NFL Power Rankings Week 11: Examining League Landscape After Monday's Action

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2013

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 10: Offensive linemen Andre Smith #71 and Kevin Zeitler #68 line up as quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals signals against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 10, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

We all know the NFL is known for its parity, but this is ridiculous.

In Week 10 alone, the Indianapolis Colts lost 38-8 to the St. Louis Rams, the Minnesota Vikings beat the Washington Redskins, and the New Orleans Saints beat the Dallas Cowboys by 32 points. And then there was the Jacksonville Jaguars getting win No. 1.

Even with that parity, it's hard not to look at some of the results and draw conclusions about the losers. We're deep enough into the season that we've gained some perspective on what each team's true faults are.

Here's what the league looks like after 10 weeks. The three teams hurt the most after losses are underlined.


1. Denver Broncos (8-1)

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 10:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos walks over field after the football game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium November 10, 2013 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

While the Denver Broncos defense continues to be average, the offense remains the best in the league. If this was 10 years ago, you needed a solid defensive unit to win the Super Bowl. It doesn't matter as much in today's NFL, with the league trying to become safe and all. As long as Peyton Manning is under center, the Broncos remain Super Bowl favorites.


2. Kansas City Chiefs (9-0)

There will likely be plenty of Kansas City Chiefs fans arguing that their team deserves the top spot, since Andy Reid's team is the only one left unbeaten. If Kansas City wants to prove itself, then it has a golden opportunity on Sunday night when it takes on the Broncos.


3. Seattle Seahawks (9-1)

You don't want to read too much into a win against the free-falling Atlanta Falcons, but at least the Seahawks got the job done and had 490 yards of total offense. Week 13—when Seattle hosts New Orleans—can't come soon enough.


4. New Orleans Saints (7-2)

The Saints recovered well from that 26-20 loss to the New York Jets. New Orleans manhandled the Dallas Cowboys to the tune of a 49-17 win. The defense is still not terrible, which is all that matters when Drew Brees is your quarterback. The Saints remain one of the best teams in the NFC and will only strengthen that place with a win on Sunday.


5. Carolina Panthers (6-3)

The Carolina Panthers are one of the hottest teams in the league, and defense is the biggest reason why. The San Francisco 49ers were held to just 150 yards and averaged 2.9 yards a play on Sunday. More importantly, Cam Newton has yet to repeat that Week 5 performance against the Arizona Cardinals.


6. New England Patriots (7-2)

The New England Patriots have had an extra week to prepare for the Carolina Panthers. That could be critical as Bill Belichick tries to find an answer for that terrific Panthers defense. While a loss to Carolina wouldn't be the end of the world, it's not the way the Patriots will want to head into their Week 12 date with the Broncos.


7. Indianapolis Colts (6-3)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 10:  Chuck Pagano the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts watches the action during the game against the St. Louis Rams at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 10, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Indianapolis Colts were the toast of the league after their win over the Denver Broncos in Week 7. After a hard-fought victory over the Houston Texans, the Colts' stock was still pretty high. Then came Sunday's drubbing at the hands of the St. Louis Rams.

A 38-8 loss to the Rams makes you wonder if the Colts are truly ready to take that next step. Kellen Clemens threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns. You should never see this happen, unless you're watching old games from when he as an Oregon Duck.

The five turnovers were the biggest reason for the loss, so perhaps this game was an aberration.


8. San Francisco 49ers (6-3)

Where have you gone, Colin Kaepernick? He's thrown just nine touchdowns to six interceptions and is completing 56.4 percent of his passes. While it would be an incorrect judgment to make, those numbers only fuel the critics who argue that Alex Smith would've been a better option than Kaepernick.


9. Detroit Lions (6-3)

By beating the Chicago Bears, the Detroit Lions have established they're the team to beat in the NFC North. Going into Soldier Field and getting the victory, thus winning both games against Chicago this season, sets this Lions team apart from so many in the past. Things should continue looking good for Detroit, with upcoming games against Pittsburgh, Green Bay and Tampa Bay.


