NFL Power Rankings Week 13: Will Tennessee Make A Titantic Move?

The Titans didn't make a big jump in this week's edition of our NFL blogger power rankings, moving up a spot to 14th. But if they can pull off the upset against the Colts this coming Sunday, look for that to change.

Speaking of the Colts, for the first time in league history, two teams have started the season 11-0. As you might expect, Indianapolis and New Orleans maintained their grip on the top two spots in our rankings, although the Saints' demolition of the Patriots on Monday Night convinced our bloggers to flip flop New Orleans and Indianapolis.

Who was the big winner this week? The Broncos, that's who. After going into free fall for the last month, they bounced back with a dominating defensive performance against the Giants on the Thanksgiving late game, and moved up three spots to 11th in our rankings. Suddenly the Broncos are in the top AFC wildcard spot, and with a favorable schedule down the stretch, once again appear on track to keep playing in January.

The Giants meanwhile were our biggest dropper, as not only did they get decimated by the Broncos, but they also found out that quarterback Eli Manning has suffered a "stress reaction" in his foot from compensating for his plantar fasciatis. Amid the uncertainty over Manning's status and the embarrassing loss, our bloggers moved them down four spots to 15th.

And just like the top of our rankings have stayed the same, so have the bottom: St. Louis and Cleveland continue to bring up the rear.

