NFL Power Rankings: Examining League's Landscape Heading into Week 12

Alex Kay@AlexPKayCorrespondent INovember 18, 2013

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 17:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos reacts in the second quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 17, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Week 11 of the NFL season is still not over—the New England Patriots travel to Carolina to play the Panthers on Monday Night Football—but it is not too early to take a look at the Week 12 power rankings.

A number of big moves were made over the weekend, including the Broncos' ascension to the top spot after a win over the previously undefeated Chiefs.

Take a look at the complete order below and sound off on whether you agree or not in the comments.

1. Denver Broncos (9-1)

Denver edges the Seattle Seahawks by a nose here, as it took out the last remaining undefeated squad in the league on Sunday Night Football. This team has another test coming up next Sunday evening, as the Broncos will hit the road to play the Patriots in Foxborough.

2. Seattle Seahawks (10-1)

Seattle has been nearly flawless heading into its Week 12 bye and should be well-rested and ready for the final stretch after it. It will be tough to stay at the top, though, as the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers are the first two opponents this squad will play after the break.

3. New Orleans Saints (8-2)

The Saints are firing on all cylinders and may have just as much of a home-field advantage as the Seahawks. This team simply cannot lose in the Superdome, and it will be a nightmare for the opposition to play there come the postseason.

However, New Orleans does need to prove it can win away from the Big Easy before it can be considered a legit Super Bowl contender. Week 13 in Seattle will be the time for this club to show it can do exactly that.

4. Kansas City Chiefs (9-1)

The Chiefs defense did a good job holding Peyton Manning to just one touchdown pass, but offensive miscues and lack of a dominant pass-rush were this squad’s downfall in Week 11. Look for Kansas City to turn things around this coming Sunday against the Chargers.

5. New England Patriots (7-2)

The Pats are a three-point underdog going into their Monday Night Football matchup, but they still have a slight edge over the Panthers in the power rankings. This team must show that the offense is for real against a top-notch defense that hasn’t conceded more than 15 points to an opponent since Week 5.

6. Carolina Panthers (6-3)

The Panthers are one of the hottest teams in the NFL and have been utilizing an elite defensive presence to establish itself at the top. If Cam Newton can finally step up and have a great game against a quality opponent, there is no doubt that Carolina will be in the Super Bowl conversation.

7. Indianapolis Colts (7-3)

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 14:   Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts looks to pass against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on November 14, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Colts are a ridiculous 14-2 in games decided by a touchdown or less in the Andrew Luck era. The team mounted yet another comeback in Week 11, this time against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football.

8. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)

Cincy came out of the gate sluggish on Sunday, but it quickly rallied on both sides of the ball and made a few plays on special teams to walk away with a big win over the Browns. The Bengals finally look poised to make some noise in the playoffs.

9. Chicago Bears (6-4)

Chicago came back to battle the Baltimore Ravens to overtime after a weather delay and got the job done down the stretch. However, Jay Cutler still must get healthy and back in the lineup in order for this team to have a chance at postseason success.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (6-5)

Nick Foles is the answer to the Eagles' quarterback woes, as the star in the making continued his hot streak against the Redskins in Week 11. While he didn’t throw for a score, the second-year man out of Arizona compiled just shy of 300 yards through the air and punched in a score on one of his nine rushes that totaled up 47 yards.

11. San Francisco 49ers (6-4)

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 17:  Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers slides below the tackle Cameron Jordan #94 of the New Orleans Saints at  Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 17, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Saints defeated the 49ers
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Niners were picked apart by Drew Brees’ two-minute drill at the end of their showdown with the Saints. This team has now lost two games in a row and has to turn things around against the ‘Skins on Monday Night Football this week.

12. Detroit Lions (6-4)

Detroit could have gained an advantage in the NFC North with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it failed to get it done in a must-win situation. Perhaps Jim Schwartz isn’t the best coach for this organization, especially since it has the personnel to win now.

13. Arizona Cardinals (6-4)

Arizona boasts an elite defense that will make the playoff race for the NFC Wild Card spots very interesting. As long as the offense keeps making plays and the line can keep Carson Palmer upright, this team has the opportunity to make a run.

14. Green Bay Packers (5-5)

The Packers aren’t a top team without Aaron Rodgers under center. Until he returns, this team will be one of the most predictable, beatable groups in the NFL.

