NFL Power Rankings: 3 Bottom Feeders Showing Signs of Life

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 04:  Matt Moore #8 of the Miami Dolphins celebrates a touchdown during a game against the Oakland Raiders at Sun Life Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Eric BallFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2011

We have reached the time of the year where it’s clear who is still playing hard and who is already planning their January 2nd vacation.

If you were subjected to the Philadelphia Eagles' performance on Thursday night—you know what I’m talking about.

On the other hand, there are still teams playing their absolute hardest because they know the eye in the sky doesn’t lie, and getting as much positive film for the rest of the league to see is extremely important.

There also is the motivation of keeping your head coach around—which brings us to our best bad team in the NFL:

No. 18 Miami Dolphins (4-8)

A month ago the ‘Fins were in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes and head coach Tony Soprano was a dead duck. Now he may have saved his job and the ‘Fins are playing some of the most inspired football in the league.

Nobody wants to play Miami right now.

They are fresh off of a blowout of the Raiders, a narrow defeat at Dallas and wins over Buffalo, Washington and Kansas City.

Matt Moore is turning into a competent QB before our eyes and Reggie Bush is running like it's 2007. The defense is fifth against the rush and the unit has allowed an average of under 11 points in its last five games.

Everything is clicking right now and a 7-9 record at season’s end looks more likely by the day.

Pretty incredible considering their 0-7 start.

20. Seattle Seahawks (5-7)

How bizarre is it that Seattle is just a blown fourth quarter lead against the Redskins away from being 6-6 and right in the thick of the NFC Wild Card race?

Marshawn Lynch has turned on the “Beast Mode” and is playing like a man looking to get a new contract—he just so happens to be a free agent this winter.

Tarvaris Jackson has proven to be a QB that is good enough to at least keep his team in most games.

With the 11th ranked rush defense and the Rams, Bears and Cardinals still on the slate, 8-8 is a realistic goal for the Seawhawks.

24. Carolina Panthers (4-8)

After losing a season-and-a-half’s worth of road games, the Panthers have turned into road warriors the last two weeks. While wins over the Colts and Bucs aren’t groundbreaking, they are proof that this team is maturing and getting better as they enter the final month of Cam Newton’s rookie year.

Newton continues to make his case for rookie of the year and the running game is finally getting on track. The Falcons better be prepared this week because they are facing a Panther team full of momentum and in its home stadium.

This game might be the upset special of the week. 

Eric Ball's Week 14 NFL Power Rankings

1. Green Bay Packers (12-0)

2. Baltimore Ravens (9-3)

3. New Orleans Saints (9-3)

4. San Francisco 49ers (10-2)

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3)

6. New England Patriots (9-3)

7. Houston Texans (9-3)

8. Denver Broncos (7-5)

9. Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)

10. Detroit Lions (7-5)

11. Atlanta Falcons (7-5)

12. Oakland Raiders (7-5)

13. Dallas Cowboys (7-5)

14. New York Jets (7-5)

15. Chicago Bears (7-5)

16. New York Giants (6-6)

17. Tennessee Titans (7-5)

18. Miami Dolphins (4-8)

19. San Diego Chargers (5-7)

20. Seattle Seahawks (5-7)

21. Buffalo Bills (5-7)

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-8)

23. Kansas City Chiefs (5-7)

24. Carolina Panthers (4-8)

25. Philadelphia Eagles (4-8)

26. Washington Redskins (4-8)

27. Arizona Cardinals (5-7)

28. Cleveland Browns (4-8)

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-9)

30. Minnesota Vikings (2-10)

31. St. Louis Rams (2-10)

32. Indianapolis Colts (0-12)


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