10. Chicago Bears (5-4)

The Chicago Bears have lost four of their last six games. They have all the pieces necessary to win the division, but it's not coming together. It's too easy to blame Jay Cutler. The problems go deeper than that, and it may be another frustrating season for Bears fans.


11. Dallas Cowboys (5-5)

Yes the Cowboys lost 49-17 to the Saints, and that looks very bad. You also have to keep in context how bad the NFC East is and where Dallas could finish the season. It's in pole position to win the division. Also, is the team worse than the Bengals, Jets, Ravens, Eagles, etc. right now? Not really.


12. Cincinnati Bengals (6-4)

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 10:  Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals is sacked by outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil #58 of the Baltimore Ravens during the second half of the Ravens 20-17 overtime win at M&T Bank Stadium on November 10, 2013

I try not to be one for hyperbole, but Andy Dalton is killing this team. His interceptions put so much pressure on the Bengals defense that it's unsustainable. And with Geno Atkins out for the season, Cincinnati is without its best player on defense.

Dalton is a younger version of Ryan Fitzpatrick. He's good if you've got a team hovering near the middle or bottom of the league. If you have playoff aspirations, you better look elsewhere.

The third-year signal-caller has made almost no progress from where he was last season. While he's on pace to get about 1,000 more passing yards, his completion percentage has increased by just 0.1 percent, and he's set to throw five more interceptions.

Maybe Dalton can get the Bengals to a third straight postseason appearance. But in all likelihood, it'll be another first-round exit.


13. New York Jets (5-4)

Rex Ryan is Coach of the Year, right? Even the most die-hard of New York Jets fans couldn't have foreseen a 5-4 start, where the team is in possession of a wild-card spot. The only thing is, the Jets need to stop with this whole alternating wins with losses thing. Just string a couple of victories together.


14. Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)

It seems crazy to put the Philadelphia Eagles this high, but they have won four of their last six games. Nick Foles has avoided throwing a single interception this season. The real test of Philadelphia's worth will be on Sunday against the Redskins. Can the defense stop Washington's offense?


15. Baltimore Ravens (4-5) 

Perhaps the Baltimore Ravens are getting too much love this week. But they beat the Cincinnati Bengals and look to firmly be in the AFC North fight. You undervalue the reigning Super Bowl champs at your own peril. The defense has improved, and Joe Flacco has demonstrated that he's good enough not to weigh down the entire team en route to the Super Bowl.


16. Arizona Cardinals (5-4)

The Arizona Cardinals continue to have one of the best defenses in the league. Until Carson Palmer proves himself against better defenses than Atlanta and Houston, you still can't be sure that the team won't be dragged down by his poor play. At least the franchise is taking steps forward.


17. Green Bay Packers (5-4)

Until Aaron Rodgers comes back, the Green Bay Packers will continue to fall. Their defense maintains its marginal status, so without Rodgers, the offense can't compensate. The only hope is that the star QB can return before 2013 is a lost cause.


18. Cleveland Browns (4-5)

Some might want to get behind the Cleveland Browns. They were off this week, so they didn't have an opportunity to build off that big win over the Ravens in Week 9. I just can't get too behind the Browns because of the quarterback position. There's a reason Jason Campbell has bounced around the league the way he has.


19. San Diego Chargers (4-5)

A loss to the Denver Broncos just confirmed that the San Diego Chargers have a glass ceiling this year. They're not good enough to win the AFC West or likely snatch a wild-card spot. However, they're also not one of the worst teams in the league. Count on an 8-8 or 7-9 record at the end of the season.


20. Tennessee Titans (4-5)

The rest of the league thanks you, Tennessee Titans. Somebody had to lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars. You were the team brave enough to make it happen.


