NFL Power Rankings: Teams on Decline After Poor Week 12 Performance

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NFL Power Rankings: Teams on Decline After Poor Week 12 Performance
Jason Miller/Getty Images

One game can completely change the perception of teams in the NFL.

Although the complete body of work is most important, some teams completely failed to show up in Week 12. These types of duds could hurt a squad's confidence going forward and lead to further losses.

Here are the updated power rankings following Sunday's games.

 

1. Houston Texans

Although the Houston Texans still have the best record in the AFC, they are having some serious problems.

The once-dominant defense has now allowed 68 points in the last two weeks combined. At least the staff finally realized that Andre Johnson is still pretty good.

 

2. San Francisco 49ers

Colin Kaepernick has solidified his hold on the starting job after winning two of the toughest games on the entire schedule against the Chicago Bears and at the New Orleans Saints. 

His skill creates much more balance on the offense and will help the 49ers go deeper in the playoffs.

 

3. New England Patriots

In the last four games, the New England Patriots have averaged 47.5 points. It does not matter whom you are playing; that is dominant. It will be difficult for anyone to stop this unit.

 

4. Atlanta Falcons

Nothing the Falcons have done in the past three weeks has looked pretty. However, the team is now 10-1 and is in full control of the NFC South.

 

5. Denver Broncos

Although the offense struggled against the Kansas City Chiefs, no one is calmer under pressure than Peyton Manning. The Broncos should be able to clinch the AFC West within a few weeks.

 

6. Baltimore Ravens

Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

The Ravens were one miraculous Ray Rice catch-and-run away from a loss on Sunday. While the team should earn credit for resolve, there are some serious concerns in this organization.

Joe Flacco is one of the more inconsistent quarterbacks in the league, and he is a deterrent to his team when he is not playing well.

For the season, he has a Total QBR of 54.1, which ranks No. 18 among qualified players. This rates him behind three rookies and Jake Locker.

Meanwhile, both the run defense and pass defense are rated in the bottom third of the NFL in yards allowed. 

The 9-2 record is nothing to sneeze at, but a lot of improvements must be made before this team can be considered a Super Bowl contender.

 

7. Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears have a good enough defense to avoid any bad games. However, they will not be considered elite until they are able to defeat one of the top teams in the NFL.

This squad might be on pace for an early exit in the playoffs.

 

8. New York Giants

There is nothing quite like a bye week. After a few terrible performances by Eli Manning, he woke up against the Green Bay Packers and helped quiet the critics for the moment.

 

9. Green Bay Packers

The blowout loss against the Giants exposed the secondary, but this team is still getting healthy and should be right there with the top contenders by season's end.

John Grieshop/Getty Images

 

10. Cincinnati Bengals

No team has changed its perception more in the past couple of weeks than the Cincinnati Bengals. They have won their last three by outscoring opponents 93-29 in that stretch.

This team will be a scary opponent down the stretch.

 

11. Indianapolis Colts

The schedule gets tougher for Andrew Luck and company with two games against the Houston Texans remaining. However, the Colts have the ability to sneak into the playoffs if they win the games they should.

 

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay lost for the first time in five games, but it does not change what we already know about this team.

This is a very talented young offense that will only go as far as the defense will allow.

 

13. Seattle Seahawks

Few teams are better at home, but it will be difficult to reach the playoffs until they can start winning on the road. A 1-5 record is not going to get it done.

 

14. Pittsburgh Steelers

Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Every team has to deal with injuries. The Steelers might have had a few more problems with both Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich out this week, but that is still no excuse for Sunday's performance.

The offense turned the ball over eight times in the loss to the lowly Cleveland Browns.

Although Charlie Batch was responsible for three interceptions, four different running backs fumbled the ball. It gave the team no chance to come out with a victory.

Pittsburgh will quickly fall out of the playoff hunt if the offense continues to play this poorly without Roethlisberger.

 

15. Washington Redskins

Robert Griffin III has thrown eight touchdown passes in the last two games with only one interception. This production has gotten the Redskins back in playoff contention after a 3-6 start.

 

16. New Orleans Saints

A loss to the 49ers is nothing to be ashamed of, but the Saints have very little margin for error. 

Thursday's game against the Atlanta Falcons might be a must-win at this point of the season.

Andy King/Getty Images

 

17. Minnesota Vikings

Like Seattle, the Vikings will not be able to reach the postseason unless it starts winning on the road. Unfortunately, the schedule only includes one more game against a team with a losing record.

 

18. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins came back from the dead with a win over the Seahawks. The team's five wins are already more than many were expecting this season.

 

19. Dallas Cowboys

After a couple steps forward, the Cowboys took a major step back with an embarrassing loss to the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving. 

 

20. Detroit Lions

At 4-7, the playoffs look like a long shot for this team. However, the fight that they showed on Thanksgiving is very encouraging.

This is still a young team and should be a contender for the playoffs next year.

 

21. St. Louis Rams

There are a lot of question marks going forward for the Rams, but rookie Janoris Jenkins is not one of them.

He returned two interceptions for touchdowns against the Cardinals and could someday be one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.

 

22. San Diego Chargers

Close losses mean something earlier in the year. At this point, all that matters in games is which team finishes with more points.

The Chargers have not beaten a team besides the Chiefs since Week 2.

 

23. Tennessee Titans

Jake Locker and Chris Johnson gave reason to believe in this team after a Week 10 win over the Dolphins. After losing to the Jaguars, however, all of that good feeling is gone. 

 

24. Arizona Cardinals

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

After a 4-0 start, the Cardinals have lost seven straight games and are now in last place in the NFC West.

The offensive line is not only the worst in the NFL, but it is the worst that this league has seen in years.

Unheralded rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley got the start over John Skelton, and he responded with four interceptions against the Rams.

Even the return of Beanie Wells did not provide much spark as he was only able to manage 2.8 yards per carry. 

This could be a long final month for Arizona.

 

25. Buffalo Bills

The Bills are no longer getting blown out of games. Only once since Week 5 has a game been decided by more than one touchdown. Now they just need to start finishing on top more often.

 

26. Cleveland Browns

Defeating the Steelers should go a long way towards giving this young team confidence going forward. The defense should certainly be proud of forcing eight turnovers.

 

27. New York Jets

Elsa/Getty Images

The Jets usually feel confident heading into their rivalry game against the Patriots.

After falling behind 35-0, that confidence was completely gone, along with any hope of reaching the playoffs this season.

No team has as much controversy in the locker room as New York, and the media circus has finally gotten to the players. 

One would think that Tim Tebow would get his chance to play at some point, but his supporters will most likely have to wait until next season. 

 

28. Philadelphia Eagles

Heading into the Monday night game against the Carolina Panthers, the defense is playing poorly and the offense is running out of players.

Bryce Brown and Nick Foles are not what Eagles fans were hoping to see at this point of the season. 

 

29. Carolina Panthers

Although the organization was hoping for more than two wins by now, a matchup against the injured Eagles should help.

 

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

30. Oakland Raiders

The Raiders put together an embarrassing performance against Cincinnati on Sunday.

If the defense cannot stop the run, they will continue to lose regardless of what the offense does. 

 

31. Jacksonville Jaguars

Chad Henne may or may not be the answer for Jacksonville. The only certainty is that Blaine Gabbert is not the answer for the long term. 

 

32. Kansas City Chiefs

Once this team gets a quarterback, the pieces are there on offense to have a successful team.

 

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