Oakland wins in Arrowhead, Chicago comes back behind Denver, Philadelphia nearly upsets New England, the only thing that will make this season weirder is to have one lucky fan granted three wishes by a magic unicorn, or a Miami victory.
1. New England Patriots (11-0) (Previous rank: 1): Well, we know it now: they can be beat. If not for a late quarter interception, they very well might have been. New England is still the dominating force in the NFL, but the Eagles taught us that they have holes in their armor. Will they go undefeated? Now, I doubt it.
2. Dallas Cowboys (10-1) (Previous rank: 2): The Jets really didn’t have a chance in this game. The Cowboys defense was too good and their offense was good enough to leave the Jets grounded. The Dallas versus Green Bay game is going to be huge.
3. Green Bay Packers (10-1) (Previous rank: 3): The Packers continue to surprise football fans: they carved up the Lions like a turkey on Thanksgiving Day. Brett Favre deserves to be considered for MVP.
4. Indianapolis Colts (9-2) (Previous rank: 4): Peyton Manning picked the week I was playing against him in fantasy football to turn it around. Thanks a lot. The Colts manhandled the Falcons, setting themselves up at a nice 9-2. Whatever was wrong with them seems to be fixed…at least for now.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-3) (Previous rank: 6): The Jaguars did just what they needed to do to shut down the Bills. Their offense and defense both performed well. This team is suddenly giving Indy a run for their money.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3) (Previous rank: 7): What an offensive shootout (note the sarcasm…duh!). The Steelers were lucky this one didn’t end in a 0-0 tie. Sure, the conditions were awful, but that’s part of football. If the football gods weren’t against Miami, this one may have been different.
7. Cleveland Browns (7-4) (Previous rank: 8): Derek Anderson continues to impress everyone. Yes, even Brady Quinn. The running game was great too. Their defense gave up some points, but made key plays to keep the victory sealed.
8. Tampa Bay (7-4) (Previous rank: 9): The defense had another stellar day, but it was still too close for comfort. Tampa Bay is a much better team with Jeff Garcia at the helm.
9. Seattle Seahawks (7-4) (Previous rank: 10): It almost was a bad day to be a Seahawk, but Seattle pulled it off in the end. Coming back on the road will feed this team’s momentum. Don’t look now, but they’ve gotten hot.
10. New York Giants (7-4) (Previous rank: 5): This was an awful day to be a New York Giant. Eli Manning was ridiculously bad and the rest of the team wasn’t much better. Having Brandon Jacobs out on injury hurts this team.
11. San Diego (6-5) (Previous rank: 15): Phillip Rivers was great; this has to continue if the Chargers are to claim the West. It was an easy victory over the Ravens, a good defense gone really bad.
12. Detroit Lions (6-5) (Previous rank: 11): Green Bay gave them chances early on to score, but the Lions were held to field goals. This ultimately came back to haunt them. After losing three in a row, the Lions “ten victory season” appears to be in jeopardy.
13. New Orleans Saints (5-6) (Previous rank: 20): The Saints are so very hot and cold. This week, they were hot. Their offense was unstoppable, particularly in the second half and their defense kept Carolina to a measly six points.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (5-6) (Previous rank: 17): Well, they didn’t win, but they move up the power rankings because, let’s face it, they played a heck of a game. In what was nearly a David beats Goliath victory, AJ Feeley proved that he, like a lot of the quarterbacks in the NFL, still has it, even when no one else thinks he does.
15. Tennessee Titans (6-5) (Previous rank: 14): The Titans are starting to fall apart. They seemed to be a shoe in for the Wild Card, now, who knows. Vince Young needs to start to play better and their defense needs to regain their edge.
16. Chicago Bears (5-6) (Previous rank: 24): Chalk this win up to the Bears special teams, without them, Chicago would have had like half a point. This was a season saver against Denver and a big lift confidence wise. But, if teams start containing Devin Hester, the Bears are in big trouble.
17. Denver Broncos (5-6) (Previous rank: 12): Oh boy, does this one hurt. I can hardly believe that Denver lost this one after having a fourteen point lead in the fourth quarter. The Broncos special teams failed them….REALLY failed them. Oh, and Bernard Berrian’s feet weren’t in the end zone on that last Chicago drive in regulation (I’m a Bronco fans, I have to say that!)
18. Minnesota Vikings (5-6) (Previous rank: 21): Their defense was unreal in this game, making Eli Manning look like a deer in headlights. Their offense nearly had the day off. At 5-6, Minnesota’s playoff chances are very much alive.
19. Arizona Cardinals (5-6) (Previous rank: 13): I’m not sure who is more in shock…Denver fans or Arizona fans. This was a hard loss for the Cardinals. Kurt Warner’s fumble in the end zone in OT marred a otherwise great game by the veteran quarterback.
20. Washington Redskins (5-6) (Previous rank: 18): The loss of Sean Taylor puts the loss of a football game in perspective. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family.
21. Buffalo Bills (5-6) (Previous rank: 19): Their offense needs to get better if they are going to make the playoffs. Marshawn Lynch being out of the game certainly hurt. They might have to win the rest of their games just to have a chance at a Wild Card.
22. Houston Texans (5-6) (Previous rank: 16): This was gearing to be a close game, but Houston’s turnovers put an end to it. The Texans still have playoff hopes, but in the AFC, the next loss could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
23. Cincinnati Bengals (4-7) (Previous rank: 27): Chad Johnson scoring touchdowns and then hamming it up for the camera…those are the Bengals we know. Their offense performed as they usually do: well. Their defense was also pretty good…a fact completely foreign to Cincinnati fans.
24. Kansas City Chiefs (4-7) (Previous rank: 22): Despite the great play of rookie Kolby Smith, the Chiefs were upset at home. Remember when opponents never won at Arrowhead in November? Yeah, neither do we.
25. Carolina Panthers (4-7) (Previous rank: 23): This team is bad. Their record is probably better than it should be. Their defense and their offense have both unraveled. They’ll be watching the playoffs from home.
26. Baltimore Ravens (4-7) (Previous rank: 25): Their season is over. Without a defense, the Ravens aren’t going to win any games. Kyle Boller isn’t doing horribly, but when other teams are scoring 30 points, he’s not going to catch up.
27. Oakland Raiders (3-8) (Previous rank: 30): The Raiders aren’t going to make the playoffs, but they might have just knocked the Chiefs out too. Justin Fargas ran well and their defense made plays when they needed to the most.
28. Atlanta Falcons (3-8) (Previous rank: 26): Watching the Falcons play the Colts was like watching JV play varsity. The Falcons just couldn’t get in the end zone on offense and couldn’t keep the Colts out of the end zone on defense.
29. San Francisco (3-8) (Previous rank: 31): Their offense got it together for the first time in eight games and Frank Gore made his fantasy owners proud. It’s probably too little, too late for the 49ers, but they can somewhat salvage their season.
30. New York Jets (2-9) (Previous rank: 28): After getting a big win over the Steelers, the Jets couldn’t take off against the Cowboys. Their offense was awful, scoring only three points. Their defense didn’t have a chance to contain the Cowboys to the Jets level of scoring.
31. St Louis Rams (2-9) (Previous rank: 29): This game was in the bag, but the Rams let it out. There is no way they should have let Seattle come back. Not that it matters, St. Louis saw their season end weeks ago.
32. Miami Dolphins (0-11) (Previous rank: 32): With Mother Nature on Miami’s side in Monday night’s game, the Dolphins just couldn’t deliver. All it took was one touchdown for victory or one field goal for overtime. Miami can’t wait till this season’s over.