NFL Week 11 Power Rankings: Complete Analysis and Standings
The beauty of crafting an NFL power rankings list these days is its easiness.
There are a good three to five teams right now that experts can easily put at the top of the list, and many objective fans likely wouldn’t disagree with any of them. It’s that even right now.
Still, this isn’t little league. Not every team is the best. And not every one of those three to five teams can be at the top of the rankings.
There has to be just one—along with 31 others behind that one.
Here’s where they stand in the NFL heading into Week 11.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1-8
If a quarterback’s game was described in terms of human personality, Blaine Gabbert’s skills would be the equivalent of a wet blanket.
To put it nicely, Jacksonville’s offense is awful, and it’s the biggest reason why the Jags are at the bottom of the rankings. Here’s hoping Mike Mularkey’s team isn’t back on prime-time television anytime soon.
31. Kansas City Chiefs, 1-8
Give the Chiefs credit. They played very inspired football for 60 minutes against the Steelers on Monday night.
Then in overtime, Matt Cassel remembered he was Matt Cassel and threw a bad pick deep in his own end to seal another loss for Kansas City. As bad as it has been for the Chiefs—losers of six straight—there is some hope for the future.
The defense looks pretty solid, or at least it did against Pittsburgh. But the Matt Cassel experiment might be over after this season.
30. Carolina Panthers, 2-7
The honeymoon is officially over for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.
It’s getting so humiliating for Newton that opponents like Von Miller and Tony Carter of the Broncos are mocking him for his Superman dance. At this point, Newton has found his kryptonite. With a year of NFL film under their belts, opposing defensive coordinators have figured out how to keep Newton in the pocket.
That has turned Newton into a one-dimensional, ineffective quarterback for the league’s most disappointing team.
29. Cleveland Browns, 2-7
Jimmy Haslam’s new team has a few good, young players in place, specifically Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson and Josh Gordon.
But that hasn’t translated into victories for Haslam’s Cleveland Browns. The Browns are going to need more than a bunch of Phil Dawson field goals if they’re going to pull off the Week 11 upset in Dallas against the Cowboys.
28. Oakland Raiders, 3-6
Dennis Allen earned his stripes in the NFL as a defensive coach, but you wouldn’t know it by watching a Raiders game.
Whether it’s by ground or air, Oakland has been getting crushed defensively these days. First, Doug Martin went off for a historic day on the ground.
Then, Joe Flacco exploded for nearly 400 yards passing a week later against the silver and black. The Saints might have a field day against the Raiders this week both on the ground and through the air.
27. Buffalo Bills, 3-6
Don’t be surprised if the Buffalo Bills petition the NFL about never having to face the Patriots ever again.
The Bills have now lost 20 of their last 22 games against the Pats and have never won at Gillette Stadium, thanks to their crushing 37-31 loss to New England in Week 10.
Buffalo had a chance to pull off the upset, but Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a bad pick to end it. He’s good for at least one ugly turnover a game—part of the reason why the Bills are still the Bills.
26. Washington Redskins, 3-6
Do the games from here on out count as exhibition games for the Washington Redskins?
After all, Mike Shanahan declared two weeks ago that he’s already looking ahead to 2013. Concerning the present, rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III has been more sizzle than steak lately, but that’s not really his fault.
Simply put, RGIII doesn’t have much around him offensively, thanks to injuries and a lack of overall talent. Maybe the Redskins can use their first-round draft pick next year on a stud receiver to help Griffin out.
25. New York Jets, 3-6
Starter Mark Sanchez has regressed in his fourth year as a starter, completing roughly half of his passes and making rookie-like mistakes at times (that goal-line pick to Richard Sherman in Week 10 was awful).
The Jets have lost three straight and are on the verge of irrelevance in the AFC playoff picture. And yet it doesn’t look like Tebow’s even going to get a sniff at Sanchez’s job anytime soon. There won’t be any TebowMania in New York this year.
