EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 13: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates after a play against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on November 13, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
The top two teams from last week hold their ground, but much as changed in the rest of the rankings after some big upsets in week 10.
The top two teams from Week 10 keep their spots on reserve in week 11 as both the Packers and the 49ers played terrific games once again. The Patriots make a leap back into the top 5 with their thorough 21-point beating of the New York Jets in the Meadowlands. The Ravens are starting to make people wonder if they are for real, and in the NFC North Chicago has taken a giant step into the running for a wild card spot. Oh, and Tim Tebow and the Broncos won another game. Maybe Denver isn't out of this thing after all...
Here's the full rundown of SB Nation Boston's Week 11 power rankings:
1. Green Bay Packers (9-0)
All Aaron Rodgers does is throw touchdowns. He just throws so many touchdowns, and scores so many points. Rodgers threw for 250 yards and 4 touchdowns on Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings. This Green Bay offense is efficient and effective. They are a little bit less flashy than the Brady/Moss show of 2007, but their goal is the same. Aaron Rodgers insinuated last night after the game that an undefeated season is on his radar. But with some hungry teams looking for the playoffs, the Packers are not in the clear. They have the 27th ranked defense in the league, and that's something that will catch up to them eventually.
2. San Francisco 49ers (8-1)
The 49ers have all but booked their ticket to the playoffs with a five game lead in the NFC West. They showed late-game guts on Sunday against Eli Manning and the Giants, pulling out another big win late in the game by stopping Eli in the way that the Patriots failed to do the week before.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3)
They've been to the Super Bowl three of the past six years, the sit atop their extremely competitive division after a grind-it-out win against a really good Bengals team, and their biggest competition just lost to the Seahawks. They may have been swept by the Ravens this season, but that won't matter if they finish the season with a better record, and right now, they just look like the more complete team. You'd be a fool not to trust Ben Roethlisberger more than Joe Flacco...but then again. Roethlisberger has a broken thumb on his throwing hand that could alter the course of this division.
4. New Orleans Saints (7-3)
So it took overtime and a massively controversial coaching decision by Mike Smith to blow up in the Falcon's face, but the Saints beat the Atlanta Falcons in a 26-23 thriller. The Falcons are now two games back in the division, and the Saints offense with Brees, Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles is just too good. Their second game against the Falcons as well as next week against the Giants may be the hardest of their games left. 11-5 and first place in the NFC South is starting to look realistic.
5. New England Patriots (6-3)
The Patriots defense has officially been bumped to the second-worst in the league now that the Colts have claimed the bottom spot. So there's that sign that at least things are looking up for the defensively inept Pats. In fact, their defense looked downright good this week against Rex Ryan's Jets, grabbing two interceptions (one for a touchdown) and sacking Mark Sanchez five times. Belichick allowed the defensive line to pound Sanchez and rush the pass aggressively and it worked.
Not to mention that Tom Brady, after a little bit of a shaky first half, roared into beast-mode to take over the game with his offense. Even Chad Ochocino had a good game, wit 2 big catches for 65 yards. With the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL and a stranglehold over Jets with the season sweep, the Pats look poised for the postseason once again.
6. Baltimore Ravens (6-3)
Plenty of good teams lose games that they shouldn't lose. But they shouldn't be losing to bad teams, and the Seahawks are a bad team. Joe Flacco is like Brett Favre-Light, always either coming up big or absolutely dissolving. He looked especially like Favre on Sunday with 52 pass attempts, throwing for 255 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. There doesn't seem to be any consistency in his performances. But the Ravens still have a league-best defense, and when John Harbaugh does a better job incorporating Ray Rice into their offense, they are menacing opposition. Plus, see above re: Ben Roethlisberger.
7. Houston Texans (7-3)
I just can't put the Texans any higher than this, no matter how many games they have won or how good they've played in those wins at this point. This year their three losses have come to the Saints, Ravens and Raiders; their wins against Indianapolis, Miami, Steelers, Titans, Jaguars, Browns and Buccaneers. Of those teams, only the Steelers are a really good team. Houston has to prove that they aren't just a bully that beats up on mediocre/bad teams. Even more importantly, it was released yesterday that Matt Schaub's foot injury is season ending. This is potentially devastating to the rest of their season, but I guess I should give Matt Leinart one week before I drop them out of the top ten.
