NFL Power Rankings: Week 11

Bengals Kicker Shane Graham made four field goals as his team defeated the Steelers 18-12, and moved up to number 4 in the power rankings.
1. New Orleans Saints (9-0) Coming off a surprisingly close victory over the Rams (28-23), the Saints have looked touchable as of late. Drew Brees has 6 TDs and 7 interceptions over the last four games and Marques Colston got me -1 points in fantasy. I’m not concerned, however, and neither should the Saints. They’re unbeaten and have the less than dominating Buccaneers this weekend before meeting the Patriots on Monday night (11/30).
2. Indianapolis Colts (9-0) Hmm…thank you Bill Belichick for keeping them undefeated. This team has a lot to work on, as they even had miscommunication between All-Pros Reggie Wayne and Peyton Manning that made the TV audience look at one another and say, “Did Peyton Manning just throw a pick?”
3. Minnesota Vikings (8-1) After handily defeating the Motor City Lions (even T-Jack got some playing time), the Vikings meet up with the 3-6 Seahawks at home, where they are 4-0. Brett Favre, Sidney Rice, and AP have combined for 30 total TDs this year, AKA: guaranteed Pro-Bowlers. Simply put, this team has too many weapons for Seattle and a majority of the league to keep up with.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (7-2) How ‘bout them Bengals? They just swept division rivals Pittsburgh and Baltimore, and yeah…Cleveland is in there somewhere too. But let’s focus on winning teams, which the Bengals most definitely are. They are in the driver’s seat to win the AFC North and run away with the second-best AFC record. Cedric Benson is banged up, but that’s ok because Larry Johnson was readily available to join a new team. This team is one out to prove something, which is the most dangerous initiative of all. Larry Johnson, Cedric Benson, Carson Palmer, and Chad Ochocinco are all out to prove they are among the best in the league. They are forcing other teams to listen, as well they should, as the Bengals are for REAL!
5. New England Patriots (6-3) This is a very good football team, who even if they don’t end up winning the 2 seed for the playoffs, are going to easily win the AFC East (especially with the wild-Dolphins losing Ronnie Brown for the rest of the year). The most they’ll have to do to win the division is go 5-2 for the rest of the season, with the Jets, Dolphins, and Bills all holding losing records. By the way, I’m talking about the division in order to completely overlook the Bill Belichick 4th-down decision. I mean, it’s always a good decision to put one of the greatest quarterbacks ever 30 yards away from winning the game with two minutes left. Good call Coach!
6. San Diego Chargers (6-3) The AFC West has already been decided. Congratulations Chargers, now perform in the playoffs for once!
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) Following a tough loss to Cincinnati, the Steelers head to Kansas City this week (Mike Tomlin is like, “Thank God!”). They’ll take care of a bad Chiefs team and continue to put pressure on the Bengals for the rest of the season. Injury-wise, however, can Troy Polamalu stay healthy? He’s projected to miss this week’s game, and possibly next week’s showdown with Baltimore. Perhaps all he needs is a Coke Zero.
8. Arizona Cardinals (6-3) Kurt Warner & Co. beat up on Seattle this past week, 31-20. Over the past two weeks, Arizona has outscored its opponents, 72-41. The offense is red-hot, as Larry Fitzgerald and Kurt Warner are..well..Larry Fitzgerald and Kurt Warner. Plus, Beanie Wells is just the balance they need. They get the 1-8 Rams this week, who have experienced some changes since Kurt Warner’s stellar performances back in the late 90s and early 2000s. Let’s just say the Rams have scored 100 points in 9 games.
9. Dallas Cowboys (6-3) Fortunately for the Cowboys, the Eagles lost this week also, the Giants were idle, and the Redskins won..but who really cares. America’s team has the 3-6 Redskins this week, followed by the Raiders the following week. Sounds to me like an 8-3 record before looking for revenge in a matchup with the slipping Giants.
10. Baltimore Ravens (5-4) They are a good team in an even better division. They will have to really work hard to earn a wild-card berth, but the future is bright for the Ravens as Joe Flacco and Ray Rice look to be potential 15-year NFL players. The schedule only gets tougher from here, I’m afraid. They get the Colts, followed by the Steelers and the Packers. I don’t know if a #1 strength of schedule even does justice to their impossible one.
11. Philadelphia Eagles (5-4) Brian Westbrook is more concussion-prone than Andy Reid is prone to have David Akers kick field goals. I mean, really, is David Akers on your fantasy team Andy? However, I look for the Eagles to move to 6-4 following this week’s game versus the Bears, who desperately want Denver to reclaim interception-happy Jay Cutler (there’s no trade backs in the NFL though).
12. Houston Texans (5-4) Coming off the bye, the Texans get back into action against the suddenly rejuvenated Titans. Following that, they stay on the track towards divisional consistency as they hook up with the unbeaten Colts, and Jones-Drew’s Jaguars.
13. Denver Broncos (6-3) They have been absolutely awful the past three weeks. It’s like Josh McDaniels said, “Ok guys, let’s play every day like it’s April fools!” This team is much better than their last three performances, but it looks to get even worse as Chris Simms gets the nod this week at quarterback (Kyle Orton’s injured ankle is keeping him out). For the second straight year, the Broncos have given the AFC West title to the Chargers.
14. Miami Dolphins (4-5) Ronnie Brown is gone for the season, much to the dismay of my fantasy team…oh yeah, and the Dolphins. However, this is a great opportunity to show the NFL that this is not a gimmick team that runs a gimmick offense. They have a flamethrower as a quarterback, with legitimate downfield threats in the passing game. Finally, it’s time for the old Ricky Williams to emerge in proper formations and not receiving handoffs from Ronnie Brown. The Dolphins play the Panthers Thursday night on NFL Network’s limited viewing station.
15. Green Bay Packers (5-4) Following an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the previously winless Buccaneers, the Packers quickly rebounded by defeating the red-hot Cowboys 17-7. Their next goal: try to protect Aaron Rodgers and his ribs.

The Best of the Rest (16-32)

16. New York Giants (5-4)

17. Atlanta Falcons (5-4)

18. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-4)

19. Carolina Panthers (4-5)

20. Tennessee Titans (3-6)

21. New York Jets (4-5)

22. Chicago Bears (4-5)

23. San Francisco 49ers (4-5)

24. Seattle Seahawks (3-6)

25. Washington Redskins (3-6)

26. Buffalo Bills (3-6)

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8)

28. Kansas City Chiefs (2-7)

29. Detroit Lions (1-8)

30. St. Louis Rams (1-8)

31. Oakland Raiders (2-7)

32. Cleveland Browns (1-8)

-Jon Harris

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