NFL Power Rankings Week 13: Did the Chicago Bears Clip the Eagles' Wings?
Week 12 of NFL football brought us some pretty close calls and some serious blowouts, and it's time to start talking NFL power rankings.
In the NFC, we saw the Green Bay Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles lose some tough battles to the Atlanta Falcons and the Chicago Bears, and we could see all four of these teams in the postseason.
The Minnesota Vikings worked a little magic and the Dallas Cowboys lost some of theirs against the New Orleans Saints.
As for the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns won some very close games, and the New England Patriots and New York Jets continued their dominance for another week.
The Houston Texans shut out the Tennessee Titans, and even cheating couldn't save the Denver Broncos.
So who is the best team in the NFL?
Read on to find out.
Here are the teams that bring up the rear this week.
32 (32). Carolina Panthers: John Kasay's missed field goal was a real heart-breaker on Sunday.
31 (29). Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals couldn't beat the Bills, so why should I expect them to beat the Jets?
30 (31). Detroit Lions: The Lions stuck with the Pats on Thanksgiving, but 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter sealed Detroit's fate.
29 (25). Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals are the worst team in the worst division in the NFL. They should feel lucky to be ranked this high.
28 (27). Buffalo Bills: I think Stevie Johnson needs to get a little more serious.
27 (26). Denver Broncos: The Broncos played a close game with the St. Louis Rams, but they just couldn't get the win. And things won't get easier as they go on the road for their next three games.
26 (30). San Francisco 49ers: The Niners really do have the talent to be a great team, but without Frank Gore, I can't see this season getting much better.
25 (23). Dallas Cowboys: The 'Boys had some momentum going in recent weeks, but the Saints' last minute touchdown sent Dallas tumbling a couple spots this week.
24 (28). Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings are finally starting to make use of all the big names on their roster. It also helps that Brett Favre managed to cut back on the picks for a game.
23 (21). Seattle Seahawks: I was convinced that the Seahawks would make a serious playoff run this season, but that loss to the Chiefs was pretty brutal.
22 (19). Washington Redskins: The Redskins have now joined the "We Lost to the Minnesota Vikings Club."
21 (18). Tennessee Titans: I'm still holding out hope for the Titans this season because the AFC South standings are so close. But if you guys lose to Jacksonville next week, I will be forced to stop defending you.
Last Week's Rank: 22
Why They Climb: The Browns have this one running back. His name is Peyton Hillis. I don't know if you've heard of him, but he's pretty decent at football.
The playoffs are out of the question for the Brownies, but they have made some very smart moves recently.
They may have a losing record, but hey...at least they're not the Cincinnati Bengals.
Last Week's Rank: 24
Why They Climb: The St. Louis Rams have gone from being the worst team in the NFL to being the best team in the NFC West.
Now, beating the Denver Broncos isn't exactly hard, but it's still a win.
Hopefully Sam Bradford is ready for the playoffs.
Last Week's Rank: 17
Why They Fall: Even though the Jags lost to the New York Giants on Sunday, they still hung in there with a very good team.
They're first in the AFC South standings, and I think they'll stay there and head on into the postseason.
Last Week's Rank: 20
Why They Climb: This team is starting to look more like the Houston Texans that I know and love.
They have all kinds of talent on offense, and their defense is starting to improve.
They have some tough games ahead of them (at Philadelphia and vs. Baltimore), but with the way the Indianapolis Colts have been looking lately, the Texans still have a shot at their division.
Last Week's Rank: 15
Why They Fall: Things were looking up for the Raider this season, but two straight losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Miami Dolphins have pushed them further in the rankings.
And things aren't going to get any better in the final five games of the season. Next up, the Raiders will visit the San Diego Chargers, and even though Oakland won the first matchup in Week 5, the Bolts are just getting started.
Last Week's Rank: 16
Why They Climb: After getting shut out by the Chicago Bears, the Dolphins bounced back and went on the road to beat the Oakland Raiders.
The weird thing about the Dolphins is that they seem to play worse at home.
Miami is 5-1 on the road but only 1-4 at home.
Last Week's Rank: 10
Why They Fall: The Colts have lost two games in a row, but in their defense, they are pretty banged up.
And they lost to the Patriots and the Chargers.
But if Indy doesn't step it up soon, they could completely miss the playoffs.
Could the "Super Bowl Curse" be to blame?
Last Week's Rank: 9
Why They Fall: The Bucs had a rough weekend with that loss to the Baltimore Ravens, and they are now a game behind the Saints as the third place team in the NFC South.
I said last week that I would be sold on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers if they beat the Ravens, but they didn't.
And I'm not.
Last Week's Rank: 12
Why They Stay Put: The Chiefs hold strong at the top of their division, but the San Diego Chargers are closing in.
Kansas City will have some serious competition in the coming weeks, and they will need to beat the Bolts on the road if they want a shot at the playoffs.
Last Week's Rank: 11
Why They Stay Put: The Giants avoided their third straight loss this weekend against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and they are competing with the Eagles for the top of the NFC East.
Still, the Giants have looked much better this season.
Last Week's Rank: 14
Why They Climb: The Chargers are playing like the best team in the league right now, and even though they started the season 2-5, they have won four games in a row.
The Bolts have been No. 1 in both total offense and total defense for the second straight week, and I expect them to win all of their remaining five games.
Last Week's Rank: 7
Why They Fall: Green Bay suffered its first loss since Week 6 on Sunday, but don't worry Packers fans.
The Pack can take out their frustrations on the San Francisco 49ers next week.
Last Week's Rank: 13
Why They Climb: The Bears pulled off their fourth straight win this weekend over a spectacular Philadelphia Eagles team.
Critics (including yours truly) have doubted the Bears this season, but I can't really argue with their 8-3 record.
Last Week's Rank: 8
Why They Climb: The Saints have won four games in a row, and they kept the Cowboys from starting a winning streak of their own.
Even though the Saints lost to the Cleveland Browns in Week 7, the only other loss I see on the rest of their schedule is in Week 16 when they visit the Atlanta Falcons.
Last Week's Rank: 5
Why They Fall: Up until this past weekend, the Eagles looks absolutely unstoppable, but the Chicago Bears found an answer for Michael Vick and company.
So Philly gets knocked down a notch, but I expect the Eagles to work their way back up.
Last Week's Rank: 6
Why They Climb: The Ravens had a nice win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, and they are at the top of the one of the toughest divisions in the NFL.
Next, they will host the Pittsburgh Steelers, and a victory there will secure a spot in the playoffs.
Last Week's Rank: 4
Why They Stay Put: The Steelers survived a close call with the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, but they are now 8-3 with the best rushing defense in the NFL.
Pittsburgh fell to the Ravens earlier in the season, but with Big Ben back in action, they will be looking for revenge when they visit Baltimore.
Last Week's Rank: 2
Why They Fall: The Patriots scored kept the Detroit Lions scoreless in the fourth quarter of last Thursday's game, and they are without a doubt one of the best teams in the league.
But a new No. 1 means the Pats slip a notch this week.
Last Week's Rank: 1
Why They Fall: Just like the Patriots, the Jets also won on Thanksgiving against one of the league's weakest teams.
We will see which of these teams can top next week's power rankings after the Pats host the Jets on Sunday, but for now, a different team stands out as the best in the NFL.
Last Week's Rank: 3
Why They Climb: The Atlanta Falcons are the best team in the NFL this week after a huge win over the Green Bay Packers.
Two weeks ago, I picked the Falcons to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, and they have yet to disappoint me.