21. St. Louis Rams (4-6)

Don't read too much into that huge win over the Colts. The St. Louis Rams are still in a holding pattern until Sam Bradford returns to the field.


22. Miami Dolphins (4-5)

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 11:  A Miami Dolphins fan looks on in the first half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 11, 2013 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

It's hard to see how this Richie Incognito mess won't affect the Miami Dolphins on the field. They're without both Incognito and Jonathan Martin, so the offensive line will be an issue. The constant barrage of questions for the players still with the team is also an unwanted distraction.

Now three games back of the Patriots, Miami's loss on Monday night has essentially eliminated it from playoff contention. It's also the Dolphins' fifth loss in their last six games. Maybe if there was the right leadership in the locker room, the franchise could turn things around. However, the Incognito mess has illustrated just why Miami has been so bad for so long. Changes need to made from top to bottom.


23. New York Giants (3-6)

This New York Giants rushing offense has been so much fun to watch, if only for how many guys have stepped in to have good performances. This week it was Andre Brown, who had 115 yards and one touchdown on 30 carries.


24. Washington Redskins (3-6)

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 7: Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins looks on during the final minute of the game against the Minnesota Vikings on November 7, 2013 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. T

What happened on Thursday night? The Redskins outgained the Vikings 433-407, yet it was Minnesota walking away with the 34-27 win. Once again, it was the defense letting Washington down. The Vikings averaged 5.9 yards per play, and Christian Ponder missed just four passes.

With this loss, the Redskins are almost certainly out of the NFC East race. They can't make up ground on both the Cowboys and Eagles. You're counting on the defense to play at a consistently high enough level, which hasn't happened this season. With the division title out of reach, there's no way Washington will be able to sneak into the playoffs.


25. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-6) 

The Pittsburgh Steelers could very well turn around and win four of their next five games. Playing the Lions at home will be tricky, but games against the Browns, Ravens, Dolphins and Bengals are all winnable. In what is an open AFC North, don't count out the Steelers completely.


26. Minnesota Vikings (2-7)

The Minnesota Vikings got a big win against the Washington Redskins on Thursday. Christian Ponder managed the game well and let Adrian Peterson do most of the heavy lifting. Don't get too excited, though, as the Vikings have an upcoming three-game stretch over the Seahawks, Packers and Bears ahead.


27. Buffalo Bills (3-7)

The Buffalo Bills have now lost three in a row. Considering what the expectations were for the franchise, fans can at least take solace in the fact that EJ Manuel is much further in his progression than many would have foreseen before the season.


28. Houston Texans (2-7)

Nov 10, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum (7) laughs before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Believe it or not, Case Keenum has gone three games without an interception. That must feel like a decade for Texans fans accustomed to the generosity of Matt Schaub. You have to wonder where Houston might have been if Keenum started the season and played this well under center.


29. Oakland Raiders (3-6)

Remember when Terrelle Pryor looked like a potential franchise QB for the Oakland Raiders? Fast forward to today, and Pryor's failed to throw a touchdown in his last three games. During that same time frame, he's thrown five interceptions. At least Raiders fans are numb to all of this by now.


30. Atlanta Falcons (2-7)

Just count this as a lost season if you're a Falcons fan. Atlanta has been heaped with injury after injury, and the defense hasn't made any improvements. Look toward building for next season. The pieces are obviously there. Address the glaring issues in the offseason.


31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8)

Yes, we can! They nearly threw it away late, but the Jacksonville Jaguars got that important first win of the season. Sure the Jags are terrible, but they at least won't go down in history like the 2008 Detroit Lions.


32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8)

Beating a Dolphins team in turmoil at the moment isn't enough to elevate the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ahead of the Jaguars. The Bucs defense was very impressive, allowing just two rushing yards the entire game. The offense is still a concern, though, especially with the injury to Mike James, via's Ian Rapoport.

At least the state of Florida can rejoice that it doesn't have any winless teams anymore.


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