NFL Power Rankings, Week 12: Ranking the AFC Teams
Another week of NFL action has finally come to a close with a 35-14 blowout in San Diego Monday night.
There was not much in the way of surprises this week, so the rankings in the AFC haven't shifted a whole lot, but, rest assured, there has been some movement.
If you don't like where your team is, well....perhaps they should play better.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the AFC power rankings in Week 12.
16. Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals, who started the season with eyes fixed on the playoffs, have all but completely fallen from grace.
After jumping out to a quick lead Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, the Bengals completely fell apart, giving up a 49-31 loss which draws them even with the Bills.
It's hard to figure out just what is going wrong with the Bengals (you know, besides the turnovers), but, at this point, it hardly matters. Their season is over, and they can only hope to salvage some dignity in their last six games.
15. Houston Texans
Granted, the Texans should probably a couple of spots higher on this list. After all, their record puts them above a couple of other AFC teams.
However, there seems to be no more frustrating team in the AFC, or in the NFL at large, than the Houston Texans.
The Texans continue to lose week after week, even when they have the opportunity to win sitting in their laps. Take this last game against the Jets as an example. The Texans had the lead very late in the fourth quarter, but allowed the Jets to march quickly down the field to score the winning touchdown.
The Texans may not be totally out of playoff hopes, but they don't seem like they're headed there any time soon.
14. Denver Broncos
Despite the beat down that the Denver Broncos suffered at the hands of the San Diego Chargers Monday night, they are still riding a big ranking boost received from the whooping they laid down on Kansas City.
That having been said, though, the Broncos are looking pretty dead at this point. They come out of the gates white hot every game, but seem incapable of closing should that not prove to be the death blow.
13. Buffalo Bills
Another round of hearty congratulations are due to the Buffalo Bills, who somehow pulled another win out of the abyss on Sunday to bring their season win total to two.
The Bills are slowly, but surely, dragging themselves off of the bottom of the AFC. That would be great, if it didn't mean that they were losing draft position.
While I'm mostly kidding about that, let's be serious, the Bills may need the high draft pick, and their new-found success could ironically be hurting them in the future.
If that isn't comic irony, I don't know what is.
12. Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns may be the biggest enigma in the League.
They currently sit at 3-7, a record which would imply that they are a bad team. They even seem like a bad team, at least when they play normal teams.
However, look at their three wins:
1. 23-20 over Cincinnati: While not overly impressive, the Bengals looked a lot better in the beginning of the season than they do now.
2. 30-17 over New Orleans: They brought the hurt down on last year's Super Bowl Champions in their own house. That is no easy task.
3. 34-14 over New England: They held one of the top scoring teams in the League to 14 points. That's simply impressive.
So, how is it that a team that can play up to tough games also drops games against opponents like Jacksonville?
11. Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins have been dealing with a bit of bad luck over the last few weeks.
First they lose their first and second string quarterbacks in addition to a couple of other players.
Then, as if that wasn't enough, they get shut out. At home.
10. Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders came crashing back down to reality on Sunday after getting destroyed by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The beating was so bad, in fact, that Richard Seymour felt the need to lay down a beating of his own on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (cue drum riff).
In all seriousness, though, the Oakland Raiders were flying high for two weeks, but their game against Pittsburgh revealed their true colors.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars
Well, well, well, look at what we have here, the Jacksonville Jaguars are continuing to win games.
They may not be the best in the AFC, but they certainly aren't the doormat that I had them pegged as once upon a time.
The Jaguars might not be here for long, but they are riding on some momentum all of a sudden, and things are finally starting to look a little bright in Jacksonville.
8. Tennessee Titans
The stock of the Tennessee Titans is dropping very, very quickly.
The recent Vince Young debacle has been quite the distraction for the Titans, and it certainly won't help them win games. They are sitting at .500 right now, and they may be staying there unless they improve drastically.
7. Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs are starting to get back on track after suffering two tough AFC West losses by crushing the Arizona Cardinals.
They aren't the best team in the AFC any more, and they may be letting their hopes at the playoffs slip away, but they are still a good team, there is no doubt about that, and they are starting to recover their image.
6. Indianapolis Colts
This is where things get touchy. The top seven teams in the AFC can hardly be separated by a hair, so this is where we have to get a little techincal.
The Colts are good, but Peyton Manning is starting to make a lot of mistakes, and that is going to start costing them more and more games.
Their loss to the New England Patriots will not be their last loss of the season, that much is for sure.
5. New York Jets
Every week the Jets seem to be down against an opponent they should be crushing.
Every week the Jets somehow manage to squeak out a win at the last opportunity.
Yes, they have a great record, and yes, they are threatening to take the AFC East from the New England Patriots.
However, I just don't believe that they can keep up these last minute heroics forever. The fact that they have to depend on those kinds of moments to post wins is why they are sitting down here at No. 5.
4. San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers are really hot right now. They are playing excellent offense, excellent defense, and they seem to have even fixed their special teams woes.
There isn't much in between this team and the playoffs, and the only thing keeping them out of the top three in the AFC is the fact that their record is 5-5.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers stomped all over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, which reasserts their dominance as a team after their loss to the New England Patriots the week before.
In fact, the only thing really keeping them down at this point is that loss to New England.
2. Baltimore Ravens
If I could make the No. 1 spot a tie, I would. The Ravens and the Patriots are both playing fantastic football, and there really is no way to separate them.
The Ravens are down here solely on account of the one extra loss on their record. Aside from that, they are looking like a freight train headed straight for the playoffs.
1. New England Patriots
This scenario is quite familiar to most of you at this point. The Patriots are 8-2, they have the best quarterback in the League, the best coach in the League, and they seem practically unstoppable most of the time.
The Patriots have clearly put their stumble against the Cleveland Browns behind them, and they are now even playing good defense in addition to good offense. These guys seem like the favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl right now for good reason. The only things standing in their way are the New York Jets.
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