It’s that time of week again. Teams are settling into their spots, and with just four games remaining on the schedule, the cream is rising to the top. Will the top twelve be our playoff contenders?
#32 Oakland Raiders – At 3-9, Carson Palmer and the Silver and Black do not possess the worst record. What they do possess, though, is quite possibly the worst play on any NFL field. Even though Palmer is putting up big numbers week after week, the rest of the team just cannot come together. This team holds no power.
#31 Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jags are 2-10 and didn’t look as good last week as they had since Henne took over the reins to the team. They dropped one in very decisive fashion last week and don’t have any big time players to take them to the top right now.
#30 Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs got a win last week, giving them two victories for the season and making their record 2-10. The team played a lot better than weeks past, but they were also playing in the aftermath of the Belcher tragedy. It is too late for the Chiefs now, but is this win what the team needed to break through this season?
#29 Philadelphia Eagles – This team cannot finish a game strong to save their own lives. The 3-9 Eagles play hard and keep up for the first 3 quarters and then something happens. Their coverage breaks down, penalties occur and, the team just seems to dismantle before our eyes in every game. The bright spot for the team? They are getting a fresh start, deciding to go with Nick Foles as their starting quarterback for the remainder of the season.
#28 Tennessee Titans – The 4-8 Titans puzzle me for some reason. Their quarterback can put up over 300 yards in a game, they have perfectly able running backs on the field, and still the team just can’t get it together. They were blown out at home by the Texans in week 13 and until something changes, they don’t deserve to be with the other 4-8 teams on the list.
#27 Carolina Panthers – This team traveled to Kansas City for a favorable matchup, but ended up on the wrong end of the win. It isn’t entirely their fault; the powers that be were surging through the Chiefs on Sunday. So the Panthers fell to 3-9 on the road and to 27 on our list.
#26 Arizona Cardinals – This team is a mess. At the end of September we were all chanting Super Bowl. Now, we all just look the other way. The Cardinals are now and becoming an embarrassment on the field. They lost to the Jets last week, who switched out their quarterback mid game, by one point. Come on Cards!
#25 New York Jets – The 5-7 Jets finally took Mark Sanchez out last week and put in Greg McElroy. He picked up the only touchdown in the game and many thought that the team should stick with him heading into this week’s matchup. Rex Ryan wants to stand by his man, though, and plans to start Sanchez again this week. News flash for Sexy Rexy…nothing is working on the field. You only have four games left; you are not getting a playoff spot. So why not start seeing what you have on the bench?
#24 Miami Dolphins – Miami is also 5-7, but they are in a division that crowned their champ last week at the expense of the Dolphins. With the loss last week, the team’s playoff chances are looking worse and worse.
#23 San Diego Chargers – The Chargers are 4-8 and lost last week at home to the Bengals. They held the lead from half time until the fourth quarter, when they just couldn’t finish out the game. Cincinnati scored ten unanswered and the game ended on a Rivers interception in the end zone.
#22 Cleveland Browns – Don’t look now the Browns are 4-8 and have won their last two games. They beat Pittsburgh two weeks ago and Oakland last week. Weeden showed why he should be respected in the NFL and the defense has been a powerhouse in every game.
#21 Detroit Lions – The Lions are 4-8 and have been putting up big numbers on offense. Last week they led the Colts for most of the game, but Andrew Luck engineered a brilliant come back that put the Colts up as the time on the clock expired. Until this team finishes out their big games consistently, they will have a hard time breaking the #20 plane.
#20 New Orleans Saints – Drew Brees threw five picks last week on Thursday night football. They have a limited run game and their defense isn’t the best in the league, by far, especially against the run. The Saints have suffered through so much turmoil all season long. Though their playoff chances aren’t dead yet, they are going to need to step on the gas to stay alive in these next four games.
#19 Buffalo Bills – At 5-7, the Bills still hold a small shot at the playoffs. They got a win last week over the Jags 34-18. However, not every team is Jacksonville. The Bills have a long way to go still.
#18 Minnesota Vikings – Adrian Peterson had a career game for the Vikes on Sunday, but the quarterback play failed again and the team lost to the Packers, making their record 6-6. Maybe once Ponder finally gets this ring on Samantha Steele’s finger, the quarterback will be able to concentrate on bettering his play.