NFL Power Rankings

Team Rank (LW) Record Comments
1 (2) New Orleans Saints 11-0
Someone get Drew Brees an Easy Button because...well he made that at least look easy. With Brees playing at such an absurdly high level, SBN's Canal Street Chronicles rightly wonders whether 16-0 (and beyond) is within their reach.
2 (1) Indianapolis Colts 11-0
The Colts' mastery of the Texans continues. Despite spotting Houston 17 points, Peyton Manning and Co. came roaring back to clinch the AFC South title. Yes, that's right: the Colts have already won their division. This, of course, is terrible news for any fantasy owners of Colts players, as you can expect them to take a seat in the coming weeks, right in time for the fantasy playoffs.
3 (3) Minnesota Vikings 10-1 As impossible as it might be for a  one-loss Brett Favre-led team to fly under the radar, the Vikings might be doing just that thanks to the undefeated seasons from the Saints and Colts. While the aforementioned undefeateds boast powerful offenses and good enough defenses, the Vikings have perhaps the most balanced team in the league: an offense that can beat you with the run or the pass and a front four that can outright dominate games. As Jon Gruden would say, THESE GUYS are dangerous.
4 (5) San Diego Chargers   8-3
While LT appears to be on his last legs (literally), Philip Rivers and the Chargers' crew of NBA shooting guards masquerading as wide receivers keep lighting up scoreboards and winning ballgames. 
5 (6) Cincinnati Bengals 8-3
Ho-hum, another grind-it-out win over an inferior team for the Bengals last week. While their defense and running game have been exceptional, Bengals fans must be concerned about the tendency of their offense to play down to the level of the competition. That won't work in January.
6 (4) New England Patriots 7-4
So that's why Bill Belichick went for it on 4th down against the Colts: he knows his defense simply isn't ready to hang with the league's top offenses. Even more troubling, the Patriots have yet to win a true road game this year. Considering that they will have to travel in the playoffs, this does not bode well for Brady's chances of adding to his jewelry collection.
7 (9) Dallas Cowboys   8-3
SBN's Blogging the Boys points out that despite not being among the league leaders in yards allowed, the Cowboys have the second best scoring defense in the NFL, at 16.5 per game. With four of the top ten scoring offenses on the schedule in December, the Cowboys will need to maintain their stinginess if they're going to avoid another Tony Romo "learning experience".
8 (10) Philadelphia Eagles 7-4 The Eagles front office strikes again. A week after inking RT WInston Justice to an extension, the Eagles locked down emerging star TE Brent Celek to a six-year deal as well. No other francise south of Foxboro does a better job of identifying and holding onto talent. But the question is still whether they can add a Super Bowl trophy 
9 (7) Arizona Cardinals   7-4 With Matt Leinart taking half the snaps in pratctice this week, the big question in the desert is when Kurt Warner will be back from his concussion, and will it affect his play the rest of the season. If Warner makes a full recovery, the Cards could easily go on a run just like they did last winter. Don't count them out.
10 (8) Pittsburgh Steelers 6-5 SBN's Behind the Steel Curtain asked their readers why the Steelers have slumped to 6-5. Injuries were the top answer, although a more accurate description would be Troy Polamalu's injuries. While the loss of DE Aaron Smith has hurt, Polamalu's absence has been crucial; his playmaking skills take their defense from very good to elite.
11 (14) Denver Broncos 7-4 It's amazing how one win can change perceptions so quickly. Last week the Broncos were riding a month-long losing streak and seemed destined to miss the playoffs. After dispatching the Giants, the Broncos suddenly have an inside track on an AFC wildcard spot. A healthier Kyle Orton certainly gives them a chance.
12 (12) Green Bay Packers 7-4 While Aaron Rodgers (and a certain former quarterback) draw most of the attention in Green Bay, it's their defense that has led the way, maintaining their top DVOA ranking, as SBN's Acme Packing Company points out. Whether the Packers can keep shutting down opponents with both OLB Aaron Kampman and CB Al Harris out for the year will likely determine how far they go.
13 (13) Baltimore Ravens 6-5 Playoffs? Who wants to talk about the playoffs? SBN's Baltimore Beatdown does, dissecting the remaining schedules for the AFC wildcard hopefuls. After appearing dead in the water at 5-5 last week, the Ravens are back in the thick of the playoff race, with their rematch with the Steelers looming as possibly an elimination game.
14 (15) Tennessee Titans 5-6 It's time to start believing. With the defense playing better, Chris Johnson doing this thing (and by thing, I mean breaking off 80 yard touchdown runs), and Vince Young proving that he can make it as a pocket passer in the NFL, you get the feeling that if the Colts don't knock off the Titans this week, the two might meet again in the playoffs.
15 (11) New York Giants 6-5 The Giants can't run the ball and Eli Manning has a "stress reaction" in his foot. Unless one of those two problems improves, they are done. Other than that, they're doing fine, thanks for asking.
16 (17) Atlanta Falcons 6-5 With Matty Ice out of the lineup for this weekend's key matchup with the Eagles, Falcons fans are understandably panicked. After all, this week nearly amounts to a must-win game for Atlanta, and it seems unlikely that Michael Turner will suit up either, leaving Chris Redman to carry the offense. Yes, this Chris Redman. Uh-oh.
17 (19) Houston Texans 5-6 The Texans are missing "it", whatever "it" is. Through a combination of bad luck, bad playcalling, and worse execution down the stretch, the Texans have dropped five very winnable games, to fall back to the fringes of playoff contention. Looking like another 8-8 year for a team seemingly perennially pegged as a breakout contender.
18 (16) Jacksonville Jaguars 6-5 The Jaguars pass defense simply isn't good enough for them to beat teams with competent passing attacks (at least not consistently). Losing their top corner, Rashean Mathis, only exacerbates what was already a glaring weakness. Look for the Jags to fade in December.
19 (18) Miami Dolphins    5-6 SBN's The Phinsider delves into Miami's team defensive stats in search of an explanation for why they've been so bad despite sacking opponents and stopping them on third down. The answer? The Phins give up too many big plays -- especially on first and second down -- leading them to face the fourth fewest thirds down of any team in the league. Hence, the 26th-ranked scoring defense. 
20 (20) San Francisco 49ers 5-6 The woeful Jags secondary made Alex Smith look good enough that Niners fans at SBN's Niners Nation are getting cautiously excited. With Kurt Warner woozy, it's certainly conceivable that the Niners could get back in the division chase. This is the NFC West, after all.
21 (22) New York Jets 5-6 The Jets were reportedly so exasperated with rookie QB Mark Sanchez's unwillingness to slide that the team brought in Yankees manager Joe Girardi to teach Sanchez how (via Gang Green Nation). Now, if the Jets can just bring in Mariano Rivera to teach them how to finish games.
22 (21) Carolina Panthers    4-7 Why should Jake Delhomme be benched (if he's not hurt)? Let SBN's Cat Scratch Reader list the reasons why. How about this: Delhomme doesn't make enough plays to make up for his turnovers. This has been clear to everyone -- except maybe John Fox -- since Week 2 of this season.
23 (23) Chicago Bears 4-7 SBN's Windy City Gridiron examines the Bears' offensive ineptitude on the season, and rather unsurprisingly finds that it all comes down to their poor offensive line play and consequent inability to run the ball. See, not everything is Jay Cutler's fault!
24 (27) Buffalo Bills 4-7 It may be half a season too late, but SBN's Buffalo Rumblings points out that mercurial Terrell Owens is finally starting to pay some dividends for the Bills. The bigger issue, of course, is that former backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is looking Owens' way, and making the team a threat through the air.
25 (25) Seattle Seahawks 4-7 The Seahawks are who we thought they are: a mediocre team that wins the game it's supposed to and loses the games it's supposed to. Last week was an example of the former, as Justin Forsett carried the Hawks past the Rams. 
26 (24) Washington Redskins   3-8 While it's not reflected in the standings, the Skins have played better as of late, dropping two games they had all but won. Of course, when losing games you should win is a measure of improvement, it's a sign of how you have to go.
27 (26) Kansas City Chiefs 3-8 The Chiefs' playoff odds officially hit 0% after last week's loss (via SBN's Arrowhead Pride). Insert your own snide joke about this being 13 weeks too late here.
28 (30) Tampa Bay Bucs 1-10 Despite being more competitive in recent weeks, the Bucs continue to struggle on both sides of the ball. SBN's Buc'Em breaks down Tampa's offense using Football Outsiders' DVOA metric and the results are what you might expect: the Bucs are in the bottom of the league passing and running the ball. Good thing they just committed to bringing back their offensive coordinator next year!
29 (28) Oakland Raiders 3-8 After supporting the organization through questionable personnel moves and years of unwatchable play, SBN's Silver and Black Pride has finally had enough, declaring the self-evident truth that the Raiders are in fact "terrible." Jamarcus Russell and Bruce Gradkowski have that kind of effect on a fan base.
30 (29) Detroit Lions 2-9 Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson both made a game of it, fighting through injuries to play on Thanksgiving. Without both of them at or near full strength, the Lions have little hope. But at least they have some real building blocks for the future, for the first time in a long time.
31 (31) St. Louis Rams 1-10 Looking for a reason why the Rams have been particularly putrid this year? Try the run defense, which has been abysmal, particularly in the past month or so. SBN's Turf Show Times digs a little deeper, and shows that while the Rams were never good against the run, their numbers took a significant dip after the team traded OLB Will Witherspoon to the Eagles. 
32 (32) Cleveland Browns 1-10 Things won't get any easier for the Browns now that DT Shaun Rogers is out for the remainder of the year. 2010 can't come soon enough.
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