Power Rankings: Week 12
The Texans and Falcons walked out of our last Power Rankings feeling pretty secure. Home games against the Jaguars and Cardinals should have led to easy victories.
Only, they didn’t. They both won, but in the process raised more questions than they answered. How would our analysts react to that? Have they lost patience with an Atlanta team that wins unconvincingly? Are they falling for a Broncos outfit that may be the NFLs’ most complete?
Rank Khaled Neil Sam Ben Nathan 1 HST DEN HST HST DEN 2 DEN NE SF GB SF 3 GB SF NE ATL HST 4 NE HST ATL NE GB 5 SF GB DEN SF NE 6 ATL ATL GB DEN SEA 7 PIT BLT BLT BLT ATL 8 NYG CHI SEA NYG CHI 9 CHI NYG CHI SEA NO 10 BLT SEA NYG PIT TB 11 SEA PIT TB CHI BLT 12 TB NO MIN NO NYG 13 NO TB NO DAL DAL 14 CIN CIN PIT TB IND 15 MIN DAL DAL CIN PIT 15 IND IND WAS MIN WAS 17 WAS MIN CIN IND MIN 18 DAL DET MIA MIA CIN 19 DET NYJ DET SD MIA 20 BUF SL IND DET BUF 21 MIA WAS ARZ WAS DET 22 TEN BUF PHI SL NYJ 23 NYJ MIA SL PHI SL 24 SL SD SD CLV SD 25 SD TEN CAR TEN TEN 26 CAR CLV BUF NYJ PHI 27 ARZ CAR NYJ BUF CAR 27 PHI OAK TEN ARZ ARZ 29 CLV ARZ CLV CAR CLV 30 JAX PHI OAK JAX JAX 31 OAK JAX JAX OAK OAK 32 KC KC KC KC KC
And now on to our overall rankings.
1. Houston Texans (1st)
It’s worrying how many big plays the Texans gave up to the Jaguars, but encouraging that they were able to get a big game out of their passing attack. Is the defense starting to slow down without legitimate edge rushers and Brian Cushing?
2. Denver Broncos (2nd)
How worrying is this for the rest of the league? Peyton Manning has a less than stellar game with some questionable accuracy, yet the defense is dominant enough to strangle the life out of the Chargers. Pretty complete.
3. San Francisco 49ers (6th)
Are they a better team with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback? It’s the question everyone wants to know, yet it’s far too early to tell. He certainly appeals to those who love the idea of more risk, more reward. Is that really what these 49ers are about?
4. New England Patriots (4th)
That was the Patriots of old, wasn’t it? Forcing the opposition into a shootout and then picking them off when they couldn’t keep up. The defense is shaky, but it has more playmakers than it did a year ago.
5. Green Bay Packers (5th)
What’s going on with the offense? It doesn’t look anywhere near as explosive as it did a year ago. Still, that defense has found themselves some playmakers in the secondary. They’ll need them come the end of the season.
6. Atlanta Falcons (3rd)
A win is rewarded with a three-spot drop? That’s how unconvincing the Falcons were, reliant on the Cardinals’ offense with a third-string quarterback simply being worse than theirs. There is a skill to winning and playing badly, but eventually you start thinking of what it means for the bigger picture.
7. Baltimore Ravens (8th)
A big win over Pittsburgh, but should we be getting ahead of ourselves considering the absence of Big Ben? As strange as it sounds, San Diego may be a bigger test this week.
8. Seattle Seahawks (9th)
There’s a lot to be excited about in Seattle, but they’ll need to pick up a win in Miami. Home wins will only take you so far.
9. Chicago Bears (7th)
Well, that wasn’t pretty. It was just as we thought, once the Bears faced stiff competition, they faltered. Minnesota has now become a very big game.
10. New York Giants (9th)
If they can use the bye week to get back to their best, then 10th is too low. If they come out firing blanks, then they could be set to plummet.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers (11th)
Would the result have been different if Ben Roethlisberger played? Does it matter? The Steelers are down to their third-string quarterback, which has really halted that momentum they were building up.
