NFL Power Rankings Week 12: Buffalo Bills and Fading Teams That Won't Recover

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2011

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 20:  Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Buffalo Bills walks off the field during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on November 20, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

In a season as short as the NFL's, teams can't afford extended slumps. There are 32 teams fighting for 12 playoffs spots, making every game vitally important. Here are three teams which will learn that lesson the hard way in 2011.


Buffalo Bills

The Bills had all of Buffalo dreaming about a return to the playoffs, something the city hasn't enjoyed in more than a decade. Ryan Fitzpatrick was leading an efficient offensive attack and the defense was forcing turnovers at an unmatched rate.

Since a 3-0 start, the Bills have lost five of their last seven games, including three in a row. The offense suddenly can't generate any rhythm as defenses have become more prepared for its fast-paced attack. And, more predictably, the defense has become brutal since the turnover numbers declined.


San Diego Chargers

Good thing San Diego has such terrific weather, because Chargers fans usually need a long walk to vent their frustrations. The team has constantly underperformed under Norv Turner, and this season has been no exception.

They started 4-1 thanks to a cupcake-heavy schedule prior to the bye but have now lost five games in a row. Philip Rivers has turned the ball over 21 times in 10 games, and the defense hasn't exactly held up its end of the bargain, either. Change is needed.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay has already matched its loss total from all of last season with six. While an argument can be made that the schedule has been brutal on the young Bucs, if they want to be an elite team eventually they have to knock off other highly-rated squads.

Josh Freeman's development has seemingly stalled out and actually might be moving in reverse. Combine that with a defense that ranks 31st in yards allowed and you have a recipe for disaster. The foundation is serviceable, but there's still a lot of building to do.

Tim Daniels' Week 12 NFL Power Rankings
1. Green Bay Packers
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. Houston Texans
4. Chicago Bears
5. New Orleans Saints
6. Baltimore Ravens
7. New England Patriots
8. Pittsburgh Steelers
9. Detroit Lions
10. Dallas Cowboys
11. Oakland Raiders
12. Atlanta Falcons
13. Cincinnati Bengals
14. New York Giants
15. Denver Broncos
16. Tennessee Titans
17. New York Jets
18. Seattle Seahawks
19. Cleveland Browns
20. Buffalo Bills
21. Kansas City Chiefs
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
23. San Diego Chargers
24. Philadelphia Eagles
25. Miami Dolphins
26. Arizona Cardinals
27. Jacksonville Jaguars
28. Washington Redskins
29. Carolina Panthers
30. Minnesota Vikings
31. St. Louis Rams
32. Indianapolis Colts