NFL Power Rankings 2013: Sizing Up the League After Week 11

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistNovember 18, 2013

November 17, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) passes the football against Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris (25) during the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It is hard to describe Week 11 in proper terms.

Chaotic may put it best. The impact of Week 11 on power rankings is hard to encapsulate with just one word—teams both at the top and bottom performed in unexpected ways.

The top of the league hierarchy is a mess. As is the bottom, with several teams in (seemingly) full-fledged tank mode for a top prospect in the 2014 draft.

Here's a look at how NFL rankings stand after the Week 11 frenzy. Enjoy.


1. Denver Broncos (9-1)

Welcome back.

Denver is back on top of the NFL after a Sunday Night Football victory over undefeated Kansas City.

Peyton Manning and the Broncos managed only 27 points—strange for a team that entered averaging more than 40—but it was a major victory over a quality opponent regardless.

No team is better on paper. No team is better on the field. Easy.


2. Kansas City Chiefs (9-1)

So there it is.

Kansas City doubters can rejoice. Was the undefeated mark through nine games a fluke? Of course not. Did Kansas City crumble in the face of a tough task?


Credit to the Chiefs for winning nine straight. In the NFL, that's a very tough thing to do. For now, Kansas City sticks around at No. 2, but a rebound win is necessary in Week 12.


3. New Orleans Saints (8-2)

What's not to like about New Orleans?

Drew Brees leads a top-five passing attack that can compete with most. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has squeezed every drop of talent out of a unit he inherited.

The result is a top-five pass defense. In an NFL that favors the pass over everything, New Orleans does it and defends it with the best. That's hard to find and makes the Saints a surefire contender.


4. Seattle Seahawks (10-1)

Were we to judge strictly on record, Seattle would be No. 1 in the land. 

That's just not how we roll.

Seattle is a very impressive team. There's a top rushing attack in place. The usual elite pass defense is back.

However, there are red flags. A passing attack led by Russell Wilson that ranks in the bottom 10 of the NFL needs work. Until that changes, it's hard to see Seattle keeping pace with some of the NFL's best offenses.


5. New England Patriots (7-2)

The Week 11 edition of Monday Night Football will tell fans much about the legitimacy of two contenders.

New England comes out of a bye to take on one of the NFL's best defenses. Tom Brady and the Patriots seem to be back on track after 55 points in a Week 9 victory over Pittsburgh.

Carolina ranks in the top five against the pass, so we'll find out in a hurry if the Patriots are truly back to form.


6. Carolina Panthers (6-3)

How about this team from Carolina?

Cam Newton has played great football as of late. But the real focus has to be on the defense. Linebacker Luke Kuechly and the Panthers allow just 12.8 points per game—good for the NFL's best scoring defense after Sunday's action.

We'll see if the rank stays that way. Tom Brady surely has something to say about it.


7. Detroit Lions (6-4)

Detroit had a serious shot to pull away in the NFC North on Sunday.

A week removed from a win over Chicago, all Detroit had to do was squeak out a win in Pittsburgh.

Calvin Johnson's 179 yards and two touchdowns were simply not enough. Detroit lost by 10 and Chicago won its game.

Instead of setting the pace, the Lions are now tied for first with Chicago. Stay tuned.


8. Indianapolis Colts (7-3)

Indianapolis needs to figure things out.

The Colts got a win over Tennessee in Week 11, but a three-point margin makes it hard to take Andrew Luck and his team seriously.

Inconsistent is the best word to describe the Colts. The Colts have lost three games to teams with a .500 record or worse.


9. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)

The AFC North leaders are back on track after consecutive overtime defeats.

Cincinnati and quarterback Andy Dalton had little issue moving past Cleveland in Week 11. Well, Dalton had issues—he threw three touchdowns but tallied only 93 yards and two picks.

But we digress. The Bengals are contenders. Cincinnati is a complete team and got a special teams and defensive touchdown to boot.


10. Philadelphia Eagles (6-5)

Chip Kelly's offense is rolling with Nick Foles under center.

Philadelphia now has a winning record after a 24-16 win over Washington on Sunday. Foles was sharp with his 298 yards, and star back LeSean McCoy put up 77 yards and two scores.

That's three consecutive wins for the Eagles. Kelly and his offense should have no issues running away with the NFC East.


