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NFL Power Rankings: Analyzing Stock of All 32 Teams Heading into Week 12

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NFL Power Rankings: Analyzing Stock of All 32 Teams Heading into Week 12
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Many telling rivalry games took place in Week 11, which affected the hierarchy not only of the hotly contested divisional races but of the NFL as a whole. 

With a number of elite teams falling, sleepers emerging and everything in between, the action from this past weekend shook up the power rankings even more in what has been another unpredictable season.

Here's how the power rankings shake out heading into Week 12. 

 

1. Denver Broncos (9-1)

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Others come and go, but the Broncos have stayed entrenched at or near the top of the league with only one less than stellar performance on the season. Peyton Manning is still putting up historical numbers past the midway point, and that can hide even the most average of secondaries. 

 

2. Seattle Seahawks (10-1)

The 'Hawks have disposed of their recent competition at an alarming rate as of late. After nearly losing to Tampa Bay, Seattle has won two straight by 20 points or more. Percy Harvin's return will only amplify the team's performance.

 

3. New Orleans Saints (8-2)

Lost in the madness of Manning's magnificent season is Drew Brees, who still has it—"it" being one of the best passing games in the NFL and an arsenal of playmaking receivers. The Saints also have a defense that is playing beyond its years and ability.

 

4. Kansas City Chiefs (9-1)

The Chiefs were exposed by the Broncos and left Denver with a lot of problems to fix. After Kansas City boasted arguably the league's most dangerous defense throughout 10 weeks, the unit looked lethargic and unable to rattle Manning at all—a big reason why the Chiefs are no longer undefeated. 

 

5. Carolina Panthers (7-3)

The big stage didn't prove to be too bright for the Panthers, who toppled New England on Monday Night Football and claimed their status as an NFL power. Cam Newton is playing at his peak and will continue to develop into one of the league's better QBs. 

 

6. New England Patriots (7-3)

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

As one elite team rises, another falls. While Tom Brady was out-dueled by Newton on Monday night, however, he came within one uber-controversial no-call of perhaps winning on the road against a sudden NFC powerhouse. A win over Denver at home this weekend would cause New England's stock to soar. 

 

7. Indianapolis Colts (7-3) 

The Colts haven't overwhelmed with their play in recent weeks, getting pounded by St. Louis before edging out a close win over Tennessee. Next is a tough road test against a resurgent Arizona squad looking to knock the Colts off their perch.

 

8. San Francisco 49ers (6-4)

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The controversial call on Ahmad Brooks was the icing on the cake for two woeful weeks for the Niners. Fortunately for them, the schedule eases up with upcoming contests against Washington and St. Louis. 

 

9. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) 

The morale-boosting win over Cleveland was just what Cincy needed heading into a bye week after two straight losses. If Andy Dalton is able to clean up his game and make the throws he did last season, the sky is the limit for the Bengals.

 

10. Chicago Bears (6-4)

The Bears have two quarterbacks who can win—a distant mirage for most NFL teams. And as long as either Josh McCown or Jay Cutler have Brandon Marshall and an emerging Alshon Jeffery to throw to, Chicago will cruise to many more victories and a playoff berth.

 

11. Detroit Lions (6-4)

Typically clutch quarterback Matthew Stafford was noticeably ineffective late in Sunday's loss to Pittsburgh, and suddenly the Lions' lead in the NFC North has completely evaporated. It will likely be a duel between the Lions and Bears for the division—unless Green Bay turns over a new leaf.

 

12. Arizona Cardinals (6-4)

Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

After winning three straight games, the Cardinals are as hot as anybody in the league and are a couple more victories away from making serious noise in the playoff hunt. Carson Palmer has been the Carson Palmer of old lately, and that's a very good sign for Arizona. 

 

13. Philadelphia Eagles (6-5)

Nick Foles entered 2013 as the odd man out after a year mired in mediocrity. But he has been a new player this season. Foles is taking care of the ball, and the defense has been noticeably better in the last month. 

 

14. Dallas Cowboys (5-5)

It's been more of the same—win, loss, win, loss—for the Cowboys. Dallas was able to lick its wounds on a bye week after getting dominated by New Orleans. The 'Boys have ground to make up in the NFC East after Philly's emergence.

 

15. New York Jets (5-5)

No player's stock has changed more from week to week than that of rookie quarterback Geno Smith, who seems to either make game-changing plays to lead his team to victory or give up the win entirely. 

