Week 12 NFL Power Rankings

The worst team last week is an offensive juggernaut now!...and other over-reactions

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

Over-reactions are a part of sports.  The cowboys are making the playoffs, the Bears are horrible, Colin Kaepernick is the best quarterback in the league, and Chad Henne is the savior in Jacksonville.  I write this all tongue in cheek of course, but you get the point.  

Each week fans and analysts over-react and over-hype what they have just seen and the impending playoff push going into the home stretch of the season makes it even worse.  Thankfully there is an oasis of sanity in a crazy week 12 world.  My weekly NFL power rankings!

Previous week's ranking and current record in parentheses

1. (1) Houston Texans (9-1) – Quarterback Matt Schaub's 527 passing yards was the second highest single game total in NFL history, and the Texans needed every yard in a surprisingly close overtime win over the Jaguars.

2. (5) San Francisco 49ers (7-2-1) – Quarterback Colin Kaepernick played well in his first start, going 16/23 for 243 yards and two TDs.  But linebacker Aldon Smith stole the show with 5.5 sacks, bull rushing his way into the defensive player of the year discussion.

3. (4) New England Patriots (7-3) – The Patriots defense forced four turnovers against the Colts as Brady and Belicheck showed Andrew Luck and Indianapolis how the big boys play in the NFL. 

4. (3) Green Bay Packers (7-3) – The Packers pulled off a good win on the road against Detroit.  Their defense was opportunistic and Aaron Rodgers did just enough, including a last minute heave to Randall Cobb for the game winning touchdown, to pull this one out.

5. (6) Atlanta Falcons (9-1) – Matt Ryan became the first quarterback since Bart Starr in 1967 to throw five interceptions and zero touchdowns in a win.  You have to give credit to Atlanta, they know how to pull out the close ones.

6. (7) Baltimore Ravens (8-2) – The Ravens were lucky to pull off a road win against the Steelers thanks to a special teams touchdown and an injury to Byron Leftwich.  This offense continues to baffle me every week as they should be dominant, but many times are anything but.

7. (2) Chicago Bears (7-3) – With a new quarterback at the helm, the Bears needed to rely heavily on their running game.  Unfortunately they couldn't, facing the buzz-saw that is the 49er defense.  Next week could be another tough one against the Vikings.

8. (8) Denver Broncos (7-3) – Another good win for the Broncos means a commanding three game division lead.  Peyton Manning is making his case not only for comeback player of the year, but also for the MVP.

9. (9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4) – Tampa continues their hot streak in an overtime win over the Carolina Panthers.  Their four game winning streak has the Bucs firmly entrenched in the NFC playoff race.

10. (10) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) – Byron Leftwich started out strong against the Ravens, but a shoulder injury after a 31 yard touchdown run had him fighting through pain with every throw the rest of the game, and it showed in his throws.  Charlie Batch looks to be the starter next week against the Browns.

11. (11) Cincinnati Bengals (5-5) – The Bengals are fighting their way back into the playoff race as they cruise to an easy win over the Chiefs.  Their winning streak should continue in week 12 as they host former Bengal quarterback Carson Palmer and the Raiders. 

12. (12) New York Giants (6-4) – The Giants needed a week off after consecutive losses.  Unfortunately, they get to face a hot Green Bay Packer team in week 12.

13. (13) Minnesota Vikings (6-4) – The Vikings draw a tough assignment coming off the bye as they face an angry Chicago Bears defense.  If Jay Cutler is healthy for the Bears, this could be a fun one to watch.

14. (14) Seattle Seahawks (6-4) – Week 12 gives the Seahawks a favorable match up against the Dolphins, but Seattle's record on the road (1-4) has me hesitant about their chances. 

15. (17) New Orleans Saints (5-5) – Yet another high scoring win for the Saints has fans in New Orleans thinking playoffs.  I keep saying it, but the defense needs to stop giving up 400 yards of offense per game if they expect to do so. 

16. (15) Indianapolis Colts (6-4) – Indianapolis kept it close against the Patriots until half time.  But the second half was a different story as the Colts were only able to manage seven points while giving up 35.

17. (20) Dallas Cowboys (5-5) – Dallas survives BARELY against the Browns, pulling off a huge fourth quarter comeback before winning in overtime.  Two wins in a row means Cowboy fans are thinking playoffs, but their remaining schedule is no cake walk.

18. (18) Detroit Lions (4-6) – The Lions could have had their home game against the Packers won easily but as I've said before, turnovers kill, and they definitely killed Detroit.  The defense giving up a late touchdown pass didn't help much either.

19. (19) Tennessee Titans (4-6) – Expect to see a barn burner in week 12 as the resurgent Titans offense visits Jacksonville.  If the Jaguars play like they did against the Texans, they might have a big day against a bad Titans defense.

20. (23) Washington Redskins (4-6) – I love being proven right, and the Redskins did just that as they ran and threw all over a bad Philadelphia team.  Robert Griffin had a great game going 14/15 passing with 284 total yards of offense and throwing four touchdowns.

21. (16) St. Louis Rams (3-6-1) – A bit of a let down after taking the 49ers to a tie last week, the Rams just couldn't string together consecutive good games as they fall to the Jets.  

22. (21) Arizona Cardinals (4-6) – How do you force six turnovers and still lose a game?  Only gaining 178 total yards of offense probably had a lot to do with it.  Thank you Arizona for showing us all how to shoot yourself in the foot.

23. (26) Buffalo Bills (4-6) – I said last week that the Bills offense may be back to their underwhelming ways this week and I was right yet again as they relied on defense and special teams to eek out a win at home.

24. (22) Miami Dolphins (4-6) – The slide continues as the Dolphins turn the ball over three times in a road loss to the Bills.

25. (24) San Diego Chargers (4-6) – Another close one for the chargers, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades.  This team needs wins if Norv Turner expects to keep his job.

26. (28) New York Jets (4-6) – One okay game against the Rams doesn't really impress me.  Next weeks game against the Patriots should show us exactly what the Jets are, a woefully bad team.

27. (25) Philadelphia Eagles (3-7) – Star players are dropping like flies in Philadelphia as running back LeSean McCoy was carted off against the Redskins.  This team is in a downward spiral and any good wins from this point on will be a surprise. 

28. (29) Cleveland Browns (2-8) – The Browns keep playing teams close, but keep finding a way to lose.  Rookies Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson are performing well enough to let Browns fans have a little cautious optimism about their team.

29. (30) Carolina Panthers (2-8) – Bad teams find a way to lose.  The Panthers did exactly that as they blew an 11 point lead in the fourth quarter including a game tying touchdown and two point conversion with 12 seconds left and then a game winning touchdown in overtime.

30. (27) Oakland Raiders (3-7) – The Raiders defense got torn apart by Drew Brees and the Saints.  Turnovers killed the offenses hopes of keeping the game close despite having over 400 total yards. 

31. (32) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) – A very surprising game for the Jaguars as they had over 450 yards of offense and forced three turnovers on defense taking the best team in the league to overtime.  Big days for rookie receiver Justin Blackmon (236 yards, 1 TD) and new starting quarterback Chad Henne (354 yards, 4 TDs) has the Jaguars' future looking a little less bleak.

32. (31) Kansas City Chiefs (1-9) – Another horrid game for the Chiefs and a decent game by the Jaguars means Kansas City is the new bottom feeder of the league.

J. Lance Moose is a contributor and lead football writer for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter, and subscribe on Facebook facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports

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