NFL Power Rankings: Teams That Will Surge Upward

Tom LoughreyAnalyst IIINovember 16, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 13:  Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets celebrates with his teammates after running the ball in for a Touchdown against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium on November 13, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

In the NFL, teams that win at the beginning of the season aren’t necessarily winning by the end of the season.

There’s a little phrase that describes these three teams: “peaking at the right time.”

Here are three teams that will be playing their best football when the playoffs roll around.


Dallas Cowboys

Whether or not the Dallas Cowboys actually make the postseason is still in question, but they’ll definitely make a serious charge at it.

A 4-4 start does not describe how talented this team is. DeMarco Murray has taken tons of pressure off the shoulders of Tony Romo and the Cowboys have an easy schedule to boot.

When they beat the Washington Redskins in Week 3, I got a feeling they might be good. A 44-7 destruction of the Buffalo Bills confirmed my thoughts.

Here’s Skip Bayless’ take on the Cowboys, which I agree with.


Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders are the most complete team in the AFC West.

The powerful running game of Darren McFadden—when he’s healthy— and Michael Bush opens the field up for the powerful arm of Carson Palmer. Their defense is not as bad as the statistics suggest, as they proved their mettle in the first half against the San Diego Chargers.

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: Michael Bush #29 and Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders celebrate after Bush scored on a touchdown on a one yard run against the New York Jets in the fouth quarter during an NFL football game at the Coliseum Septem
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Raiders need to beat Minnesota, Miami, Kansas City and San Diego to win the division. They’ll get the job done with solid game management mixed with some explosive plays on the outside.


New York Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 13:   Shonn Greene #23 of the New York Jets runs the ball against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium on November 13, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been suggesting the New York Jets will meet the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl.

Although the Eagles' fourth quarter collapses have seemingly ended the season, the Jets are still my pick to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. At some point, this team will recommit to running the football and letting Mark Sanchez make timely throws.

Once the Jets start getting pressure on the quarterback, they will start to win games.

An easy win over the Denver Broncos on Thursday will remind them how simple things can be when they trust the run.



Tom Loughrey’s Week 11 NFL Power Rankings 

1. Green Bay Packers

2. San Francisco 49ers

3. Pittsburgh Steelers

4. Houston Texans

5. New York Giants

6. New England Patriots

7. New Orleans Saints

8. Dallas Cowboys

9. Baltimore Ravens

10. New York Jets

11. Cincinnati Bengals

12. Chicago Bears

13. Detroit Lions

14. Atlanta Falcons

15. Oakland Raiders

16. Tennessee Titans

17. Buffalo Bills

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

19. Miami Dolphins

20. Philadelphia Eagles

21. San Diego Chargers

22. Denver Broncos

23. Seattle Seahawks

24. Arizona Cardinals

25. Kansas City Chiefs

26. Minnesota Vikings

27. Washington Redskins

28. Carolina Panthers

29. St. Louis Rams

30. Jacksonville Jaguars

31. Cleveland Browns

32. Indianapolis Colts