 

16. Green Bay Packers (5-5)

Aaron Rodgers can't come back soon enough. The Packers have been beaten soundly in their last three appearances. They are featuring a third-stringer at quarterback and are watching their playoff chances quickly evaporate.

 

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-6)

Pittsburgh has won four of six after starting out the season 0-4. It beat another solid team Sunday in Detroit. Ben Roethlisberger is knocking off whatever rust he came into the season with. He's been shredding defenses like he's done in the past. 

 

18. Miami Dolphins (5-5)

Miami won a crucial game against San Diego to get back to .500 after slipping up in the middle of the season, proving that it'll at least stay afloat in the mediocrity-ridden AFC Wild Card hunt. 

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

 

19. San Diego Chargers (4-6)

San Diego has impressed and exceeded expectations this season. But the Chargers dropped three straight in a stretch where they could've put themselves into favorable playoff position. Instead, they're a couple of losses (Kansas City and Cincinnati upcoming) away from setting their sights on 2014. 

 

20. Baltimore Ravens (4-6)

Early 2013 never seemed so distant. The Ravens have been a completely different team this season. They've lost four of their six games by three points or less, dropping the tight games that Baltimore would typically win in the Ray Lewis era. 

 

21. Tennessee Titans (4-6)

The Titans became that team a few weeks ago, losing to the then-winless Jags. They followed it up with an inspired first half against Indianapolis on Thursday Night Football before falling flat on their faces in the second half. Mike Munchak needs a strong finish to keep his job.

 

22. St. Louis Rams (4-6)

Talk about an inspirational way to go into your bye week. The Rams throttled the Colts by 30 points heading into a rest this past weekend, but they face a brutal upcoming schedule—Chicago, at San Francisco, at Arizona, against New Orleans.

 

23. New York Giants (4-6)

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Don't look now, but Big Blue are an unfathomable game-and-a-half short of the NFC East lead after starting the season 0-6. Eli Manning is finally taking care of the ball (better care, at least), and Andre Brown has injected life into a sparse running game.

 

24. Buffalo Bills (4-7)

Bills fans saw glimpses of why the organization took EJ Manuel as the first quarterback in the 2013 draft. After they lost five of six, Manuel led the Bills to a lopsided win over the Jets minus his two starting receivers, Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods.

 

25. Cleveland Browns (4-6)

Cleveland continues to struggle finding a formidable option in the run game, and the early-season injury to Brian Hoyer stunted this team's performance. Other quarterbacks have played well in stretches, but Hoyer was building loads of momentum when he went down for the year.

 

26. Oakland Raiders (4-6)

The Raiders aren't good right now, but Rashad Jennings has been magnificent and carried his team to a win over Houston. It hasn't been a memorable season, but Oakland is still in the thick of things and has shown mounds of improvement this season.

 

27. Washington Redskins (3-7)

From Robert Griffin III's lack of leadership to a defense filled with holes, the Redskins are a mess right now. The NFC East did them a favor by collectively tanking and giving Washington a chance to claw out of its early-season snooze, but to no avail.

 

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8)

The Bucs have won two straight. And they've climbed to No. 28 in the power rankings. That says all you really need to know about this team—it would take a near-impossible finish to erase the painful memories of the early goings.

 

29. Houston Texans (2-8)

2013 Houston is a sharp contrast to 2012 Houston. The once-dominant Texans are now quickly finding their place in the NFL cellar. The comedic unfolding of Matt Schaub replacing Case Keenum in Sunday's loss reflected just how woeful of a season it's been in Houston.

 

30. Atlanta Falcons (2-8)

Speaking of teams that look like a shell of themselves, the Falcons went from a Super Bowl contender to a No. 1 overall pick contender in a matter of a few months. Injuries have hurt the offense, and the defense has major issues.

 

31. Minnesota Vikings (2-8)

The Vikings are already looking forward to the draft and building upon their young roster that is obviously unable to win football games against teams that are playing at even a moderate level. Their only wins have come against the early-season Steelers and recently hapless Washington. 

 

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9)

The Jaguars better have savored the first win of the season two weeks ago, because on Sunday it was obvious that a second-half turnaround isn't in the cards. The Jags gave up more than 400 yards through the air to Carson Palmer last week. 

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