Week 13 NFL Power Rankings (From an Amateur)
by Jennifer Jordan
Another crazy week in the NFL: come from behind victories, controversial calls by the officials, a team that is still winless, and a team that is still undefeated…but barely.
1. New England Patriots (12-0) (Previous rank: 1): They were lucky on this one. Now the credibility of the refs is being called into question. Is anyone else having flashbacks to the Steelers/Seahawks Super Bowl?
2. Dallas Cowboys (11-1) (Previous rank: 2): Tony Romo continues to impress, but the Dallas defense did let the Packers hang around, even with a backup QB. Nonetheless, the Cowboys are headed for the playoffs, and probably the Super Bowl.
3. Indianapolis Colts (10-2) (Previous rank: 4): Peyton Manning is back to his old ways, throwing a billion touchdowns per game. The Colts defense is a problem though: they gave up a lot of points to Jacksonville, a team not exactly known for offense.
4. Green Bay Packers (10-2) (Previous rank: 3): No Brett Favre magic on this day. Before going out with an injury, he played horribly. The Packers were still in it though, and Aaron Rodgers made the future look bright.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3) (Previous rank:6): They easily stopped the explosive offense Cincinnati is known for. On the other side of the ball, Hines Ward performed well. Willie Parker, however, needs to learn not to fumble.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4) (Previous rank: 5): The Jaguars defense let them down; Reggie Wayne was all over the field. Still, they hung around. They aren’t quite as good as the Colts, but they are better than expected.
7. Tampa Bay (8-4) (Previous rank: 8): Tampa Bay was lucky on this one. Still, they performed well, even without Jeff Garcia in the lineup. It’s hard to guess how far they will go in the playoffs, but they might surprise some people. This is a well coached team.
8. Seattle Seahawks (8-4) (Previous rank: 9): The Seahawks have quietly become contenders. This game really belongs to their defense, who intercepted the ball at the most appropriate times.
9. New York Giants (8-4) (Previous rank: 10): This was a huge game for Eli Manning. Leading his team from behind at the last minute might be just what this good quarterback needs to start being great. The Giants are a force in the NFC, but they should be concerned with their injuries at running back.
10. San Diego (7-5) (Previous rank: 11): LT is finally starting to perform like he was expected to all year. With only four games left in the season, the Chargers look to clinch the West, barring a possible Philip River’s breakdown.
11. Tennessee Titans (7-5) (Previous rank: 15): With less injuries, the Titans defense returns to their dominating ways. This team has to be hungry for a Wild Card. That, however, will all teeter on whether or not Vince Young can rise to the challenge.
12. Cleveland Browns (7-5) (Previous rank: 7): It’s too bad the outcome of this game depended on a ref’s call, but such is life. Derek Anderson made some John Elway like plays in his attempt to come from behind, but the turnovers earlier in the game left the Browns without much hope.
13. Minnesota Vikings (6-6) (Previous rank: 18): The Minnesota Vikings are thinking playoffs and right now they are one of the hottest teams in the league. They are racking up points on offense and their defense, one that was once awful, is suddenly dominating.
14. Arizona Cardinals (6-6) (Previous rank: 19): Their defense saved the day, forcing turnover after turnover. On offense, the use of the running game proved to be a wise decision. Don’t look now, but the Cardinals are in the thick of the playoff hunt.
15. Buffalo Bills (6-6) (Previous rank: 21): Their defense got the job done on this one. Well, that and a penalty that moved the winning field goal closer. Trent Edwards might have to tell JP Losman that he’s out of a job.
16. Detroit Lions (6-6) (Previous rank: 12): I’m willing to bet the Lions wish it was a month ago. Their wonderful season has gotten away from them. They are now going to have to win the rest of their games (against hard teams) to get to ten wins.
17. New Orleans Saints (5-7) (Previous rank: 13): The “trick play” when the game was seemingly in the bag may have cost the Saints their season. In the NFC, a 9-7 tem could get a Wild Card, but the Saints just can’t stay hot. They are luke warm, at best.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (5-7) (Previous rank: 14): Brian Westbrook returning punts is a nice touch, but the interceptions by AJ Feely hurt this team’s chances at victory. The quarterback controversy, like the Eagle’s season, might be over.
19. Chicago Bears (5-7) (Previous rank: 16): This loss may have cost the Bears the playoffs. Letting the Giants come back from behind in the fourth quarter is inexcusable for a team that is (or at least was) known for defense.
20. Denver Broncos (5-7) (Previous rank: 17): The bad news is their season is over; the good news is with Trojan Condom spokesman Travis Henry winning his appeal, the Broncos can forget this season and focus on the future.
21. Washington Redskins (5-7) (Previous rank: 20): With heavy hearts, this was a hard game for the Redskins to play: the loss, after Joe Gibbs was penalized for calling back to back timeouts, just made things worse. Their playoff hopes are in jeopardy.
22. Carolina Panthers (4-8) (Previous rank: 25): Their season might be over, but they look like they are starting to actually have fun. The Panthers defense was great and the old man passing the ball was solid too.
23. Houston Texans (5-7) (Previous rank: 22): This team is unraveling. With this loss, their season is over. It’s too bad: the Texans really had a chance at the playoffs this year, but it was marred early by injuries to star players.
24. Cincinnati Bengals (4-8) (Previous rank: 23): Their offense was offensive to Bengals fans. They just couldn’t get anything done. On defense, they let the Steelers in the end zone too many times. Cincinnati needs to learn to cover Hines Ward.
25. Kansas City Chiefs (4-8) (Previous rank: 24): After overachieving for a few weeks, the Chiefs are back to their old selves: bad on defense, mediocre on offense. We miss the days when playing in Arrowhead was a sure KC win.
26. Oakland Raiders (4-8) (Previous rank: 27): Leave it to Oakland to dash the Bronco’s playoff hopes. At 4-8, the Raiders season is done, but they are starting to play pretty well. Justin Fargas is a Fantasy stud.
27. Baltimore Ravens (4-8) (Previous rank: 26): This was a hard game to lose. Those last minute penalties were inexcusable. Still, you have to give the Ravens credit. They kept New England from dominating and made Tom Brady look little more than mediocre.
28. New York Jets (3-9) (Previous rank: 30): They destroyed the Miami Dolphins, racking up 40 points. It’s definitely too little too late, but the Jets are turning into a team that is fun to watch, even if it’s in vain.
29. St Louis Rams (3-9) (Previous rank: 31): The Rams continue to put a cushion between them and the winless Dolphins. With three wins under their belt, St. Louis is no longer ridiculously bad. Still, they aren’t good, but Gus Frerotte, Tory Holt and Steven Jackson are bright spots
30. Atlanta Falcons (3-9) (Previous rank: 28): They continue to struggle at the quarterback position and their pass defense is awful. This just isn’t this team’s year.
31. San Francisco (3-9) (Previous rank: 29): The 49ers were awful all around. What a potentially good season gone to waste. On the bright side, this team is young: they’ll rebound.
32. Miami Dolphins (0-12) (Previous rank: 32): This one wasn’t even close. Wins, even a lone one, continue to evade Miami. The Dolphins can’t wait till next year.