The NFL's Week 11 was a crazy one. We saw the Dolphins use four quarterbacks, six running backs, and eight receivers, we saw the Eagles' dismantling of the Redskins, and we saw the Buccaneers somehow improve to 6-3. Here are my power rankings following Week 11's action.
32. Carolina Panthers (1-8, lost 3)
The Panthers' winning percentage is .111. Their point differential is -111. Those aren't numbers. Those are claw marks left by an actual panther! Outstanding dedication to continuity, folks! Ship-shape (you are bad at football)!
31. Cincinnati Bengals (2-7, lost 6)
Industry secret: when writing power rankings, put all the cat-themed teams near the bottom somewhere.
30. Buffalo Bills (1-8, won 1)
The Bills played at home against the 2-6 Lions, who had lost 24 straight game on the road. During the game, the line judge kept making the face your parents made when your friend's little brother, who your parents made you invite to your birthday party, kept missing the pinata because he was too short.
29. Dallas Cowboys (2-7, won 1)
Jon Kitna has been 38 years old his entire life.
28. Arizona Cardinals (3-6, lost 4)
One time, some guy thought of something of consequence to say about the Arizona Cardinals. But then he was hit by a train! Now nobody has anything of consequence to say about the Arizona Cardinals.
27. San Francisco 49ers (3-6, won 2)
The Niners have suddenly won three of their last four games. They're only two games behind the division lead, and given how God-mediocre the NFC West is, there exist conceivable scenarios in which they would make the playoffs. Some of them involve wizards/hurricanes/drum barrels full of mutogen, but not all.
26. Denver Broncos (3-6, won 1)
Two guys walk into a bar. One says, "Kyle Orton has the second-most passing yards in the NFL this year." The other says, "that is true."
25. Detroit Lions (2-7, lost 2)
The Lions have now lost 25 consecutive road games, an NFL record. They're really just more of a studio team. Have you checked out their side project, Winning Football Games? I'll probably wait for it to release on vinyl before I pick it up.
24. Washington Redskins (4-5, lost 2)
23. Minnesota Vikings (3-6, lost 1)
Okay, listen. There's been a lot of misunderstanding regarding my position on the Gunslinger. I would like to explicitly state for the record, once again: it just wouldn't be the same without the Gunslinger. I feel very strongly that it would not be the same without the Gunslinger. In fact, absent the Gunslinger, I feel not only that it wouldn't be the same, but that it would be different.
22. Seattle Seahawks (5-4, won 1)
Of the Seahawks' nine games this year, six of them have been decided by 17 or more points. Broadcasters love working Seahawks games, because they can spend the entire second half telling jokes. Unfortunately, 100% of broadcaster jokes are, "I ran into [uncommonly large person] in the hallway and he [was uncommonly large]!" They both laugh. There is no punch line.
21. Houston Texans (4-5, lost 3)
The Texans have allowed at least 24 points in every game they've played this season. On the defense's line of scrimmage, there lies a phone book, a week's worth of newspapers, and a political yard sign from a few weeks back. I ran into the Colts' defense at the grocery store the other day; they've half a mind to report them to the homeowner's association.
20. Cleveland Browns (3-6, lost 1)
The Browns' point differential is only -10, so it seems as though they've lost every game by exactly 1.67 points. In order to score exactly 1.67 points, a team must successfully convince its opponent that pi is exactly 1.67. The Browns fall for this every time, but to be fair, there is not a single rounded edge in the entire city of Cleveland.
19. St. Louis Rams (4-5, lost 1)
Two more wins and the Rams will have won as many games as they did in the previous three seasons combined.
18. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-4, won 2)
Thanks to a miracle on the game's final play, the Jaguars are 5-4 despite having been outscored by 54 points this season. David Garrard has the second-highest quarterback rating in the league despite sitting at 26th in passing yards. Jacksonville claims a larger amount of land than any other city in the continental United States despite the fact that almost nobody knows exactly where it is.
17. Miami Dolphins (5-4, won 1)
Four dudes threw a pass for the Dolphins on Sunday. Eight guys caught a pass. Six guys rushed for positive yardage. At one point in the third quarter, O.J. McDuffie walked on the field and began to chop firewood. The referees asked him to leave. "No," he said. "Winter is coming."
