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Detroit News NFL Power Rankings: Week 12

Rod Beard
The Detroit News
Rashad Johnson, Jerraud Powers and the Cardinals are No. 1.

1. Arizona Cardinals (9-1): With a tough 14-6 win over the Lions, they extended their NFC lead to two games and their lead in the West Division to three. Drew Stanton was good enough and the defense clamped down. Next up, they play at Seattle. Last week: 1

2. New England Patriots (8-2): They turned a showdown at Indianapolis into a 42-20 rout, for their sixth straight win. They're the hottest team in the league and Jonas Gray 199 yards, four TDs) has given them a potent option in the backfield. Last week: 2

3. Dallas Cowboys (7-3): Coming off the bye, they'll be healthy as they go on the road to face the Giants before a big showdown against the Eagles next week. Last week: 8

4. Green Bay Packers (7-3): Aaron Rodgers made it look easy, with 341 passing yards and three TDs against the Eagles in a 53-20 rout. Randall Cob (192 yards) and Jordy Nelson (109 yards, TD) made Swiss cheese of the Eagles defense. Last week: 9

5. Denver Broncos (7-3): After a hot start, one of the AFC favorites has lost two of the last three. Injuries to receiver Emmanuel Sanders and tight end Julius Thomas took two of Peyton Manning's targets and the offense struggled. Last week: 3

6. Kansas City Chiefs (7-3): Topping the Seahawks, 24-20, gives them a five-game win streak — and seven wins in their last eight. They're back in the thick of the AFC playoff race and tied with the Broncos for the West Division lead. Last week: 11

7. Detroit Lions (7-3): With a 14-6 loss to the Cardinals, they missed their chance to vault into the top spot in the NFC. They also fell into a tie with the red-hot Packers for the North Division lead. Matthew Stafford and the offense are big concerns. Last week: 4

8. Philadelphia Eagles (7-3): In a 53-20 loss to the Packers, they never really got going before they were in a 30-6 hole at halftime. Mark Sanchez (346 passing yards, two TDs, two INTs) was good, but the defense was overmatched. Last week: 5

9. San Francisco 49ers (6-4): After a 16-10 win over the Giants, they're keeping pace with the Seahawks — for second place in the NFC West. They'll likely be contending for a wild-card spot and can win their third straight, vs. Washington this week. Last week: 10

10. Indianapolis Colts (6-4): They stuck with the Patriots early, but they weren't really close in the second half of a 42-20 loss. The injury to running back Ahmad Bradshaw is crushing, putting more pressure on Trent Richardson to produce. Last week: 6

11. Seattle Seahawks (6-4): In a 24-20 loss to the Chiefs, they stayed close but couldn't get answer with a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Marshawn Lynch went for 124 yards but the defense couldn't stop Jamaal Charles. Last week: 7

12. Cincinnati Bengals: (6-3-1): Following their first home loss last week to the Browns, they went on the road and stunned the Saints. Jeremy Hill had 152 yards and A.J. Green six catches for 127 yards and a touchdown. Last week: 16

13. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4): They roll into the bye week with a critical 27-24 win over the Titans. They overcame an 11-point, second-half deficit behind Le'Veon Bell's 204 yards and a touchdown to keep pace with the Bengals. Last week: 13

14. Miami Dolphins (6-4): Catching the Patriots, who have a two-game lead, will be tough, but a 22-9 victory over the Bills helped them keep pace. Ryan Tannehill had 240 yards and 2 TD and the run game supported him enough. Last week: 14

15. San Diego Chargers (6-4): Following a 13-6 win over the Raiders, they moved within range of the Broncos and Chiefs for first place in the West. Philip Rivers wasn't great, but didn't need to be against the hapless Raiders. Last week: 19

16. Baltimore Ravens (6-4): After a bye week, they'll look to finish up the final stretch on a high, beginning this week at New Orleans. They're still in the thick of the AFC North race and they have a favorable final six games. Last week: 15

17. Cleveland Browns (6-4): A 23-7 home loss to the Texans ended their three-game win streak and they fell out of first place. But they'll look to bounce back with two tough road games, at Atlanta and at Buffalo. Last week: 12

18. St. Louis Rams (4-6): With Shaun Hill at quarterback, they stunned the Broncos, 22-7, to go along with wins against the 49ers and Seahawks. Rookie Tre Mason had his best game, with 29 carries for 113 yards and Kenny Britt added 128 yards receiving. Last week: 22

19. Houston Texans (5-5): With Arian Foster out, Alfred Blue started and had 156 yards in a 23-7 win. Ryan Mallett was good, passing for 211 yards and two TDs to keep the Texans within a game of the Colts for first place in the AFC South. Last week: 21

20. Atlanta Falcons (4-6): A big road win at Carolina vaults them into the lead in the South Division, where all the teams have sub-.500 records. Someone has to win it and the playoff spot, and the Falcons could be poised, with a two-game streak. Last week: 23

21. Buffalo Bills (5-5): With two straight losses, they've fallen way behind in the playoff push. But without a running game (54 yards vs. the Dolphins), they're in a tough spot with Kyle Orton at the wheel. Last week: 17

22. New Orleans Saints (4-6): After a horrible home loss to the Bengals, the Saints still are in position to take the division crown but need to be more consistent on defense. Last week: 18

23. Chicago Bears (4-6): While running on fumes, they may have a last gasp left after dispatching the Vikings, 21-13, and ending their three-game skid. Jay Cutler had three TD passes and Alshon Jeffery had 135 yards and a TD. Last week: 29

24. Minnesota Vikings (4-6): After the bye week, they struggled against the Bears and squandered a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. They gave up three passing touchdowns and didn't threaten in the second half. Last week: 20

25. Carolina Panthers (3-7-1): Going into the bye week, the Panthers have to sort through a 19-17 loss to the Falcons. Cam Newton threw two touchdowns but also had two interceptions. The defense had no match for the Falcons receivers. Last week: 24

26. New York Giants (3-7): After an early touchdown, the defense gave up 16 straight points in a 16-10 loss to the 49ers. They're out of the playoff race, but can still try to mount some momentum for next season. Last week: 26

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8): Behind Josh McCown, they surprised Washington, 27-7. McCown passed for 288 yards, including 209 yards and two touchdowns to rookie Mike Evans. Last week: 31

28. Washington (3-6): Coming off a bye and losing to at home to the Bucs should count for two losses. Somehow, Washington did it and further spiraled into a horrible season. Robert Griffin III (207 yards, two interceptions) continued his struggles. Last week: 25

29. New York Jets (2-8): With a bye last week, they'll try to build off the win over the Steelers in Week 10 with a matchup at Buffalo on Sunday. Last week: 27

30. Tennessee Titans (2-8): A horrific fourth quarter led to their fourth straight loss, 27-24, to the Steelers. Zach Mettenberger (263 yards, two TDs) was better but the defense couldn't make a stop when they needed one. Last week: 28

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9): The good news is that the Jags didn't lose this week — that's because they were on a bye. They'll get a tough test at the Colts. Last week: 30

32. Oakland Raiders (0-10): The 0-16 train steams forward, with a 13-6 loss at San Diego. The rest of the schedule has just one sub-.500 team (St. Louis) and two games against the Chiefs, including one on Sunday. Last week: 32