Matzek's Weekly NFL Power Rankings: Week 12
After compiling this weeks rankings, it's clear to me that when playoff scenarios becomepart of the everyday discussion, it will be positively mind boggling. Consider the NFC where the Giants,Eagles, Packers and Buccaneers pose a 7-4 record. The Eagles and Giants are tied for first in the east,the Packers are in second in the north, and the Bucs are third in the south. Making things more lumpyis the fact that the Rams and Seahawks are tied for the lead in the west at 5-6.Buckle your chin straps all, it's gonna be a wild finish!1. ATLANTA FALCONS (1) - Complete, balanced, opportunistic, and healthy. That's how a teamimproves to 9-2 after 11 games. The Falcons are not spectacular, but rock solid.
2. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (2) - What a battle the Pats are in right now with the NY Jets!If only they would play each other so...oh, wait a minute...they do play each other on Monday night.
3. BALTIMORE RAVENS (3) - Did they look ugly and win against Tampa Bay, or did they survive inbeating a very good team? We'll see when the Ravens take on the Steelers this weekend. Someonewill end up in the hospital.
4. NY JETS (6) - Time to put your money where your mouth is Rex - the Patriots are next.
5. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (8) - The Saints are starting to stack wins, and are hitting their stride atthe right time. But can they fend off Tampa Bay and catch Atlanta?
6. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (7) - They should be thanking their lucky stars Bills WR Steve Johnsondropped that pass in the end zone.7. CHICAGO BEARS (12) - The Bears stood tall against a high flying Eagles team and had outstandingbalance on offense. Very complete win.
8. NEW YORK GIANTS (9) - There once deep and talented WR core is missing Steve Smith andHakeem Nicks. The Giants earned a clutch win over Jacksonville, but can they keep it up?
9. GREEN BAY PACKERS (4) - Missed opportunities in the red zone and 8 penalties crushed the Packers.Will look to lick their wounds this weekend against the 49ers.
10. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (5) - Holy smokes Michael Vick is human after all. The Bears slowed Vick down,forced mistakes, and left them tied with the NY Giants in the NFC East. A potentially damaging loss for theEagles.
11. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (14) - Defense now playing a complimentary role to the offense instead of puttingpressure on it. The AFC should be on high-alert.
12. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (15) - Still in first! WR Dwayne Bowe has been positively unreal this season with885 yards and 14 TD's. Again: 14TD's!
13. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (10) - It's strange to see Peyton Manning struggle to fight his wayout of a box. The Colts are decimated by injury and have lost 3 in a row.
14. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (11) - If the Bucs are the best team in the NFC (as Head CoachRaheemMorris once claimed), they'll need to beat the 9-2 Atlanta Falcons Sunday.
15. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (13) - Lost to the NY Giants, but the Jags are still in first place in theAFC South.
16. MIAMI DOLPHINS (19) - With Chad Henne back under center, the Dolphins threw for over300 yards passing, and punished the Raiders on the ground.
17. HOUSTON TEXANS (21) - They were given a gift facing a rookie QB in his first start, nowthey get Michael Vick on Thursday.
18. ST. LOUIS RAMS (22) - I'm now at the point where I'm eager to see Rams highlights! QBSam Bradford's performance as a rookie starting QB with a relatively bare cupboard has been sensational.
19. OAKLAND RAIDERS (16) - Back to back losses have taken the steam out of the Raiders train.Next up is a battle with the surging San Diego Chargers.
20. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (17) - On the bright side, they'd be the best team in the NFC West.
21. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (18) - Sam message as last week: Is it possible to win a division with asub-.500 record? The Seahawks are giving it a run!
22. DALLAS COWBOYS (23) - Definite signs of progress for the Cowboys. They lost to the red hotSaints on Thanksgiving, but have been playing much closer to their talent level since JasonGarrett has taken over as interim Head Coach.
23. CLEVELAND BROWNS (25) - QB Jake Delhomme did his best to lose throwing twointerceptions against Carolina (one of which was returned for TD's) but RB Peyton Hillisflexed his muscle once again saving the Browns with 131 yards rushing and 3 TD's.
24. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (28) - A win over the Washington Redskins for Leslie Frazier in hisfirst game as interim Head Coach. Bravo. With a home game against the Bills this Sunday,the Vikes may just have a winning streak on their hands.
25. SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (29) - When the 49ers were 0-5, I joked they had the other teams inthe NFC West right where they wanted them. Now at 4-7, San Francisco is just one game back ofthe division lead. Unbelievable.
26. DENVER BRONCOS (24) - Every week I praise the Broncos offense. Perhaps I should be lamentingtheir 27th ranked defense instead.
27. BUFFALO BILLS (27) - After an incredible 3 TD performance against the Bengals in week 11,Bills WR Steve Johnson dropped a perfect pass in the end zonethat would have sunk the Steelers.Then he twitter-blamed the man upstairs for the drop.
28. TENNESSEE TITANS (20) - From 11th, to 20th, to 28th. The Titans are a complete mess havinglost 4 straight...haven't won a game since acquiring WR Randy Moss, and couldn't score against aporous Texans defense.
29. DETROIT LIONS (31) - Might be down to third string QB Drew Stanton against the Bears this Sunday.
30. ARIZONA CARDINALS (26) - You think this is a joke to me?! I take these &*@!*% power rankingsseriously. YOU think I'm laughing over here doing this!!?? DO YA!!??
31. CINCINNATI BENGALS (30) - In regards to personnel, there is very little difference between the2009 playoff version of the Bengals, and the 2010 losers of 8 straight Bengals.Can't blame T.O., he's been their best player.
50. CAROLINA PANTHERS (50) - I can no longer take the Carolina Panthers seriously.