by Matt Loede, NFL Gridiron Gab
Just three weeks left in the NFL regular season, and it's going to be interesting to see how some of these playoff races end up. With that, here are our power rankings for week 14 around the league.
NFC Top 5
1. NY Giants (1) - An interesting loss last week to the Eagles, and it gave some hope to other NFC teams that the G-Men can be beat. They have had to deal with quite of bit of distraction with the Burress thing, as well as now some injuries and what not. Let's see if they can rebound this week in Dallas, a place of one of their biggest wins ever.
2. Carolina (3) - They put on a show on both sides of the ball Monday night against their biggest foes - the Buccaneers. Now they control the division as well as the two spot in the NFC, but they have three games, two on the road and one vs the Giants still remaining.
3. Arizona (4) - They finally clinched the NFC West Sunday vs the awful Rams, and now that the pressure is off for that they can get ready for their first playoff game forever. It will be a true test to see what this team can do against good competition come the postseason. A good test vs the Vikings lies ahead.
4. Tampa Bay (2) -Despite the loss to the Panthers, this is still a sound team, and one that can easily still either win the division with a Panthers slip up, or a wild card birth. Jeff Garcia is going to keep them in games with his gutsy play, but watching they allow 38 points on Monday night was a bit alarming.
5. Dallas (5) -What a letdown Sunday vs the Steelers. Up 10 with less than 7 minutes to play, and they not only blow the lead, they basically give them the game with a late pick. Tony Romo has to learn to play better in big games, and another slip up and they are going to be on the outside looking in on the postseason.
NFC Bottom 3
1. Detroit (1) -I think the hope of winning a game is officially over after not winning vs the Vikings. They have the Colts Sunday, and you know that's going to be ugly. Maybe the Colts will oversleep and they will win by default. Then again, they would probably mess that up anyway.
2. Seattle (2) - Seneca Wallace had the best game of his career, and they were up big vs the Pats before folding like a deck of cards. The defense is awful, and the offense does not have the ability to put games away when they are ahead. Should be a very interesting offseason out west.
3. St.Louis (3) -They watched their former leader and MVP in Kurt Warner torch them for the second time in 08 on Sunday, and now antoher season is just about over - finally. Jim Hasslett will not be back, and the team has to figure out from the top down on what it wants to do and the direction it wants to go in come 09.
AFC Top 5
1. Tennessee (1) - Another walk in the park Sunday vs the Browns, but the couple of turnovers and the somewhat lackluster play of Kerry Collins is a concern. Will this team be hungry enough come playoff time to take care of business? One thing is for sure - they will play their first playoff game at LP Field, and that should be enough to take them to the AFC Title Game.
2. Pittsburgh (2) - Even at their worst they found a way to rally vs the turnover happy Cowboys. The offense has not impressed at points of the season, but the defense is starting to draw comparisions of the 85 Bears or 00 Ravens. They can put the division and close in on the #2 seed in the AFC with a win Sunday in Baltimore.
3. Indianapolis (5) - Even though they will be a wild card, they are possibly playing the best ball in the conference right now. Winners of 6 straight, they can close in on a wild card birth with a win vs the awful Lions at home Sunday. They are going to give one, maybe two teams lots of headaches in the playoffs.
4. Baltimore (-) - Back in the rankings, the Ravens are starting to get that swagger of a young team that does not realize just how good they are. They beat on the Redskins Sunday night, and now have maybe their biggest regular season game of their franchise history vs the Steelers Sunday. It should be a classic.
5. Denver (4) - They were able to come back after being down 10-0 and take care of business vs the Chiefs Sunday. Jay Cutler and the offense have a lot of ability, but it's that lackluster defense that more than likely at the end of the day that will cost them doing much more than playing one game in the postseason.
AFC Bottom 3
1. Cincinnati (1) - They have scored a total of six points in two weeks, and things don't look to be getting much better. They host Washington Sunday, and we'll see if they can get up for that game like they did vs the Eagles a few weeks back. What is this team doing still starting Ryan Fitzpatrick?
2. Oakland (2) -Ugly was about the only way you can describe the outing vs the Chargers on Thursday night. They had some ugly turnovers, little to talk about on offense, and they gave up too many big plays on defense. At least there is only three weeks left to have to watch this team.
3. Kansas City (3) - The effort was there vs Denver, but once again this young team didn't do enough to get the job done. One big question will be about Tyler Thigpen and if he's the QB of the future. Also they have to decide on if it's worth keeping Larry Johnson and Tony Gonzalez around for another season with a very young team.
by Matt Loede, NFL Gridiron Gab