This week marked the start of Thursday night football beginning with an AFC West showdown that gave one team sole possession of the division whilst transitioning into a weekend filled with a number of blowouts, bad coaching decisions and some shock and ah, man moments.
The Bears manhandled the Lions as jungle fever took on a new definition at Solider Field Sunday afternoon, while Tony Romo and the Cowboys put up big numbers against the Bills. The Falcons proved that three times is not the charm on fourth down conversions, while the 49ers have pushed all doubters aside and the Eagles have taken a turn in the wrong direction.
Another spectacular weekend of football with more on the way and we can only hope that this season will continue to surprise, stun, and even appall us all the way to the playoffs.
Lets take a look at the Power Rankings heading into Week 11.
1. Green Bay Packers Record: 9-0 Rank Last Week: 1
Are you kidding me? Monday night’s match-up wasn’t even close as the Packers manhandled the Vikings, defeating them 45-7. Aaron Rodgers was precise and accurate, throwing four touchdowns leading the Packers to their 15th consecutive victory including last year’s postseason. The Packers still remain undefeated and the team to beat, nothing chances from last weeks Power Rankings
2. San Francisco 49ers Record: 8-1 Rank Last Week: 2
Are there any doubters left? This weekend the Niners proved once and for all that they’re NFC contenders with a chip on their shoulder. San Francisco won their seventh straight game defeating a tough New York Giants squad. Alex Smith played well, but SF’s defense took charge intercepting Manning twice and batting down his pass in the waning seconds to secure at 27-20 victory. The Niners continue to strike gold.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers Record: 7-3 Rank Last Week: 7
Can we officially say the Pittsburgh Steelers are back? The hangover seems to have subsided as Pittsburgh grabbed a much- needed win over division rival Cincinnati. Rashard Mendenhall ran for two scores and the Dick LeBeau defense intercepted Bengals QB Andy Dalton twice in the fourth quarter to win and place themselves in a tie atop first place in the AFC North. Terrible Towels are waving once again.
4. Houston Texans Record: 7-3 Rank Last Week: 8
The Texans finally look playoff ready. Matt Schaub threw for two touchdowns, while Arian Foster, Ben Tate, and Derrick Ward each ran for scores of their own. With four wins in a row, Houston is playing their best football ever, even with Andre Johnson still missing in action. Matt Schaub did sustain an extensive injury however, making him unavailable for the rest of the season. Matt Leinart is expected to take over after the bye, but rest assured the Texans should do just fine with an amazing defense and run game.
5. New Orleans Saints Record: 7-3 Rank Last Week: 9
The Saints should be sending thank you cards to Mike Smith this week, as they were able to capitalize on a Falcons gamble gone wrong. Heading into overtime, the Falcons decided to go for it on a fourth and inches from their own twenty-nine yard line. Having previously picked up two earlier conversions, the decision seemed rational, with the exception of being deep in their own territory. John Kasay kicked the 26-yard game winner as New Orleans barely had to exert an effort in overtime to win. The Saints move atop the NFC South.
6. New York Giants Record: 6-3 Rank Last Week: 4
A tough outing coming off a rout of the Patriots, the Giants certainly had their hands full against one of the NFC’s best. New York is still at the top of the NFC East and one of the best teams in the league, with a good shot to win the division this year. Eli Manning was solid and the Giants had a chance to win, but fell short. Next week, maybe they can bounce back against Philadelphia.
7. New England Patriots Record: 6-3 Rank Last Week: 10
The Pats took sole possession of the AFC East this weekend beating the Jets on Sunday Night. New England hasn’t looked dominant as of recent, but are looking to get back to being the AFC’s best. Tom Brady was in his prime again as he threw three touchdown passes, including two to Rob Gronkowski. This weekend’s game was all too easy for the Pats, snapping a three game winning streak for the Jets, making a big statement to Rex Ryan and are now looking to run away with the division.