24. Philadelphia Eagles, 3-6
Hear that sound? That’s the sound of the final nail being hammered into the coffin of the Philadelphia Eagles’ season.
The Eagles have lost five straight and appear ready to usher both Andy Reid and Michael Vick out the door after this miserable season. It will be interesting to see what rookie quarterback Nick Foles brings to the table in what is essentially a seven-game audition for the starting gig in 2013.
But it won’t matter much. The Eagles’ offensive line is so banged up and awful in pass protection that not even Joe Montana could survive in the pocket for Philly.
23. Arizona Cardinals, 4-5
The Cardinals are faced with a tough task in trying to snap their five-game skid.
In Week 11, Arizona has to travel to the Georgia Dome to take on the mighty Falcons. The Cardinals likely won’t have the firepower offensively to keep up with Atlanta, so look for the losing streak to continue in the desert. Ken Whisenhunt’s team better find a way to get back into the win column quickly.
If not, the Cardinals will find themselves falling further out of contention in the fierce NFC West race.
22. Miami Dolphins, 4-5
Ryan Tannehill is going through the peaks and valleys of being a rookie quarterback, and the Miami Dolphins are right there with him.
Tannehill threw three picks in the Dolphins’ 37-3 lashing at the hands of the Titans in Week 10. He isn’t the only Dolphins offensive star who struggled against the Titans.
Reggie Bush fumbled early and hardly saw the field after that. If the Dolphins are going to get back on track, coach Joe Philbin needs to give Bush a longer leash when he makes a mistake.
Philbin needs both Tannehill and Bush to rebound for Miami to have success in these critical coming weeks.
21. Tennessee Titans, 4-6
Maybe owner Bud Adams should threaten to fire his employees more often.
The Titans got the message loud and clear, as they thrashed the Dolphins in a dominant Week 10 win. Don’t look now, but Chris Johnson is really starting to make an impact on the ground for the Titans.
If a healthy Jake Locker can do the same through the air, Tennessee could be a team to watch down the stretch.
20. Detroit Lions, 4-5
It’s been a Jekyll and Hyde-like season for the Detroit Lions and their defense.
Some weeks, that unit looks downright dominant (like against the Bears and Jaguars). Other weeks, the D is getting gashed by the likes of Adrian Peterson and others.
Lions fans are hoping the defense puts on its big-boy pants this week, as Aaron Rodgers and the Packers roll into the Motor City.
19. St. Louis Rams, 3-5-1
The Rams are fit to be tied right now.
They squandered a golden opportunity to gain ground in the NFC West race when they had to settle for a tie against the 49ers in Week 10. Two critical overtime penalties—an illegal formation and delay of game—on big plays prevented the Rams from pulling the outright upset.
But the good news for Jeff Fisher’s squad is that Danny Amendola is back and as productive as ever. And the St. Louis defense rebounded nicely after getting squashed by the Patriots two weeks earlier in London.
18. Cincinnati Bengals, 4-5
The Bengals got a win they desperately needed by knocking off the defending champion Giants in easy fashion during Week 10.
Andy Dalton had himself quite the day at the office (four touchdown passes). He and AJ Green are going to have to keep finding that golden connection offensively if the Bengals are going to climb out of their AFC North hole.
Maybe Bengals running back bust BenJarvus Green-Ellis will eventually feel like helping the cause, too.
17. San Diego Chargers, 4-5
Norv Turner somehow survived the axe at the end of last season in San Diego.
If the Chargers keep bumbling around on special teams like this, he’s not going to survive it this season. If franchise quarterback Philip Rivers keeps underachieving and throwing dumb interceptions, he’s not going to survive it this season.
And if the Chargers miss out on the playoffs yet again, he’s not going to survive it this season.
16. Indianapolis Colts, 6-3
We’re going to find out real quick if Indianapolis’ upset win over the Packers a few weeks back was merely a big fluke or a sign of things to come for the Colts.
