What a week in the NFL! Ricky Williams and the Dolphins got things started on Thursday with a seven point win over the Panthers. Sunday brought us nine games decided by six points or less, seven of which were decided by three points or less, including two overtime games and two monumental upsets. Monday Night Football kept the theme going as the Titans held off the Texans by three. The Colts and Saints kept their quests for an undefeated season alive, and the Lions and Browns, yes that’s right the Lions and Browns, brought us the game of the week! Yes week 11 was one to remember and thankfully we don’t have to wait around for week 12. In just a few short days, the NFL is bringing us three games to watch while we sit back and stuff our faces with ungodly amounts of food.
1. New Orleans Saints (1): 10-0 for the first time in franchise history. The Saints face the Patriots next week but it wouldn’t surprise me to see a fairly low scoring game, at least in the first half. A win for the Saints gives them a legit chance to go undefeated.
2. Indianapolis Colts (2): 19 consecutive wins for the Colts dating back to last season. They play the Texans in week 12, which is never easy for Indy. A win in that game and they too could easily be looking at an undefeated season.
3. Minnesota Vikings (3): Barring a pretty big collapse, the Vikings have the NFC North wrapped up and are now playing for a first round bye. Once the division is officially theirs, don’t be surprised to see backup QB Tavaris Jackson getting some playing time to keep Brett Favre healthy and fresh.
4. New England Patriots (5): New England got a good game from RB Laurence Maroney. A consistent running game makes this team almost impossible to stop.
5. San Diego Chargers (7): The Chargers are on a roll and now sit atop the AFC West. Barring any major injuries the Chargers should be primed to make a playoff run.
6. Cincinnati Bengals (4): The Bengals are not the first team to fall victim to the Raiders this year, but that won’t make the loss any easier. They still lead the division and shouldn’t be in danger of losing it.
7. Dallas Cowboys (8): Two straight weeks the Cowboys go 55 minutes or more without scoring a point. That is not going to get it done when they play the Giants, Cowboys and Saints in the coming weeks.
8. Arizona Cardinals (10): The Cardinals held off the Rams in week 11 but the head injury to QB Kurt Warner is critical. It didn’t appear too serious and even if he misses a couple games, Arizona doesn’t appear to be in danger of losing its lead in the division.
9. Philadelphia Eagles (12): WR DeSean Jackson has seven total touchdowns this year. His 48 yard TD reception against the Bears was his shortest touchdown of the season. Maybe the Eagles don’t need RB Brian Westbrook to be a contender.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (6): Troy Polamalu might be more valuable to his team than any other player to his own team. The Steelers flat out are not the same without Polamalu on the field. They face a tough Raven team in week 12 but follow that up with games against the Raiders and Browns.
11. New York Giants (15): The Giants end their four game losing streak with an overtime win against the Falcons. The defense however was not good and needs improvement if they want to be a contender.
12. Green Bay Packers (14): The defense looked dominant for a second straight week, at least in the first half. Injuries to LB Aaron Kampman and CB Al Harris could be crucial. The Pack are 6-4 but are facing a trap game this week against the Lions on Thanksgiving.
13. Baltimore Ravens (11): Another nail biter that goes against the Ravens. They are 5-5 and in danger of missing the playoffs altogether. They must get their offense back on track and can still be a threat to any team they play.
14. Houston Texans (13): Same story every year. The Texans seem to be on the verge of their first post-season appearance, only to come up short each time. Nobody is sicker then Texan’s K Kris Brown after two missed field goals. Houston faces Indy next week in a must-win game if they want to get back in the playoff race.
15. Denver Broncos (9): Denver is falling fast and it is starting to appear that their 6-0 start was a fluke. DE Elvis Dumervil is a stud and CB Champ Bailey is still solid but the rest of the defense is very average. They have a tough schedule remaining and are in danger of missing the playoffs.
16. Atlanta Falcons (16): I was very high on the Falcons in the beginning of the season, but their defense has just not been playing at the level it needs to. Even at 5-5 the Falcons still have a shot to make it as a wildcard team.
17. Miami Dolphins (19): No Ronnie Brown, no problem. RB Ricky Williams scored three touchdowns and kept Miami’s slim playoff hopes alive at 5-5.
18. Jacksonville Jaguars (20): The Jags move to 6-4 but still remain ranked in the bottom half of the league. This team just doesn’t have very many weapons, but as long as RB Maurice Jones-Drew continues to do his thing, this team very likely could finish at 10-6 and possibly sneak into the playoffs.
19. Tennessee Titans (23): From 0-6 with Kerry Collins to 4-0 (4-6 overall) with Vince Young. Young has now won his last eight straight starts. The Titans have to win their remaining six games to have a chance at the playoffs, but suddenly it doesn’t seem so impossible.
20. Carolina Panthers (18): Tough loss for the Panthers, all but ending any playoff aspirations they had. They could find themselves playing a spoiler role down the stretch.
21. San Francisco 49ers (17): The 49ers had five total passing yards at half and just dug themselves too big of a hole to comeback from. WR Michael Crabtree scored his first NFL touchdown in the loss to the Packers.
22. New York Jets (21): The Jets are 1-6 in their last seven games and after being considered early Super Bowl contenders, are on the outside looking in as far as the playoffs are concerned. QB Mark Sanchez was picked four times in the game against the Pats.
23. Kansas City Chiefs (25): Two straight wins for the Chiefs, including the upset of the week as they took down the defending Super Bowl champions. Kansas City is going nowhere fast, but they will give teams everything they can handle down the stretch.
24. Chicago Bears (23): QB Jay Cutler was off all night and outside of one 72 yard run by a rookie running back, the Bears ground game was non-existent. Chicago’s playoff chances are history.
25. Washington Redskins (26): Great defensive effort by the ‘Skins but it wasn’t quite enough to upset the Cowboys.
26. Seattle Seahawks (24): The Seahawks have been a disappointment this year in my opinion and don’t seem to be improving at all. Other than WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seattle has very little talent to build around.
27. Detroit Lions (28): QB Matthew Stafford had by far his best game as a pro, throwing for 422 yards and five touchdowns. Don’t be surprised if the Lions give the Packers all they can handle on Thanksgiving.
28. Oakland Raiders (30): The Raiders pulled off their second upset of the season, knocking off the Bengals. QB Bruce Gradkowski completed just 50 percent of his passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns but it was enough for Oakland to get their third win of the season.
29. Buffalo Bills (27): WR Terrell Owens finally showed up for the Bills, hauling in nine catches for 197 yards, including a 98-yard touchdown. Nonetheless, the Bills still lost to the Jags, and also lost RB Marshawn Lynch to an injury.
30. St. Louis Rams (29): A good effort by the Rams, but it wasn’t enough to come out with a victory. RB Steven Jackson had his fourth consecutive 100 yard rushing game, the first time he has accomplished that in his career. Week 12 looks like the best chance for the Rams to equal their win total from last season of two, but then again backup QB Kyle Boller will get the start with starter Marc Bulger out with an injury.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31): Ugly game for Tampa against the Saints. On the bright side, they were able to hold them to under 40, a feat four other teams could not do.
32. Cleveland Browns (32): 24 first quarter points for the Browns, and it wasn’t enough to hold off the Lions. QB Brady Quinn threw for 304 yards and four touchdowns but it wasn’t enough. Looks like the Browns missed out on their best shot at getting win No. 2.