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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 12 11.23.10 at 8:21 am ET
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The AFC East is the cream of the crop once again in the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. The Patriots and Jets remain the top dogs for the second straight week. The division rivals are on a collision course to fight it out for first place when they face off in New England on Dec. 6.

For the first time this year, every team in the top five was victorious. In fact, eight of the top 10 teams came out of Week 11 with a win. Despite losing, the Colts (No. 9) and the Giants (10) stay put in their respective spots, keeping the top 10 intact.

Week 12 certainly will cause some major movement in the rankings. There are many marquee matchups ahead. The Packers (No. 7) will face the Falcons (3), the 7-3 Eagles (4) will face the 7-3 Bears (11), and the red-hot Chargers (12) will face the struggling Colts (9).

The Bengals plummet all the way to the No. 31 spot while the Panthers are getting comfortable at No. 32.

1. (1) 8-2 We’re seeing typical Patriots football from the 2010 Pats. They take away what the opposing team does well and find a way to win each week. Last week, they held the potent Rashard Mendenhall to just 50 yards on the ground. In the win over the Colts, they made Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis non-factors. On defense, they are making big plays when needed most. The Pats have a total of 18 takeaways.

2. (2) 8-2 In a league in which it is extremely difficult to win on the road, the Jets are 5-0 away from the Meadowlands. Surprisingly, the Jets offense has been the story of this team in 2010. The poise Mark Sanchez has shown in the past few weeks has been impressive. The second-year quarterback’s ability to win games in the closing minutes has to be something Jets fans are extremely pleased with.

3. (3) 8-2 Atlanta is in a three-way tie for the best record in the NFL. Offensively, it looks like the Falcons are getting into a good rhythm. They have an extremely balanced attack between the pass and run. Michael Turner rushed for 131 yards Sunday while Matt Ryan threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns.

4. (4) 7-3 That’s back-to-back division wins for the Eagles, who are in prime position to take the NFC East. Sunday night’s game showed that the offense isn’t the only unit on the team that can help win games. Philly’s D played great again. This is an extremely aggressive and opportunistic defense. On Sunday night the Eagles picked off Eli Manning three times and held him to a quarterback rating of 53.5.

5. (5) 7-3 The Ravens have learned getting Ray Rice the ball is one of the most important things they can do offensively. Rice had 65 yards on the ground and 66 receiving yards Sunday. On defense, the Ravens continue to hold their opponents to a low number of points. The Ravens allow an average of just 17.8-points per game.

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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 11 11.16.10 at 6:34 am ET
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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.   Read the rest of this entry »

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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 10 11.09.10 at 6:02 am ET
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A new team enters a familiar position in this week’s edition of the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. Like many teams ranked No. 1 this year, the Patriots reign on top was short-lived. This week, the Baltimore Ravens edge the Pittsburgh Steelers and hold the title “Best team in football” for the second time this season.

The conclusion of Week 9 brings new life to the NFC. The G-Men climb their way into the top five and sit at No. 4. The Falcons (No. 6), Packers (No. 7), and Eagles (No. 9) all leap up after impressive wins.

The bottom-feeders remain the same. The Cardinals (No. 28), Broncos ( No.29), Cowboys (No. 30), Panthers (No. 31), and Bills (No. 32) all retain their spots from the previous week.

1. (3) 6-2 The Ravens defense played tough, physical football Sunday. They were able to get pressure on Chad Henne and forced three interceptions. On offense, Baltimore benefitted from giving Ray Rice more touches. Rice had 22 carries but also caught seven passes out of the backfield.

2. (2) 6-2 The Steelers defense does it every time. They make big plays in key moments of the game. On Monday night, they stepped up again and ended a late Bengals surge. The “Steel Curtain” also can boast about their 21 takeaways this season.

3. (5) 6-2 The Jets improved to 6-2 but Rex Ryan must be worried about his offense. The receiving core continues to drop balls and the offensive unit as a whole is consistently turning the ball over and committing penalties.

4. (6) 6-2 The Giants have a balanced offensive attack and one of the best defensive lines in football. Their offensive unit turned in another solid performance Sunday in Seattle with 197 yards on the ground and 290 yards through the air.

5. (Last week, 1) 6-2 The Patriots offense is still adjusting to life without Randy Moss. Tom Brady and his offensive unit have struggled over the past few weeks, especially Wes Welker. Over the past three weeks Welker hasn’t had more than four catches. Defensively, the Pats have struggled tremendously against the run. They will have a chance to redeem themselves against one of the best running backs in the league, Rashard Mendenhall, Sunday night against the Steelers.   Read the rest of this entry »

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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 9 11.01.10 at 8:20 pm ET
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A new team reigns supreme in this week’s edition of the NFL Power Rankings. Riding a five-game winning streak and holding sole possession of the best record in football, Tom Brady and the Patriots climb to No. 1 in the rankings.

