NFL Power Rankings Week 11: Could Atlanta Falcons Top the League?

Bailey BrautiganFeatured ColumnistNovember 16, 2010

NFL Power Rankings Week 11: Could Atlanta Falcons Top the League?

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    This past NFL weekend brought us some really exciting football games.

    The New York Jets managed an overtime win over the Cleveland Browns.

    The Dallas Cowboys seem to have benefited from a coaching change as they dominated the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium.

    And how about those Philadelphia Eagles?

    Michael Vick and company beat up on the Washington Redskins last night in one of the highest-scoring games in NFL history.

    So how are the NFL Power Rankings looking after this weekend?

    Read on to find out!

32-21: The Bottom of the League

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    Here are the teams bringing up the rear this week in the NFL:

    32 (31). Carolina Panthers: The Panthers lost again this week as they took on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    31 (32). Buffalo Bills: The Bills finally pulled off a win! I have been waiting for a reason to move this team up in the rankings all season, and I got one on Sunday.

    30 (27). Detroit Lions: The problem with a struggling team like the Buffalo Bills getting a win is that another struggling team has to lose.

    29 (26). Cincinnati Bengals: I don't even know where to start when trying to figure out what's wrong with the Cincinnati Bengals.

    28 (30). Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys went on the road and handled a very good New York Giants team. I think the 'Boys are making the best of their clean slate.

    27 (29). Denver Broncos: The Broncos have been struggling all season, but Sunday's performance against the Chiefs was ridiculously good. Four touchdowns for Kyle Orton. Two for Brandon Lloyd.

    And then throw in a couple from Tim Tebow just for good measure.

    26 (25). Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals are in last place in their division...you know, the NFC West? It must be tough trying to beat teams like the 49ers and the Rams week in and week out.

    25 (28). San Francisco 49ers: The Niners seem to be getting it together this season. Normally, I wouldn't say that a 3-6 team has a shot at the playoffs, but again...it's the NFC West.

    24 (22). Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings looked all kinds of awful on Sunday against the Bears, and whether it's the coach or the quarterback, something needs to change.

    23 (21). St. Louis Rams: The Rams fall a couple spots this week after a close loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

    22 (18). Washington Redskins: The Redskins have been perhaps the most confusing team in the NFL for me this season. How do you lose at home by 31 points to a team that you beat earlier in the season on the road?

    21 (24). Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks had a big win over the Arizona Cardinals to pull themselves to the top...of the bottom of the league.

20. Cleveland Browns

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    Last Week's Rank: 23

    Why They Move Up: The Browns may have lost in overtime to the New York Jets on Sunday, but this is still a very solid football team.

    The Jets are one of the strongest teams in the league, and the Cleveland Browns stuck with them until the end.

    Next week, the Browns visit the Jacksonville Jaguars and I fully expect them to get the win and move further into the top 20.

19. Chicago Bears

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    Last Week's Rank: 19

    Why They Stay The Same: The Bears may have had a nice win over the Minnesota Vikings, but that's not exactly a season-defining game.

    Maybe if Jay Cutler would start throwing the ball to his own teammates, the Bears could rediscover a little bit of that early-season magic.

18. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Last Week's Rank: 20

    Why They Move Up: The Jags had a great performance (and some last-minute luck) against the Houston Texans on Sunday.

    David Garrard and Mike Thomas have proven to be a great combination, and the Jags have a chance at topping the AFC South.

17. Houston Texans

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    Last Week's Rank: 15

    Why They Fall: The Texans went from being one of my favorite must-watch teams at the beginning of the season to the bottom of the AFC South.

    They have now lost three in a row, and I don't see things getting any easier next week against the New York Jets.

16. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Last Week's Rank: 14

    Why They Fall: The Chiefs have been a nice surprise this season as they were the last team in the NFL to get their first loss, but now they seem to be struggling.

    Three weeks ago, the Chiefs just barely got a win over one of the league's weakest teams. Since that win over the Bills, they have lost two in a row to the Raiders and the Broncos.

15. San Diego Chargers

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    Last Week's Rank: 16

    Why They Move Up: The Chargers took some time off this week to rest up for the Denver Broncos, but they are starting to look like the best team in their division.

