by Matt Loede, NFL Gridiron Gab
Week 13 of the NFL season is already upon us, and with it teams are gearing up for playoff runs, or looking to secure their place for the post season. With that, here are our power rankings for week 12 around the league.
NFC Top 5
1. NY Giants (1) - Another week, another test passed for the Giants, as a win in Arizona even without Plaxico Burress or Brandon Jacobs shows the depth this team has. They are looking to lay the knockout blow on the rest of the NFC in the next few weeks to make sure they will have two games at the Meadowlands in January in the postseason.
2. Arizona (3) - They were able to hang with the champion Giants for awhile, but some key mistakes and the inability to get it done down the strech lead them to their fourth loss of the year. They will clinch the division in the next 1-2 weeks, and with that can start looking to try and get that all important two seed. They have a big game at Philly Thursday night.
3. Tampa Bay (3) - Tampa Bay continues to play well, and this week they were able to overcome a 17-0 slow start to win at Ford Field over the Lions. Jeff Garcia and the offense is going to be tested without the services of Earnest Graham, but they do have Warrick Dunn and Carnell Williams to fall back on. They are also looking for that important two seed.>
4. Carolina (3) - A big setback in Atlanta Sunday, the Panthers will look to bounce back this week with a big game in Lambeau Field vs the Pack. They were not able to shut down the Falcons offense, and showed some cracks in the armor on that side of the ball. Jake Delhomme has to get going in the right direction again.
5. Dallas (5) - I guess we see what happens when Terrell Owens is single covered. He ripped apart his old team in the Niners, and the Cowboys are starting to show that swagger again. They should move to 8-4 this week with a home game Thursday vs the Seahawks. Tony Romo is looking more and more at ease after the injury that sat him a few weeks.
NFC Bottom 3
1. Detroit (1) -Tough to watch this team week after week as they again had a home lead, this time 17-0 only to have their awful defense allow the Bucs back in the game in the eventual loss. While it's a no-brainer that this team will get revamped this offseason, it would be nice to see Rod Marinelli get at least one win.
2. Seattle (2) - They hung in with the Skins at home, but Washington was able to drive down the field late and kick a game-winning field goal to win 20-17. It gets no easier for the now 2-9 Hawks, as they have to take on the red-hot Cowboys this Thursday on the road. That one won't be very pretty.
3. St.Louis (3) - Another ugly home loss this past week for the Rams, who have only scored 147 points in 11 games, and three this week vs the Bears. They need a tear down job as well at the end of the year, and here's a name to keep an eye on as a coach that maybe could turn their misfortunes around - Brian Billick.
AFC Top 5
1. Tennessee (1) - The pressure of being undefeated is off the Titans now, as they were soundly beaten by the Jets at home Sunday. They should bounce back nicely vs the awful Lions Thursday, but the LenDale White comments were a little strange considering that this team has been so much on the same page all year.
2. Pittsburgh (2) - I'll keep them at two this week as I give them the edge over the Jets due to their defense. It is the best D this team has had since the 1994 season, and they showed that against the bad Bengals Thursday night. They have a lot of injuries to deal with, and a red-hot Matt Cassel awaits them in New England on Sunday.
3. New York Jets (3) - The Jets showed just week just how good they can be with a huge win in Tennessee. Brett Favre is not making the killer mistakes he was earlier in the year, and the running game is staring to really take shape. Don't forget about a defense that does not get nearly enough credit as they deserve. This team is really playing well.
4. New England (4) - Matt Cassel continues to make the Pats wonder "what if" about the situation at QB next year when Tom Brady is ready to return. They got their revenge on the Fins Sunday, and are waiting for a top notch Steelers team Sunday at home. Cassel will be faced with his biggest test of the season, but here's thinking he'll be just fine.
5. Indianapolis (-) - There is not one team in the AFC West as impressive as the Colts, who are starting to resemble a team that is going to give someone fits as a wild card. Peyton and company got a big road win in San Diego, and they should have an even easier time this week as they play a Browns team in shambles in Cleveland Sunday.
AFC Bottom 3
1. Kansas City (2) - It was almost amazing how bad this team played on defense at home Sunday vs the Bills, allowing over 50. Herm Edwards and the team has said from day one that this is a rebuilding project, but watching this team struggle this bad with that solid of a fan base is getting old. They need to show something the last five weeks of 08.
2. Cincinnati (3) -They did the right thing by sending a message to the team with sitting Chad Ocho-Cinco Thursday night vs the Steelers, but it didn't help their offense one bit in a 27-10 loss. Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to play better, but against the leagues best D they were no match. They host another good D this Sunday in the Ravens at home.
3. Oakland (1) - How bout them Raiders?! From out of nowhere they put a 31-10 beating on the Broncos on the road, making some people wonder where this team has been the whole season. Darren McFadden should get more chances the last five weeks, and JaMarcus Russell looked solid vs Denver. We'll see if they can keep it up vs the Chiefs at home Sunday.
by Matt Loede, NFL Gridiron Gab