The AFC still dominates at the top of the rankings. The Steelers, Ravens, Colts and Jets round out the Fantastic Five.

After another bizarre week in the NFL in which we saw the Jets held scoreless at home, Donovan McNabb benched in favor of Rex Grossman to run the two-minute drill and Brett Favre taken off the field in a cart, nothing seems more peculiar than the news of Randy Moss being waived by the Vikings. Following the Vikings’ loss and the sense that head coach Brad Childress has lost all respect in his team’s locker room, Minnesota plunges to No. 19.

Two other notable teams that started the season ranked high are currently in the bottom of the barrel, with the Dallas Cowboys (No. 30) and the Cincinnati Bengals (No. 24) scraping new lows.

1. (Last week, 3) 6-1 The news for the Patriots got even better this week with reports emerging that Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins will return to the team on Tuesday. The Patriots are looking more and more like the team we saw dominate the past decade. They’re an extremely disciplined team that doesn’t commit many penalties and rarely turns the ball over. They rank at the top of the league in both of those categories. Bill Belichick‘s young defense seems to be improving and gaining confidence each week. Jerod Mayo leads the league with 86 tackles.

2. (1) 5-2 Overall, a loss to the defending champs on the road isn’t too much to worry about for Steelers fans. Ben Roethlisberger and the offense still don’t look 100 percent comfortable. They probably need a few more games to get on the same page. In the loss to the Saints, New Orleans was able to get pressure and confuse “Big Ben” all game.

3. (4) 5-2 The Ravens benefit from the bye week in more ways than one. Not only did Joe Flacco and company enjoy some needed rest but they also moved into first place in the AFC North after the Steelers fell to the Saints.

4. (5) 5-2 Peyton Manning continues to impress. No. 18 has shown time and time again that he can get the job done no matter what personnel makes up his receiving corps. On defense, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are nightmares for opposing offensive lines and quarterbacks.

5. (2) 5-2 The Jets should have some serious concerns about their offense. Coming off an extra week of preparation, the Jets offense was horrendous. Since starting his first five games with zero interceptions, Mark Sanchez has thrown four interceptions in his last two games. At the same time, Sanchez got no help from his receivers, who dropped nine passes.

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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 8 10.26.10 at 12:10 pm ET
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Week 7 is in the books and the top five teams remain intact in the latest edition of’s NFL Power Rankings. The Steelers, Jets, Patriots, Ravens and Colts sit comfortably in spots 1-5, respectively. It is obvious through seven weeks of football that the AFC rules in the NFL. Seven out of the top 10 ranked teams represent the AFC. Jumping in this week are the Titans (No. 7) and the Dolphins (No. 9). Those teams replace the Saints and Eagles, who both suffered big losses on Sunday.

The Saints go marching out of the top 10 and drop all the way to No. 11 after being embarrassed at home by the meager Browns. The defending champs suffered their third loss of the season. During their championship run last season, they lost three times all year.

The Bears also plunge this week to No. 17. The same problems haunt the Bears each week and it seems they can’t improve on the offensive line and passing game.

At the bottom of the barrel, the Bills remain at No. 32 and are the only winless team in the NFL.  There is, at least, some novelty to their basement perch, as the Bills have a new neighbor, with the 49ers falling to No. 31.

1. (Last week, 1) 5-1 Even though the Steelers probably should have lost Sunday against the Dolphins, it’s tough not to put them at the top. Ben Roethlisberger will continue to improve as the season progresses and the Steelers D is one of the best in the league. One thing to watch for is the loss of defensive end Aaron Smith, who is a major contributor to Pittsburgh’s elite defense.

2. (2) 5-1 After a week off, the Jets along with a presumably healthy Darrelle Revis will put their five-game winning streak on the line against the Packers at home.

3. (3) 5-1 This team has been criticized for its poor play on the road and in the second half in the past. On Sunday, however, the Patriots stepped up their game and managed to win on the road. After struggling mightily on offense in the first half, Tom Brady led a 76-yard touchdown drive to open the third quarter that took over eight minutes off the clock. Bill Belichick’s young defense is making noteworthy progress and has become fun to watch.

4. (4) 5-2 Baltimore’s pass defense has looked very suspect over the last two weeks. When your team allows the Buffalo Bills offense to gain 374 yards in the air, something has to be fixed. The Ravens have a bye this week and then will try and get back on track.

5. (5) 4-2 Peyton Manning is facing one of the biggest tests in his career. Can No. 18 continue to win games with his receiving core in shambles or will injuries finally put a stop to the Colts’ long run of success?