12. New Orleans Saints (13th)
Slowly, but surely, the Saints are moving up the rankings as they make themselves a bigger part of the playoff picture. That offense should scare plenty of teams right now.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12th)
Now comes the big test for Tampa Bay. Beating the Panthers is one thing, but everyone will have to take them seriously if they put a thumping on the Falcons.
14. Dallas Cowboys (14th)
They made hard work out of the Browns. On paper we know the Cowboys have talent, so just why are they struggling so much? They need to answer that question.
15. Minnesota Vikings (15th)
They’ve got themselves into a position better than most imagined. Now they have games against Chicago, Green Bay and Chicago again coming up that will define their season.
16. Cincinnati Bengals (18th)
They got past the Chiefs with relative ease as Geno Atkins starred once again. Andy Dalton doesn’t need to be great for this team to be competitive, and right now he’s doing his bit.
17. Indianapolis Colts (16th)
When the fortunes of your team rely on a rookie quarterback you can expect days like the one in Foxboro. Andrew Luck looks like he could be very good, but right now he’s still got a ways to go.
18. Washington Redskins (20th)
They dismantled a poor Eagles team and up next comes a real test of their postseason aspirations. Dallas at Thanksgiving won’t be easy, but then with RG3 anything is possible right?
19. Detroit Lions (19th)
They had a chance to pick off the Packers but, let’s be honest, Matthew Stafford wasn’t very good. The Titus Young issues seem to mean that has been forgotten.
20. Miami Dolphins (17th)
They were sitting pretty three games ago, but now they find themselves hosting Seattle and needing a win to get their season back on track. Can they do it? None of the PFF team appears to know what to expect out of the Dolphins.
21. St Louis Rams (21st)
They were bad against the Jets. Very bad. Sam Bradford was a particular disappointment and isn’t convincing anyone right now he’s the guy to lead the Rams to better days.
22. Buffalo Bills (26th)
Will they improve as Mario Williams gets healthier? There were certainly some more encouraging signs against Miami. Despite the lows of this year, they’re still a team to keep an eye on.
23. San Diego Chargers (22nd)
They look like a beaten team. Even when they rattled Manning they couldn’t do enough on offense, with Philip Rivers burdened by the pressure coming his way.
24. New York Jets (28th)
They didn’t make mistakes against the Rams and that was enough for them to win. Now facing New England they’ll need to do more. Can they?
25. Tennessee Titans (24th)
What to make of the Titans? The defense looks quite good at times, and the offensive line has certainly improved in recent weeks. They’re going in the right direction.
26. Philadelphia Eagles (23rd)
After such a distinguished spell as coach of the Eagles, it appears to be ending quite embarrassingly for Andy Reid. How have they found themselves in this situation?
27. Arizona Cardinals (25th)
Yep another defeat, though they showed a lot more fight than many would expect. The problems stem from an offensive line that is as ‘offensive’ as it gets. Too little attention to that and this house of Cards has crumbled.
28. Carolina Panthers (29th)
They’re pretty good at turning winning situations into losing ones, no?
29. Cleveland Browns (26th)
They’re pretty good at playing just well enough to lose competitively, no?
30. Oakland Raiders (30th)
Sometimes you just need to turn your attention to 2013 and think about how to turn this sinking ship around. There’s a lot of years of mismanagement to make up for here.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (32nd)
A valiant defeat, but a defeat nonetheless. The quarterback controversy isn’t going away and it appears there are a number of guys fighting for their future, as opposed to building a better one.
32. Kansas City Chiefs (31st)
Just woeful. The Chiefs have talent everywhere, and you can win with worse quarterbacks than Matt Cassel. They should know, they were able to win with him before. Unfortunately, the hire of Romeo Crennel hasn’t work out and it’s time to shake the organization up.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled