NFL Power Rankings – Week 13

November 25, 2008 | Thyrl Nelson

There were no major shakeups in the power rankings this week, especially at the top, unless you consider the Titans slipping out of the top spot to #2 to be a major shakeup that is. With each passing week we seem to gain a little more clarity into the likely playoff picture, and possible seeding scenarios.

 

There’s still a lot of football left to be played, and certainly a surprise or two still around the corner in the season’s closing weeks, but by now I think we have a pretty good idea of which teams are contenders and which ones are pretenders. What’s still very much up for grabs though, is which of those contenders will position themselves to walk away with the hardware at the end. After all, there’s no trophy for being the best team after 11 games, or even 16 for that matter. It’s all about the playoffs, but until they begin, here’s how I see things so far.

 

NFL Power Rankings Archive3- 4567 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12

 

Week 13 NFL Power Rankings

 

1. New York Giants (2) – 10-1 – Most, myself included, probably felt that they were deserving of the top spot a few weeks ago, but the Titans simply kept rolling along. At this point, I think the consensus is that the Giants are probably the team to beat. We’ll see how they are able to maintain their focus and health down the stretch. Next Week: @ WAS

 

2. Tennessee Titans (1) – 10-1 – The Titans have struggled to run the ball in recent weeks, and this time it came back to bite them. Expect Jeff Fischer to use this as an opportunity to rally his troops. Having something left to work on at this point in the season isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Next Week: @ DET (Thanksgiving)

 

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (5) – 8-3 – The Steelers have quietly been doing what we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from them. A strong effective defense, complimented by a conservative yet efficient offense has been the formula that’s kept the Steelers rolling along, and mostly staying under the radar while doing it. Next Week: @ NE

 

4. New York Jets (6) – 8-3 – Although the AFC East is still very much up for grabs, the Jets have gone a long way to cementing their position in control of the race. It appears that Brett Favre was right when he said that he thought he might have a little more football left in him. It looks like the Jets do too. Next Week: vs. DEN

 

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8) – 8-3 – It seems that Jon Gruden has taken his once complex offense and made it plug and play. Despite the rash of injuries to skill position players, the Bucs keep getting it done with a revolving cast of characters on offense, and the defense that the Bucs have been known for. Next Week: vs. NO

 

6. Arizona Cardinals (4) – 7-4 – They held their own with the mighty Giants for just over a half, but clearly still have work to do if they hope to contend with the NFC’s elite. Perhaps the Cards were a bit hasty in phasing Edgerin James out of their game plan altogether. Next Week: @ PHI (Thanksgiving)

 

7. Carolina Panthers (3) – 8-3 – Maybe they were simply due for a letdown. Or maybe, like a lot of us they underestimated the upstart Atlanta Falcons. Whatever the reason for Sunday’s debacle, the NFC South doesn’t allow much margin for error. Even if they can’t get past Tampa though, the Panthers still find themselves in the best position of all of the potential wild cards. Next Week: @ GB

 

8. Indianapolis Colts (9) – 7-4 – Reports of the Colts’ demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated. The Colts are still very much in the thick of the hunt in the AFC, if not the AFC South, and may be proving that they’re even more dangerous with their backs to the wall. Next Week: @ CLE

 

9. Baltimore Ravens (10) – 7-4 – After a few early season stumbles late in games, the Ravens now appear to have the endgame mastered. Keeping teams from getting wide open early may be the key to the Ravens being able to string together a run that leads them to an improbable playoff berth. The Ravens are playing a cold weather style, we’ll see if it plays to their favor now that the weather’s turning. Next Week: @ CIN

 

10. Atlanta Falcons (18) – 7-4 – Consider me sold; these Falcons are for real. They still have their work cut out for them though sitting at 3rd in their division will certainly make the road to a potential playoff berth a bumpy one. Next Week: @ SD

 

11. Denver Broncos (7) – 6-5 – Nothing should surprise you when it comes to this team. Nothing that is, except for the few moments when they actually look like a playoff caliber team. Maybe the Broncos are having trouble focusing because no one in the division looks capable of keeping them from the playoffs anyway. If they limp into the postseason like they’ve played lately though, they could be in for another unforgettable postseason embarrassment. Next Week: @ NYJ

 

12. Washington Redskins (12) – 6-5 – They got a win on Sunday, but I don’t think they did much to dispel concerns surrounding the offense in recent weeks. Wild card spots in the NFC look like they could be awfully tough to come by, and the Giants appear unlikely to let anyone back into the NFC East race. We’ll see if Washington is able to turn up the sense of urgency in the next few weeks. Next Week: vs. NYG

 

13. Chicago Bears (13) – 6-5 – The Bears got back on track last week after back to back losses, and still find themselves in the driver’s seat for the NFC North. If they intend to get into the playoffs and beyond however, they’ll have to find a way to take some of the load off of rookie Matt Forte. Next Week: @ MIN

 

14. New England Patriots (15) – 7-4 – The Patriots look to have found a rhythm, and Matt Cassel has grown from high school quarterback to competent NFL starter in just a few weeks time. Something tells me that the rest of the AFC may be sorry that they didn’t put these Pats away when they had the chance. Next Week: vs. PIT

 

15. Dallas Cowboys (16) – 7-4 – Tony Romo has returned to form, and brought TO back with him to boot. For now it seems that all is well in Cowboy land. We’ll see if they can keep it going now that they all seem to be on the same page once again. Next Week: vs. SEA (Thanksgiving)

