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NFL Power Rankings: 10 Teams That Could Rise and Fall Most In Week 14

Elliott PohnlFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2010

NFL Power Rankings: 10 Teams That Could Rise and Fall Most In Week 14

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    NFL Power Rankings takes on a different look this week as we turn our attention to 10 teams standing at a crossroads in their seasons.

    With only four weeks remaining in the regular season, it's time for several fringe playoff teams to start winning.

    Meanwhile, the wild-card contenders in the NFC need to find a way to gain ground on the leaders.

    So who stands to be on the move this week?

    Let's take a look inside this modified edition of NFL power rankings Week 14.

No. 10: Indianapolis Circles the Wagons

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Finally, Peyton Manning has managed to stop the bleeding.

    The Colts managed to take care of business tonight in Tennessee despite playing without a number of starters.

    What else is new?

    At 7-6, Indianapolis moves to within one game of the AFC South leading Jaguars.

    With the two teams set to meet in Week 15 at Lucas Oil Field, Manning might end up rallying the troops and returning to the postseason after all.

    Verdict: On the rise

No. 9: New York Giants Face Big Challenge against the Vikings

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    With or without Brett Favre, Minnesota will not be an easy team to beat Sunday.

    The Vikings have played with much more enthusiasm since Brad Childress was shown the door.

    Suddenly, the competitiveness seems to have returned.

    New York has gotten great contributions from the running game while Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith have been sidelined, but the Vikings rank fourth in the NFL at stopping the run.

    With the Giants clinging to a spot in the NFC Wild Card, Eli Manning will need to shoulder the load Sunday.

    It won't be easy.

    Verdict: Headed for a fall

No. 8: Rex Ryan Looks To Right the Ship

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    There's no reason to panic in New York.

    At least, not yet.

    Sure, the Jets barely even bothered to show up Monday night against the Pats.

    Even with that brutal loss, New York is still headed for a spot in the postseason in the weak AFC.

    After getting excited about Mark Sanchez's improvement early this season, it's time to put those training wheels back on.

    Look for Rex Ryan to return to his philosophy of running the ball and winning ugly.

    Miami brings a 1-5 home record into the Week 14 AFC East clash, so the Jets should be able to bounce back.

    Verdict: On the rise

No. 7: Seattle Needs To Steal One on the Road

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    If the Seahawks want to win the NFC West, they can't afford a hiccup against the 49ers in Week 14.

    Mike Singletary is ready to put Alex Smith back into the lineup, which could spell good things for the Seahawks.

    However, Seattle's secondary has been awful all season long and Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis are still finding footing.

    The Seahawks simply don't have any margin for error on the road, no matter how bad the opponent looks.

    Verdict: Headed for a fall

No. 6: Atlanta Soaring Closer to Home-Field Advantage

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Falcons still have challenging games against the Seahawks and Saints on the schedule this season, but at the moment Matt Ryan appears poised to secure home field throughout the playoffs.

    Sunday's game against the Panthers shouldn't provide much of a challenge.

    Atlanta probably won't get any respect until it wins games in the postseason.

    Playing inside the comfy Georgia Dome should help that happen.

    Verdict: Still on the rise

No. 5: Houston Has a Huge Problem

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Once again, the Houston Texans appeared to have enough pieces to make a serious run at the postseason.

    Especially this year.

    Instead, Gary Kubiak's team has faltered after a hot start thanks to several horrible defensive efforts.

    With the Ravens coming to town, there is little reason for optimism this week.

    Verdict: Headed for a fall

No. 4: Green Bay Stands To Gain Ground in NFC North

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Lions continue to invent unique ways to lose, while Aaron Rodgers has the Packers in a good position with four games remaining.

    The Packers should be able to take care of business in Detroit Sunday.

    With the Bears facing the Patriots this week, Green Bay appears poised to turn up the heat in the NFC North.

    And down the stretch they come...

    Verdict: On the rise

No. 3: Jacksonville Just Can't Lose

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    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    The Jaguars need to beat the Raiders Sunday to take another step towards claiming an unlikely AFC South crown.

    Oakland presents problems for any team, especially if the running game gets going.

    Jacksonville could start to feel the pressure with next week's clash in Indianapolis looming.

    Verdict: Headed for a fall

No. 2: Kansas City Looks To Choke the Chargers

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Matt Cassel probably won't play against the Chargers Sunday, which means Brodie Croyle will get a shot to show what he can do.

    Croyle's track record probably doesn't provide Chiefs fans with much confidence, but the pressure is no longer on him to win games by himself.

    Meanwhile, the Raiders' win over San Diego last week takes pressure off the Chiefs.

    Kansas City is in the driver's seat in the AFC West.

    A win would just about wrap things up.

    Verdict: On the rise

No. 1: Tampa Bay Could Be Toast with a Loss in Washington

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    J. Meric/Getty Images

    The Bucs always seem to be ready to collapse, and now could be the time it happens.

    Mike Shanahan's first year has been a disaster of epics proportions, but the Redskins are due for a win.

    Tampa Bay's time as a wild-card contender is running out.

    Verdict: Headed for a fall

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