Another NFL week in the books, and more injuries to key players, especially in the NFC North.
Perhaps the biggest one was the injury to Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who is expected to miss the rest of the season.
In addition, Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson left with a sprained ankle and Packers’ running back James Starks also left with an injury. Elsewhere, Titans’ quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and Raiders’ wideout Darrius Heyward-Bey both left with injuries.
Thanksgiving is just a few days away and for the first time in a while, the NFL is bringing us three very intriguing matchups. Prepare your stomachs for turkey day with a high-scoring affair between the undefeated Packers and division rival Lions.
Then enjoy your Thanksgiving meal while watching the suddenly unbeatable Dolphins take on the Cowboys.
Finally (if you have NFL network, that is), begin the recovery process as you enjoy a potential Super Bowl preview as the 49ers take on the Ravens.
I hope everyone out there enjoys the time with their families and takes a moment to think about everything they are thankful for. With that, I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Here are the newest power rankings!
Teams’ previous ranking in ( ).
1. Green Bay Packers (1): Allowed 450 yards of offense to a below-average Bucs team. How will their defense fare in Detroit on just three days of rest?
2. San Francisco 49ers (2): The 49ers will put their impressive 9-1 record to the test on Thursday as they travel to the east coast to face the Ravens.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (3): At worst, the Steelers will finish with 11 wins. They are undoubtedly headed to the playoffs, but the question remains, what seed will they finish with?
4. New Orleans Saints (4): Coming off a bye, you can be sure the Saints are well-prepared to face a tough Giant’s team.
5. Houston Texans (5): Matt Leinart is capable of guiding the Texans to the postseason, but they are no longer a lock to wrap up that division.
6. New England Patriots (7): The Patriots defense, despite playing pretty well against the Chiefs, is still a huge question mark.
7. Baltimore Ravens (8): Baltimore really can’t afford to lose any more games if they want to win the division.
8. Chicago Bears (9): The return of Earl Bennett the past two weeks has really helped Cutler take the Bears offense to the next level. Can the Bears be serious playoff contenders with Cutler likely missing the rest of the season?
9. Detroit Lions (10): For the first time in years, people aren’t dreading having to watch the Lions play on Thanksgiving. A win against the Packers will prove the legitimacy of this team.
10. New York Giants (6): The G-men must rebound as they face a Monday Night matchup against the high-powered Saints.
11. Dallas Cowboys (13): Tony Romo is playing some of the best football of his career right now but faces a hot Miami team on Turkey Day.
12. Oakland Raiders (15): The Raiders may have the best running back combination (when Darren McFadden is healthy) in football. They appear to be the favorites in the weak AFC West.
13. Cincinnati Bengals (12): The Bengals are just one piece away from being a true contender. Marvin Lewis has done a fabulous job. Don’t be surprised if the Bengals reach the playoffs as the 6-seed.
14. Atlanta Falcons (16): Atlanta looked sharp in the first half, but lost their edge in the second half and walked away with a shaky win. They’ve got work to do if they want to get into the playoff picture.
15. New York Jets (11): The Jets have three consecutive winnable games in front of them, and they must win all three if they have any playoff aspirations.
16. Denver Broncos (21): Tim Tebow has led the Broncos to four wins in their past five games, but the defense should get the bulk of the credit as they have allowed just over 15 points per game in those four wins.
17. Buffalo Bills (14): I don’t think it will happen, but it is conceivable the Bills don’t win a game the rest of the season. They must get their offense on track.
18. Tennessee Titans (18): The good news is that Jake Locker showed why they drafted him in the first round. The bad news is that Chris Johnson’s major struggles returned. If Hasselbeck is healthy next week, who will the Titans give the starting job to?
19. Philadelphia Eagles (24): Vince Young channeled his inner Eli Manning with that impressive game-winning drive to keep the Eagles’ microscopic playoff hopes alive.
20. San Diego Chargers (17): Even at 4-6, the Chargers playoff hopes aren’t dashed yet. They must win their next three games though, as they finish the season with three tough matchups.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (19): The Bucs held their own for much of the game against Green Bay, but two questionable onside kick decisions by Raheem Morris didn’t help.
22. Seattle Seahawks (26): Back-to-back wins for the Seahawks have given Seattle reason to believe in the future. I say they make it three straight as they face the Redskins this week.
23. Cleveland Browns (25): As a football fan, you have to be happy for the Browns, as they got their fourth win. Why? Five of their final six games come against their own division.
24. Kansas City Chiefs (22): The Chiefs offense has drastically disappeared and isn’t showing signs of returning any time soon under Tyler Palko.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (20): You simply do not know what you are going to get from the Jags on any given week. The Jags play the Colts in the final week of the season, which is good because that’s probably the only game they will win the rest of the year.
26. Arizona Cardinals (23): Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Richard Bartel. Sounds more like karaoke singers in Flagstaff, Arizona than quarterbacks on an NFL team.
27. Miami Dolphins (30): Three straight wins, and if not for two consecutive collapses in the fourth quarter, it would be five straight. The Dolphins have proven they are no longer a ‘'gimme'’ on the schedule.
28. St. Louis Rams (27): The Rams have got to improve that offensive line if Sam Bradford has any hopes of a long NFL career.
29. Carolina Panthers (29): You knew Cam Newton was going to do something after their embarrassing performance last week. Unfortunately the defense couldn’t hold a 17-point lead.
30. Washington Redskins (31): Mike Shanahan’s days are numbered. This team has to draft a quarterback in the draft, don’t they?
31. Minnesota Vikings (28): The Vikings’ hopes of winning any games the rest of the season depend solely on the health of Peterson.
32. Indianapolis Colts (32): Coming off a bye, the Colts have one of their better chances at getting a win as they face the Panthers. Will they be successful? I wouldn’t bet on it.