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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 7 10.19.10 at 12:02 pm ET
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The Pittsburgh Steelers claim the throne in this week’s edition of the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. Led by Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers finally can improve their pass game and complement a defense that is allowing just 12 points per game. Moving on up into the top five are Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. After a thrilling overtime win at home against the Ravens, the Patriots proved they can win against the NFL’s best.

Making a big leap to No. 7 are the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite a looming quarterback controversy, the Eagles showed how dynamic their offense can be with either Kevin Kolb or Michael Vick behind center.

Falling out of the top 10 are the Green Bay Packers (No. 11) and Chicago Bears (No. 13). Injuries are piling up over at Lambeau Field and the Bears’ offensive line struggles continue to be a major problem.

Week 7 will feature some exciting NFC matchups that promise to cause some major ripple effects in the rankings. The Vikings are at Green Bay and the Giants are at Dallas.

1. (Last week, 3) 4-1 The Steelers are one of the most complete teams in the NFL right now. Ben Roethlisberger showed some rust in his return but also made some outstanding throws. Now, Pittsburgh has a passing offense to go along with their great run game and defense.

2. (2) 5-1 The Jets will go into their bye week after rattling off a very impressive five-game winning streak. Cornerback Darrelle Revis obviously isn’t healthy and could benefit greatly from the time off. One of the main keys to New York’s success through six games has been the play of a rejuvenated LaDainian Tomlinson. The 31-year-old running back leads a Jets running attack that ranks second in the NFL.

3. (6) 4-1 The Patriots defense was very impressive down the stretch in the fourth quarter and overtime. New England’s D was able to stop the Ravens on their final five drives. Bill Belichick said it was the best game his outside linebackers have played all year. Their win over the Ravens should definitely be a confidence booster going forward.

4. (1) 4-2 The Ravens just finished a tough stretch of games where they played New York, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and New England, all on the road. Now the Ravens can enjoy some games at home and should be able to bounce back from their loss to the Patriots. After the game, Ray Lewis was already looking forward to the next game when they take on the Bills at home saying, “It’s going to be rough on Buffalo.”

5. (5) 4-2 Plagued with injuries, it seems the Colts can overcome anything as long as they have No. 18 under center. Peyton Manning has been playing outstanding as usual. Indy is also able to rush the passer and is able to force mistakes with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis on the ends.

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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 6 10.12.10 at 12:29 pm ET
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The 1972 Dolphins can rest easy. Parity rules in the NFL and for the first time since 1970, there are no 4-0 teams. However, there are some teams that are finally starting to pull away and look like the league’s best. For the second straight week, the Baltimore Ravens are No. 1, the New York Jets are No. 2, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are No. 3 in WEEI’s NFL Power Rankings. The Ravens have three big road wins, two against divisional opponents, and they look like the most complete team in the NFL. The Jets are enjoying a 3-0 record in the AFC East and are playing well in all three phases of the game.

After a long run, the Saints fall out of the top five to No. 7. Drew Brees has thrown five interceptions already and is certainly feeling the effects of a weak running game. The Giants squeeze into the top ten at No. 9 after back-to-back wins and a defensive line that has looked dynamic.

The Cowboys drop all the way to No. 20 after another mistake-ridden game. Wade Phillips and Dallas’ coaching staff have done a horrendous job to this point. Dallas has yet to win at home in 2010. Another underachieving team is the Cincinnati Bengals. After an amazing 2009 season, the Bengals have been awful this season and are going into Week 6 having suffered back-to-back losses to the Browns and Bucs.

The Panthers and the Bills remain winless and in the cellar.

1. (Last week, 1) 4-1 The dual rushing attack of Ray Rice and Willis McGahee, complemented by a relentless defense, has the Ravens atop the NFL as the best team in the league.

2. (2) 4-1 Through five weeks, this Jets team looks as good as advertised. The Jets have posted a takeaway-giveaway differential of 11; that leads the league. This team has turned the ball over just once this season. Meanwhile, quarterback Mark Sanchez has thrown zero interceptions. Last year, he had 20.

3. (3) 3-1 The Steelers will be licking their chops Sunday when a rookie quarterback will lead a struggling offense into Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s defense is one of the best in the league and with Ben Roethlisberger returning, the Steelers are in great position to do some damage as the season progresses.

4. (5) 4-1 The first-place Atlanta Falcons have put together a nice winning streak after losing in Week 1 to the Steelers. One of the keys to Atlanta’s success has been scoring points off their takeaways. The team’s rushing attack, led by Michael Turner, is second only to the New York Jets.

5. (8) 3-2 The Colts proved they can win without Peyton Manning having a Peyton Manning-like game. Against the Chiefs, it was Indy’s defense that stepped up in the red zone. The Colts also allowed just a field goal following a Manning interception that put Kansas City in great field position.

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