NFL Power Rankings: Can the Defending Champs Be Stopped?

Torey ZiskaCorrespondent IINovember 15, 2011

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 14: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers smiles at a teammate on the sidelines in the 4th quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field on November 14, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Vikings 45-7.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

This week in the NFL was all about the number 10. It was Week 10. The Colts lost, dropping their record to 0-10. Of the 16 games on the slate, 10 were won by the road team. The Kansas City Chiefs scored just 10 points at home against that less-than-stellar Bronco D. And finally, in my opinion, there are 10 teams with zero shot at making the playoffs (I’m not counting the Eagles, because if there was any team that could get hot and win all of their remaining games, it’s them. But they won’t.)

Oh and if you combined Tim Tebow’s pass attempts with his pass completions, you would get…yep, 10. Ok, I’m stretching things now.

In other NFL news, the early season Cinderella teams (Detroit and Buffalo) are sliding, the Texans are rolling, and the Dolphins, yes the Dolphins, are on a winning streakif you consider two straight a winning streak.

Injuries plagued some key fantasy players this week, as Julio Jones, Frank Gore, AJ Green and Jeremy Maclin all left their respective games with injuries, and Eagles quarterback Michael Vick broke two ribs and could miss Week 11

As for this week’s rankings, a familiar team remains on top, while the Texans make their first top five appearance of the season. The Bears find themselves back in the top 10 for the first time since Week 2, while the Lions find themselves on the brink of falling out of the top 10, as they drop six spots this weekmore than any other team. The Raiders, Cowboys and Cardinals make the biggest jump this week, as each team moved up five spots in the rankings.

So, without any more chit-chat from me, here are the Week 11 power rankings.


Teams’ previous ranking in ( ).


1. Green Bay Packers (1): It was the lowly Vikings, but the Packers defense showed up big time. If they maintain that for the rest of the season, they will make history as the first team to go 19-0.


2. San Francisco 49ers (2): I’ve spoken highly of this team for two years. They made me look foolish last year. This year, they’re for real and will give Green Bay a run for their money for the No. 1 seed.


3. Pittsburgh Steelers (6): Yes they’ve lost to the Ravens twice, but they’re 7-3 overall and have sole possession of first place. They have a bye coming up in Week 11, but don’t be surprised if they win their final six games and finish 13-3.


4. New Orleans Saints (7): Winning in Atlanta is never an easy task but the Saints have done so two straight years. They now have the inside track to the division title.


5. Houston Texans (8): Still doubt them? They’ve won four straight, scoring 30 or more in three of those games. Just like the Steelers, Houston has a bye in Week 11 and could very easily win each of their final six games.


6. New York Giants (3): Despite the loss, the return of Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham was huge for the G-men. They went 1-1 against the Pats and 49ers and the schedule doesn’t get any easier. 


7. New England Patriots (9): Come on, you didn’t expect them to lose three straight, did you?


8. Baltimore Ravens (5): It doesn’t matter how many times you beat the Steelers, if you lose to the Jaguars and Seahawks (and even the Titans) you have to be seriously concerned.


9. Chicago Bears (13): That defense is playing excellent football right now and will get another test as they face a reeling Charger team.


10. Detroit Lions (4): They’ve lost three of their past four games, all against potential playoff teams. They face the Panthers this week in a trap game; they must avoid looking past Carolina to their next two opponents, Green Bay and New Orleans.


11. New York Jets (10): The bad news is the Jets only have three days off until their next game. The good news is it’s against the Broncos. The best news is they don’t have to see Brady again unless they make the playoffs.


12. Cincinnati Bengals (12): Don’t count them out of the division race just yet; they showed some serious toughness for a young team against the Steelers.


13. Dallas Cowboys (18): Don’t look now but here come the Cowboys. I expect them to be sitting in first place in just a few short weeks.


14. Buffalo Bills (11): Their first two losses were heartbreakers; their last two were blowouts. They are treading water right now but a trip to Miami could solve a lot of problems.


15. Oakland Raiders (20): Losses to the Chiefs and Broncos worry me. But wins against the Jets and Texans (and even the Chargers) please me. The Raiders are a tough team to figure out but they have an outside shot at 10 wins, which is a lock to win that division.


16. Atlanta Falcons (14): You have to wonder if the decision by Mike Smith to go for it on fourth-and-one from their own 29 in overtime could come back to haunt this team late in the season.


17. San Diego Chargers (15): Four straight losses, all by a touchdown or less. I believe Norv Turner’s job is on the line this week against the Bears.


18. Tennessee Titans (21): Let me be the first to welcome Chris Johnson to the 2011 NFL season. At 5-4, the Titans have an outside shot at winning 10 games and competing for a wildcard spot. It won’t be easy though, as they must get a win at Atlanta this week.


19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (16): The Bucs’ playoff hopes took a major hit when they failed to show up against the Texans. Those hopes might sink completely in Week 11 as they travel to Lambeau.


20. Jacksonville Jaguars (22): The Jags have scored more than 17 points just one time all season and have yet to score more than 20. They must improve their offense in the off season, as it currently ranks dead last in the NFL; on the bright side, they have the No. 5 ranked defense.


21. Denver Broncos (25): Tebow will have to do better than 2-8 for 69 yards if the Broncos have any hopes of beating the Jets in this week’s Thursday night game. I mean 2-8? Sounds like the stats for a baseball player that played a double header.


22. Kansas City Chiefs (17): Kansas City has exploded for 13 total points in their last two games against the Dolphins and Broncos. If they want to beat New England on Monday night this week, they might need to score 13 points per quarter.


23. Arizona Cardinals (28): The Cardinals signed Kevin Kolb to a $65 million contract this season. Thus far, he has produced one win and six losses. John Skelton, scheduled to make $405,000 this season, is 2-0.


24. Philadelphia Eagles (19): Five times the Eagles have blown a fourth quarter lead this season. The Eagles must win out to have any shot at a playoff berth and with games remaining against the Giants, Patriots, Jets and Cowboys, it’s safe to say the Eagles’ ‘dreams’ are over.


25. Cleveland Browns (23): Missing a potential game-winning chip shot 22-yard field goal is just a microcosm of Cleveland’s season.


26. Seattle Seahawks (30): After trashing Tarvaris Jackson for years, I owe him an apology. He looked very good against the Ravens, even playing through a pectoral injury. Seattle has a lot of young talent on offense and could become the surprise of the NFL in 2012.


27. St. Louis Rams (29): The Rams might make a late season surge but it’s going to be too little too late.


28. Minnesota Vikings (26): Christian Ponder is starting to take steps backward. Is it time to give Joe Webb another look?


29. Carolina Panthers (24): The Panthers, despite a poor record, took a big step backward last week. However, I think they will give the Lions a tough game this week.


30. Miami Dolphins (31): Miami has completely abandoned the "Suck for Luck" strategy and have won two straight. Regardless, it would be pretty shocking if they didn’t use their first pick on a quarterback.


31. Washington Redskins (27): Even with three wins, the Redskins drop to No. 31. It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is, the Redskins have suffered too many injuries and don’t have enough depth to make up for it.


32. Indianapolis Colts (32): With the No. 1 pick basically a lock at this point, the Colts might consider playing Peyton Manning late in the season if he is healthy enough to play so they can at least win one game and avoid a season of complete futility.






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