8. Cincinnati Bengals Record: 6-3 Rank Last Week: 5
Even with a loss, the Bengals proved they are AFC contenders, holding their own against a hard knocks Steelers squad. The Bengals seem like a scrappy and feisty team, suffering in the final quarter with two costly turnovers by first year Andy Dalton. It was a good effort, but not good enough. Nonetheless, Cincinnati put up a big fight and proved they can sling it with the best of them. Look for this team to continue to get better as the season progresses.
9. Chicago Bears Record: 6-3 Rank Last Week: 12
Chicago made the up swing after defeating Philadelphia last week and once again this week, the Bears “bear-downed” division rival Detroit, tying them for second in the NFC North. The offense, led by Jay Cutler was on fire, but the defense was spectacular, picking off Matthew Stafford four times and causing turnovers left and right. Devin Hester ran another punt return back for a touchdown extending his NFL record to 12. The Bears mauled the Lions and are now gunning for Green Bay atop the NFC North.
10. Baltimore Ravens Record: 6-3 Rank Last Week: 3
It was the Jaguars fiasco all over again. The Ravens got off to a slow start and couldn’t pull out a miracle win in Seattle. After last week’s thrilling win against the Steelers, the Ravens were on pace to take control of the AFC North, but once again may have gotten a little too over-confident and squandered what should have been an easy victory. The Ravens look to get back on track next week against Cincinnati.
11. Detroit Lions Record: 6-3 Rank Last Week: 6
U.G.L.Y. spells the disastrous outing the Lions had this weekend in Chicago. Matthew Stafford by far had his worst game of the season, throwing four interceptions, when he had only thrown four to this point, while receivers Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson turned the ball over during crucial drives. This game will be very forgettable for Detroit and in order to keep pace in the division, they need to move forward and focus on next week’s game against Carolina.
12. Dallas Cowboys Record: 5-4 Rank Last Week: 15
There’s the good, the bad, and the ugly performances by Tony Romo, but this week, the stellar Tony Romo showed up and the Cowboys stampeded over the Bills 44-7. With consecutive wins, the Cowboys could be on the surge as their next three opponents have a combined record of 6-18. The Cowboys are close to roping in the Giants and will look to do so sooner rather than later.
13. Oakland Raiders Record: 5-4 Rank Last Week: 17
The first Thursday night game of the season ended in style for the Oakland Raiders as they edged division rival San Diego. This game probably made Oakland breathe a little easier in signing Carson Palmer as he threw two touchdown passes, both to Denarius Moore while running back Michael Bush ran for over thirty times and one-hundred fifty seven yards. Palmer looked more relaxed in his second start in black and silver and now the Raiders are atop of the AFC West. Al Davis is smiling from above.
14. Tennessee Titans Record: 5-4 Rank Last Week: 19
The Titans seem like they’re on a stair master from week to week, winning and taking care of business against Cam Newton and the Panthers this weekend. Chris Johnson has finally gotten back to his running ways, rushing for one hundred and thirty yards and a touchdown, as the Titans sacked Newton five times, holding him to just 209 yards passing. Matt Hasselbeck threw for 219 yards, hitting receiver Damien Williams deep for a 43-yard touchdown pass. It’s a different story for this team week to week, but hopefully they’ll be able to chase down the Texans before it’s too late.
15. New York Jets Record: 5-4 Rank Last Week: 11
In a game for sole possession of first place in the division, the Patriots grounded the Jets as Mark Sanchez looked shaky and threw two interceptions, one really late in the game that helped seal the victory for New England. The Jets didn’t live up to the Rex Ryan hype this week, but look to gain ground next week against Tim Tebow and the Broncos on Thursday night.
16. Buffalo Bills Record: 5-4 Rank Last Week: 13
The Bills looked dismal this week against the Cowboys and are slowly but surely letting their season slip away. With such a promising start, Buffalo looked to have turned things around from a year ago, but with back-to-back losses, the Bills are looking for answers. Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t look good this week and David Nelson’s stunt, hugging his cheerleader girlfriend may have been the highlight of Buffalo’s day. This team has to pick up the pace if they expect to survive into January.