    They will be coming off a bye with even more rest before this Monday night game, and I expect them to dominate the Broncos.

14. Miami Dolphins

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    Last Week's Rank: 17

    Why They Move Up: The Dolphins bounced back from a loss to the Baltimore Ravens to defeat a very solid Tennessee Titans team, but some issues at quarterback could hold them back in the coming weeks.

    Next up, the Chicago Bears. This should be an interesting matchup for the Dolphins because the Bears have one of the best rushing defenses in the NFL, and without a healthy quarterback, moving the ball on the ground would be the go-to option.

13. Tennessee Titans

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Last Week's Rank: 11

    Why They Fall: The Titans have been another favorite team of mine this season, but after that loss to Miami, I'm not as convinced as I was earlier this year.

    Luckily for the Titans, they will host one of the weakest rush defenses in the league next week as they take on the Washington Redskins.

    We can expect Chris Johnson to have one hell of a game.

12. Oakland Raiders

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    Last Week's Rank: 12

    Why They Stay the Same: The Raiders had a bye this week, and they've won three straight games.

    I had a feeling about the Raiders at the beginning of the season, and they haven't let me down. However, Oakland will have to visit the Pittsburgh Steelers next week, and they will have a tough time dealing with that excellent rush defense.

11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Last Week's Rank: 13

    Why They Move Up: The Buccaneers are tied with the New Orleans Saints in the middle of the NFC South, and Sunday's win over the Carolina Panthers was just what they needed after a loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

10. New Orleans Saints

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    Last Week's Rank: 9

    Why They Fall: The Saints took a bye this week, but some other teams in the NFC really outshined New Orleans this NFL weekend.

9. Indianapolis Colts

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    Last Week's Rank: 10

    Why They Move Up: Peyton Manning really has the ability to make something out of nothing, doesn't he?

    Even with a banged-up offense, the Colts stayed ahead of the Cincinnati Bengals.

8. Green Bay Packers

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    Last Week's Rank: 7

    Why They Fall: Again, there are more impressive NFC teams, and the Packers still trail the Chicago Bears in the NFC North standings.

7. New York Giants

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    Last Week's Rank: 4

    Why They Fall: The Giants had been absolutely dominant ever since a Week 4 win over the Chicago Bears, but their winning streak ended on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.

    Now that's just embarrassing.

6. Philadelphia Eagles

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    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    Last Week's Rank: 8

    Why They Move Up: The Eagles tore apart the Washington Redskins last night, and Michael Vick is looking like the best quarterback in the NFL right about now.

    This is a very good football team, and I expect the Eagles to stay at the top of the NFC East.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Last Week's Rank: 2

    Why They Fall: Now, I understand that the Steelers have a banged-up offensive line and that the New England Patriots are a very good team, but come on!

    My Steelers drop in the rankings this week for deciding not to show up until the fourth quarter against the Pats.

4. New York Jets

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    Last Week's Rank: 5

    Why They Move Up: The Jets squeaked by the Cleveland Browns in an overtime win, and they remain one of the best teams in perhaps the toughest division in the NFL.

3. Baltimore Ravens

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Last Week's Rank: 1

    Why They Fall: Even with a loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the Ravens are still a very good football team.

    Perhaps even the best in their division.

    Next week the Ravens will visit the Carolina Panthers, and that should be an easy win for Baltimore.

2. Atlanta Falcons

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Last Week's Rank: 3

    Why They Move Up: You heard it here first: The Atlanta Falcons will represent the NFC in this season's Super Bowl.

    Matt Ryan was ridiculously clutch in the last minute of Thursday's game against the Baltimore Ravens, and this is one of the best teams in the NFL this season.

1. New England Patriots

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    Last Week's Rank: 6

    Why They Move Up: Any team that can go on the road and put up 39 points against the Pittsburgh Steelers defense deserves a top spot in my NFL Power Rankings.

    Tom Brady has elevated everyone around him on the New England offense.

    Seriously, who would have thought that Danny Woodhead would be such a dominant player in the NFL?

    The Patriots are the best team in the league this season, and they won't have too many more losses on their schedule as they head into the playoffs.