NFL Power Rankings for Dec. 13th, 2012

Ever since we began doing NFL power rankings this season, it’s been the Houston Texans or Atlanta Falcons at the top. However, an off-week for both teams has a new team rising above them and into first in our power rankings. This being said, let’s get straight to the number one team.

1. New England (10-3) – The Patriots have been quickly moving up the ranks over the past few weeks. Last week they checked in at number three, but now they’re easily the best team following an obliteration of the previously top-ranked Texans. Tom Brady tossed TD passes to Brandon Lloyd, Aaron Hernandez (twice) and Donte Stallworth during the route. What’s funny is that we didn’t even know Stallworth was still in the league until the 63-yard bomb he caught.

Last Game: 42-14 win over Houston
Next Game: vs. San Francisco 49ers

2. Denver Broncos (10-3) – While Peyton Manning still threw for 310 yards, the Broncos put much of the focus on RB Knowshon Moreno while playing the Raiders. Moreno carried 32 times for 119 rushing yards and tallied 48 receiving yards too. Assuming he can continue at this pace without wearing down, Denver truly has a complete offense.

Last Game: 26-13 win over Oakland
Next Game: at Baltimore Ravens

3. San Francisco 49ers (9-3-1) – Colin Kaepernick appears to have solved the quarterback controversy in San Francisco after throwing for 185 yards and rushing for 53 yards and a touchdown. Aldon Smith is having an outstanding season for the Niners after adding two more sacks against the Dolphins to set a franchise record at 19.5 sacks.

Last Game: 27-13 win over Miami
Next Game: at New England Patriots

4. Houston Texans (11-2) – Last week we discussed how CB Brice McCain will be out for the season following a foot injury. And this certainly put a major dent in the Texans’ pass defense, which was thoroughly exposed against New England. Of course, one blowout to the league’s top team doesn’t erase an 11-2 season.

Last Game: 42-14 loss to New England
Next Game: vs. Indianapolis Colts

5. Atlanta Falcons (11-2) – Carolina QB Cam Newton is no doubt a major talent, but nobody expected him to carry the three-win Panthers over Atlanta. However, 272 pass yards and 116 rushing yards later, Newton pulled off the improbable. At least Falcons QB Matt Ryan came out of his mid-season funk after throwing for 342 yards and two touchdowns.

Last Game: 30-20 loss to Carolina
Next Game: vs. New York Giants

6. Green Bay Packers (9-4) – For now, we put the Packers at number six; however, this could change greatly when they get Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson and Jordy Nelson back. Plus they pulled undrafted running back DuJuan Harris out of nowhere and watched him run for 31 yards and a score against the Lions.

Last Game: 27-20 win over Detroit
Next Game: at Chicago Bears

7. Seattle Seahawks (8-5) – Seattle is another team with tremendous upside since Russell Wilson has evolved into a legitimate starting quarterback while the defense has been outstanding. Of course, anybody who saw the 58-0 dismantling of Arizona already knew this. Watch out for this team in the playoffs!

Last Game: 58-0 win over Arizona
Next Game: at Buffalo Bills

8. Indianapolis Colts (9-4) – Defying all preseason prediction logic, the Colts are on the verge of making the playoffs. All they need is one win in their last two games. Of course, this will be easier said than done when you consider that they play the Texans in two out of the last three games. But with how the Colts have played this year, you can definitely expect them to win at least one more regular season game….if not the AFC South with a couple victories against the Texans.

Last Game: 27-23 win over Tennessee
Next Game: at Houston Texans

9. Baltimore Ravens (9-4) – It’s hard to have much confidence in Baltimore right now after they fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. And it’s difficult to see a scenario where the offense is better with quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell suddenly thrust into the play-calling role. Taking all of this into account, we have trouble seeing the Ravens making it very far in the playoffs.

Last Game: 31-28 loss to Washington
Next Game: vs. Denver Broncos

10. New York Giants (8-5) – Over the past few years, the Giants have traditionally come alive at playoff time. And they looked pretty good during a recent route of the Saints. But we’re not ready to throw our full support behind New York just yet since they’ve won just two out of the past five games. Plus a tough road game against the Falcons looms ahead.

Last Game: 52-27 win over New Orleans
Next Game: at Atlanta Falcons