Football is an emotional game; the ups and downs; knowing that each play can be big for either team. Each game can change in a heartbeat and this week was no different.
Sure there were the usual close games decided late or in overtime, but this week was a little off-beat.
15 year veteran Charlie Batch overcame a horrendous week 12 to get a key win over the Ravens. The Kansas City Chiefs overcame the death of one of their own to get an emotional win over Carolina. But here at Crave, we set aside the emotion to give you the model of composure with the weekly power rankings!
Previous week's ranking and current record in parentheses
1. (1) Houston Texans (11-1) – Houston clinches a playoff spot with their win over Tennessee. The offense didn't need to do much on the day thanks to their opportunistic defense forcing six turnovers.
2. (3) New England Patriots (9-3) – The Patriots didn't have a huge day offensively, but did enough to get a good road win against a tough Dolphins team. The win clinches the division for the fourth straight year in New England.
3. (4) Atlanta Falcons (11-1) – Another close game played by the Falcons as their offense didn't look spectacular at any point in the game, but the defense was able to create turnovers and keep the Saints out of the end-zone for most of the day.
4. (6) Green Bay Packers (8-4) – The Packers were able to hold on for the win at home despite giving up big yards to Adrian Peterson. The win moves the Pack into a tie for the division lead with the Bears.
5. (9) Denver Broncos (9-3) – Another good game all around for the Broncos as Peyton Manning continues to make his case for MVP on top of his inevitable comeback player of the year award.
6. (2) San Francisco 49ers (8-3-1) – Colin Kaepernick came back down to earth a bit as the 49ers almost pulled off their second tie of the season against the Rams.
7. (5) New York Giants (7-5) – The Giants struggled in a road loss to the Redskins just a week after looking like one of the best teams in the league. New York couldn't seem to get anything going offensively, not even in the fourth quarter when Eli Manning usual looks superhuman.
8. (7) Chicago Bears (8-4) – It was a dog fight all day at Soldier Field in Chicago, but in the end the Bears couldn't pull out the victory against a tough Seattle team.
9. (12) Indianapolis Colts (8-4) – Andrew Luck is slowly clawing his way into the MVP discussion after leading a huge fourth quarter comeback on the road against Detroit.
10. (8) Baltimore Ravens (9-3) – The Ravens need to learn that Ray Rice is the center of their offense, not Joe Flacco. Rice averaged 6.5 yards per carry on the day, but only had 12 carries.
11. (14) Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5) – The Steelers played a gutsy game to take down the Ravens in Baltimore thanks to a game winning field goal as time expired. It hurts me to put them behind the Ravens in these rankings, but until Roethlisberger comes back I'm reserving my expectations.
12. (10) Cincinnati Bengals (7-5) – The Bengals needed a few late scores in the fourth quarter to take down the Chargers on the road. They slide a bit because their victories weren't quite as memorable as those by Pittsburgh and Indy.
13. (18) Seattle Seahawks (7-5) – The Seahawks always play their opponent tough, but they surprised everybody by pulling out an overtime win for only their second road victory on the season.
14. (15) Washington Redskins (6-6) – A good close win on Monday night has the Skins' one game back in the NFC East title race.
15. (11) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6) – A second consecutive loss hasn't eliminated the Bucs from the wild card race, but their secondary needs to get fixed if they expect to make a deep run.
16. (17) St. Louis Rams (5-6-1) – The Rams seem to have the 49ers number this season. They get the late overtime win after a great overall performance by the heavily underrated defense.
17. (13) Minnesota Vikings (6-6) – The Vikes couldn't seem to capitalize on Adrian Peterson's 210 rushing yards against the Packers. Christian Ponder again had an underwhelming game, completing less than 50 percent of his passes.
18. (21) Dallas Cowboys (6-6) – The Cowboys comeback to beat the Eagles behind another big night for Tony Romo to move within a game of the division title. Dallas needs to beat bad teams by more than five points if they expect to get any respect.
19. (16) New Orleans Saints (5-7) – Drew Brees didn't look like himself against the Falcons, throwing five interceptions. The Saints defense played their best game of the year, but this team just can't seem to put it all together in a given week.
20. (20) Miami Dolphins (5-7) – An underwhelming game at home for the Dolphins. But on the bright side, they didn't allow the Patriots to explode on offense which they've seemed to do against the rest of the division.
21. (19) Detroit Lions (4-8) – How many times are the Lions going to let themselves down late this season? Their defense allowed 14 points in the fourth quarter including the game winning touchdown with all zeros on the clock.
22. (24) Buffalo Bills (5-7) – Apparently the cure (at least for a week) for the Bills' offensive woes is a home game against the horrific Jacksonville defense.
23. (22) Tennessee Titans (4-8) – Tennessee got some yardage against Houston, but six turnovers aren't conducive to winning football. Especially against the best team in the league.
24. (25) Cleveland Browns (4-8) – Cleveland gets their second straight win in a match up of bottom feeders in Oakland. The Browns have been playing all their games close, so it's good to see them turn those games into wins.
25. (28) New York Jets (5-7) – The turnovers continue as the Jets gave the ball to the Cardinals four times. Despite being woefully bad on offense, the Jets faced maybe the only team worse than them in a 7-6 win.
26. (23) Arizona Cardinals (4-8) – 137 total yards of offense. Not by any individual player, but 137 total yards of offense by the entire Cardinals team in a loss to the Jets.
27. (26) San Diego Chargers (4-8) – Another forgetful outing by the Chargers at home. Seriously, I had to double check that San Diego even played this week.
28. (30) Philadelphia Eagles (3-9) – A good outing by rookies Bryce Brown and Nick Foles. But the defense collapsed again, giving up 21 fourth quarter points in a loss to the Cowboys.
29. (27) Carolina Panthers (3-9) – Cam Newton tried to carry the team on his back again, but failed to win on the road against an emotional Chiefs team.
30. (29) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10) – Last week I said to temper expectations the rest of the way out, and the Jags prove me right yet again. Chad Henne's 18-41 performance proved that the quarterback of the future is not on this roster right now.
31. (31) Oakland Raiders (3-9) – Oakland was able to move the ball through the air against a decent Cleveland secondary, but as usual they found a way to lose.
32. (32) Kansas City Chiefs (2-10) – In the wake of the Jovan Belcher tragedy, the Chiefs get an emotional win at home against the Panthers. Expect the Chiefs to be back to their losing ways as they come down from this one.
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