Each week, we will bring you staff NFL Power Rankings. The overall rankings are a combination of polls submitted by Justin Rozzero, Marc Clair, Chad Campbell, Greg Phillips, Andrew Flanagan & Maurice Pogue. Each team is assigned points based on rank and then compiled and ranked overall based on total points. Managing Editor Brad Woodling has the power to break ties.
- Seattle Seahawks (191 pts): Seattle blasted the Saints giving a fair warning to any team that has to travel up there to face them in January. Russell Wilson was terrific in establishing himself as an upper echelon quarterback on a big stage with a near 140 QB rating. The defense also returned to dominant levels holding Drew Brees to under 150 passing yards. The Seahawks look like the frontrunner for the NFC title at this point in the season and encounter another big showdown this week vs. the 49ers. And this is all without Percy Harvin!
- Denver Broncos (187 pts): Two wins vs. the Chiefs in the past three weeks have firmly established the Broncos atop the AFC West standings. Peyton Manning returned back to a vintage Peyton Manning stat line, thrashing the Chiefs defense for 403 passing yards and five touchdowns. Eric Decker chipped in by having a monster game with four of those touchdowns and 174 receiving yards.
- New England Patriots (176 pts): The Patriots showed some moxie being on the ropes in Houston against a team they needed to take care of business against. Gronk continues to make everyone on the team better both with his productivity (127 yards) and also his awareness that he attracts on opposing defenses. Julian Edelman looks to be regaining his early season form and has provided two productive games in a row. The Patriots now face the Browns in another game they should easily win.
- New Orleans Saints (173 pts): The Saints featured their most humbling loss of the season on Monday night. Questions are starting to rumble for this team about their ability to face a big time defense as well as stop a high-powered offense. Drew Brees had one of the worst games he has had in a Saints uniform and Rob Ryan’s improved defense showed some serious problems against a running quarterback. This theory will be put to the test on Sunday night when the Saints play the Panthers with the NFC South lead hanging in the balance.
- Carolina Panthers (170 pts): Riverboat Ron is rolling with the Panthers defense and Cam Newton is right beside him. A huge test awaits for the defense against New Orleans where the Panthers D can prove if they are elite or can be ripped to shears by a great offense like the Chiefs defense has proven in recent weeks. All rumblings of Rivera’s job being in jeopardy have evaporated and the Panthers are now eying a division title that is well within their reach.
- San Francisco 49ers (162 pts): The 49ers had an impressive victory stunting any momentum St. Louis had been building the past couple of weeks. San Francisco overall feels like a team a lot of national pundits are sort of sleeping on currently. A big win over Seattle this weekend will thrust them into the spotlight and force them to be noticed. This also allows San Francisco to get some revenge on the early season pasting the Seahawks laid on them.
- Kansas City Chiefs (159 pts): Three straight loses for the Chiefs have them falling back to earth after their improbable start. This latest loss to the Broncos can almost solely be blamed on the defense as Alex Smith threw for nearly 300 yards and Jamaal Charles chimed in for 93 rushing yards. The defense that was so dominant on their huge start has fluttered in the past few weeks. Even though a #5 seed looks like a sure deal for the Chiefs at least, there are problems that they need to fix heading into the playoffs.
- Cincinnati Bengals (143 pts): The Bengals had a nice victory of San Diego and look to be in control of the AFC North. The next two weeks are imperative to their success within the season as they face the Colts and Steelers in consecutive weeks. Both the Law Firm and Gio had productive weeks in the running game against San Diego (a poor run defense). It will be interesting to see if that two-headed monster success continues.
- Indianapolis Colts (137 pts): The Colts have been all over the place the past five weeks. Getting blown out by two NFC West teams in 3rd and 4th place in the division and squeaking out wins vs. Tennessee and Houston. The upcoming game vs. Cincinnati will be a good barometer to see where the Colts season is currently trending. Donald Brown was officially named the starting running back last week as Trent Richardson’s struggles continue.
