Week 10 gave us some decent story lines. We saw our first tie in four years as the Rams and 49ers played 75 minutes only to end in a 24-24 draw amid multiple screw-ups by the referees, bringing back memories of replacement refs earlier in the season. The Atlanta Falcons finally lost their first game, the Buccaneers and Colts continued their winning streaks, and the Texans asserted their dominance in the league by beating the Bears and taking over the top spot in this week's power rankings.
Previous week's ranking and current record in parentheses
1. (3) Houston Texans (8-1) – The Texans defense knocked out Jay Cutler as the offense did just enough to win an ugly one on the road.
2. (2) Chicago Bears (7-2) – The Bears are still my second best team after losing to #1. Hopefully Jay Cutler doesn't miss too much time, but if he does, expect to see Chicago lean more heavily on their ground game and defense.
3. (4) Green Bay Packers (6-3) – Coming off the bye week, I expect to see the Packers pick up where they left off, with a big day through the air against a bad Detroit secondary.
4. (6) New England Patriots (6-3) – The Patriots pull off a close one against Buffalo. Their defense concerns me as they do create turnovers, but at the cost of giving up big yardage, much like the Green Bay defense in 2011.
5. (5) San Francisco 49ers (6-2-1) – The 49ers barely played well enough to tie in a strange game at home. Missed field goals and an injured Alex Smith didn't help.
6. (1) Atlanta Falcons (8-1) – Undefeated no more, the Falcons once again gave up points early. This time though, they couldn't make the 4th quarter comeback they'd become accustomed to.
7. (8) Baltimore Ravens (7-2) – The Ravens FINALLY put up big points though against a poor Raiders team. If Baltimore starts to do this with any consistency, they could become dangerous.
8. (7) Denver Broncos (6-4) – A few years after being fired by the Panthers, Broncos coach John Fox exacts his revenge behind Peyton Manning and an all around dominant performance by the Broncos.
9. (11) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4) – The Muscle Hamster (Doug Martin) came back down to earth a bit, but Tampa Bay remains the hottest team in the NFL winning their 3rd game in a row.
10. (9) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) – The Steelers escaped disaster in an ugly game at home against the Chiefs. If the injury to Ben Roethlisberger turns out to be a serious one, Pittsburgh might start to slide down this list.
11. (14) Cincinnati Bengals (4-5) – Just when I'm ready to drop the Bengals down this list, they turn in a dominant game against the Giants. Andy Dalton had a good game, throwing four touchdowns, though his yardage (199) was fairly low thanks to a dominant outing by the Cincinnati defense.
12. (10) New York Giants (6-4) – Turnovers kill the Giants against the Bengals as they were able to move the ball consistently, nor did they have any success stopping the Cincinnati offense.
13. (16) Minnesota Vikings (6-4) – Yet another great game by Peterson, except this time Christian Ponder provided some aerial support. I guess facing the porous Detroit secondary cures all ails for a quarterback.
14. (13) Seattle Seahawks (6-4) – The Seahawks continue their dominance at home, improving their record in Seattle to 5-0. As it stands right now Seattle would have the #6 playoff spot, but their road record doesn't bode well for a playoff run.
15. (15) Indianapolis Colts (6-3) – The Colts got an early lead on the road against the hapless Jeguars and then coasted the rest of the way through. As it stands, the Colts still are lined up to play Peyton Manning and the Broncos in the playoffs.
16. (17) St. Louis Rams (3-5-1) – A tight game in San Francisco ends in a tie after a good game by the Rams. Ties are already bittersweet, but multiple bad calls by the referees took away big plays that would have won the game for the Rams.
17. (20) New Orleans Saints (4-5) – Another big yardage game for the offense and the defense. The Saints are starting to look like a legitimate threat to the rest of the league, but the defense remains their Achilles heel.
18. (12) Detroit Lions (4-5) – The Lions, and most notably Matthew Stafford, need to stop starting slow. Relying on late game heroics is not conducive to making a playoff run.
19. (25) Tennessee Titans (4-6) – A returning Jake Locker and a resurgent Chris Johnson didn't need to do much to take down Miami thanks to four turnovers by the Tennessee defense.
20. (22) Dallas Cowboys (4-5) – The Cowboys put together a good game when they needed one the most. Some might overreact and say that Dallas is back on track for a playoff run, but we should all know better.
21. (18) Arizona Cardinals (4-5) – No team needed a bye more than the slumping (5 game losing streak) Cardinals. Unfortunately, Arizona faces the Falcons in Atlanta in week 11.
22. (19) Miami Dolphins (4-5) – Just two weeks ago, the Dolphins looked like they might have been making a playoff push. An ugly home loss to the Titans just shows that this team is clearly not ready for that.
23. (24) Washington Redskins (3-6) – Coming off the bye in week 10, expect to see the Redskins running game have a big day against the Eagles at home. The defense could get a big boost against the terrible Eagles offensive line too.
24. (23) San Diego Chargers (4-5) – A valiant effort by the Chargers and Philip Rivers, but San Diego just couldn't hold off a hot Tampa Bay team.
25. (21) Philadelphia Eagles (3-6) – The Eagles offensive line costs the team dearly again as Mike Vick leaves the game with an injury against Dallas. Rookie QB Nick Foles will have a tough end of the season if Vick can't come back.
26. (30) Buffalo Bills (3-6) – Buffalo finally puts points on the board against a below average New England defense. Unfortunately for fans in Buffalo, their team is woefully inconsistent and could be back to under-producing next week.
27. (26) Oakland Raiders (3-6) – Three turnovers and resorting to their #3 running back led to disaster for the Raider offense. Their putrid defense is another issue entirely.
28. (27) New York Jets (3-6) – The Jets are absolutely horrid and showed it with a total stinker at Seattle. This offense will need to go through a complete rebuild in the off-season.
29. (28) Cleveland Browns (2-7) – A game next week against the bi-polar Cowboys could be a perfect way to start the second half of the season for the Browns. Though the offense needs to start putting points on the board regardless of the opponent.
30. (29) Carolina Panthers (2-7) – Carolina is still a bad team, even after a good win in week 9. The Broncos made them look foolish on both sides of the ball.
31. (31) Kansas City Chiefs (1-8) – The Chiefs played a tight game in Pittsburgh and nearly pulled off the upset, but bad teams lose close games and it's no surprise that Kansas City is a bad team.
32. (32) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) – It's starting to get difficult coming up with new ways to say that the Jaguars are terrible.
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