NFL Power Rankings for December 5th, 2012

Both Atlanta and Houston have played some outstanding football this season. And in our last power rankings, we thought that the Texans had played just a little better than the Falcons. But as most fans know, the NFL is quite a grind and injuries can really take a toll on power rankings. That said, let’s reveal who our new number one team is along with the rest of the top 10.

1. Atlanta Falcons (11-1) – Much of the focus to open this season was on the Falcons’ high-powered offense that features Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez. However, the defense has been taking center stage lately after intercepting Drew Brees five times last game, and holding rookie standout RB Doug Martin to 50 rushing yards the previous week.

Last Game: 23-13 win over New Orleans Saints
Next Game: at Seattle Seahawks

2. Houston Texans (11-1) – The Texans drop out of the top spot this week simply because they lost another good defensive player in CB Brice McCain to a foot injury. But Houston has found ways to win all season, so we’ll see if McCain’s season-ending injury is devastating or just another bump in the road.

Last Game: 24-10 win over Tennessee Titans
Next Game: at New England Patriots

3. New England Patriots (9-3) – Since the early part of the year, few teams have played better football than the Patriots. In fact, you could even say that they’ve been the league’s best team over the past few weeks. New England gets a chance to prove this in a huge game against the Texans.

Last Game: 23-16 win over Miami Dolphins
Next Game: vs. Houston Texans

4. Denver Broncos (9-3) – Who knew a surgically-repaired Peyton Manning would make this big of a difference? The Broncos have skyrocketed up the rankings over the past few weeks because, well, they just keep winning.

Last Game: 31-23 win over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Next Game: at Oakland Raiders

5. Baltimore Ravens (9-3) – Once you get past Denver, things get a lot more muddled – especially with many top teams losing last week. As for Baltimore, they dropped a game to the Charlie Batch-led Steelers, which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. However, with just three losses on the year, it’s hard to bash Baltimore for one recently terrible game.

Last Game: 23-20 loss to Pittsburgh Steelers
Next Game: at Washington Redskins

6. Green Bay Packers (8-4) – One week after getting walloped by the Giants, Green Bay came back strong with a win against their division rival Vikings. Unfortunately RB James Starks could miss the rest of the year after an injury, but Alex Green will try once again to fill this role.

Last Game: 23-14 win over Minnesota Vikings
Next Game: vs. Chicago Bears

7. San Francisco 49ers (8-3-1) – As long as the 49ers don’t have to face St. Louis in the playoffs, they should do alright. San Francisco fell to 0-1-1 against their lesser division foes last week. Still, they have one of the league’s best defenses and Colin Kaepernick now has two games as a starting QB under his belt.

Last Game: 16-13 (OT) loss to St. Louis Rams
Next Game: vs. Miami Dolphins

8. Indianapolis Colts (8-4) – Indianapolis is far from a complete team as the Calvin Johnson-torching of their secondary showed last week. But with super-rookie Andrew Luck at the helm, the Colts have played to the AFC’s fourth best record thus far.

Last Game: 35-33 win over Detroit Lions
Next Game: vs. Tennessee Titans

9. Seattle Seahawks (7-5) – For the time being, Seattle looks like a top 10 team after beating Chicago in a close game. Rookie QB Russell Wilson is finally hitting his stride and looks poised to carry this team. Unfortunately, starting cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are likely to be suspended for PEDs.

Last Game: 23-17 (OT) win over Chicago Bears
Next Game: vs. Arizona Cardinals

10. Chicago Bears (8-4) – Just a few weeks ago, we were admonishing ourselves for not putting the Bears as the league’s number one team….then injuries happened. The latest involves what could be a season-ending hamstring injury for Brian Urlacher.

Last Game: 23-17 (OT) loss to Seattle Seahawks
Next Game: at Minnesota Vikings

NFL Power Rankings for Oct. 25th, 2012

If there’s one glaring aspect that stands out about the NFL hierarchy this season, it’s that the NFC looks poised to win another Super Bowl. The top 10 of our power rankings is mostly comprised of NFC teams, and we don’t expect this to change much over the coming weeks. Of course, there are still some solid AFC teams that are capable of winning the Lombardi Trophy this year such as Houston, New England and Baltimore. Now let’s peg these three teams in order along with some of the other top contenders.

