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WEEI NFL Power Rankings — Week 11

11.17.09 at 9:30 am ET
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The battle of the undefeated continues this week in WEEI’s NFL Power Rankings. The Colts were on the brink of falling out of their No. 2 spot for the first time since Week 5 but found a way to stop the Patriots and overcome a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter. The Saints stay at No. 1 as they continue to creep closer and closer to 16-0.

The Bengals have made the AFC North teams “Kiss the Baby” and now sit in the driver’s seat in the best position to win the division. They continue to claw their way up the rankings and now sit at No. 4.

The Super Chargers also are on the rise. Four straight wins has them on the brink of taking over the top spot in the AFC West for the first time this season. The Bolts jump five spots and move into No. 7.

The J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets continue to fall, this time out of the top 20. Rex Ryan and his team are at No. 23 and on their way down.

New Orleans Saints1. (Last week, 1) 9-0 Questions have been raised about this team after New Orleans defeated the Rams by just five points. However, the Saints remain unbeaten and continue to get the job done week after week. With a very soft schedule going forward, the Saints have a great opportunity at 16-0.

2. (2) 9-0 Peyton Manning can’t be stopped, but the Colts secondary was very much exposed Sunday night. The Colts will need their defensive backs to step up. I doubt they receive any more gifts like the one Bill Belichick gave them.

Minnesota Vikings3. (4) 8-1 Brett Favre is showing no signs of slowing down like he did last year in the second half of the season. Adrian Peterson needs to protect the ball better. If he does, the Vikings could be a serious Super Bowl contender.

Cincinnati Bengals4. (7) 7-2 The sweep of the Steelers and Ravens is a big statement, telling the National Football League that the Bengals definitely are for real and able to compete with the best teams.

New England Patriots 5. (5) 6-3 The Patriots can take a lot of positives out of the loss to the Colts. For the most part, they dominated the game. The offense has struggled in the red zone all year and it came back to bite them against Indianapolis. If they can solve their red zone troubles and learn from the mistakes they’ve made, the Patriots can be the best team in the AFC, which they proved by their performance against Indy.

Pittsburgh Steelers 6. (3) 6-3 The Steelers suffered another blow on Sunday, potentially losing Troy Polamalu for a long time after he injured the same left knee that kept him out for four weeks.

7. (12) 6-3 Four straight wins for the Chargers and three straight losses by the Broncos has San Diego riding high with confidence going into a big divisional game in Denver this Sunday.

Denver Broncos8. (6) 6-3 If Kyle Orton‘s injury is serious, the Broncos’ magical season is over. The loss to the Redskins opened a lot of eyes.

Arizona Cardinals9. (14) 6-3 The Cardinals offense can be scary good if the run game can continue to take the pressure off Kurt Warner. Beanie Wells has showed signs this season that he can do it.

Dallas Cowboys10. (8) 6-3 Dallas lost starting right tackle Marc Colombo and starting safety Ken Hamlin in the loss to the Packers. These are two key players that could significantly impact the Cowboys if they can’t find the personnel to step up and fill these roles.

Houston Texans11. (11) 5-4 The Texans run into a hot Titans team on Monday night. Houston can’t afford many more losses down the stretch if it wants a chance to win a wild card spot in the AFC.

12. (10) 5-4 The Eagles need to have more of a balanced attack on offense and take pressure off Donovan McNabb. This will be a tough task now that Brian Westbrook is out indefinitely with his second concussion in as many games.

13. (9) 5-4 Matt Ryan is having some growing pains and is turning the ball over too much to keep his team in games. The Falcons defensive line has been unable to establish an effective pass rush.

14. (13) 5-4 After realizing they were tied against the Browns going into the second half Monday night, the Ravens began to play inspired football and scored 16 unanswered points. There are a lot of question marks surrounding this team and it will be a dogfight to the end as Baltimore competes with several other solid AFC teams for a spot in the playoffs.

Green Bay Packers15. (20) 5-4 Green Bay brought pressure on the quarterback and allowed just seven points to Dallas on Sunday. However, more of the same problems continued on offense, as Aaron Rodgers was brought down four times. Rodgers has been sacked 41 times this year. The next closest in the league is Matt Cassel (29 sacks).

16. (16) 5-4 The Giants must have enjoyed their bye week watching both the Eagles and Cowboys lose. Let’s see if they can take advantage and rebound from their losing streak.

San Francisco 49ers17. (19) 4-5 Alex Smith needs to rely on his supporting cast for the 49ers to win games. If San Francisco can take the ball out of Smith’s hands and not allow him to make mistakes, it can be competitive. The defense has been solid most of the year. This is a team that could be very good in the next year or two.

Jacksonville Jaguars18. (22) 5-4 Maurice Jones-Drew has put this team on his back and is leading by example. Everyone but Jets fans has to love the smart, selfless play where he downed the ball on the 1-yard line instead of walking into the end zone, not allowing the Jets another chance to touch the football.

Miami Dolphins19. (15) 4-5 A near loss to the Buccaneers and Ronnie Brown on crutches following the game has the Dolphins dropping three spots.

Chicago Bears20. (17) 4-5 After his five-interception performance, Jay Cutler has passed Jake Delhomme on the interception list and sits at top with 17. That’s four more than Delhomme. The Bears can’t win games if Cutler can’t protect the football.

21. (25) 3-6 Owner Bud Adams was fined $250,000 for flipping off Buffalo fans following his team’s stomping of the Bills. Must see video if you haven’t seen it yet. The Titans are one of the hottest teams in the NFL and are led by arguably the league’s best running back (Chris Johnson) and a quarterback (Vince Young) who is doing a tremendous job managing the game and not turning over the ball.

Carolina Panthers22. (24) 4-5 Three games in a row with no interceptions for Jake Delhomme.

New York Jets23. (18) 4-5 The Jets’ playoff chances are hanging by a thread, and it won’t get easier for them Sunday when they travel to Foxboro to face a Patriots team thirsty for revenge.

Washington Redskins24. (27) 3-6 The Redskins have a tough schedule ahead of them. Two games on the road against the Cowboys and Eagles then back home to face the Saints.

Seattle Seahawks25. (23) 3-6 It’s tough not to respect a coach such as Jim Mora Jr. who defends his players to all ends. The Seahawks’ mediocre secondary will have its hands full Sunday against the Vikings.

Buffalo Bills26. (21) 3-6 Worst free agent signing of the year: Terrell Owens.

Kansas City Chiefs27. (28) 2-7 Larry Johnson‘s replacement, Jamaal Charles, is averaging 5.4 yards per carry and has almost as many yards rushing with less than half as many carries.

St. Louis Rams28. (29) 1-8 Got to give some props to the Rams for being able to stay competitive against the Saints and only allow Drew Brees to throw for 223 yards.

Oakland Raiders29. (26) 2-7 JaMarcus Russell certainly is not the answer. The Raiders have some talent on defense and can be successful if they fix their problems at the QB position.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers30. (30) 1-8 On the brink of victory, the Bucs fell just short. It was tough not to feel bad for Tampa Bay after the loss to the Dolphins.

Detroit Lions31. (31) 1-8 The Lions have a great shot at getting their second win of the season next week against the Browns. While the Lions have one of the worst defenses in the league, the Browns offense could be worse.

Cleveland Browns32. (32) 1-8 The Browns offensive struggles are pathetic. Will it be one year and done for Eric Mangini?

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