NFL Power Rankings Week 15: Are the Chicago Bears A Legit Top-5 Team?

Tom Kinslow@@TomKinslowFeatured ColumnistDecember 15, 2010

NFL Power Rankings Week 15: Are the Chicago Bears A Legit Top-5 Team?

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    CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 12: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears looks to pass against the New England Patriots at Soldier Field on December 12, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois.  The Patriots beat the Bears 36-7.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    NFL power rankings Week 15 are here and as we get closer to the playoffs, we're getting a better idea of who are the contenders in each conference.

    One team that's hard to get a read on is Chicago. There's a lot of different opinions about the Bears; some think they're a top five team and some think they're overrated.

    Inside, you'll find out if I think the Bears are in the top five and what I think about the rest of the teams.

    Any thoughts or comments? Make sure to leave them at the bottom.

Nos. 32-21: Bottom Of The Barrel

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    SEATTLE - DECEMBER 05:  Quarterback Jimmy Clausen #2 of the Carolina Panthers hands off to Jonathan Stewart #28 against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on December 5, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks won, 31-14. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    32. Carolina (Last Week: 32): There's really not much else you can say about the Panthers at this point. It's just a total mess right now.

    31. Cincinnati (Last Week: 31): I'm glad people are finally starting to realize how brutal Carson Palmer has been this year. He killed the Bengals on Sunday.

    30. Denver (Last Week: 28): Firing Josh McDaniels didn't change a single thing in Denver. There needs to be a total reboot for the Broncos, and fast.

    29. Detroit (Last Week: 29): It was a good win against Green Bay, but not having to face Aaron Rodgers for a whole half sure helped things.

    28. Buffalo (Last Week: 27): It was a win, but I'm not giving much credit for beating Jake Delhomme. That's been done before.

    27. Washington (Last Week: 26): So Hunter Smith gets cut for fumbling a snap while Graham Gano, who missed two field goals he should have made, stays. Makes perfect sense.

    26. Arizona (Last Week: 30): Jay Feely was Mr. Offense on Sunday for the Cardinals. Who knew?

    25. Tennessee (Last Week: 24): Jeff Fisher is one of the most overrated coaches in the league. If you watched the game against the Colts on Thursday and thought otherwise, you must not have been watching.

    24. Houston (Last Week: 22): I purposely stayed up to watch the end of the Monday night game because I knew Houston would blow it. The Texans didn't disappoint.

    23. San Francisco (Last Week: 25): The 49ers are still alive in the NFC West. That tells you something about that division.

    22. Dallas (Last Week: 20): It was a tough loss for the Cowboys, but hey, at least they're fighting under Jason Garrett.

    21. Seattle (Last Week: 19): Seattle ends up losing to the 49ers. There are no depths to how bad the NFC West is right now.

No. 20: Minnesota

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    MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 2:  Tarvaris Jackson #7 of the Minnesota Vikings passes the ball during an NFL preseason game against the Denver Broncos at the Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, on September 2, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
    Tom Dahlin/Getty Images

    Last Week: 19

    So much for the Tarvaris Jackson era in Minnesota.

    Jackson went out there on Monday night and laid a total egg, further proving that he shouldn't start for any team in this league. He's not the answer, and one good game against a bad team last week didn't mean squat.

    People overlooked his interceptions against Buffalo, but he got exposed on Monday.

No. 19: Cleveland

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    ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 12:  Peyton Hillis #40 of the Cleveland Browns fumbles as he tries to jump over Paul Posluszny #51 of the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 12, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo won 13-6.  (Photo by Rick S
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Last Week: 16

    Remember when the Browns were a team that should be feared?

    Cleveland had beaten New Orleans and New England and were hanging with the Jets. Now Colt McCoy is hurt and Jake Delhomme is back in and is proving why he should never start another football game in the NFL.

    Good times in Cleveland.

No. 18: St. Louis

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    GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 05:  Quarterback Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams scrambles to pass the football during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 5, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Rams defeate
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Last Week: 15

    The Rams are a nice story, but now it's time to be realistic.

    St. Louis isn't going anywhere in the playoffs if the Rams somehow make it. The Rams were blasted by the Saints on Sunday, and that's a team St. Louis could see in the first round. It was a laugher and it's a sign of things to come.