- Dallas Cowboys (134 pts): The Cowboys defense and possible entire season looked to be going up in flames at halftime on Thanksgiving. The Boys came out in the second half with an inspired effort that has them neck and neck with Philly for the NFC East crown. A very big Monday night game vs. a hungry Bears team awaits.
- Philadelphia Eagles (129 pts): The Eagles held off the streaking Cardinals as Nick Foles ran his TD streak up to 19 without an interception this season. The defense seems to have settled and Chip Kelly’s offense has found new life with the switch to Foles as the starting QB. The NFC East race is up for grabs.
- Detroit Lions (120 pts): The Thanksgiving curse is over for the Lions as they killed the Pack on Thanksgiving and gained control of the NFC North in one fell swoop. A fun matchup with the Eagles looms this upcoming week. Matthew Stafford has had big yardage games all season and last Thursday’s game displayed Reggie Bush and Joique Bell rush for over 200 yards combined.
- Arizona Cardinals (115 pts): Even with the competitive loss vs. Philly, the Cards are still 7-5 and look to be hanging tough in the #6 playoff slot contention race. Carson Palmer salvaged over 300 yards passing on Sunday but also had two interceptions and five sacks making the yardage inflate his overall stat line. The receiver corps for Arizona remains steady with Larry Fitzgerald doing what he does best and the emerging presence of Michael Floyd.
- Chicago Bears (111 pts): The Bears lost a game Sunday that really should have been there for the taking to pad their overall win total. Alshon Jeffrey did set the overall Bear receiving yards record for a game in his monster performance. The previous record holder? Alshon Jeffrey from earlier this year. Josh McCown has proven to be an effective quarterback and left questions about what will happen if/when Jay Cutler is ready to return.
- Baltimore Ravens (110 pts): Baltimore picked up a gritty win vs. the Steelers in the physical game it always is when those two teams match up. The team is extremely hard to figure out or garner a true sense of identity, but they are still in contention for the AFC North title. A probable win over the Vikings will align them up over .500 for their final three game tough stretch vs. Detroit, New England and Cincinnati.
- San Diego Chargers (95 pts): San Diego is pretty much in must-win territory for the rest of the season. Kennan Allen had a productive day with over 100 yards receiving but the rest of the offensive unit underperformed. Antonio Gates has practically disappeared given his fast start as the past few weeks have had Ladarius Green be more productive. A big game vs. the G Men could spell the relevant end of the Chargers season.
- Green Bay Packers (94 pts): Go Pack Go. Just a score would be a welcome change from the Packers we have seen lately. An injury to Aaron Rodgers has spelled doom for this team and they are now put in a position to fight for their playoff life. The defense has also been atrocious, giving up over 500 total yards to Detroit.
- Miami Dolphins (90 pts): Miami beat up the Jets on Sunday antagonizing the bad QB play on defense and Ryan Tannehill and even Lamar Miller having productive contributions on the offensive side of the ball. The upcoming game vs. the Steelers could be a loser leaves town match in regards to playoff implications.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (86 pts): Pittsburgh tried their best to trip up Baltimore on Thanksgiving night, but they were ultimately unsuccessful. Le’Veon Bell had over 100 all purpose yards and Heath Miller was a big target for Big Ben.
- New York Giants (70 pts): Justin Tuck had a monster game salvaging the win on Sunday night with four sacks of RGIII. It sounds crazy to say this but at 5-7, the G Men are not dead yet in the NFC East and face a big test this week vs. San Diego.
- Tennessee Titans (69 pts): The Titans exist in no mans land after only winning two out of their last eight games. The entire stat line vs. Indy was filled with meh. CJ rushed for 69 yards. Meh. Kendall Wright had 77 yards receiving. Meh. That sums up the state of Tennessee currently.
- New York Jets (66 pts): The Jets made the quarterback change to Matt Simms in the second half on Sunday’s game after Geno Smith continued to struggle. A team that looked to be a playoff contender a month ago is now searching and in dire need of dynamic offensive weapons in order to be successful. They should have a chance to get back on track vs. Oakland Sunday, who is also in disarray.
