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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 11

11.16.10 at 6:34 am ET

Fresh off a dominating win in Pittsburgh, Tom Brady and the Patriots soar back to the No. 1 slot in the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. The 2010 NFL season has been a strange one to say the least. There has yet to be a team to emerge as one of the league’s elite. However, a few teams have shown signs of greatness. The New York Jets (No. 2) fall into that category. The J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets irked out another victory in overtime and are on the doorstep of being called “the best”.

Two NFC teams jump into the top five. Michael Vick’s former team (Falcons No. 3) and his current team (Eagles No. 4)  represent the NFC well at the top. Matt Ryan and the Falcons won again at home against a strong Ravens squad. Meanwhile, the Eagles dominated their game against the Redskins in which they opened up the first quarter with 28 points (the best start for a road team, ever).

Finally, the No. 32 spot is occupied by a new owner. After a Bills victory, the Carolina Panthers now have the unpleasant title of “Worst team in the league”.

1. (5) 7-2 Every NFL team has a bad game. It’s how they respond the following week that shows how good they really are. The Pats once again bounced back from a loss, learned from their mistakes, and put a W in the column. Under the leadership of Bill Belichick, the Patriots are now 23-2 following a loss since 2003. The win in Pittsburgh is by-far their most impressive this year. They played physical, mistake-free football and made a statement across the league.

2. (3) 7-2 The Jets have overcome their poor play and mistakes the past two weeks on the road and have come out victorious both times. This team finds ways to win and that’s a trait of a great football team. They still have areas to improve in but you have to give Rex Ryan’s club credit for pulling through. The progression of Mark Sanchez from his rookie year to this year has to make other AFC teams concerned.

3. (6) 7-2 The Falcons showed a lot of grit coming back from a 13-point lead late in the fourth quarter. Great teams are able to overcome those types of deficits against worthy opponents. The Falcons proved that they should be in the conversation of “best team in football right now.”

4. (9) 6-3 Wow. Just an unbelievable performance Monday night from the Eagles offense. This Mike Vick led offense is a scoring machine and a nightmare to defend. The Eagles showed Monday they can put up an abundant amount of points in a short period of time. Vick has established that he can now pass the ball just as well as he can run it.

5. (1) 6-3 Last week’s No. 1 team played well and was on the brink of victory on the road in Atlanta. In a year when no team has emerged as elite, the Ravens still should be considered one of the best in the league.  

6. (2) 6-3 Being on the receiving end of a thrashing raised some real concerns for the Steelers. Injuries are starting to pile up on the offensive line. Pittsburgh allowed five-sacks to the Patriots Sunday night and running back Rashard Mendenhall was held to just 50 yards. Going into Sunday night’s game, the Patriots D had just 13 sacks all year and had allowed 355 rushing yards over the past two games.

7. (7) 6-3 The Packers are coming off their bye week and must keep up the intensity and production on the defensive side of the ball. The Vikings loss pretty much makes the NFC North a two-team race between Green Bay and Chicago. The Packers are the clear-cut favorite to take the division if their defense can continue to play well.

8. (8) 6-3 The Saints are coming off their bye week and have a pretty easy schedule ahead of them over the next four weeks. They’ll take on Seattle, Dallas, Cincinnati, and St. Louis. During that time they’re expected to get some key players back like Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas.

9. (10) 6-3 Peyton Manning continues to lead his team to victories despite a plethora of injuries. We’ll learn a lot more about how well the Colts can play without their key starters in the next two weeks when they take on the Patriots and the Chargers.

10. (4) 6-3 The Giants simply weren’t able to match the Cowboys energy level and it showed on Sunday. If the Giants want to make another Super Bowl run they desperately need to learn how to protect the football. Twenty-five turnovers this season have really hurt this team.

11. (12) 5-4 The Chiefs blowout loss to the Broncos put the Raiders in a tie for first-place in the AFC West. They’ll travel to Pittsburgh Sunday and face an angry Steelers team looking to recapture their pride.

12. (13) 4-5 It’s tough not to believe the Chargers won’t be  fighting to the end in the AFC West battle. Philip Rivers is arguably the league MVP at this point of the season. I’m sure the Chargers have spent plenty of time during the bye week trying to fix their special teams problems which have dragged them down all year.

13. (15) 5-4 The Dolphins may have won Sunday but they lost two quarterbacks. Chad Pennington has already been declared out for the season. Some reports say that Chad Henne could miss the rest of the year as well. Tony Sparano will likely have to turn to third-string quarterback Tyler Thigpen. Miami’s playoff hopes are dwindling with the injuries to their “Chads” and having to play in a division with both the Patriots and Jets.