Andrew Luck has a chance to further legitimize his team’s playoff chances (which are very real) and vault his way to the top of the Rookie of the Year race over Doug Martin in Week 11.
The Colts travel to Foxborough to take on Tom Brady and the Patriots. If Luck exploits New England’s struggling defense and the Colts pull off another upset, then Indy will be more than Luck-y. The Colts will be for real.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 5-4
It’s not a stretch to say that this is the most explosive offense the Bucs have ever had in their history.
Josh Freeman has had a great season thus far, and Vincent Jackson has been the perfect fit with his new team. However, they’ve both been overshadowed by the Muscle Hamster, aka Doug Martin. He’s the leader for Rookie of the Year at the moment.
The Tampa defense is currently playing well enough to allow that explosive offense to do its thing. It’s a formula that Greg Schiano’s team has used to perfection during its recent three-game winning streak.
14. New Orleans Saints, 4-5
Mercury Morris and his 1972 Dolphins teammates probably sent the Saints a present for knocking off the Falcons, the league’s last unbeaten team, in Week 10.
The Saints are rolling right now, even if their defense isn’t. This team is going to go as far as Drew Brees and a rejuvenated running attack will take them.
And seeing how the Saints are absolutely rolling offensively, the Saints will keep on marching into the win column for the time being.
13. Minnesota Vikings, 6-4
Forget Comeback Player of the Year. Adrian Peterson is in the lead for NFL MVP right now. Frankly, there’s no way the Minnesota Vikings would have six wins at this point without AP’s incredible services.
Through 10 games, Peterson already has over 1,100 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Not too bad for a guy who tore his ACL not even a full calendar year ago.
As long as quarterback Christian Ponder can continue being a good little game manager and keep opposing defenses honest, Peterson has a remote chance at 2,000 yards.
12. Seattle Seahawks, 6-4
The Pete Carroll revenge tour is complete in Seattle.
Carroll’s Seattle Seahawks recently smashed the Jets at home. Seattle is now two for two this season against the two former NFL teams Carroll was once in charge of (the Jets and Patriots).
Too bad the Seahawks can’t play every game at home. It will be very shocking if the Seahawks lose any games at CenturyLink Field this season.
Thanks to the suffocating crowd noise, a stingy defense and Marshawn Lynch, Seattle has the greatest home-field advantage in the league today.
11. Dallas Cowboys, 4-5
Don’t look now, but the Dallas Cowboys are poised to make a serious run at the NFC East down the stretch. For one, the schedule sets up pretty nicely for Jerry Jones’ team.
Dallas has three straight home games coming up, the first being against Cleveland in Week 11. Rob Ryan’s defense is also really starting to gel.
If Tony Romo can avoid more self-destructing games, look for the 'Boys to make some noise.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers, 6-3
Mike Tomlin’s philosophy regarding injuries has always been “no excuses, no exceptions.”
But even he has to be frustrated with how the injuries keep piling up in the Steel City. Star safety Troy Polamalu has missed five straight games nursing a calf injury. And now the status of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is up in the air.
Big Ben left the Steelers’ Monday night overtime win over the Chiefs with a shoulder injury. Tomlin better hope Big Ben will be good to go in Week 11.
That’s when the hated Ravens come to town for a fierce showdown in primetime.
9. San Francisco 49ers, 6-2-1
Coming off a bye, many expected Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers to steamroll the Rams.
However, Harbaugh’s team has to consider itself lucky to have escaped with a tie versus St. Louis. The big issue at the moment for the 49ers is the status of quarterback Alex Smith. He was knocked out of the Rams game with a concussion.
If he can’t go, the quarterbacking duties fall on young Colin Kaepernick, who played well against the Rams.
But it could be a different story if Kaepernick has to play on Monday night against a Bears defense that devours turnovers like Honey Boo Boo noms on donuts.
8. Denver Broncos, 6-3
Surely, John Fox must’ve enjoyed his revenge trip to Carolina that ended with his Denver Broncos stomping Cam Newton’s Panthers.