8. New York Giants (6-3)
You can't give Eli Manning and the Giants too much slack for losing to the second best team in league, but you can look at their division as the Cowboys creep back into contention and wonder if they still have the grip on the NFC East that they once did. The wild card race in the NFC will inevitably be a close one, and the Giants' remaining schedule is one of the hardest. They still have to take on Dallas twice, New Orleans, Green Bay and the New York Jets. It will take some of their very best football to come out of that schedule with the division, considering the way taht Dallas has been looking lately.
9. Chicago Bears (6-3)
The shellacking that the Bears gave the Lions on Sunday cemented them as a top ten team to me, and I believe that the Bears will end up with second place in their division and a wild card into the playoffs. Cutler may have only completed 9 passes for 123 yards and no touchdowns, but he didn't have to do much when his secondary essentially kept him off the field. Two of Matt Stafford's four interceptions were returned for touchdowns. When a team wins a game by 37 points and not one touchdown is from their quarterback, you tend to think it might have been a fluke. But this was the Bears' fourth straight win, and the Lions are starting to fall apart at the seams.
10. Atlanta Falcons (5-4)
Atlanta was one 4th and inches conversion of probably winning their game against the New Orleans Saints in overtime on Sunday. Matt Ryan has an explosive offense backing him up, and the Falcons have established themselves as perennial contenders since he arrived in town. The only problem is that they are constantly competing with the better version of themselves, in the Saints. Nevertheless, the Falcons have a very winnable schedule ahead of them. If they can finish 10-6 they are practically guaranteed a wild card into the postseason, where they absolutely have a chance to do some damage.
11. New York Jets (5-4)
The Jets' disadvantage at quarterback was exposed badly on Sunday night when the worst secondary in the NFL came into town and Mark Sanchez couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Their best bet is to ride their defense, most especially their pass rush and secondary, and hope that Mark Sanchez can be as "serviceable" as ever. They definitely aren't as in much trouble as the Bills, but they've got some serious systemic issues to address.
12. Dallas Cowboys (5-4)
DeMarco Murray may have single handedly turned the Dallas Cowboys season around. An already dynamic passing game now has the help of a guy who has rushed for 601 yards in four games. Dez Bryant looks like the athletic freak that we all knew he was, and Romo just played on of the best games of his career. If they keep this up this will absolutely be the year the Cowboys make the playoffs.
13. Detroit Lions (6-3)
The Lions have lost three in a row and still have to take on Green Bay twice, New Orleans, Oakland and San Diego. If they don't win their game against Carolina this week, they may just be out of it completely. This team is coming undone, and it couldn't be at a worse time.
14. Cincinnati Bengals (6-3)
It's such a total bummer that the Bengals are in a division with the Ravens and Steelers. They might be undefeated if they were in the NFC West like the 49ers. The Bengals could still pull off a major upset and outlast one of those two teams, but as good as the Bengals are, the Ravens are still just a little bit better and more seasoned. Big Ben watch is officially on in Cincinnati for sure.
15. Oakland Raiders (5-4)
It feels a little weird to put the first place team in the AFC West all the way at 15, but with the way that division is shaping up it's hard to tell who will be in first place any given week. This division is still anyone's to take...watch out for Tim Tebow, Oakland. He's coming for you!
16. Buffalo Bills (5-4)
After receiving two consecutive butt-kickings, the Bills are just starting to feel the woes of a team that has had very little success of the years and is still working out a lot of kinks. According to the numbers and schedule still have as good a shot as any at the playoffs, but the eye test says this team is weary and missing some identity.
17. Tennessee Titans (5-4)
Matt Hasslebeck and the Titans are in second place behind the Texans who just lost their starting quarterback for the year. If there were ever a time that this team could move in on the division title, it's now. Hasslebeck might actually sneak himself into the postseason once again. It would be nice if his team has a winning record when they do it though.