14. (11) 5-4 Despite Randy Moss, the Titans struggled again passing the ball. The uncertainty every week at the quarterback position may be one of the reasons why. With Kerry Collins out ‘several weeks’, this is the time for Vince Young to once again step up and take over this offense. He certainly has the weapons to do so.

15. (16) 6-3 The Bears finally demonstrated Sunday they are capable of having a balanced offensive attack. They threw the ball 35 times and ran the ball 38 times. This change in offensive strategy helped them match the most points they’ve scored all year and was the main reason they were successful against the Vikings.

16. (14) 5-4 Back-to-back divisional road losses for the Chiefs have certainly knocked them down a few pegs. It’s back to the drawing board for this Chiefs defense. They are struggling to get pressure on the quarterback and the secondary has been getting picked apart by opposing quarterbacks.

17. (19) 3-6 Once again the Browns played extremely well against one of the top teams in the NFL. Mike Holmgren has to be excited about the play of his rookie QB. Colt McCoy has shown a lot of promise in his last three starts and hasn’t thrown an interception during that time.

18. (22) 5-4 Jaguars receiver Mike Thomas was on the receiving end on what could very possibly be the play of the year when the 2010 NFL season wraps up. However, give some credit to the Jags offense in their win. They possessed the ball for 35 minutes, David Garrard had a quarterback rating of 134.1, and Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for 100 yards.

19. (21) 6-3 The Bucs are a great story and have drastically improved from last year but they still can’t be considered one of the best in the NFC. Tampa has taken advantage of its easy schedule with six wins but has yet to beat a team over .500.

20. (20) 4-5 The Texans defense is one of the worst in the league. They have allowed more yards than any other team in the NFL this year and are also averaging the second-highest number of points allowed in the league.

21. (17) 4-5 Five years, $78 million for a 33-year-old Donovan McNabb? Really? Just when you thought the Redskins were turning the corner from the mistakes and bad decisions that had doomed them in the past; the news of the McNabb extension breaks and an embarrassing 31-point loss at home happens.

22. (25) 5-4 Matt Hasselbeck returned this past Sunday and gave Seahawks fans hope. If he can remain healthy, Seattle has a legitimate chance of making the playoffs. The veteran QB cracked his wrist in Sunday’s win but it looks like he will still play next week against the Saints.

23. (26) 3-6 Troy Smith has managed to help take the 49ers season off life support. Smith made big plays and helped lead his team to an overtime victory on Sunday. At 3-6, the 49ers are just two-games back of first-place in the NFC West and Jed York’s prediction doesn’t seem as crazy as many once thought when he made it back in early October.

24. (29) 3-6 Coming off their bye week and a four-game losing streak, the Broncos played like they had something to prove on Sunday. Kyle Orton has been amazing all year. He has the second most passing yards in the league and has only thrown five interceptions. The Broncos prolific passing offense was finally complemented by a solid rushing attack in the win over the first-place Chiefs. Additionally, on defense Denver was able to hold the league’s best rushing team to just 51 yards.

25. (18) 3-6 A team in shambles. That’s the best way to describe the Minnesota Vikings. The players in the locker room obviously don’t respect their head coach; a recipe for failure. Additionally we saw more of the same from Brett Favre. He threw three more interceptions.

26. (23) 4-5 The Rams have yet to win on the road. They suffered their fourth road loss of the season on Sunday against NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers. The Rams have to be concerned with their inability to protect Sam Bradford.

27. (30) 2-7 In Dallas, change is good. The Cowboys looked like a completely different team under new head coach Jason Garrett. We finally saw a Cowboys team that played with energy and a sense of urgency. Garrett made his team prepare a lot differently this week and it showed.

28. (24) 2-7 Turnovers have killed the Bengals all year and they added five more last Sunday. They now have a grand total of 19 on the year. Carson Palmer continues to make extremely costly decisions with the football. Three interceptions, one for a pick-six, made it impossible for the Bengals to win.

29. (28) 3-6 It’s tough to win when your defense is allowing 29-points-per-game. The Cards D once again was dominated and was the main reason Arizona lost its fourth straight.

30. (27) 2-7 Another game littered with penalties helped the Lions break their own record of 25 consecutive losses on the road. The severity of Matthew Stafford’s injury is still uncertain after his visit to Dr. James Andrews. Lions fans should pray it is nothing serious.

31. (32) 1-8 The Bills finally held on to a W after three weeks of having a win in their grasp. In the Bills last four games, the outcome has been decided by three points or less. Buffalo players and coaches can finally feel a sense of relief and move forward without 0-16 thoughts in the back of their minds.

32. (31) 1-8 Carolina is last in the league in many offensive statistical categories. The most alarming is their average of 11 points-per-game. It also doesn’t help that DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are injured.

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