There is some serious movement near the top of the NFL's power rankings as Week 11 approaches.
A few of the league's heavyweights absorbed haymakers over the weekend.
The San Francisco 49ers were shut down at home by the Carolina Panthers, the Indianapolis Colts were annihilated by the St. Louis Rams at home and the Cincinnati Bengals suffered their second straight overtime loss, as the Baltimore Ravens won a fierce rivalry game on Sunday.
There were also a couple of surprises involving teams at the bottom of the rankings, as the league's two winless teams—the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars—both won games.
Needless to say, this week's rankings will look different than what you saw last week. Without further ado, here's how the league stacks up heading into Week 11.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
While many of the league's top teams were getting beat up on Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs were relaxing at home, resting up for the second half of the season. A date with the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football this weekend will determine if the undefeated Chiefs are for real.
2. Seattle Seahawks
It hasn't been pretty, but after losing to the Indianapolis Colts earlier this year, the Seattle Seahawks have rattled off five straight wins and have a two-game lead in the win column over the New Orleans Saints for the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
The offense will soon get its starting tackles back, and Percy Harvin intends to play this weekend when the 'Hawks take on his former team, the Minnesota Vikings, as noted by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com:
That sound you hear is the rest of the NFC teams shaking in their boots.
3. Denver Broncos
The Broncos are nearly unstoppable on offense these days, but Peyton Manning has taken his fair share of bumps and bruises this year playing behind a suspect offensive line.
The Chiefs visit Denver this weekend and lead the NFL with 36 sacks this year and 23 forced turnovers. This upcoming game will be a hell of a chess match between Manning and Kansas City's formidable defense.
4. New Orleans Saints
New Orleans made Dallas look like a powder-puff college squad on Sunday night with the nation watching. Drew Brees and his offensive teammates broke an NFL record by recording 40 first downs, and the Saints gained 625 yards of offense.
San Francisco comes limping into town in Week 11, and New Orleans hasn't come close to losing at home this year. That said, wounded teams are dangerous, and the Saints will need to be sharp to avoid suffering defeat.
5. Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers made a huge statement on Sunday, defeating the 49ers 10-9 at Candlestick Park.
Cam Newton had a rough outing against the formidable 49ers defense, but he made big plays in the second half to keep momentum going for his team.
The real story with Carolina, however, is the team's defense, which held San Francisco to just 151 total yards of offense and allowed just 10 first downs—only three of which were from passes by Colin Kaepernick, who had a miserable day.
The Panthers appear to be for real, and they'll have another chance to prove themselves when they host the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football.
6. New England Patriots
While New England's offense suffered through an injury-ridden first half of the season, its defense did enough to keep the team on the winning path.
Now that Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola are back in action, the offense is suddenly bursting with explosive plays. Tom Brady and his teammates dropped 55 points on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 9 before taking a week off on a bye.
Suddenly, the Patriots are scary again.
7. Detroit Lions
Even though Jay Cutler clearly wasn't 100 percent healthy on Sunday, Detroit's victory in Chicago was commendable. The Lions struggled to make plays on offense at times against an inspired effort by the Bears defensively, but the team's defense completely shut down Chicago's running game and won a close one on the road to take the lead in the NFC North.
8. Indianapolis Colts
After watching the Colts demonstrably take down three of the league's top teams earlier this year, it was shocking to see this same team crumble at home against the Rams. However, the embarrassing loss should be considered nothing more than an aberration.
Indy will bounce back strong, just as it has after both previous losses this year.
9. San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco had no answer on offense after tight end Vernon Davis left Sunday's game against the Panthers.
Michael Crabtree can't come back soon enough, but in the meantime, Frank Gore needs to be carrying the ball at least 20 times per game, because Colin Kaepernick is struggling without playmakers in the passing game.
10. Cincinnati Bengals
Every time the Bengals start to give us hope that they're a legitimate Super Bowl contender, they fail to keep the momentum going. After winning three straight games—during which time Andy Dalton was superb—Cincy has lost two straight games in overtime.
During this latest two-game stretch, Dalton has thrown two touchdowns and six interceptions.
The Bengals won't ever move past the "pretender" label until Dalton stops reverting back to rookie tendencies under pressure.
11. Chicago Bears
Chicago is still one of the league's top teams, but this isn't the same Bears team most fans are used to seeing. The team's defense isn't nearly as dominant as it used to be, with an aging an increasingly ineffective Julius Peppers leading the charge, along with aging stud cornerback Charles Tillman and injured Lance Briggs.
12. New York Jets
The Jets are incredibly inconsistent right now, but when this team is on, it's tough to beat.
Featuring one of the league's most impressive young defensive fronts, New York plays tough against the run and can get after the passer.
Unfortunately, it appears rookie quarterback Geno Smith is just a bit too green to get the Jets into the playoffs this year. He's thrown 13 interceptions already this season.
13. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles haven't yet won a game at home, but this team has a 5-1 record on the road, is tied with the Dallas Cowboys atop the NFC East with a 5-5 record and has one of the hottest quarterbacks in the NFL.
Nick Foles has thrown 10 touchdowns in his past two games—both of which the Eagles won—and he's thrown 16 touchdowns this year without throwing a single interception.
14. Arizona Cardinals
Despite the fact that Carson Palmer has thrown at least one interception in all nine of Arizona's games, the Cardinals are 5-4 heading into Week 11 and just one game behind the 49ers for second place in the NFC West.
15. Dallas Cowboys
If the Cowboys manage to sneak into the playoffs through the back door, then it will be a miracle.
