NFL Power Rankings Week 11: Houston Texans Vault to the Top
Welcome back to the Rant Sports NFL Power Rankings for Week 11. We saw a few upsets this week and the rankings got turned on their head for the most part. The top team went down, a bottom feeder moved all the way into the mix, and there was even a tie. Such is life as an NFL analyst; you never know what will happen in a given week.
Definitely the biggest upset of the weekend was the New Orleans Saints taking down the Atlanta Falcons. If you've been paying attention to my rankings, that was the No. 28 team beating the No. 1 team from the Week 10 edition. I think that qualifies as an upset. Though I must admit I picked the Saints to win in my NFL Week 10 picks. I didn't have any numbers to back it up, it was more of a gut feeling. Unfortunately those gut feelings didn't work out for most of my other selections.
The Cincinnati Bengals also dispatched of the New York Giants in surprising fashion, hammering them 31-13. Eli Manning is in the worst stretch of his career, having not thrown a touchdown pass in his last 99 pass attempts. The Giants have lost two straight and are in a tailspin, which is a typical month of November for Tom Coughlin's Giants.
The Saints made the biggest jump, moving from the 28 spot all the way up to 15. That is a product of both their win and the very average teams that were previously in front of them. They moved to the top of all the 4-5 teams because they are playing the best of them right now. The Miami Dolphins dropped seven spots after their embarrassing loss to the Tennessee Titans.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) (Last Week 32)
The Jacksonville Jaguars have plenty of issues to work out, but first and foremost they need Maurice Jones-Drew back on the field. He's expected to miss another game this week.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (1-8) (Last Week: 31)
It may be time for Romeo Crennel to go. The Kansas City Chiefs took nine games before they actually had a lead in regulation, and eventually blew a 10 point early lead in overtime.
29. Oakland Raiders (3-6) (Last Week: 29)
The Oakland Raiders have one of the worst defenses in the league; they've given up 97 points the past two games.
27. Buffalo Bills (3-6) (Last Week: 26)
The Buffalo Bills narrowly got their first win in Gillette Stadium; unfortunately they came up just short. They gave a solid effort, but their season could be over at 3-6.
26. New York Jets (3-6) (Last Week: 24)
You're going to start to hear the cries for Tim Tebow at homes games now. At 3-6, the season is pretty much over at this point. What have you got to lose?
25. San Diego Chargers (4-5) (Last Week 21)
The San Diego Chargers are having serious issues in the second half of games. Norv Turner is a problem, and needs to be let go.
24. Washington Redskins (3-6) (Last Week: 23)
With the way the rest of the division is playing, you can't count out anyone in the NFC East. The Washington Redskins will have to shore up their defense to have any hope.
23. Philadelphia Eagles (3-6) (Last Week: 17)
The Philadelphia Eagles have lost five in a row and may have lost Michael Vick for the season. The wheels have officially come off.
22. St. Louis Rams (3-5-1) (Last Week: 22)
In my NFL predictions, I said I didn't think it would be shocking if the St. Louis Rams kept this game close. They did me one better by actually leading for pretty much the entire game. Unfortunately, a delay of game kept them from winning the game in overtime. The game ended in the first tie since 2008.
21. Miami Dolphins (4-5) (Last Week: 14)
The Miami Dolphins were playing well of late, then Sunday happened. They were dominated 37-3 and Ryan Tannehill seemed to take a step back in his development.
20. Tennessee Titans (4-6) (Last Week: 25)
The Tennessee Titans have been so inconsistent this season but had their best game of the year on the road against the Dolphins.
16. Dallas Cowboys (4-5) (Last Week: 18)
After beating the Eagles, the Dallas Cowboys inched back in the NFC East race and are only 1.5 games back of the games.
15. New Orleans Saints (4-5) (Last Week: 28)
The New Orleans Saints have gotten their swagger back. Their defense is still awful, but clearly it has not mattered. They've won four of their last five games and knocked off the previously undefeated Falcons.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4) (Last Week: 19)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a nice surprise so far this season and Greg Schiano has them believing in themselves. They are starting to play better defensively, which gives them good balance.
13. New York Giants (6-4) (Last Week: 10)
The New York Giants looked about as bad as they could look against the Bengals, and the bye could not have come at a better time with Eli Manning marred in the worst slump of his career. It doesn't get any easier down the stretch, and they come off the bye hosting the Green Bay Packers.
12. Minnesota Vikings (6-4) (Last Week: 13)
The Vikings got a solid win against the Lions and hope to keep building off that moving forward. They are in a good position in the NFC playoff hunt, but five of their finals six games are against the Chicago Bears (twice), Packers(twice) and Houston Texans.
11. Indianapolis Colts (6-3) (Last Week: 12)
The Indianapolis Colts are easily the biggest surprise of the NFL season thus far, and are a terrific story with head coach Chuck Pagano going through leukemia.
10. Seattle Seahawks (6-4) (Last Week: 11)
People have to start taking the Seattle Seahawks seriously if they haven't already. Their defense is stacked and Marshawn Lynch is running angry.
9. Denver Broncos (6-3) (Last Week: 9)
The Broncos have come roaring back after a 2-3 start to win their past four games. They will be a tough out in the playoffs.
8. Baltimore Ravens (7-2) (Last Week: 8)
Without their dominant defense, the Baltimore Ravens will have to put up a lot of points to win games. They did just that by hanging 55 on the Raiders this weekend.
7. San Francisco 49ers (6-2-1) (Last Week: 4)
Everyone expected the 49ers the roll over the Rams this weekend, but divisional games in the NFL can have a way of being surprising sometimes. This one was all kinds of wacky and ended in a tie, but the 49ers definitely should be better than that.
6. New England Patriots (6-3) (Last Week: 7)
The New England Patriots escaped with a win over the Bills, but have to like their standing in the AFC right now. They are staring up at the Texans for home field advantage, and the season is far from over.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) (Last Week: 6)
After narrowly escaping with a win over the Chiefs, the Pittsburgh Steelers have won four in a row and the defense is playing very well. Ben Roethlisberger got hurt in the game though, which could be an issue moving forward.
4. Chicago Bears (7-2) (Last Week: 3)
The Chicago Bears lost a tough battle to the Texans in ugly fashion, but could have bigger problems if Jay Cutler misses multiple games with a concussion. They are a different team without him.
3. Atlanta Falcons (8-1) (Last Week: 1)
The Falcons ran into a hot Saints team looking to prove themselves, and got them in New Orleans on top of that. The Saints have not been great this year no doubt, but no shame in losing that game. I actually picked the Saints to win; it just felt like the Falcons were heading for a trap.
2. Green Bay Packers (6-3) (Last Week: 5)
It may seem like a stretch to move the Packers up to the No. 2 spot from No. 5 with them being inactive this week, but with the 49ers tying and Falcons and Bears each losing, it makes sense. Also, don't forget the Packers would be 7-2 if they didn't get screwed by the replacement refs. They've been playing very well of late and look like the team that went 15-1 last year.
1. Houston Texans (8-1) (Last Week: 2)
With their win over the Bears, the Texans move back up to the No. 1 spot. They played an incredible game defensively and did just enough on offense to win. They are the most balanced team in the league right now, and it's not even close.