LBS NFL Power Rankings Week 12
Back-to-back wins over the Steelers and Colts secure the Patriots’ standing as the team to beat in the NFL. Their defense is creating timely turnovers and their offense looks even better without Randy Moss. Their game against the Lions on Thanksgiving has trap game written all over it with the quick turnaround.
The Jets may be the best team in the NFL at finding a way to win. They’ve played some below-average teams and haven’t been able to dominate many games, but they seem to find a way to come out on top. Their Week 13 match-up with the Patriots will probably be the biggest game of the year.
The Falcons could be the NFL’s best kept secret. They’ve won four in a row, yet no one seems to be talking about them. I’m sure they don’t mind. They have the Packers at home this weekend in what could be a game that does a lot to determine playoff seeding down the road.
Michael Vick is undefeated in games where he has played all 60 minutes this season. He also hasn’t thrown a single interception. The fact that he’s able to make plays like he does without turning the ball over is mind blowing. If teams don’t figure out how to stop Vick, the Eagles can reserve their hotel in Arlington.
I think Pittsburgh’s defense took the loss to New England personally. They destroyed a Raiders team that has looked impressive in recent weeks, despite Richard Seymour punching Ben Roethlisberger in the face. The Steelers’ offense — particularly Big Ben — looked very sharp.
The Packers threw Brad Childress a going away party by slamming the Vikings in Minnesota. Their defense has let up 10 points in the last three games. That’s just over a field goal allowed per game, which is unheard of in the NFL. Green Bay’s offense is already dangerous. They’ll be tough to beat if this D sticks around.
It took the Ravens about 55 minutes to take advantage of Brian St. Pierre, but they got it done with two pick-sixes in the fourth quarter. With an AFC North battle against the Steelers coming up in two weeks, Baltimore needs to be careful not to overlook the Bucs at home this weekend.
The Saints looked like a well-rested team coming off a bye week. Drew Brees threw for nearly 400 yards and 4 touchdowns. If he’s playing with a torn meniscus and a fractured knee, it doesn’t seem to be bothering him. Their passing attack is improving by the week.
The 49ers are bad, but the Bucs must be pretty good to go into San Francisco and shut them out. No team has done that since 1977. Josh Freeman is starting to look like a natural leader. It’s unfortunate Tampa Bay is in a division with the Saints and Falcons, or they’d have a much better shot at the playoffs.
The Giants had a chance to knock off the unstoppable Michael Vick, but Eli Manning made a costly mistake when he fumbled. They’ve now lost two straight after winning five in a row. They need to stop the bleeding before the “Giants are a terrible second half of the season team” talk takes over.
The Colts could have come from 17 points down to beat the Patriots in Foxboro — the same way they did in Indianpolis last season. Instead, Peyton Manning threw an interception in the red zone at the end of the game. With all their injuries, Indy doesn’t look like a Super Bowl contender.
I guess the Bears are better than we thought. Either that or they keep getting good draw after good draw, which you could make an argument for considering they just faced Tyler Thigpen and the Dolphins. Still, 7-3 is 7-3.
The Chargers slapped the Broncos on Monday night and look a lot better than their 5-5 record would indicate. They’ve won three straight and their slow start appears to be a thing of the past. Vincent Jackson returns this week and Antonio Gates is right behind him. Look out, AFC.
Jacksonville started out looking like one of the worst teams in the league and all of a sudden they lead the AFC South. They won on Sunday despite six turnovers and on a Hail Mary the week before. They aren’t very good, but they’re finding ways to win and that’s all that matters.
The Chiefs are hoping the Cardinals were just what they needed to right the ship. Their next two are against Seattle and Denver. Seattle is not very good and Kansas City will be looking for revenge against the Broncos. They have a shot at an 8-4 record.
The Dolphins managed exactly 0 points with Tyler Thigpen at the helm on Thursday night. Miami hasn’t announced whether or not Chad Henne will play, but my guess is he will. He was an emergency back-up on Thursday and the Dolphins will fall completely out of the race if they don’t get him back.
Oakland caught the Steelers at a bad time. Pittsburgh brought an angry defense to the field and wasn’t about to lose two straight home games. They had won four of five games prior to the loss and have a chance to get back on track immediately, as they host Miami this weekend.
The Redskins couldn’t afford to lose three straight but it was a definite reality when they went to Tennessee to take on the Titans. Fortunately for Washington, it looks like the Titans have the Randy Moss flu. Oh, and the Vince Young flu.
The Titans have big time internal issues between Jeff Fisher and Vince Young. To make matters worse, Randy Moss has caught one pass in two games with the team. We all know how that ends. Tennessee is in serious hot water.
The Seahawks move up a spot despite the loss because all of the NFL’s bad teams lost this week. At least they were beaten by the defending Super Bowl champs. Again, they’re in the NFC West. They could still make the playoffs.
Houston’s pass defense killed them once again as they couldn’t hold off a late charge by Mark Sanchez and the Jets. They’ve lost four straight, including three heart breakers. They desperately need a win this weekend against the Titans with Philadelphia and Baltimore coming in behind them.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the Cowboys aren’t as bad as everyone thinks. Jason Garrett is now 2-0 as a head coach and is making good use of Jon Kitna. The Thanksgiving Day game against the Saints will prove what they’re really made of.
The Browns lost to a not-so-good Jaguars team, but they were also coming off the toughest four-game stretch of any team in the NFL. It was bound to catch up to them sometime. They should beat Brian St. Pierre and the Panthers easily.
A win over the Falcons would have been huge for the Rams, but Atlanta could be the best team in the NFC. I still see St. Louis as being the strongest team in the incredibly weak NFC West.
Since starting out 6-0 last year, Josh McDaniels is 5-15 as coach of the Broncos. If he doesn’t turn it around fast his stay in Denver could turn out to be a short one. Knowshon Moreno has been a lone bright spot for their offense.
I never thought the Bills would make it as high as 26 on our rankings this year, but they’re the only team at the bottom of this list that is making improvements. Their come-from-behind win over the Bengals showed a ton of grit and toughness.
It’s pretty much pick your poison with the last six teams on this list. The 49ers have won a couple games lately and have a favorable match-up against the Cardinals this weekend, so we’ll give them the nod as best of the worst for now.
Kurt Warner left this team in shambles. The Cardinals don’t have an answer at quarterback and as a result have lost five in a row after a 3-2 start to the year. If they don’t beat the 49ers at home this weekend, they’ll be looking at a top-5 pick in the draft.
The Vikings finally canned Brad Childress and they should waive Brett Favre while they’re at it. Instead, interim head coach Leslie Frazier has announced he’ll stick with Favre for now. Why? I have no idea.
Matthew Stafford’s injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Lions, as it seems to have stunted their growth. At least they have something to play for on Thanksgiving day, as the Patriots should be a little worn down from back to back wins over the Steelers and Colts.
An epic meltdown against the Bills was just the icing on the cake for a horrible 2010 season for the Bengals. Terrell Owens couldn’t have been more right when he said Cincinnati is terrible. Major disappointment.
The Brian St. Pierre experiment looked better than anticipated until the fourth quarter, when he threw back-to-back pick sixes. John Fox looks to have all but given up on this team.