#17 St. Louis Rams – The Rams are 5-6-1 and took another game into overtime against the San Francisco 49ers last week. This time, the Rams actually finished the 49ers off, beating them in overtime. They have won their past two games and have opened up an opportunity to push for the playoffs in the NFC.
#16 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Bucs are 6-6 and have themselves in playoff contention, but the team fell short last week to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. It doesn’t matter how many points your team puts up if they don’t win.
#15 Dallas Cowboys – The ‘Boys pulled out another close one last week. Even though they get themselves down, they find a way to pull it off in the end. Dallas is 6-6 and their success rests firmly on the arm of Tony Romo. The question is, can he keep saving the team?
#14 Washington Redskins – The Redskins have swept the Giants and are closing in on the division title. They are led by a rookie receiver, who even when he looked down on Monday night, pulled off play after play to lead his team to a victory. The Skins have won their past three games and everything seems to be clicking for Washington at 6-6.
#13 Pittsburgh Steelers – With Roethlisberger’s status still up in the air, this team kept their playoff hopes alive as Charlie Batch led them over the Baltimore Ravens last week. If Roethlisberger doesn’t return soon, though, their chances are going to get slimmer going into the postseason. Pittsburgh is 7-5, but their fate lies in the ribs of Big Ben.
#12 Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks are 7-5 and got an overtime win against the Bears last week. The team has been a force to be reckoned with all season long and is showing no signs of slowing down.
#11 New York Giants – The Giants are 7-5 and lost to the Redskins on Monday Night. They have lost three of their last four and are at risk of losing their first place ranking in the NFC East. With four games left, it is time for Manning and the defense to step up their games.
#10 Cincinnati Bengals – At 7-5, the Bengals have played themselves into a good spot in the NFL with only four games left. The problem lies in the errors for the team. Last week they fumbled three times and Dalton threw two interceptions. It is hard to believe they actually got the win looking at that. They won’t be so lucky against good teams and their upcoming schedule brings up Dallas, Philly, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore. It is time to step it up.
#9 Indianapolis Colts – The team is 8-4 and pulled out a big win last week against Detroit. However, their record is the only thing that breaks them into the top ten. The team is still learning to play together, but if Andrew Luck can keep living up to his hype, the possibilities are endless.
#8 Chicago Bears – The Bears lost in overtime last week to the Seahawks. The offensive line has a lot of issues and until Cutler has the opportunity to stay upright more often, this team doesn’t look to be diving any deeper into the rankings.
#7 Baltimore Ravens – Baltimore is 9-3, but lost a game to a third string, 800 year old quarterback last week. If they can’t stifle Charlie Batch, what does the rest of the season hold for the team? RGIII is coming to town next week and offers a slew of new problems for the team. The Ravens need to get some wins if they want a bye in the playoffs.
#6 Green Bay Packers – The Pack got a win last week and bettered their record 8-4 for the season. The team has every opportunity to keep moving up the list when they are healthy and playing up to their ability.
#5 San Francisco 49ers – San Fran lost in overtime to the St. Louis Rams last week, bringing their record to 8-3-1. The quarterback controversy is still looming week after week. This could really cause this team to suffer if a final decision isn’t made and stuck with soon. Kaepernick or Smith?
#4 Denver Broncos – Peyton Manning and the Broncos are 9-3 and have gotten there in dynamic wins and decisive fashion. They sealed the AFC West last week and are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs.
#3 New England Patriots – The Pats were crowned AFC East Champs once again last week with their win over the Dolphins. Tom Brady has his team at 9-3 and they are firing on all cylinders. They face tough matchups the next two weeks, though. How they fare in their games against the Texans and 49ers will be telling for their post season endeavors.
#2 Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons broke their losing streak against the Saints last Thursday and did so by picking Drew Brees off five times. The team cemented their place in the division and their status at number two in the power rankings.
#1 Houston Texans – This spot is no surprise to anyone. The Texans have held on to number one for weeks. They trampled the Titans last week and will have the opportunity this next week against the Patriots to prove they belong at the top.
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