11. San Francisco 49ers (6-4)

San Francisco has now lost two in a row to contenders and needs to get serious about fighting for a playoff spot.

The 49ers lost a close one to Carolina in Week 10. It was a similar result Sunday against New Orleans.

Perhaps the most important trend? Quarterback Colin Kaepernick continues to struggle when asked to beat teams with his arm. He threw for 127 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Average numbers, but it's not good enough. Teams have a proven blueprint to beat San Francisco.


12. Chicago Bears (6-4)

How great is Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman?

Trestman has an offense in place that simply squeezes production out of any quarterback (so far).

Jay Cutler missed the team's game against Baltimore on Sunday. Oh well—Josh McCown came in and threw for 216 yards and a score in the win. He's now thrown five touchdowns to no interceptions in his last four appearances.

Trestman and the Bears are legit.


13. Green Bay Packers (5-5)

The Green Bay Packers are in a tailspin without Aaron Rodgers.

Green Bay has now lost three straight and sit at .500 with two teams ahead of them in the NFC North.

Backup quarterback Scott Tolzien was a mixed bag Sunday with 339 yards and three interceptions. The New York Giants defense keyed on back Eddie Lacy—he managed just 1.9 yards per carry.

Until Rodgers returns, expect a similar story each week.


14. Miami Dolphins (5-5)

The Miami Dolphins are that team that just won't go away.

Two weeks ago, the Dolphins handed Tampa Bay its first win of the season. Sunday, the Dolphins turned around and took care of business against a scrappy San Diego team.

The Dolphins do nothing in particular well. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill leads the NFL in sacks at 41. If the Dolphins want to put together a positive streak, Tannehill must stay upright.


15. Cleveland Browns (4-6)

So much for Jason Campbell and the Cleveland Browns making a playoff push.

The Browns made the trip to Paul Brown Stadium in Week 11. The end result was a 41-20 defeat, as Campbell managed one touchdown to three interceptions. 

Cleveland has a great defense, but the offense under Campbell needs some work. The Browns remain tied for second in the AFC North.


16. New York Jets (5-5)

The New York Jets have lost every other game this season.

At least Rex Ryan can say his team has not had a losing streak, right?

That's a small consolation prize. The Jets were abused 37-14 in Week 11 against Buffalo. Smith was so bad Ryan sat him on the bench. ESPN illustrates it well:

Yikes. The Jets need to figure things out—fast.


17. Dallas Cowboys (5-5)

Week 11 was a bye for Dallas. Jerry Jones' team surely needed the extra week to reflect.

The Cowboys were destroyed at the hands of New Orleans before the bye and gave up an NFL-record 40 first downs. 

The defense in Dallas continues to be porous, even with a new 4-3 scheme. Some things never change.


18. Buffalo Bills (4-7)

Buffalo is at least back to being a pesky team.

EJ Manuel continues to progress after his return from injury. He had little issue against a solid New York Jets defense Sunday with his 245 yards and two touchdowns.

The win breaks a three-game skid. Time will tell if the inconsistent Bills can build on the positive momentum.


19. San Diego Chargers (4-6)

Mark San Diego off the list of nice surprises this season.

Philip Rivers and the Chargers have lost three straight. Rivers was mediocre with a touchdown and interception despite the fact back Ryan Mathews went off for 127 yards on 19 carries.

Miami is a tough team, but the Chargers needed this one. Now San Diego has to compete against Kansas City and Cincinnati in the coming weeks. Good luck.


20. St. Louis Rams (4-6)

St. Louis received a well-deserved break in Week 11.

Kellen Clemens and the scrappy Rams were able to upset playoff-bound Indianapolis 38-8 in Week 10.

That's a huge feather in the team's cap given the barrage of injuries and otherwise ineffective play. The Rams have a lot of momentum coming out of the bye.


21. New York Giants (4-6)


Eli Manning and the New York Giants continue to climb the rankings with a predictable win streak (New York is known for putting it all together in the second half of the season).

Speaking of Manning, he's doing little to help. Manning threw for 279 yards with a touchdown and interception in Sunday's win over Green Bay.

Manning just can't help but turn the ball over (12 touchdowns to 17 interceptions). The Giants are on a roll. It's scary to think how much better they could be if Manning regained his composure.


22. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-6)

Things are on the upswing in the Steel City.

Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers are on a two-game roll after a win over Detroit on Sunday.

Roethlisberger is still getting hit entirely too much behind a shaky line—he's been sacked 36 times.

Alas, the Steelers defense was able to contain an explosive Detroit offense en route to a win. That's something the Steelers can build on the rest of the way.


23. Arizona Cardinals (6-4)

Don't sleep on the Arizona Cardinals.

Bruce Arians' team has won three in a row and touts one of the NFL's best rush defenses.

Better yet, the offense is coming around. Rookie back Andre Ellington is a nice surprise and second-year receiver Michael Floyd is making a name for himself in the shadow of Larry Fitzgerald.

The Cardinals are a competitive squad and a tough out.


24. Baltimore Ravens (4-6)

Somebody attempt to explain Baltimore.

Quarterback Joe Flacco has struggled all year. Coming into Week 11, star back Ray Rice was averaging less than three yards per carry.

Sunday saw Rice go off for 131 yards and a score. Baltimore still lost as Flacco threw more interceptions than touchdowns.

A loss to Chicago hurts, but a 4-6 record and a distant second place in the AFC North is worse.


25. Oakland Raiders (4-6)

We keep asking the same question about Oakland.

Is this quarterback the answer? What about this guy?

Starter (we think?) Terrelle Pryor missed Sunday's game against Houston. Matt McGloin took over, threw for 197 yards and three scores (on the NFL's best pass defense, no less) and the Raiders won.

Alrighty then. Oakland is competitive. Great—but now the team has even more questions than answers.


26. Tennessee Titans (4-6)

Tennessee continues to at least fight despite the loss of starting quarterback Jake Locker (he'll miss the rest of the year, per ESPN's Paul Kuharsky).

The problem is Tennessee won't win many more games this season with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. Week 10 saw the Titans give Jacksonville its first win of the year. Week 11 was better, but the Titans fell short of an upset against Indianapolis.

Expect that to be the story the rest of the way.


27. Minnesota Vikings (2-8)

Minnesota did not stand a chance in Week 11.

The Vikings took a trip to Seattle and were handed a 41-20 defeat.

Quarterbacks Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel combined for two touchdowns and three interceptions in a typical outing.

Even Adrian Peterson was held to 65 yards on 21 carries.

There's a lot of work to do in Minnesota this offseason.


28. Houston Texans (2-8)

The Houston Texans simply are not a good team.

It starts at the top. Houston has lost eight straight and the blame falls on the staff.

Quarterback Case Keenum had been a nice surprise with seven touchdowns and no interceptions entering Sunday's loss to Oakland. Keenum struggled, and the staff's answer was to bench him.

What? Why bench a struggling youngster to get back in a game and notch a third win? Shouldn't the staff want Keenum to play through tough times and evaluate whether he's the quarterback of the future?



29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8)

Tampa Bay can now be classified as a dangerous team.

The Buccaneers are on a two-game streak, although Sunday's win over Atlanta (we'll get to them soon) is hard to brag about.

Tampa Bay appears to have a system where it can simply plug in running backs and they will produce. Week 11 saw Bobby Rainey explode for 163 yards and two touchdowns in the victory.

Now the Buccaneers can have fun as they play the spoiler.


30. Washington Redskins (3-7) 

A sound 427 total yards of offense means little if the unit can score only 16 points.

That's the story of the 2013 Washington Redskins.

Robert Griffin III and the offense can move the ball well, but doing enough to compensate for a lackluster defense is another story entirely.

Keeping RGIII healthy for next season should be the main priority at this point.


31. Atlanta Falcons (2-8)

What in the world is going on in Atlanta?

Matt Ryan threw a pair of touchdowns and interceptions in a loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday—a team the Falcons had already defeated in Week 7.

The season has been ruined by injuries. That's no excuse for the play of the team. Expect big changes in the offseason.


32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9)

The good vibes in Jacksonville sure did not last long.

The Jaguars actually won a game in Week 10, but Arizona came to town on Sunday and left with a 27-14 victory.

Simply put: 274 yards of total offense is not going to get it done. The Jaguars are simply coasting—a shiny new franchise quarterback is on the way.