    It's been a fun ride, but it's got to end some time.

No. 17: San Diego

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    SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 12:  Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers throws a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs at Qualcomm Stadium on December 12, 2010 in San Diego, California.  The Chargers won 31-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Last Week: 18

    It was a nice win on Sunday for San Diego, but that's the most amount of respect the Chargers will get for that win.

    There was no Matt Cassel in that game on Sunday and the Chiefs just fell apart without him. Kansas City beat the Chargers the first time around, and I think he would have the second time. This San Diego team just cannot finish ball games.

    Maybe Norv Turner will finally get fired after this season.

No. 16: Oakland

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 12:  Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders runs for yardage during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on December 12, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Last Week: 17

    Oh, Oakland, every time we think the Raiders are back, you prove us wrong.

    The Raiders get a big division win and have a chance to make a statement against the AFC South-leading Jacksonville Jaguars and promptly just choke a tie game away late and remind us why we shouldn't believe in the Raiders.

    Hey, at least there's hope for next year if they miss out on the playoffs.

No. 15: Miami

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 12:  Chad Henne #7 of the Miami Dolphins against the New York Jets at New Meadowlands Stadium on December 12, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Last Week: 21

    So either the Dolphins played really well on Sunday or the Jets played really badly.

    I'm going to go with somewhere in the middle and the Dolphins played a great game on defense and on special teams to help beat the Jets on Sunday. The offense looked like hell, but we've come to expect that from the Dolphins by now.

    Start looking for another quarterback, Miami.

No. 14: Kansas City

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 05:  Quarterback Matt Cassel #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs in action during the game against the Denver Broncos on December 5, 2010 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Last Week: 11

    I'm going to give Kansas City a pass for last week. It's only fair.

    It's hard to play without your starting quarterback, especially when your backup is completely awful.

    Brodie Croyle played one of the worst games by any player this year, and it's no wonder the Chiefs lost that game. Way to be, Brodie.

    Matt Cassel can't get back soon enough.

No. 13: Green Bay

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    DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 12:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers is tackled during a second half run by Brandon McDonald #33 of the Detroit Lions on December 12, 2010 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Last Week: 10

    Even if Aaron Rodgers goes down with a concussion, you should still beat the Detroit Lions.

    Losing to Detroit the way they did, the Packers should be ashamed of themselves. It was a poor, emotionless showing by Green Bay. These are the games you have to win if you want to make the playoffs, and it was a total no-show.

    It's not like Green Bay was lighting it up before Rodgers got hurt.

No. 12: Tampa Bay

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    LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 12:  Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is chased by Brian Orakpo #98 of the Washington Redskins at FedExField on December 12, 2010 in Landover, Maryland. The Redskins led the Buccaneers at the half 10-3 00-00. (Photo by L
    Larry French/Getty Images

    Last Week: 14

    Sure, Tampa Bay is winning football games, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

    The Buccaneers escaped with their lives after taking the lead late and then getting a lucky muffed snap on an extra point to seal the deal for Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers can't beat good teams and they're struggling against bad ones.

    Despite all of that, they still might make the playoffs. Only in the NFL.

No. 11: Indianapolis

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    NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 09:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pass during the NFL game against the Tennessee Titans  at LP Field on December 9, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.  The Colts won 30-28.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Last Week: 13

    Peyton Manning was back to looking like Peyton Manning.

    Sure, he was playing the Tennessee Titans and sure that game was closer than it probably should have been, but the Colts looked like a team that could move the ball on some tough defenses and he wasn't throwing bad picks.

    It was a good bounce back for Indy.

No. 10: Jacksonville

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 12:  Quarterback David Garrard #9 of the Jacksonville Jaguars attempts a pass during the game against the Oakland Raiders at EverBank Field on December 12, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Last Week: 12

    Don't look now, but the Jacksonville Jaguars can put a stranglehold on the AFC South.

    The Jaguars beat the Colts earlier in this season and with another win over the Colts, it will be hard for Indianapolis to catch David Garrard and company for the division crown. Jack Del Rio likely saved his job with this season.

    I honestly can't believe the Jaguars might win the division.

