Wednesday, December 2, 2015
NFL Week 13 Power Rankings
Twelve weeks of football down, five weeks to go. As the season
settles in, the contenders and pretenders start to differentiate themselves. These are your Week 13 Power Rankings!
1. Carolina Panthers
Simply put, Cam got those boys ballin'. A strong thanksgiving outing on the road by the still undefeated Panthers and their stellar defense keeps them atop the power rankings. With a favorable road ahead, it's hard to imagine the Panthers slipping any time soon. Don't like Newton dancing atop the list? Notify the Saints, Falcons, Giants or Buccaneers!
2. Denver Broncos
Amazing what a change of scenery can do, right? After the demise/injury of Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler came in as relief, and with a 2-0 record as a starter, Osweiler has made a valid case to start the rest of the way, whether Peyton is healthy or not. CJ Anderson found his old-self in the team's recent de-throning of the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football, and with the best defense in the league, Denver is again gaining more momentum ahead.
3. Arizona Cardinals
This team just wins football games, flat out. Style points don't add extra W's to the record, and the Cardinals don't seem to concerned. After finally beating a desperate 49ers team in San Francisco for the first time since 2008, Arizona sits atop the NFC West with a slightly-comfortable three game lead and is poised to capture one of the coveted first round bye weeks come playoff time. Carson Palmer has thrown his hat in the MVP race and has the Cardinals rolling on offense, while the defense continues to do it's part, although there is room for improvement. Should Arizona hit it's potential stride, Super Bowl aspirations are the only concern in Glendale, AZ.
4. New England Patriots
Make no mistake, one loss won't shoot the Patriots all the way down these rankings. However, the future is a bit too cloudy as of now to proclaim them a top-three team. Key injuries all around (Edelman, Lewis, Gronkowski, just to name the few of recent memory) have New England exhausting it's "next man up" mentality. How deep can this mindset go? We'll find in the coming weeks. Obviously, the Patriots, so long as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are teamed together, are a hard team to stop. Yet will all the injuries catch up to them? Odds are riding that Belichick, like usual, will find a way to deviate obstacles and move forward with wins.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
I'm not quite sure who these Cincinnati Bengals think they are. A three game lead in the AFC North? That's been unheard of in recent memory. Cincinnati, fortunate enough to see Baltimore/Pittsburgh have seasons that haven't lived up to expectations, have taken full advantage of their opportunity to shine. Andy Dalton continues to build on seemingly his best season yet, while the defense only has had one truly bad game, coming on the road against one of the league's best offenses in Arizona. Other than the AZ/HOU games, Cincinnati has looked all the part of a playoff team, and a favorable schedule does remain for these Bengals. The only downfall for these Bengals is outside of the Cardinals game, this team really haven't played a hard schedule.
6. Minnesota Vikings
It seems like for awhile now we've been pinning the Vikings as the team to dethrone the Packers of the NFC North, and those thoughts may have finally come to life. It's been amazing to watch Teddy Bridgewater mature and progress as an NFL quarterback, and Adrian Peterson again looks like the machine we all know after a semi-slow start to the season. Although Minnesota is 8-3, dates with the Seahawks and Cardinals rest within the coming weeks, and we'll be able to better gauge the Vikings. For now, the defense has finally emerged as top ten material, and the Vikings currently hold a division lead over the...
7. Green Bay Packers
Five weeks ago, Green Bay was on a roll and considered to be a top contender for Super Bowl 50. Now, after losing their last 4/5 games, the Packers seem to be caught on a slippery slope. Coach Mike McCarthy can't seem to choose between Eddie Lacy/James Starks, the defense has looked dismal as of late, and simple mistakes are adding up to haunt Green Bay's quest for a Lombardi trophy. As rough as things look, Aaron Rodgers is still that bad man we know him to be, and I'm willing to not abandon hope completely with him still at the helm. Perhaps the most important game for the Packers late in the season, Green Bay will travel to Detroit on a mission to avenge their loss just a few weeks ago. Should the Packers win, Green Bay might be able to turn the ship around. Another loss to Detroit, and we're talking more serious trouble.
8. Seattle Seahawks
Do we remember last year, when the Chiefs embarrassed the Patriots on national television, awakening the sleeping giant that was the future champions in New England? History may have repeated itself in 2015. Seattle hosted a pivotal division game against the Cardinals three weeks ago, and eventually lost in a tight game that would prove to be essential in their hopes of winning the division. Since then, the Seahawks finally look like the NFC Championship team we've come to know the past few years. Riding a two game win streak into a schedule that includes teams like Baltimore, Cleveland and St. Louis, Seattle has a chance to really make some noise in anticipation of the final meeting with Arizona in week 17, which could carry huge playoff implications. The offense is clicking, even without Marshawn Lynch, and Kam Chancellor looks like he's finally settled in the defense. Yet is it too late for Seattle to make this push considering the quality of teams in the NFC?
9. Kansas City Chiefs
After starting 1-5, the Chiefs have gotten HOT and are currently riding a five game win streak. No Jamaal Charles? No problem. Charcandrick West has stepped in quite well in Charles' absence, providing a counter to air it out with Alex Smith. The Chiefs defense has risen to the occasion, creating the best turnover margin in the league since week seven. Sitting at 6-5, Kansas City is unlikely to override Denver with five weeks, yet a wildcard playoff birth still sits in the cards for the Chiefs. The real question for Kansas City will be if they can stay consistent through this December stretch.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers
The injury bug has seemingly bit every team in the league, although the Steelers may have been bitten worse than others. Battling injuries on both sides of the ball, absences have taken a toll on Pittsburgh, who at the beginning of the year, were considered a team to compete in the AFC championship game. Ben Roethlisberger has again had a stellar season, and DeAngelo Williams may very well be the best offseason signing by a team in the AFC. The defense has looked up and down this season, but has already gone past expectations. Make no mistake though, the pass defense is questionable at best and always appears to be weak at key moments. The Steelers have another important game coming this Sunday night against the Indianapolis Colts to keep up with the rest of the wildcard contenders. The goal coming into the season was for Pittsburgh's offense to put up about 30 points per game, and this goal may need to be hit in order for the Steelers to roll into January.