1. Atlanta Falcons (6-0) – It’s hard to put the Falcons anywhere but number one since they’re the NFL’s lone unbeaten. The Atlanta secondary has played very well and QB Matt Ryan is in the running for league MVP. This week Ryan and his teammates visit Michael Vick and the Eagles following a bye week. We don’t look for Atlanta to lose, but perhaps some bye week rust against a solid team will make this a tough contest.

Last Game: 23-20 win over Oakland
Next Game: at Philadelphia Eagles

2. Houston Texas (6-1) – Houston can rest comfortably in their bye week after destroying the Baltimore Ravens and grabbing the AFC’s top overall spot. It’s hard to say where the Texans go from here since they have little experience with being a dominant team. RB Arian Foster and the defense remain strong, but QB Matt Schaub can be a bit inconsistent at times. However, we predict that Houston should still grab the AFC’s top seed regardless.

Last Game: 43-13 win over Baltimore
Next Game: vs. Buffalo Bills (Nov. 4th)

3. San Francisco 49ers (5-2) – QB Alex Smith has looked shaky at times lately, but he doesn’t exactly face easy defenses in the NFC West. Speaking of defense, the 49ers D hasn’t skipped a beat since last year’s NFC Championship game run. Plus the run game has been going strong, which is always nice to have when there are quarterback uncertainties.

Last Game: 13-6 win over Seattle
Next Game: at Arizona

4. Chicago Bears (5-1) – The Bears defense continues to dash the hopes of fantasy football owners who have opposing quarterbacks, running backs and wideouts. As long as QB Jay Cutler can avoid mental blunders, the Chicago D is enough to keep them in any game.

Last Game: 13-7 win over Detroit
Next Game: vs. Carolina Panthers

5. New York Giants (5-2) – Some might argue that the Giants should be higher than this. But it took a last minute 77-yard bomb from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz  to finish off the Redskins last week. Even still, a win is a win and the G-Men will be looking for early season revenge against the Cowboys on Sunday.

Last Game: 27-23 win over Washington
Next Game: at Dallas Cowboys

6. Baltimore Ravens (5-2) – Ravaged by defensive injuries, the Ravens took a 43-13 beating at the hands of the Texans. QB Joe Flacco’s play didn’t inspire much confidence in the offense either. Luckily for the Ravens, they still hold a commanding lead in the AFC North and now have a bye week to overcome some injuries.

Last Game: 43-13 loss to Houston
Next Game: at Cleveland Browns (Nov. 4th)

7. Green Bay Packers (4-3) – After a slow start, QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Jordy Nelson have suddenly caught fire over the past couple of games, and we’re hearing less groans coming from Green Bay fans. Plus the defense has been very good at creating turnovers and pressuring the quarterback.

Last Game: 30-20 win over St. Louis
Next Game: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

8. Minnesota Vikings (5-2) – Minnesota is officially this year’s surprise team after bolting out to 5-2. With this kind of record, you wouldn’t think that the Vikes are in a must-win situation against Tampa Bay this week. But two out of their following three games are road contests against the Seahawks and Bears. However, it’s hard to knock the Vikings because of upcoming games and they’ve definitely earned this spot.

Last Game: 21-14 win over Arizona
Next Game: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

9. New England Patriots (4-3) – Lately the Patriots have been the NFL’s version of a great long distance runner who sprints out to a huge lead, only to barely win at the end of the race. Last week’s overtime win over the Jets was too close for comfort after leading by quite a bit in the second half. And the four-player merry go-round at running back seems to confuse the Pats just as much as it does opponents.

Last Game: 29-26 (OT) over New York Jets
Next Game: at St. Louis Rams

10. Seattle Seahawks (4-3) – QB Russell Wilson came back down to earth after leading Seattle to a lackluster offense performance in San Francisco. However, it wasn’t all his fault since the Seahawks receivers need to hang onto the ball. Luckily the defense has remained stout and the team is eyeing a winnable game in Detroit this week.

Last Week: 13-6 loss against San Francisco
Next Week: at Detroit Lions