15. Dallas Cowboys (5-5)

Dallas has to right the ship coming out of its bye. The Saints humbled the Cowboys in Week 10, and that should be plenty of motivation to halt the surging New York Giants' win streak on Sunday.

16. New York Jets (5-5)

The Jets disappointing loss to the Buffalo Bills further proved how up-and-down Gang Green has been in 2013. This team has yet to win back-to-back games, but it also has yet to lose two in a row.

17. Baltimore Ravens (4-6)

The Ravens cannot afford to continue losing games that they have every right to win. This group is definitely suffering a Super Bowl hangover and is in grave danger of missing the playoffs outright, as it does not have the personnel to spark another late-season surge to a championship.

18. St. Louis Rams (4-6)

Nov 10, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; St. Louis Rams running back Zac Stacy (30) runs the ball during the first quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

It seems the Rams have unearthed a legit star in Zac Stacy and finally have a consistent running back after the departure of Steven Jackson. Unfortunately, quarterback Sam Bradford’s injury means this team will likely have to wait until next year to make a playoff push.

19. New York Giants (4-6)

The G-Men are winners of four straight and are finally getting things together after an 0-6 start. Because of the lack of a true talent in the NFC East, Big Blue is very much alive in the divisional hunt.

20. Miami Dolphins (5-5)

The ‘Phins narrowly edged the Bolts without three of their regular starting offensive lineman. This team is back to .500 and still holding out hope that it can make a late run despite the recent struggles.

21. San Diego Chargers (4-6)

San Diego is above average in terms of talent, but it plays in a tough division that will likely keep the team from making the playoffs for the fourth straight season. It will be interesting to see what this club does in the offseason to get back into contention.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-6)

The Steelers are battling their way back to respectability. Their recent dismantling of the Lions was impressive and should set the tone for the final six games of 2013.

23. Cleveland Browns (4-6)

The Browns had an ugly outing against the rival Bengals this past Sunday, allowing the opposition to block two punts and score on defense two times. If they hadn't made those mistakes, the outcome could have very well been different.

24. Oakland Raiders (4-6)

Oakland trotted out yet another new quarterback in Week 11, but Matt McGloin may finally be the answer to this team’s woes at the position. He was able to guide his squad to victory over the Houston Texans, with a strong running game providing excellent support.

25. Buffalo Bills (4-7)

The Bills picked up a nice win against the AFC East rival Jets and continue to build hope for the future. EJ Manuel is finally getting comfortable after being sidelined with injury and will likely continue to improve over the final games of the season.

26. Tennessee Titans (4-6)

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 14:  Delanie Walker #82 of the Tennessee Titans runs with the ball during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at LP Field on November 14, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Tennessee’s defense is collapsing, and Jake Locker’s injury means that it will be on the field far too often. That is a losing recipe, making it hard to picture the Titans doing much winning over the last six contests.

27. Washington Redskins (3-7)

The ‘Skins offense is simply not working this year. The once-dynamic read-option has become stagnant and predictable, which is why Washington is losing games at a high clip. Factor in a terrible defense and you are looking at one of the league’s worst teams.

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8)

This Tampa team is loaded with talent and just needs a head coach to get the most from these stars. Expect the Bucs to make a Kansas City-like run from the league’s basement to the penthouse if they can bring in a top-tier coach in the offseason.

29. Houston Texans (2-8)

The Texans are one of the most disappointing teams in 2013 and were prior to a rash of injuries that decimated their offense and defense. It will be interesting to see which coaches and players survive what should be a very long offseason in Houston.

30. Atlanta Falcons (2-8)

Atlanta is undoubtedly the biggest disappointment of the season, falling from a 13-3 NFC Championship contender to a lifeless squad with little hope of winning a game against anyone. The Dirty Birds have to get healthy and bring in some fresh blood via free agency to turn things around.

31. Minnesota Vikings (2-8)

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 17: Running back Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings watches as time winds down during the fourth quarter of the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on November 17, 2013 in Seattle,Wa. The Seahawks won th
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

The Vikings are simply pitiful this season. The team has no clear direction, hardly any talent and is wasting superstar Adrian Peterson’s prime. That must change soon.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9)

The Jags had a chance to win two in a row and move up a few spots in the power rankings, but they failed to do so against the Cardinals. It will be surprising if this team wins another game in 2013.


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