Matzek's Weekly NFL Power Rankings: Week 13
December football equals 'crunch time'. No need to waste time with a snickering lead in...here are the latest power rankings:
1. ATLANTA FALCONS (1) – They win blowouts. They win close games. And they found a way to win on the road against a playoff contender and division opponent. Solid.
2. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (2) – It was tempting to stick the Patriots in the top spot after their 45-3 demolishing of the NY Jets, but it's hard for me to get over their loss to the Browns earlier in the season. That said, Tom Brady has 8 TD's in his last two games and no picks since October 17th.
3. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (6) – It's incredibly difficult to find much difference between the Steelers and...
4. BALTIMORE RAVENS (3) – ...Ravens. Pittsburgh won the latest boxing match, so they get the nod. Baltimore certainly had their chances to win Sunday night.
5. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (5) - With all the stories circulating around the NFL, the Saints are quietly in the mix. They suffered a scare against the hapless Bengals. An Bengals off-sides penalty kept the Saints from garnering headlines for all the wrong reasons.
6. CHICAGO BEARS (7) - Like the Saints, the Bears eeked one out against the Lions and 3rd string QB Drew Stanton. Only a miserable performance by the Jets allowed the Bears to move up. Next up for Chicago - the NE Patriots. Let me guess, Tom Brady will slice his throwing hand thumb in a blender accident this week, and Wes Welker will suffer a concussion while setting up his Christmas tree.
7. NEW YORK GIANTS (8) – They're treading water without WR Hakeem Nicks. At 8-4, the Giants are the team keeping the Packers out of the playoffs at the present time.
8. GREEN BAY PACKERS (9) – Aaron Rodgers is smoking. Rookie RB James Starks opened eyes with 73 yards of tough running on 18 carries. Packers fans are thinking this is the week they catch the Bears for a share of the division lead.
9. NY JETS (4) – The Jets have been skating by narrowly beating bad teams. News for Rex: You were exposed by a far better team on Monday night. The Jets don't belong in the same category as New England and it showed.
10. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (10) – From top to bottom, there is very little that separates the Giants, Packers and Eagles. The Eagles face NFC opponents from here on out. Including the Cowboys twice, the Giants, and the Vikings.
11. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (12) - As expected, the Chiefs have the largest division lead of any team in football. They are a team that is built for the elements associated with December football.
12. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (15) - Speaking of underrated division leaders...
13. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (11) - Things sure do change quickly in this league. A damaging loss at home to the Raiders has taken the Chargers from knocking on the door of the division lead, back to third place.
14. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (13) – Peyton Manning has thrown 11 picks in his last 3 games. Whoa!
15. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (14) - With a host of teams in the cross hairs of the NFC playoff picture, the Bucs loss to Atlanta on Sunday was crippling. Now at 7-5, they have some serious work to do to even get to 2nd place in the NFC South.
16. ST. LOUIS RAMS (18) - The NFC West is the reason people are talking about the idea of re-seeding teams once the playoffs are set. It's entirely possible that the Rams could finish 7-9, win the division, and have a 12-4 Saints team come to St. Louis for a wild card game.
17. OAKLAND RAIDERS (19) - They're like cockroaches. Tough to stomp them dead, the Raiders owned the Chargers last weekend.
18. DALLAS COWBOYS (22) - I'm guessing the Eagles would rather have played the Cowboys while Wade Phillips was still coaching. Bad news for the 'boys however, rookie WR Dez Bryant is out for the remainder of the season with a broken ankle.
19. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (21) - Same comment as last week: Is it possible to win a division with a sub-.500 record? The Seahawks are giving it a run!
20. MIAMI DOLPHINS (16) - No team (except Carolina) should lose to a team quarterbacked by Jake Delhomme. The Dolphins have hit a new low.
21. HOUSTON TEXANS (17) - They seriously struggle to keep teams from scoring 30.
22. CLEVELAND BROWNS (23) - Luckily for the Browns, style points are not measured in victories. They looked awful, but won against Miami.
23. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (24) - Packers fans are hoping for a little magic from # (wait for it) 28 when the Vikings play the Giants on Sunday. I don't think Brett Favre or Tarvaris Jackson can do it with their arms. AP is their only hope...for the rest of the season.
24. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (20) - The Redskins would have been better off Christmas shopping than playing the Giants last weekend. Pathetic.
25. SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (25) - After a loss to the Packers, the (4-8) 49ers are STILL just 2 games back of the division lead.
26. DENVER BRONCOS (26) - Worst slide in 40 years earned Josh McDaniels a pink slip.
27. BUFFALO BILLS (27) - So much for their usual 60 minute effort. Perhaps the Bills are more comfortable when it's 14 degrees and snowing.
28. TENNESSEE TITANS (28) - Jeff Fisher is currently the most tenured head coach in the NFL. I'm guessing a different coach will be able to make that claim in the next 5 weeks.
29. DETROIT LIONS (29) - For the life of the Lions, they just cannot seem to finish a game. Hoping that trend continues this weekend against the Packers.
30. ARIZONA CARDINALS (30) - I didn't think it was possible for their offense to get worse. It has.
31. CINCINNATI BENGALS (31) - Add ' off-sides" to the growing list of ways the Bengals are losing games.
32. CAROLINA PANTHERS (32) - On the clock.