16. Kansas City Chiefs (5-4, lost 2)
Matt Cassel threw for 469 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions in a losing effort. In the locker room he was grinning and uttering something about "rollover yardage." Those who guessed at what he was talking about were too polite to correct him.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3, won 1)
The Bucs are doing very well for a team with a negative point differential. If I ran the NFL, wins and losses would be irrelevant. Standings would be determined by point differential. At the end of every season, the teams with negative point differentials would be ousted from the league. After a few years there would only be one team remaining. The men on this roster would have to race to the top of Mount Everest. Whoever reached the top first would be President. I'm sorry to bring politics and mountains into this.
14. San Diego Chargers (4-5, won 2)
Let's be honest: the Chargers simply didn't show up to play this week. No wonder they have a losing record.
13. Oakland Raiders (5-4, won 3)
In August, Andrew Sharp argued that the Raiders could totally win the division this year. We're now halfway through November, and the Raiders could totally win the division this year. Andrew has also written a piece of fan fiction in which Lil' Wayne becomes the Cowboys' new quarterback and leads them to the Super Bowl. Stay tuned.
12. Chicago Bears (6-3, won 2)
The Bears are 6-3, including 1-1 against teams that are actually good. Before the end of the regular season, they'll have to face the Eagles, Patriots, Jets, and Packers. They're in good shape to finish somewhere between 7-9 and 9-7 for the 67th time since 1983.
11. New York Giants (6-3, lost 1)
We're finally getting to teams that are actually good. Thank God, I was running out of ad hominem attacks to make against decent-to-bad teams. Anyway, Eli Manning is Todd Flanders.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3, lost 1)
The Steelers didn't look very impressive throughout much of Sunday night's loss to the Patriots, but their worst was certainly Jeff Reed's bizarre, line-drive shanking of a chip-shot field goal. He's since left town, but not before coming within a nylon net of demonstrating that the end of a football fits perfectly into a human eye socket. In the old days, ball carriers used to free up an arm by just shoving it in there.
9. New Orleans Saints (6-3, won 2)
I'm guessing that the Buccaneers will level off in the coming weeks, setting us up for an exciting NFC South race between the Saints and Falcons. Although, honestly... every division race looks headed for a fun and interesting finish this year. Except for the West divisions, that is. Did you know that if the Mississippi/Missouri River stretched like 200 miles north to the Canadian border, the western United States would technically be a separate island? I have a shovel. Just a thought.
8. Tennessee Titans (5-4, lost 2)
If I hadn't sold my soul to the Chiefs at a young age, the Titans would be my favorite team. They aren't the very best team in the league, but they're just so damn fun to watch. Luckily, my blood oath of loyalty to the Chiefs can be voided under certain conditions. If they trade Steve DeBerg, I'm OUT.
7. Indianapolis Colts (6-3, won 1)
Many are surprised that the Colts beat the lowly Bengals, given that Peyton Manning threw for only 185 yards. Manning is the Colts. I swear, the day Manning retires, Lucas Oil Stadium will come crashing to the ground, and the tallest structure in Indianapolis will be the tornado siren outside the local high school.
6. Baltimore Ravens (6-3, lost 1)
The Ravens continue to be the same kind of good they've been over most of the last decade. Here's a good excuse to post this:
I watch this every morning after getting up. As a result, I've inadvertently chewed and swallowed at least a dozen toothbrushes.
5. New England Patriots (7-2, won 2)
4. Philadelphia Eagles (6-3, won 2)
On Monday, shortly before Michael Vick's immolation of the Redskins defense, I picked up Madden 11 and played as Vick. He fumbled every other time I tried to run with him, he threw every play-action pass ten yards over the receiver's head, and he was apparently under the impression that "slant route" meant "throw directly at the face of the other team's head coach." It's one of many ways in which Madden 11 has disappointed me. A few times a game, the screen freezes for five to ten seconds so that it can pull up a Gatorade commercial. Do not buy this game unless you don't want to play as Michael Vick and are uncertain of which brand of sports drink to purchase.
3. Atlanta Falcons (7-2, won 3)
If you're 7-2 and you have two upcoming games against the Panthers, you're basically 20-2.
2. New York Jets (7-2, won 2)
Just name your team after something high up in the sky (Jets, Falcons, Eagles, Ravens, Titans, Saints) and you'll probably be in the top ten. The Toledo Coffins and Billings Silt learned this the hard way.
1. Green Bay Packers (6-3, won 3)
No, they don't have the best record in the league, but each of their three losses have been by a three-point margin (two in overtime), they've won three straight, and they have the best point differential in the league. I'm calling for the Packers to reach the Super Bowl because I base all my opinions off the September 2, 1996 issue of Sports Illustrated. Young Eldrick Woods is signing a $30 million endorsement deal with Nike? This week's sign of the Apocalypse!