NFL Power 10: It's The Steelers' AFC, Everyone Else Is Just Playing for Second

Sean Crowe@CroweKnowsSenior Writer IDecember 3, 2008

For the first time in three weeks we have some movement in the Power 10. Two teams drop out, two familiar faces jump back in. But the Giants still lead the pack.


1 (1) New York Giants (11-1-0): Power 10 Points: 224

Things are looking pretty bad for your NFL future when the commissioner is calling the mayor to offer his support a day after the mayor said he wanted to throw the book at you.

Plax went from catching the game-winning pass in the Super Bowl to staring jail time square in the eye in less than 10 months. That may be a record.

Speaking of records, the Giants are 7-0 against teams with winning records this season. They have four games left, all of them against teams that currently have winning records.

If the Giants win out, should we start talking about the 2008 Giants as one of the best teams ever?


2 (2) Tennessee Titans (11-1-0): Power 10 Points: 218

The Titans went from undefeated a week ago to a team that may be an afterthought in the AFC.

I like the Titans. I like their defense. I’m just not sure their offense is playoff caliber.

How do they beat a team like the Steelers? The Steelers have a better defense and a significantly better offense.


3 (5) Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3-0): Power 10 Points: 165

The Patriots aren’t a great team this year, but that was still a huge victory for the Steelers. The Patriots and Steelers play almost every year, and almost every year the Steelers are embarrassed by the Patriots. They needed to beat the Patriots, and they needed to do it convincingly.

The Steelers are the best team in the AFC right now. By leaps and bounds. The Jets and Titans are both nice stories, but they’re lacking when compared to the Steelers.

And I loathe the Steelers...


4 (4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3-0): Power 10 Points: 161

The Bucs traded a home game next season for a trip to London to play the New England Patriots. Given that the Bucs are undefeated at home, and entirely mediocre on the road, I’m relatively certain this decision could impact next season’s NFC South race.

As for this season’s NFC South race, the Bucs and Panthers are tied in the standings and they’re only three points apart in the Power 10.


5 (6) Carolina Panthers (9-3-0): Power 10 Points: 158

Remember when the Panthers were known for their defense? Now, they’re going to Green Bay and winning games 35-31? Steve Smith is completely insane, but he might be the best pound-for-pound wide receiver in the NFL.

That was a huge win, by the way. It keeps them tied with the Bucs and a game ahead of the upstart Falcons. This week they get their crack at Tampa Bay. The winner becomes the favorite to win the best division in football.


6 (8) Baltimore Ravens (8-4-0): Power 10 Points: 148

The Ravens had to win last week, and they did. Now they start the stretch that will determine whether or not they play football in January.

They play the Redskins, Steelers, and Cowboys back to back to back. If they can go 2-1, they’re as good as in. If they go 1-2, they open the door for the Patriots.

Either way, the Ravens have had a fantastic season.


7 (7) Atlanta Falcons (8-4-0): Power 10 Points: 139

How good is the NFC South? The Falcons are in third place with an 8-4 record. The Saints are in last place, and they’re a respectable 6-6. What a difference a year and Matt Ryan make.


8 (3) New York Jets (8-4-0): Power 10 Points: 136

I’m sad to report that the New York Jets’ bandwagon crashed last week. The fake New Yorkers who nearly trampled each other jumping on the bandwagon in the last few weeks, were all nearly killed trying to jump off in unison.

When reached for comment, Brett Favre said, “Hey, what did you expect? I’m Brett Favre!”


9 (-) Dallas Cowboys (8-4-0): Power 10 Points: 127

Was it really just Tony Romo? Can one guy make a team look this good? Can the absence of one guy make a team look as bad as it did when Romo was out?

Would Jessica fall apart like that if Romo left her?


10 (-) Indianapolis Colts (8-4-0): Power 10 Points: 114

Hey, look who’s back! The Colts are back in the Power 10. Don’t look now, but aside from the Steelers, this is the hottest team in the AFC. Never, ever, ever forget the Colts. As long as Peyton Manning is breathing, this team still has a shot.


Dropped Out

(10) Arizona Cardinals (7-5-0): Power 10 Points: 95

I’m not sure, but I’m starting to think the Cardinals are paper tigers. I’ll let you know for sure after they play the Patriots in a couple of weeks.

The only good team these guys have beaten is the Cowboys. Don’t they have to beat someone to be considered a playoff threat? Shouldn’t we be writing these guys off as a team that benefits from playing in a terrible division?


(9) New England Patriots (7-5-0): Power 10 Points: 94

Speaking of a team who hasn’t beaten anyone, the Patriots have failed every test they’ve faced this season. They had a chance to take the AFC East by the throat, but lost to the Jets. They could have secured their playoff situation by beating the Colts, except they lost. They could have proven they were still a force in the AFC, but they were throttled by the Steelers.

Even if the Patriots sneak into the playoffs, is anyone really worried about them at this point? I mean, aside from the Broncos and Jets...


Bottom Three

30 (29) St. Louis Rams (2-10-0): Power 10 Points: -73

Losing 16-12 is kind of like a moral victory when you’ve lost your previous four games by a combined score of 143-35.


31 (30) Cincinnati Bengals (1-10-1): Power 10 Points: -74

At this point, the Bengals are just hoping the Lions can figure out how to win two of their remaining four games so they can get the No.1 pick in the draft. Very, very shaky strategy...


32 (32) Detroit Lions (0-12-0): Power 10 Points: -112

I’m not sure what’s worse, the fact that they’re four losses away from a reverse-perfect season or the fact that they thought Daunte Culpepper was their best shot at avoiding that fate.

Daunte Culpepper…holy crap it must suck to be a Lions fan.


Sean Crowe covers the New England Patriots for and writes a bi-weekly column for

He is a Senior Writer and an NFL Community Leader at Bleacher Report. You can email him at His archive can be found here.


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