- St. Louis Rams (64 pts): St. Louis had built up a good bit of momentum the past couple of weeks but they couldn’t get anything going vs. San Francisco. The upcoming game vs. the Cardinals should be extremely interesting to see where the NFC West sits overall. Jarrod Cook is poised to have a big game as the Cardinals defense gave up three touchdowns to tight ends in the game last Sunday.
- Buffalo Bills (62 pts): Spiller and Jackson were rolling for the Bills but not much else went their way and a defense that had a lot of promise has been extremely bad vs. the run lately. E. J. Manuel was decent throwing for 210 yards but far from overly impressive. He also looked to have suffered another injury and his durability has to be questioned at this point.
- Cleveland Browns (51 pts): Cleveland doesn’t have much to brag about after being outmatched for most of the game against the lowly Jaguars. Going up to Foxboro this week doesn’t help issues. Brandon Weedon actually threw for 370 yards in Sunday’s game in really quiet fashion and Josh Gordon had a monster game but the Browns are outmatched in a majority of their positions vs. the opposition.
- Oakland Raiders (42 pts): The Raiders had to feel good heading into the tunnel at halftime on Thanksgiving Day. 30 minutes of game clock later, they were licking their wounds after Dallas crushed any postseason aspirations the Raiders might have dreamed up The lack of run production was a huge reason why, as Rashad Jennings and Darren McFadden combined for 48 yards.
- Minnesota Vikings (38 pts): The Vikings were flirting with setting a distinctive record of being the first team to have back to back tied games since the Oakland Raiders in the 1971 season. Some fairly brutal place kicking from Robbie Gould extended the games and allowed Blair Walsh to hit the game winner. The Vikings lost Christian Ponder halfway through the game – as well as their cornerbacks judging by the way Alshon Jeffrey was running all over the field against them.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (28 pts): Tampa’s short resurgence hit a grinding halt on Sunday after they were destroyed by the Panthers. The Schiano led defense looked to be drifting back to their early season confused days. Mike Glennon has had a decent rookie campaign but also struggled mightily vs. the Panthers front seven. Being competitive with the Bills is a necessity in this upcoming week.
- Washington Redskins (25 pts): Washington looked poised to pull off an upset on a dreadful pre-flex SNF game but the pieces never came together. This loss can’t be blamed on RGIII as he was splendid all night with only eight incompletions, 80+ rushing yards, and a touchdown pass. The offensive line gave up numerous sacks throughout the night and Pierre Garcon and the rest of the receivers for Washington dropped numerous passes along the way. The Redskins are in a strict spoiler role from here on out.
- Atlanta Falcons (19 pts): The lofty preseason expectations for the Falcons have vanquished. Sunday’s game gave Falcons fans more encouragement than they have seen on the gridiron in weeks. Matt Ryan threw the ball for over 300 yards. Roddy White had 143 yards in receiving, more than doubling his previous season high. Even Stephen Jackson got in on the fun scoring two touchdowns to lead the Falcons to an overtime win vs. the Bills.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (18 pts): The Jaguars have played some fairly decent football the past month winning three out of four games. Beating Cleveland on the road in a game they controlled throughout should give the Jags a boost as they enter the latter stages of the season. MJD has continued to be efficient gaining 70-80 yards and the rest of the offense contributed enough to win.
- Houston Texans (9 pts): Houston put up a good effort at home vs. the Patriots but the loss streak was extended to 10 games by the end of Sunday’s action. The offensive brigade for Houston looked more inept on Sunday than in recent memory. Case Keenum didn’t having a passing touchdown, but he also didn’t have as many egregious interceptions as he has in recent weeks. Ben Tate had over 100 yards on the ground and the inconsistent Andre Johnson had a great day racking up 121 receiving yards.
Biggest Rise: New York Giants (+3)
Biggest Fall: New York Jets (-4)
PTB Game to Watch: Carolina @ New Orleans, Sunday 8:30PM, NBC
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