Detroit News NFL Power Rankings: Week 11

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

1. Arizona Cardinals (8-1): With a fourth-quarter comeback, they beat the Rams, 31-14. But losing QB Carson Palmer to an ACL injury could be a blow to their special season. New starter Drew Stanton will get a stiff test from the Lions, his former team. Last week: 1

2. New England Patriots (7-2): Coming off the bye, they start an intriguing stretch of games: at the Colts, home vs. the Lions and at Green Bay. Last week: 2

3. Denver Broncos (7-2): There was little doubt they'd handle the Raiders easily, which they did in a 41-17 rout. Peyton Manning tossed five touchdowns and they're getting primed for the stretch run. Last week: 3

4. Detroit Lions (7-2): After a third straight fourth-quarter comeback — a 20-16 win over the Dolphins — they look to be the real deal. If they beat the Cardinals this week, make room on the bandwagon. The Calvin Johnson-Golden Tate duo could be potent. Last week: 5

5. Philadelphia Eagles (7-2): Maybe Mark Sanchez isn't so bad after all — he looked good in replacing the injured Nick Foles. The race down the stretch with the Cowboys could be one of the best in recent memory. Last week: 4

6. Indianapolis Colts (6-3): Following a bye week, they'll get a measuring-stick matchup, hosting the Patriots. It's the toughest game in the second half of the schedule and could have playoff-seeding implications. Last week: 6

7. Seattle Seahawks (6-3): In the second half, they pulled away from the Giants for a 38-17 win. Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch lived up to his nickname, battering through the defense. Left for dead, the Seahawks are making a strong statement now. Last week: 7

8. Dallas Cowboys (7-3): The Cowboys were fine without Tony Romo, but obviously are a better team with him. Dez Bryant went bananas in the first half against the Jags and DeMarco Murray got back to the 100-yard mark rushing. Last week: 9

9. Green Bay Packers (6-3): Aaron Rodgers didn't need to play in the second half, after throwing six touchdowns in the first 30 minutes in destroying the Bears, 55-14. Things seem to be getting back to normal in Lambeau Land. Last week: 12

10. San Francisco 49ers (5-4): They got a critical overtime win over the Saints, 27-24, after a tying field goal in the final minute and the winner in overtime by Phil Dawson. That keeps them in the thick of the NFC playoff race. Last week: 14

11. Kansas City Chiefs (6-3): Make it four straight wins — and six of the last seven — for the Chiefs, one of the hottest teams in the league. It gets a bit harder this week, hosting the Seahawks, but they get the Raiders after that. Last week: 13

12. Cleveland Browns (6-3): Wait — the Browns are leading the AFC North? All four teams are separated by just a game, but Cleveland has the advantage for now, with a tough schedule left in the season. But at least they're in the mix. Last week: 17

13. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4): At some point, the bubble has to burst on Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. But against the Jets? Big Ben was closer to matching his six TD numbers in recent weeks with interceptions (two) against Rex Ryan's defense. Last week: 8

14. Miami Dolphins (5-4): In a 20-16 loss to the Lions, the offense never got going and the defense couldn't hold the lead in the final minutes. They lost a chance to keep pace with the Patriots, but bounce back against the Bills this week. Last week: 11

15. Baltimore Ravens (6-4): The big win over the Titans keeps them on pace with the Browns in the division race, ahead of the bye week. Justin Forsett, the AFC offensive player of the week, had 112 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Last week: 19

16. Cincinnati Bengals: (5-3-1): They didn't bother showing up in a pivotal home game against the rival Browns. Andy Dalton's line: 10-for-33 for 86 yards and three interceptions. That's not going to win many games, at any level. Last week: 10

17. Buffalo Bills (5-4): After leading by 10 in the fourth quarter at home, they couldn't hold on and fell to the Chiefs, 17-13. They had a chance to take a step up in the playoff race, and couldn't take advantage, but have another shot with Miami this week. Last week: 15

18. New Orleans Saints (4-5): Even after an overtime loss at home to the 49ers, they're still leading the woeful NFC South Division, which doesn't have a team with a record of .500 or better. Last week: 16

19. San Diego Chargers (5-4): Following a bye week, they'll look to end their three-game losing streak, hosting the Raiders. With the Rams following, it could be a chance to recover from the slide. Last week: 18

20. Minnesota Vikings (4-5): The bye week may have come at a bad time for them, with a two-game win streak. But they're getting the woeful Bears at the right time, before facing the Packers the following week. Last week: 20

21. Houston Texans (4-5): Having lost four of five, they'll try to bounce back from the bye week with a tough game at Cleveland. They're not out of the playoff race, but it's getting close. Last week: 22

22. St. Louis Rams (3-6): After giving up the lead last week in the fourth quarter against the Cardinals, the Rams may not see a lead this week, hosting the Broncos. The offense has been bad, but the defense will get its toughest test. Last week: 21

23. Atlanta Falcons (3-6): Ending their five game skid keeps them in the NFC South race, with a big game at Carolina this week. Julio Jones (119 yards) and Roddy White (72 yards, TD) proved to be a potent combination. Last week: 27

24. Carolina Panthers (3-6-1): Quarterback Cam Newton isn't at 100 percent and it's showing in their lackluster performances, with an embarrassing loss to the Eagles, their fourth straight setback. Still, they're somehow in the NFC South race. Last week: 23

25. Washington (3-6): After the bye, Robert Griffin III gets another week to prep and they get a home game against the Bucs. Last week: 24

26. New York Giants (3-6): With a fourth straight loss after falling to the Seahawks, they're in dire straits, with the 49ers and Cowboys coming up in the next two weeks. Odell Beckham Jr. had seven catches for 108 yards. Last week: 25

27. New York Jets (2-8): They ended their eight-game losing streak by stifling Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, 20-13, holding on the final minutes. Michael Vick tossed two touchdowns and the defense held on. Last week: 29

28. Tennessee Titans (2-7): They jumped ahead in the first quarter but whimpered the rest of the way in a 21-7 loss at Baltimore. Behind Zach Mettenberger, the offense managed just 210 yards, with only 67 yards on the ground. Last week: 28

29. Chicago Bears (3-6): After a disastrous first half, they may have just wanted to crown the Packers. Beyond the scoreboard (55-14), it was a crushing blow to morale and one has to wonder whether they'll nosedive for the last seven games. Last week: 26

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9): The Jags didn't have any better luck in London than in the States, losing to the Cowboys, 31-17. Denard Robinson continues to impress, with two rushing touchdowns. Last week: 30

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8): They played the Falcons tough, holding a one-point lead early in the fourth quarter before falling, 27-17. After five straight losses, the prospects look better for a win, on the road vs. Washington and Chicago. Last week: 31

32. Oakland Raiders (0-9): If there was one expected loss, it was to the Broncos — and the Raiders didn't disappoint in a 41-17 spanking. Derek Carr continues to take his lumps, but isn't helped the worst rushing offense (62.1 yards), which only go 30 yards. Last week: 32