18. San Diego Chargers (4-5)
The Chargers have not won a game since October 9th. With four straight losses in a row, they are still just one game back from Oakland in a three way tie with Denver and Kansas City. Unfortunately, the easiest part of their schedule is behind them. Even still, they are a better team than the Chiefs and Broncos, so who knows.
19. Kansas City Chiefs (4-5)
Someone had to win the game between the Chiefs and Broncos this Sunday. It just happened to be the Broncos this time. I'm not sure there is any way to describe or rationalize it beyond the same odds as the flip of a coin.
20. Denver Broncos (4-5)
I give the Chiefs the one spot edge purely because they have an easier schedule moving forward and I'm still not convinced of what Tim Tebow is doing. I'm not so much skeptical as confused. Tebow is like the cockroach of the NFL; I'm not sure if I should be amazed by his persistence and sustainability or a little freaked by the fact that we can't get rid of him.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5)
They seem to be in the same predicament as the Bills and Bengals; I just don't see them moving into second place over the Saints or Falcons at this point. They don't have the consistency on offense, and injuries have plagued this team all year.
22. Philadelphia Eagles (3-6)
At this point it's not even fun to watch them lose anymore. This team is experiencing what I fondly refer to as "Red Sox Syndrome". It's defined by being assigned over-the-top praise and expectations before you've even played a game, then not only just failing to live up to the hype, but actually running your season right into the ground in embarrassing fashion.
23. Washington Redskins (3-6)
So Rex Grossman started again this week. Shanahan has lost control of his faculties. If the Redskins don't do something about a quarterback in the draft next year then they might not have a winning season before 2020.
24. Cleveland Browns (3-6)
Who even plays for the Browns? They are not even in the five worst teams in the NFL and all I can tell you is that Colt McCoy is their quarterback. Their perennial irrelevancy is just downright annoying at this point.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6)
Guess who the Jags play this week? The Browns. Now you know and you can promptly forget because I'd rather watch David Stern talk about the NBA lockout than watch that mess of a match up.
26. Seattle Seahawks (3-6)
Oh Pete Carroll. Of all the terrible teams in the NFL, I am most amused by you and yours, if only for the fact that there are at least three players on your offensive line that are in intensive therapy after having to endure Ray Lewis watch Brett Favre-Light blow a game againts...your Seahawks. Go Sounders.
27. Arizona Cardinals (3-6)
The Cardinals beat the Eagles this week, can you believe it?! What an upset!! Oh wait....right. Also, they face the 49ers this week. If the line for that game isn't at least 13 it will be a miracle.
28. Carolina Panthers (2-7)
The high that I was on for the first half of the season over Cam Newton has been over for a bit now. Win some games please, Cam. Tebow's embarrassing you.
29. Minnesota Vikings (2-7)
Is Christian Ponder actually any good, or were Favre, Tarvaris Jackson and Donovan McNabb so bad that we forget what a good quarterback would look like on that team? All I know is that even trying their hardest, Minnesota would be lucky to win two more games. Are you already picturing Peyton Manning in purple? I am. That forehead would look good in purple.
30. Miami Dolphins (2-7)
Miami, what are you doing?! Ugh. All I wanted was to see you get Andrew Luck and actually return to the glory days of Marino when everyone wanted a Miami Dolphins Starter jacket. Plus, as a New England fan I used to enjoy hating you. Now you've taken that away too.
31. St. Louis Rams (2-7)
The first place prize for the biggest waste of incredible talent on a crappy team is a tie between Larry Fitzgerald on the Cardinals and Steven Jackson on the Rams. Set them free NFC West, please. For the love of the NFL, set them free.
32. Indianapolis Colts (0-10)
Which 2011 early season favorite is having the biggest mid-season collapse?
Detroit Lions (6 votes)
Philadelphia Eagles (11 votes)
Buffalo Bills (4 votes)
San Diego Chargers (2 votes)
23 total votes