Dallas' defense is getting progressively worse from week to week, and Tony Romo has had more bad days than good of late. In his last five games, he's passed for 206 yards or less three times, and he was absolutely abysmal against the Saints on Sunday night, completing just 10 of his 24 attempts for 128 yards.
16. Green Bay Packers
It's always stunning to see how much teams suffer when elite quarterbacks are lost to injury. Aaron Rodgers is out with a fractured collarbone, and the Packers have languished on offense without him.
It'll be interesting to see how Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn handle things while Rodgers is out. He's still expected to be out at least "a couple weeks," as noted by Tom Pelissero of USA Today:
17. New York Giants
Three wins in a row?
Quietly, New York has shrugged off its putrid six-game, season-opening losing streak to put itself in position to potentially steal the NFC East.
Stranger things have happened, and the way the NFC East has been going this year, it would be foolish to rule it out.
18. Cleveland Browns
Jason Campbell has been terrific since finally being given a chance to lead Cleveland's offense. He's thrown five touchdowns and zero interceptions and nearly led the Browns to victory over the Chiefs in Week 9.
Another big test awaits Campbell and the Browns this weekend in Cincinnati. A big win against the Bengals would further legitimize this team as a playoff contender.
19. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens haven't lost their championship heart, but Baltimore's roster isn't loaded with championship-caliber players anymore. This team will be tough the rest of the way, but nobody should expect the Ravens to have a shot to defend their title in the playoffs.
20. San Diego Chargers
The fizzle seems to be waning on San Diego's promising start to the season.
In the last five games, the Chargers have only put together one solid performance—the impressive 19-9 win over the Colts. Three losses and a win against Jacksonville are what the Chargers have to show for their efforts in the other four.
Philip Rivers can only do so much. There are big holes on the roster to fill in the next couple of years before the Chargers can be considered a legitimate contender in the AFC West.
21. St. Louis Rams
Games like the one we saw from the Rams against the Colts on Sunday are why so many NFL analysts were geeked about this team at the beginning of the season.
Tavon Austin is an incredible playmaker if utilized correctly, and the team's defense is capable of putting the clamps down, thanks to elite playmakers at all three levels.
Unfortunately, the Rams haven't been able to play well consistently this year, and it'll be hard to win many games with Kellen Clemens as the quarterback.
22. Miami Dolphins
Mike Wallace is who we thought he was—a flashy speedster without any No. 1 receiver potential. Miami's offensive line is in disrepair, and second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill is regressing as a result. The team's defense has some impressive pieces in place, but the players don't often play as a cohesive unit.
As a result of these—and other—issues, Miami has lost five of its last six games.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers
This isn't the Steelers defense we're used to seeing. Teams are running the ball at will on Pittsburgh this year, averaging 127.2 yards per game, which is the third-worst mark in the league.
On the other side, Ben Roethlisberger just isn't the same without a strong running game or a competent offensive line. He's still capable of pulling off brilliant displays of off-the-cuff quarterbacking, but unfortunately, he's making nearly as many bad throws as good ones lately.
24. Washington Redskins
Washington has been here before. Last year, this team had the same 3-6 record heading into the final seven games and ended up winning seven in a row to take the NFC East title. But you have to be able to stop someone to win games, and Washington hasn't been able to stop anyone this year.
25. Buffalo Bills
Maybe next year, Bills fans. Buffalo has a promising young roster with excellent players on both sides of the ball. Another strong draft in 2014 will further equip this team to make a run at taking down the Patriots in the AFC East.
26. Oakland Raiders
It's easy to be critical of Terrelle Pryor, who has really struggled the past four games, throwing one touchdown and eight interceptions. But it's worth noting the Raiders feature one of the league's worst offensive lines.
There's still plenty of work to be done by general manager Reggie McKenzie. Huge holes on both sides of the ball remain, and Oakland was overachieving by winning three of its first seven games.
27. Tennessee Titans
After losing Jake Locker for the season with a foot injury, as noted by TitanInsider, the Titans must seriously consider whether or not he's the quarterback of the future:
Locker hasn't been able to stay healthy since joining the league three years ago, and this team is languishing in mediocrity.
28. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have three former starting quarterbacks on the roster.
Translation: The Vikings don't have a quarterback.
Solution: The Vikings must find a quarterback in the 2014 NFL draft or continue to suffer through another agonizingly miserable season next year.
29. Atlanta Falcons
Tony Gonzalez didn't originally want to play in 2013, but he was convinced to return for one more season because he wanted to win a championship. After all, Atlanta came within a couple of plays of beating the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game last year.
Unfortunately, injuries have decimated Atlanta's roster this year, and the Falcons appear to be headed toward a top-five draft pick in 2014.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs came close to winning a handful of games this year before finally getting off the schneid in Week 10 against the Dolphins. Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon has been impressive since taking over for Josh Freeman, and the team's defense appears to be getting better as the season wears on.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville stunned the Titans on Sunday with a 29-27 win in Tennessee.
Nobody can say miracles don't happen.
Another win this year for the Jags might be too much to hope for, however, as this remains a bad, bad football team.
32. Houston Texans
Houston has suffered seven losses in a row after two miraculous wins to open the season. The Texans could easily be winless.
The latest news signals potential plans for a youth movement next year. Houston is reportedly cutting veteran safety and future Hall of Famer Ed Reed, as noted by John McClain of the Houston Chronicle:
It's likely going to get worse before it gets better for the Texans.
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