There’s really nothing new to report on this front. The Broncos keep rolling as Peyton Manning keeps getting back to his normal playing strength.
Barring any major injuries, Denver should roll to a second-straight AFC West title and will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs.
But Fox better keep reminding the speedy Trindon Holliday to hold the ball a yard past the end zone the next time he scores on a kickoff return.
7. New York Giants, 6-4
It’s yet another midseason swoon for Tom Coughlin’s New York Giants.
It’s mind boggling how the Giants seem to play to their full potential only when they’re either feeling disrespected or Coughlin’s job is on the line. The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for Big Blue.
During this week off, Coughlin and his staff need to figure out how to rejuvenate a Giants running game stuck in neutral. He also needs the pass rush to start living up to its incredible reputation once again to help a secondary that has been exposed as average.
If Coughlin can’t do those things, he might be fighting to keep his job yet again by season’s end.
6. New England Patriots, 6-3
Patriots fans have to be concerned about Bill Belichick’s defense.
Not only has it not improved on a weekly basis, it’s actually getting worse. We all knew the Pats’ suspect secondary could be thrown on.
Ryan Fitzpatrick did that quite well against Belichick’s unit in Week 10. But now it appears that teams can run to a certain extent on the defense, as well.
CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson ran for over 150 yards in the Pats’ win over Buffalo. Will new Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib be able to help at all?
Pats fans will begin to find out this Sunday. Talib is expected to play against Andrew Luck and the Colts.
5. Green Bay Packers, 6-3
This season is starting to look eerily similar to the Super Bowl run for Green Bay.
The Packers keep getting banged up in the injury department, and Aaron Rodgers doesn’t care. He carried the Packers all the way in 2010, and he’s doing it again so far in 2012.
Packers and Lions fans will be treated to a good old-fashioned shootout when Rodgers and Matthew Stafford face off in the Motor City this Sunday.
4. Baltimore Ravens, 7-2
Another week, another home win for John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens.
This time, the Ravens easily dispatched the bumbling Raiders in Week 10. They only blemish from that game came from Sam Koch’s fake field goal that he turned into a touchdown.
It wasn’t that the Ravens were running up the score—there’s no such thing in professional sports. It’s that Baltimore should’ve saved that play for when the Ravens actually need it, like against the hated Steelers this Sunday night.
3. Chicago Bears, 7-2
Chicago’s Week 10 loss to the Texans was like the repeat of a bad horror movie for Bears fans.
Jay Cutler was knocked out of the Texans game with a concussion. His replacement, Jason Campbell, failed to move the Bears offense with any kind of efficiency against Houston.
It’s the same situation that happened much of last year, when Caleb Hanie proved to be a disastrous replacement for an injured Cutler.
There’s no doubt the Bears have the personnel to make a run at a Super Bowl.
But there’s also no doubt that Chicago needs a healthy Cutler under center in order to get there. Bears fans better hope Cutler’s concussion doesn’t linger.
2. Atlanta Falcons, 8-1
Yes, the Falcons finally lost a game. But there’s no reason to panic in Atlanta.
The Saints are simply a bad matchup for Matt Ryan and company. But with New Orleans still under the .500 mark, it’s unlikely that these two teams will meet up in the playoffs.
Now, if Mike Smith’s team lays another dud this week at home against the slumping Cardinals, then the red flags will start to pop up.
1. Houston Texans, 8-1
The sign of an elite NFL team is that it's well-rounded.
The Houston Texans are well-rounded. Everyone knows they have an explosive running game led by Arian Foster.
And the passing game holds its own with the underrated Matt Schaub at the controls. However, defense is the reason why the 8-1 Texans top this list.
Even without Mario Williams and Brian Cushing, Houston is stingy as ever on defense, thanks to playmakers like JJ Watt and Danieal Manning.
Yes, Wade Phillips may not be a great NFL head coach. But there’s no doubt he’s the best defensive coordinator in the business.