Week 10 of the NFL season is in the books. Arizona just keeps winning, but now faces the reality of finishing out the season and heading to the playoffs without starting quarterback Carson Palmer. The Drew Stanton-led Cardinals hit the ground running in Week 11 with the top spot in our power rankings, but will have to hold off all the challengers with a quarterback who has posted a 49 percent completion rate in three starts this year. Bruce Arians remains defiant, stating: "We can win the Super Bowl with Drew Stanton. There is no doubt in my mind."
The Patriots spent Sunday on their bye week couches resting up and getting ready for the stretch run. Peyton Manning threw five more touchdowns and the Broncos had no trouble dispatching a struggling Raiders squad. The Lions rode the return of Calvin Johnson to a big come-from-behind win over the streaking Dolphins. All these taken together? Our top four remains unchanged from Week 10.
The Eagles moved up and into the top five with a win over the free-falling Panthers, and Mark Sanchez had maybe the best game of his career in his first start in almost two years, throwing for 300-plus yards and no turnovers, something he never did with the Jets.
Outside of the top five, and all the way up into the late teens, there's a strikingly long list of playoff-caliber teams.
The Packers moved up again this week with a completely dominating win over the Bears, and a healthy Aaron Rodgers gives them a chance against anyone. The Pack have won five of their last six and are nipping at the heels of the division-leading Lions.
The Chiefs came away with another impressive win in Buffalo. Riding their increasingly suffocating defense and Jamaal Charles-led rushing attack, the Chiefs have a formula that you can win with late in the year and are winners of four in a row. They're now only one game behind the Broncos, who are atop the AFC West.
The Cowboys got a much-needed bounce-back win in London after losing two straight, and with a little help from Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, they can get their season back on track. Dallas had arguably the NFL's most impressive first half (outside of Arizona, anyway), so I wouldn't want to count the Cowboys out at this point. Their balance on the offensive side of the ball will be the key to their season -- if they can continue to run the ball with authority while grabbing explosive plays from Bryant, Jason Witten and other pass catchers, they'll be a contender down the stretch. They are also only a half-game behind the division-leading Eagles.
Don't look now, but the defending champion Seahawks have rattled off three wins in a row and seem to have rediscovered the identity they rode to a Super Bowl win in 2013. The run game has taken back off, the defense has regained its swagger, and if Russell Wilson can get back to throwing the football like he was earlier in the season, Seattle could find itself back in the conversation as one of the favorites out of the NFC.
Also out west, the Niners JUST. WON'T. DIE. With their backs getting closer and closer to the wall, San Francisco went into New Orleans and got a huge win in overtime, and the 49ers are still very much alive in the tough NFC West. They get Aldon Smith back this week, should be getting Patrick Willis back soon as well, and remain one of those teams that no one wants to play down the stretch.
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I'm just going to put the entire AFC North in this section, because after 10 weeks, there's no way to call who will emerge and who will fade.
The Ravens got back on track with a needed win against the Titans on Sunday, but continue to be hard to predict week to week. Likewise, the Steelers, who were arguably the NFL's hottest team heading into the week (and possibly ranked too high at No. 5 last week), lost to the previously 1-8 Jets, dissolving their air of invincibility. Over in Ohio, the Bengals continue to be wildly inconsistent as well, getting steamrolled by the Browns on Thursday Night Football.
Hey, guess what? Cleveland is in first place in the AFC North. It's also worth pointing out that every team in the AFC North has a winning record and they all seem intent on beating up on each other for the remainder of the season.
The AFC North is first division in which every team is at least 2 games above .500 at any point in the season since the 1935 NFL Western Div— Judy Battista (@judybattista) November 10, 2014
Misery Loves Company
The back third of the power rankings remain relatively unchanged. The Raiders lost again. The Jags lost again. The Bucs lost again. Meanwhile, the Panthers and Bears continue their descent into the high 20s, with Chicago losers of three in a row, and the Panthers four straight.
But the bright spot in this group was the Jets, who shocked the Steelers and climb out of the cellar this week. We'll see if they can turn this win into anything more.
|1||Arizona Cardinals, 8-1 (Last Week: 1)||Revenge of the Birds|
|2||New England Patriots, 7-2 (Last Week: 2)||Pats Pulpit|
|3||Denver Broncos, 7-2 (Last Week: 3)||Mile High Report|
|4||Detroit Lions, 7-2 (Last Week: 4)||Pride of Detroit|
|5||Philadelphia Eagles, 7-2 (Last Week: 6)||Bleeding Green Nation|
|6||Green Bay Packers, 6-3 (Last Week: 7)||Acme Packing Company|
|7||Kansas City Chiefs, 6-3 (Last Week: 10)||Arrowhead Pride|
|8||Indianapolis Colts, 6-3 (Last Week: 8)||Stampede Blue|
|9||Dallas Cowboys, 7-3 (Last Week: 11)||Blogging the Boys|
|10||Seattle Seahawks, 6-3 (Last Week: 12)||Field Gulls|
|11||Cleveland Browns, 6-3 (Last Week: 16)||Dawgs by Nature|
|12||Pittsburgh Steelers, 6-4 (Last Week: 5)||Behind the Steel Curtain|
|13||Baltimore Ravens, 6-4 (Last Week: 13)||Baltimore Beatdown|
|14||San Francisco 49ers, 5-4 (Last Week: 18)||Niners Nation|
|15||Cincinnati Bengals, 5-3-1 (Last Week: 9)||Cincy Jungle|
|16||Miami Dolphins, 5-4 (Last Week: 14)||The Phinsider|
|17||Buffalo Bills, 5-4 (Last Week: 15)||Buffalo Rumblings|
|18||San Diego Chargers. 5-4 (Last Week: 17)||Bolts from the Blue|
|19||New Orleans Saints, 4-5 (Last Week: 19)||Canal Street Chronicles|
|20||St. Louis Rams, 3-6 (Last Week: 20)||Turf Show Times|
|21||Minnesota Vikings, 4-5 (Last Week: 21)||Daily Norseman|
|22||Houston Texans, 4-5 (Last Week: 22)||Battle Red Blog|
|23||Atlanta Falcons, 3-6 (Last Week: 27)||The Falcoholic|
|24||New York Jets, 2-8 (Last Week: 29)||Gang Green Nation|
|25||New York Giants, 3-6 (Last Week: 23)||Big Blue View|
|26||Washington, 3-6 (Last Week: 26)||Hogs Haven|
|27||Carolina Panthers, 3-6-1 (Last Week: 25)||Cat Scratch Reader|
|28||Chicago Bears, 3-6 (Last Week: 24)||Windy City Gridiron|
|29||Tennessee Titans, 2-7 (Last Week: 28)||Music City Miracles|
|30||Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1-8 (Last Week: 30)||Bucs Nation|
|31||Jacksonville Jaguars, 1-9 (Last Week: 31)||Big Cat Country|
|32||Oakland Raiders, 0-9 (Last Week: 32)||Silver and Black Pride|