No. 9: Chicago

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    CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 12: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears reacts after a player from the New England Patriots runs a fumbled ball into the end zone for a touchdown at Soldier Field on December 12, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Patriots defeated the B
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Last Week: 11

    This was another test for the Bears, and they didn't show up at all on Sunday.

    The Bears got dominated in every sense of the word by the Patriots once the two took the field and that makes you question Chicago's chances going forward. I had underrated the Bears before this game, so that's why the ranking is higher.

    However, I still don't have a lot of faith in Chicago.

No. 8: New York Jets

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 12:  Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets against the Miami Dolphins at New Meadowlands Stadium on December 12, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4

    I think it's time to worry if you're a Jets fan.

    New York has struggled against some teams it should have beaten down and in the last two weeks, the Jets have been blasted by the Patriots and then just looked lost as they fell to the Dolphins in an ugly game.

    Next up is Pittsburgh, and it may not be pretty.

No. 7: New York Giants

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    DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 13:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants throws a second quarter pass while playing the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on December 13, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Last Week: 6

    The Giants dominated a bad Minnesota team, but we'll find out what this team is made of soon enough.

    New York is fighting for a playoff spot and if the Giants can beat the Eagles this week, New York will have an inside track to winning the division or getting into the playoffs.

    Eli Manning has to step up this week to make up for his fumble in the last meeting.

    It's going to be a battle this week.

No. 6: Baltimore

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    BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 05:  Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens looks to pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium on December 5, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. Pittsburgh won 13-10.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    Last Week: 4

    I know Baltimore won, but I'm not a fan of how the Ravens won.

    The Ravens just looked terrible in the second half, and that defense got destroyed by the Texans' offense and were lucky to have escaped with their lives. Had Baltimore lost, it would have been devastating to its playoff hopes.

    There are reasons to be concerned if you're a Ravens fan.

No. 5: New Orleans

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 12:  Drew Brees #9  of the New Orleans Saints looks to throw the ball during the game against the St. Louis Rams at the Louisiana Superdome on December 12, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Last Week: 6

    Don't look now, but here come the New Orleans Saints.

    Drew Brees and Co. are just rolling right now and have to be one of the favorites in the NFC. You can't sleep on the defending Super Bowl champions, but it seems like that's happening right now. When was the last time you heard about the Saints?

    New Orleans is a scary team to meet in the playoffs.

No. 4: Philadelphia

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    ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 12:  Quarterback Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles drops back to pass against Anthony Spencer #93 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on December 12, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Last Week: 7

    The Eagles found a way to win a tough division game on Sunday, and now it's another big game for Philly.

    Michael Vick is getting knocked around behind that offensive line, and you have to be worried if you're an Eagles fan. The secondary has some issues, and having Asante Samuel out of the lineup has hurt the defense.

    However, I think the Eagles are the team to beat in the NFC East.

No. 3: Pittsburgh

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    PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 12:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers hands the ball off to teammate Rashard Mendenhall #34 during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals on December 12, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Ja
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Last Week: 3

    It was a real AFC North matchup on Sunday, and the Steelers took advantage of a weak quarterback in Carson Palmer.

    The Steelers took two interceptions back for touchdowns and are just grinding out wins. Ben Roethlisberger looks like he's barely holding it together physically, and you have to respect how he's playing despite it, regardless of what you think about him.

    Pittsburgh will be a tough team to beat come playoff time.

No. 2: Atlanta

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 12:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 12, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Last Week: 2

    Even though Atlanta lost to Philadelphia earlier in the year, I think the Falcons are the best team in the NFC.

    Matt Ryan, Michael Turner and Roddy White are tough to beat and when they get in that dome, they're almost unstoppable.

    Atlanta's a team no one wants to see on the road in the playoffs. Someone needs to hope they can get home field, and it doesn't look like that will happen.

    Atlanta is just rolling right now.

No. 1: New England

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    CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 12: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots directs the offense against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 12, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois.  The Patriots beat the Bears 36-7.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Last Week: 1

    There's no doubt that New England is the best team in the NFL right now.

    The Patriots have just beaten so many good teams and then pounded the Jets and the Bears into the dirt in back-to-back weeks.

    That's impressive, especially when you remember that New England went on the road to beat Chicago on a short week.

    Can anyone stop the Patriots at this point?