The big story of Week 11 of the 2012 NFL regular season was good teams getting big scares. Both Atlanta and Houston did well to avoid what would have been shocking upsets, and New Orleans remained the hottest team in the league. There is no question about which team is the worst in pro football. Fans of the Chiefs have little to be thankful for regarding their NFL lives this year.
2012 Week 12 NFL power rankings
32. Kansas City Chiefs (1-9): If given the chance, how many KC fans would just simulate life up to the end of the 2012 regular season? I wonder if Santa will get the Chiefs at least one more win before January.
31. Carolina Panthers (2-8): People can fawn over the Bucs all they want. Carolina had no business losing that game, and their fans really deserved better.
30. Oakland Raiders (3-7): I predicted that the Raiders would get blown out at home by the Saints, but even I was surprised by their lackluster effort. The Oakland defense would probably give up 30 points to the 2011 Browns.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9): The Jags were on the cusp of the upset of the season until they remembered who they are and folded like a cheap IKEA chair. If I’m Blaine Gabbert, I’m looking at selling my Jacksonville property and soon.
28. Philadelphia Eagles (3-7): E-A-G-L-O-L-E-S. Andy Reid says he isn’t quitting on his team. Who wants to tell him his players already called it a season a few weeks ago?
27. Cleveland Browns (2-8): Without Joe Haden as an available option, the Browns may have the worst secondary in the history of professional football. Buster Skrine was twice flagged for illegal contact in the time it took you to read that last sentence.
26. St. Louis Rams (3-6-1): The Rams were bossed around. At home. By the Jets. The New York Jets. Yeah.
25. Arizona Cardinals (4-6): Unable to hold onto the win at Atlanta and thus unable to prevent falling in NFL power rankings once again. Ken Whisenhunt is going to have multiple difficult questions to answer this coming offseason.
24. Miami Dolphins (4-6): If there really is such a thing as a “rookie wall” for NFL quarterbacks, Ryan Tannehill has crashed directly into it. He’ll ultimately be a fine QB, but Miami’s playoff hopes died a death weeks ago.
23. New York Jets (4-6): The Jets slapped around a bad St. Louis team. Big whoop. Call me if they beat the Pats on Thanksgiving night.
22. Buffalo Bills (4-6): Perhaps you’ve noticed a trend. The AFC East stinks, but Buffalo, New York and Miami are still alive in the Wild Card race. The NFL of the modern era, kids.
21. Detroit Lions (4-6): Detroit was one of several teams to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Week 11. Matt Stafford’s decision making skills seem to deteriorate with each week, and the Detroit defense is not one that’s capable of carrying the load.
20. San Diego Chargers (4-6): The AFC is largely lousy, so San Diego still has a chance to make the postseason. Time is running out for the not-so-super Chargers, though, and they have to host a very good Ravens team this coming Sunday.
19. Tennessee Titans (4-6): All of a sudden, an away game at Jacksonville doesn’t seem like a complete gimme. The Titans had better not be looking ahead, or else Chad Henne and company will make them pay.
18. Washington Redskins (4-6): Yes, RG3 is great, but blowing out the Eagles doesn’t mean what it would have even one year ago. With that said, a win at Dallas on Thanksgiving Day would put them one game back from .500 and potentially one game behind the Giants in the division standings.
17. Indianapolis Colts (6-4): OK, OK, perhaps I got a little too excited about Andrew Luck and the Colts. I still see Indy as an eventual playoff team, but the defense must play better against quality opponents.
16. Dallas Cowboys (5-5): Jerry’s boys fall in NFL power rankings despite winning because they couldn’t be bothered to show up against the Browns until the third quarter. A better team would have beaten Dallas by 20 on that day.
15. Cincinnati Bengals (5-5): Beating the teams on your schedule is the name of the game. Cincy should be able to take care of business at home against the lowly Raiders, and the Bengals could pass the Steelers in the standings by month’s end if Big Ben is sidelined for several weeks.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4): One thing you can say about the Bucs: They won’t be easy to beat in a Wild Card game if they get into the playoffs. They also won’t be facing off against the likes of Carolina once the January games begin.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4): It’s hard to have too much faith in the Steelers without knowing when Ben Roethlisberger will be able to return. They’re not a playoff team without him.
12. Seattle Seahawks (6-4): The bad news is that Seattle isn’t nearly as good when away as they are at home. The good news is that they’re playing at floundering Miami in Week 12.
11. New York Giants (6-4): A November swoon is hardly anything new for this team, but the Giants can’t afford to be at anything but their best when they host the Packers on Sunday night.
10. Minnesota Vikings (6-4): Minnesota can make quite the statement by winning at Chicago following the Bye week. Things don’t get easier for the Vikes after that, as they’ll start off December with a trip to Green Bay.
9. New Orleans Saints (5-5): Yep, the Saints are back. New Orleans has as much momentum as does any team at this point of the season, and Drew Brees is quickly becoming a real MVP candidate.
8. Chicago Bears (7-3): The Bears looked really bad on Monday night, but what did you really expect? They’re a different team with Jay Cutler on the field, so Chicago fans shouldn’t be pressing the panic button just yet.
7. New England Patriots (7-3): Tom Brady and the New England offense “sonned” Luck and the Colts. The team’s defense is still a worry, but it’s difficult to pick against the Pats when Brady is playing this well.
6. San Francisco 49ers (7-2-1): Regardless of who starts at QB, the Niners have a pretty good defense. I still like them to win the division.
5. Denver Broncos (7-3): Unless calamity strikes, Denver is going to host at least one playoff game in January. As long as Peyton Manning can limit mistakes, the Broncos can beat any team in the league.
4. Green Bay Packers (7-3): Aaron Rodgers just isn’t letting the Packers lose right now. They’ll be favorites to win the division if Jay Cutler can’t stay healthy in December.
3. Baltimore Ravens (8-2): Baltimore beat their hated rivals on the road and they’ve got a two-game lead over Pittsburgh in the division standings. The Ravens and their fans have plenty for which to be thankful this November.
2. Atlanta Falcons (9-1): Atlanta would have jumped back into the top spot of NFL power rankings had they not struggled to defeat a “meh” Arizona team at home. The Falcons continue to flirt with danger, and thus it’s hard to label them favorites to do anything but exit the playoffs early.
1. Houston Texans (9-1): You can’t spell “win ugly” without w-i-n, and the Texans showed true fight in rallying from behind and earning a tough victory. There are definitely questions about the team’s defense following a near loss to the Jags, but the victory counts all the same.