NFL Power Rankings Week 10: Atlanta Falcons Finish 1st Half Unscathed
Welcome back to the Rant Sports NFL Power Rankings.
It is amazing how much distance the top 10 teams in the league continue to put on the rest of the league as the NFL season progresses. In the only matchup between top 10 teams from last week's power rankings, the Pittsburgh Steelers upset the New York Giants in a great road victory. All other top 10 teams were either idol or won their matchup. The playoff picture is getting clearer with each passing week, but the season is far from over.
The Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills can attest to how much things can change in the second half of the season. The Bills went 6-10 after beginning the 2011 season 5-2, and the Bears went 8-8 and missed the playoffs after starting the season 7-3. Both teams suffered serious injuries that derailed their season, and that can happen to anyone
Still though, it is remarkable how much of a drop off there is after you get passed the top 10 teams, just as it is remarkable that none of the top 10 teams have really set themselves apart as an overwhelming Super Bowl favorite. If you were nit picking, you could find something wrong with every team in the league right now.
The Giants and Steelers made the biggest drop and jump, respectively. The Giants moved down six spots after the loss, and the Steelers move from 10 to six after the win. Other than that, there was little movement across the board. Feel free to comment below with any thoughts or opinions.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7) (Last Week 32)
The Jacksonville Jaguars continue to be the definition of failure with their weekly performances. They are inching closer to the No. 1 overall pick, and might have to already consider their options to replace Blaine Gabbert.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (1-7) (Last Week: 31)
Is anyone else surprised Romeo Crennel still has a job? He clearly is not happy with his own performance as he's apparently demoted himself from the defensive coordinator duties.
30. Cleveland Browns (2-7) (Last Week: 29)
As it has been with most of their games, the Cleveland Browns gave their fans hope for most of the game, only to let it get out of hand late. Their defense keeps them in games, but the Browns could be in the mix for another quarterback by 2014.
29. Oakland Raiders (3-5) (Last Week: 27)
The Oakland Raiders are finding new ways to define mediocrity. They let a rookie running back (albeit a very good one) rush for 251 yards and four touchdowns in the loss this weekend.
28. Carolina Panthers (2-6) (Last Week: 30)
The Carolina Panthers stopped a five game losing streak, but did it against a team who now has as many losses on the season. I wouldn't get too geared up for a turnaround this season.
27. Buffalo Bills (3-5) (Last Week: 26)
I'm finding these past few weeks in the Power Rankings to be weird given that sometimes teams that lose by double digits do not move down very much if at all. It's a product of most of the top teams winning their games against the lower teams.
26. Tennessee Titans (3-6) (Last Week: 25)
Despite giving up 51 points to the Bears, the Tennessee Titans don't move down too much. They are one of the more inconsistent teams in the league and will likely have a high draft pick next year.
25. New York Jets (3-5) (Last Week: 24)
The New York Jets were on a bye, but fans still wanted Tim Tebow to start over Mark Sanchez.
24. New Orleans Saints (3-5) (Last Week: 26)
The New Orleans Saints got a win and have won three of their past four games. They cannot afford to lose many more games if they want to make the playoffs, so tonight was the first step.
23. Washington Redskins (3-6) (Last Week: 19)
Despite losing three straight to fall three games behind the Giants, Mike Shanahan insists the season is not over. If the Washington Redskins cannot fix their defensive woes, he's dead wrong.
21. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) (Last Week: 17)
The Philadelphia Eagles lost to a bad Saints team, but more alarming was their inability to move the ball on their terrible defense. Michael Vick took a beating behind a mostly backup offensive line, reenforcing how important an offensive line is to the success of an offense.
20. Cincinnati Bengals (3-5) (Last Week: 20)
The Cincinatti Bengals have dropped four in a row now and have the Giants coming to town after they had a terrible showing. I wouldn't want to be the Bengals this week.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4) (Last Week: 21)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are surprising at 4-4 and have something to be excited about in rookie running back Doug Martin.
18. Dallas Cowboys (3-5) (Last Week: 16)
Even at 3-5 the Dallas Cowboys are not out of the playoff race, but to say it isn't looking good would be a massive understatement.
16. Arizona Cardinals (4-5) (Last Week: 13)
It is pretty incredible that the Arizona Cardinals have lost five in a row and only dropped to No. 16. There are a number of average teams in the NFL, and the Cardinals have a couple of nice wins to keep them in the middle of the pack, for now.
15. Detroit Lions (4-4) (Last Week: 18)
The Detroit Lions have climbed back to .500 but are still last in their division. They remain in the hunt for the wild card, but will have to play better down the stretch.
13. Minnesota Vikings (5-4) (Last Week: 11)
The Minnesota Vikings are starting to come back to Earth with each passing week, but they can still run the ball well and play good defense at times. I like their chances to make the playoffs right now, but things could change.
12. Indianapolis Colts (5-3) (Last Week: 15)
The Colts continue to impress me each week, playing well for Chuck Pagano who is fighting leukemia at the moment. They are sitting pretty in the very week AFC and three more wins could be enough to get them in the playoffs.
11. Seattle Seahawks (5-4) (Last Week: 14)
The Seattle Seahawks have a terrific defense that keeps them in all their games, but Russell Wilson may have had a breakout game yesterday with three touchdowns against a very good Vikings defense.
10. New York Giants (6-3) (Last Week: 4)
The Giants lost by four to the Steelers, but honestly the score felt much worse than that. The Steelers dominated in every facet, making most question whether the Giants will soon be in another second-half collapse.
8. Baltimore Ravens (6-2) (Last Week: 8)
The Baltimore Ravens took care of business against the Browns. They finally got Ray Rice more involved and it paid off.
7. New England Patriots (5-3) (Last Week: 7)
The New England Patriots haven't looked like themselves most of the year, but I get the feeling they will finish the season strong.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3) (Last Week: 10)
The Steelers have won three in a row and looked good in every phase of the game even without Troy Polamalu this weekend. They should challenge the Ravens for the division.
5. Green Bay Packers (5-3) (Last Week: 6)
The Green Bay Packers won in convincing fashion for the third straight week and look to be getting back in a groove. Aaron Rodgers is putting up monster numbers over the last month.
4. San Francisco 49ers (6-2) (Last Week: 5)
When the 49ers are playing their best football they are tough to beat, but they've already shown they can lay an egg offensively at times. It will be interesting to see how the NFC playoff picture shapes up, but the 49ers might have to go on the road in the playoffs.
3. Chicago Bears (7-1) (Last Week: 3)
The Bears are putting up video game numbers on defense. They already have eight return touchdowns and Charles Peanut Tillman forced FOUR fumbles against the Titans on Sunday. He's a defensive MVP candidate right now, and maybe even an overall MVP candidate.
2. Houston Texans (7-1) (Last Week: 2)
The Texans have bounced back defensively after their loss to the Packers two weeks ago. They face a tough Bears team next Sunday night, which will be a great litmus test for both sides.
1. Atlanta Falcons (8-0) (Last Week: 1)
Like clockwork, the Atlanta Falcons beat the Cowboys and remain undefeated. While some of their wins have been not so impressive, a win is a win. They know the playoffs is what matters, but can they run the table?