at their core they are a run first team and that has helped them get back on track.
8. San Diego Chargers (previously Detroit Lions)
Last week I wrote about the Chargers
THE worst two minute final drive I’ve ever seen in my life. Three yard pass, three yard pass, pass out of bounds? Huh? WHAT! No idea what that was. You have Philip Rivers and Mlacolm Floyd throw the ball high in the air and hope one of them comes down with it. You can’t throw it in the middle of the field with no times out left. Embarassing.
They lost a big lead to the Jets who had shown nothing on offense all season. They can’t hit the Quarterback and they seem to get worse every year.
This week I can write what is wrong with Phillip Rivers? Another multi-interception game. That atrocious fumbles What is odd is that this year he actually has a running game, Ryan Matthews has been excellent. Antonio Gates is back, Vincent Jackson is healthy. Just a strange series of events.
With Norv Turner coaching, every week Eli Manning seems more justified in passing on the opportunity to play for the San Diego Chargers.
Norv Turner is awful.
For now they still are the favorites in the A.F.C. West with the awful loss the Chiefs suffered on Sunday and the Raiders forgetting that they are supposed to an imposing defensive line.
7. New York Giants (previously Texans)
I’ve been down on the Giants all year (even though they are my favorite team) because their defense has been pretty awful. If their defense plays like it did on Sunday, they have a real shot at running away with this division. Eli Manning has led this team to five come from behind victories this season, which is M.V.P. worthy (if Aaron Rodgers wasn’t in the league). The Giants are getting healthier at the right time of the season. Rookie Prince Amukamara seems healthy now but Coughlin has said until he’s “right on the practice field” which makes it sound like Coughlin is talking more about understanding all the defensive calls. He should be back soon. WR Ramses Barden couldn’t have gotten healthy at a better time. As long as this team keeps Osi Umeinyora, Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre Paul and Corey Webster healthy they have a chance.
6. New Orleans Saints (previously New York Giants)
Big win vs a divison rival who is also trying to make the playoffs. The Saints have had some really inconsistent performances, but are very dangerous. One of the few teams in the league who can score enough points to stay with the Green Bay Packers.
5 Houston Texans (Previously Ravens)
And you’re A.F.C. South division winners, the Houston Texans. The Texans are pulling a “Colts” and putting this division away early. The Titans can’t get out of their own way, though Chris Johnson finally started to show up on Sunday. The difference between the Texans this year and the Texans of the past is when it’s “put up or shut up” they come out and put forth a good effort. Maybe Peyton Manning being out has given them a swagger, or it’s the natural order of things, but the little brother of the A.F.C. South has finally grown up.
4. New England Patriots (New Orleans Saints)
Im’ going to keep them here despite the loss to the Giants because they are in a three way tie with the Jets and Buffalo Bills atop the A.F.C. East and I just can’t see them losing three games in a row. Huge game vs the Jets on Sunday.
3. San Francisco 49ers (49ers)
Why are they so high? If this team plays poorly the rest of the season they should win 11 games.
Unlike the lame stream media-I’ve been high on the 49ers for almost two months. Why? They can run the ball well, they can stop the run well (the most consistent run stopping defense in the league), They have good special teams and Alex Smith is playing the clock manager job well. They also play in a weak division. The 49ers have a realistic chance at winning 11 or 12 games this year based on their schedule. The 49ers could actually end up with a bye.
Washington, Giants, Arizona, Baltimore, STL, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Seattle, St. Louis
They should be favorites in every game except MAYBE Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
Seriously, the 49ers could end up with a bye in the playoffs. Who saw that coming?
2. Baltimore Ravens (Previously Pittsburgh Steelers)
The Ravens are here by default more than anything. Parity seems alive and well to the fullest extent this year. The Ravens have been up and down as any other team in the league, but this week they are up after a big win vs the Steelers. Questions are abound this year with Joe Flacco, but he really showed up big late vs the Steelers. The Ravens have a good defense, but will only go as far as Flacco takes them.
1. Green Bay Packers (previously Packers)
The Green Bay Packer were on a bye, but here’s what I said about them last week (and every week before that)
Until they are unseated they remain King. Their pass defense has looked poor though this season and that bears watching as the playoffs approach. But when you have Aaron Rodgers, their offensive weapons, and a bright offensive minded coach you can win a lot of games by out scoring people.
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