Week 12 NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers Vie for No. 2

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Week 12 NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers Vie for No. 2
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If the 11th week of the NFL season taught us anything, it's that we know nothing.

But of course we already knew that.

After 10 weeks of my saying the Steelers were one of the top three teams in the league, they lost to the Jets in overtime.

Ricky Williams was reinstated...again.

And the Dolphins welcomed him back...again.

And who said a field goal has to land on the ground behind the uprights to be good?

The Browns proved that's not the case when a field goal try ricocheted off the rear support beam and landed in the end zone—with the result being three points.

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As it stands, the only thing that's all but official in the NFL is that the Dolphins won't be playing football in January.

Beyond that, clarity is hard to come by—but let's give it a whirl anyway...

 

1. New England Patriots (10-0)

Not much needs to be said here. The pursuit of perfection continues.

 

2. Dallas Cowboys (9-1)

Romo and Owens are as close to Brady and Moss as you can get.

The Cowboys' one and only loss this season is to the Pats—can you blame them?

 

3. Green Bay Packers (9-1)

The Packers are off to their best start since the 1962 season, when they opened 10-0 and went on to win the NFL Championship over the Giants.

Brett Favre is playing better than he ever has.

 

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3)

The Jags were successful in doing something the Colts couldn't—beating the Chargers.

If the Jags' defense continues its stellar play, Jacksonville can probably make itself comfortable in my top five.

 

5. Indianapolis Colts (8-2)

What's wrong Peyton? Still can't figure out how to score without your top-tier receivers?

 

6. New York Giants (7-3)

I've been very hesitant to give the Giants this much credit—but they've earned it.

After all, defense does win games.

 

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4)

Three forced fumbles and two interceptions against the Falcons tells me the Tampa defense is firmly behind Jeff Garcia and Earnest Graham.

Look for a strong second half of the season.  

 

8. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3)

Their inconsistency makes them not-so-powerful in my book. The loss to the Jets hurt.

 

9. Cleveland Browns (6-4)

You have to wonder if Brady Quinn's job is safe. He went from being the talk of the nation to being an afterthought in Northern Ohio.

 

10. Houston Texans (5-5)

With Andre Johnson back on the field, this is an entirely different team. The Texans are undefeated in games Johnson has played in this season.

 

11. Detroit Lions (6-4)

What the Lions have done so far is admirable—but 10 wins?

Don't bet on it.

 

12. Denver Broncos (5-5)

Have the Broncos gotten themselves together in time for a run at the playoffs?

We'll find out next week when they travel to Chicago to play the Bears.

 

13. Tennessee Titans (6-4)

Might still be a year or two away from being legit contenders in the mighty AFC. Not having Albert Haynesworth on the field is a killer.

 

14. Seattle Seahawks (6-4)

They're not as good as their record...and their record isn't even that good.

 

15. Arizona Cardinals (5-5)

The Cards may surpass the Seahawks in my rankings as early as next week—and may pass them in the NFL standings shortly thereafter.

 

16. Washington Redskins (5-5)

The Skins played the Cowboys tough in Week 11. At 5-5, they have as good a chance as anyone of earning a Wild Card berth.

 

17. San Diego Chargers (5-5)

The morale in San Diego has to be dropping fast. Fan are wondering where to look for answers—which means at least someone is facing up to the problem. 

 

18. Buffalo Bills (5-5)

A 46-point loss to the Patriots doesn't put too much of a damper on what the Bills have accomplished. They have a chance to bounce back in a big way against the Jaguars on Sunday—it'll be a make-or-break game.

 

19. Minnesota Vikings (4-6)

164 yards and three TDs out of Chester Taylor—who needs a passing game?

 

20. Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)

Things aren't looking good for the Birds. Donovan McNabb is hurt again, and Philly wasn't all that consistent even when he was in there.

Where's Jeff Garcia when you need him? Oh, wait...

 

21. Chicago Bears (4-6)

Tough loss to the Seahawks in Week 11. The Bears are dangerously close to becoming yet another team that loses the Super Bowl and misses the playoffs the following year.

 

22. New Orleans Saints (4-6)

Just when the Saints thought they'd found their rhythm—they drop two games in a row and are very close to finding themselves on their couches in January.

 

23. Kansas City Chiefs (4-6)

Brodie Croyle to Dwayne Bowe—get used to that combination. Priest Holmes looks pretty good too. Edit: This just in- Priest Holmes has retired from the NFL. That hurts... -CMR

 

24. Cincinnati Bengals (3-7)

They're so much better than their record—but if your defense can't force turnovers, there's not much your offense can do.

Other than throw the ball 52 times and lose the game by a touchdown.

 

25. Carolina Panthers (4-6)

One sack by the Panthers defense in a loss to Green Bay—I think we may have identified the problem.

 

26. Baltimore Ravens (4-6)

When the offense shows up, the defense stays home. When the defense shows up, the offense stays home.

So much for a good season.

 

27. St. Louis Rams (2-8)

When you win two games in a row, people notice—especially when they're the only two games you've won all year.

Expect the Rams to make it three straight against Seattle next week. (Yep, you've just heard my upset pick for Week 12.)

 

28. New York Jets (2-8)

Ahhh, what the heck—when you beat the Steelers, you deserve to be a few spots from rock bottom.

 

29. Atlanta Falcons (3-7)

The QB controversy has officially started...which means the Falcons' season is officially over.

The only good news coming out of Atlanta is that Michael Vick has finally shown a bit of decency and brainpower by volunteering to begin his sentence early.

 

30. San Francisco 49ers (2-8)

The Niners get the nod over their cross-bay AFC counterparts—if only because SF's second-string QBs (Alex Smith and Trent Dilfer) are better than Oakland's subs (Josh McCown and Daunte Culpepper).

The Patriots are drooling over the way this team is playing.

 

31. Oakland Raiders (2-8)

See above. I'm surprised we haven't heard anything about JaMarcus Russell getting restless on the bench.

 

32. Miami Dolphins (0-10)

Really, did you expect to find them somewhere else? When you're out of the playoffs before Thanksgiving, you belong in the cellar.

At least we get to see what John Beck can do for the rest of the season.

 

Speaking of Thanksgiving—happy Thanksgiving everyone! Tell me what you think about my analysis in the comments section below, or chat with me about it at TheScoreBoards.

CMR—signing off.

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