 

16. Minnesota Vikings (17) – 6-5 – The Vikings may be hitting their stride, and just in the nick of time. Luckily for them, the rest of the division may have waited for them to get ready to make themselves a factor in this race. The Vikes could be a tough draw in the playoffs, even on the road, with their strong run defense and ridiculous two-headed backfield. Next Week: vs. CHI

 

17. Miami Dolphins (14) – 6-5 – Fool Bellichick once, as the Dolphins did with the advent of the wildcat offense, and credit is due. Try it a second time, and shame on you. Tony Sparano and his Dolphins will have to figure out how to compliment their trickery by simply imposing their will on teams occasionally too. They have the weapons in their arsenal, now they just have to put them to the right use. Next Week: @ ST.L

 

18. Buffalo Bills (25) – 6-5 – Trent Edwards and the Bills certainly made a statement in KC on Sunday. In doing so they have also declared themselves back in the race for the AFC East. We’ll have to wait and see if it’s more than a one-week explosion. Next Week: vs. SF

 

19. San Diego Chargers (19) – 4-7 – I can’t help but feel like these Chargers still have some semblance of a run left in the tank, but with each passing week, it appears less and less likely. As long as the Broncos continue to stumble though, a playoff run will still remain a possibility for this team. Next Week: vs. ATL

 

20. New Orleans Saints (21) – 6-5 – Despite the rash of offensive injuries, this team has still been a major disappointment this season. Especially since, at times, they have played at an elite level. Still inconsistency and the success of the rest of this division will probably be too much for the Saints to overcome this season. Next Week: @ TB

 

21. Green Bay Packers (11) – 5-6 – Forget about the fact that Brett Favre is lighting it up for the Jets in the AFC, the Packers had to see what they had in Aaron Rodgers in this, his 4th season. With that said, they way that Rodgers and these Packers have played at times is the reason why Ted Thompson knew that having Favre around on the bench was not an option. Next Week: vs. CAR

 

22. Philadelphia Eagles (20) – 5-5-1 – The Eagles and Andy Reid appear to be their own worst enemy at this point. With a banged up Brian Westbrook and Correll Buckhalter injured early in the game on Sunday, it’s feasible that Reid benched Donavan McNabb to simply keep him from being killed in the second half against the Ravens. Next Week: vs. AZ (Thanksgiving)

 

23. Houston Texans (24) – 4-7 – They’re clearly playing for the future at this point, but offensively at least, that future looks like it could be pretty bright. If they could put together a consistent defense, they might hope to contend in the talent laden AFC South. Next Week: vs. JAX

 

24. Jacksonville Jaguars (23) – 4-7 – The Jags are easily the most talented team in the bottom third of the rankings, on both sides of the ball it would seem. Something however keeps this team from being able to believe in themselves enough to play a game from start to finish. I suspect there will be big changes in Jacksonville this off-season. Next Week: @ HOU

 

25. Oakland Raiders (31) – 3-8 – The Raiders and Tom Cable are doing the best that they can with what they’ve got, and are scaring some teams in the process. In the big picture, they’re probably overmatched talent wise in most weeks, but they do have a few exciting young players to build around. Next Week: vs. KC

 

26. Cleveland Browns (22) – 4-7 – New quarterback, same old problems. Now they’re back to the old quarterback it seems, but the Browns need a lot more than a new QB to ignite this offense. They might need a defibrillator to get their collective heart going again. Next Week: vs. IND

 

27. San Francisco 49ers (26) – 3-8 – They’ve shuffled coaches, coordinators, quarterbacks and systems, but the Niners still appear no closer to getting to the playoffs any time soon. In fact they may be headed in the opposite direction altogether. Next Week: @ BUF

 

28. Seattle Seahawks (27) – 2-9 – They’ve put up much more of a fight it would seem in recent weeks, but still the Seahawks are nowhere close to where they expected to be at this point in the season. It looks like it’s safe to say that 2008 in Seattle may be the worst sports season any city has ever seen. Next Week: @ DAL (Thanksgiving)

 

29. Cincinnati Bengals (28) – 1-9-1 – It’d be nice to say that the Bengals have played better than their 1-9-1 record would indicate, but it’s probably not true. The Bengals still have enough firepower to be a handful for just about anyone, but a sustained period of success is highly unlikely. Next Week: vs. BAL

 

30. Kansas City Chiefs (28) – 1-10 – They seemed to have found an offensive rhythm of late, but simply can’t stop the run against anyone. The Cheifs should provide us with plenty of good highlights, both their own and their opponents, this season, but probably won’t be much of a factor in most games. Next Week: @ OAK

 

31. St. Louis Rams (30) – 2-9 – The Rams went from freefall, to seemingly righting their ship, and back to freefall in a few short weeks. The good news is that in the NFC West, they can still reasonably hope to come back next year with a chance to be competitive again. Next Week: vs. MIA

 

32. Detroit Lions (32) – 0-11 – Now that the Titans have gotten a blemish on their perfect record, I suppose the attention will shift to Detroit, and their record of perfect ineptitude so far. Some say it’s harder to go winless than undefeated in today’s NFL, for what it’s worth I never understood that logic, but the Lions are doing it and making it look easy too. Next Week: vs. TEN

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

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