17. Atlanta Falcons Record: 5-4 Rank Last Week: 14
The most costly decision of Mike Smith’s career came in overtime against the Saints this weekend. Officially, the loss can be chalked up to Smith’s poor choice and now the Falcons are chasing the Saints in the NFC South. This game could have been won if the Falcons only punted the ball in overtime. The Falcons take on Tennessee next week and hope to make smarter decisions this time around. Lesson learned.
18. Denver Broncos Record: 4-5 Rank Last Week: 22
Tim Tebow has turned this team around and now the Broncos are in the heat of the AFC West division race. Clipping the Chiefs this weekend, the Broncos have won the last three out of four games and are officially back on track. Tebow only completed two passes against Kansas City, but ran for over forty yards and a score and has the city of Denver believing in their team again. It’s Tebow Time and hopefully that time will continue to carry them to victory.
19. San Diego Chargers Record: 4-5 Rank Last Week: 16
The Bolts have lost their charge. Another dismal performance for San Diego as they fell to division rival Oakland. With their fourth loss in a row, San Diego is now tied with Kansas City and Denver in the division. This team has so much potential to be a dynamic squad, but can’t seem to connect the dots when it matters most. With so many blown opportunities to win games, the Chargers have a lot of work to do to get back to being the team they were when they started the season.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Record: 4-5 Rank Last Week: 18
This team isn’t the same Tampa Bay squad that went 10-6 last year. They barely mustered an effort against the Texans this weekend as Josh Freeman was picked off three times and sacked four times. The Bucs are proving that they’re unable to contend with some of the NFL’s elite and will simply need to play better football if they expect to win games.
21. Arizona Cardinals Record: 3-6 Rank Last Week: 28
The Skeleton Crew…excuse me, the Skelton crew, along with sidekick Larry Fitzgerald showed up to stun Michael Vick and the Eagles. Starting in place of the injured Kevin Kolb, John Skelton threw three touchdown passes and led the Cardinals to their second straight victory. Larry Fitzgerald was phenomenal as the Cardinals are attempting to turn their no show season into a mediocre one. With this huge win, the Cardinals are moving on up.
22. Kansas City Chiefs Record: 4-5 Rank Last Week: 21
This season has gone from great, to decent, to questionable. The Chiefs were on such a big run and have now suffered another loss, dragging them to a tie with the Chargers and the Broncos in the division. Matt Cassel was replaced by QB Tyler Palko due to an injury on the last drive and now the Chiefs could be without him for the remainder of the season, which may hurt them even more in the long run. This team is struggling and needs to find answers quickly. The Chiefs may have proven that may be overrated.
23. Philadelphia Eagles Record: 3-6 Rank Last Week: 20
The defending NFC East champion Eagles were expected to be in the playoffs and be Super Bowl bound after a number of big name acquisitions in the off-season. Instead of being the team of destiny this season, Philadelphia has struggled miserably and has lost seven of their last eight home games. Michael Vick was mediocre over the weekend and couldn’t bring the Eagles to a last minute comeback. Michael Vick may be injured and this could spell trouble for the rest of this once thought to be dream team.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars Record: 3-6 Rank Last Week: 27
The Jaguars easily beat the winless Colts as Blaine Gabbert threw for a touchdown, while Maurice Jones-Drew ran for a score as well. It was the first road win for the Jags, as Jones-Drew became the second player in Jacksonville franchise history to run for over 6,000 yards. The Jaguars are moving in the right direction.
25. Seattle Seahawks Record: 3-6 Rank Last Week: 24
A surprising victory for the lowly Seahawks as they were able to defeat the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday and move a little higher on the food chain in the NFC West. Marshawn Lynch plunged in for one yard touchdown, while the Seahawks forced three turnovers to hand the Ravens their third loss. Hopefully the Seahawks can fly high with this momentum into next week’s game against the Rams.
26. Miami Dolphins Record: 2-7 Rank Last Week: 29
The Fins get their second win in a row defeating the Redskins 20-9 as Reggie Bush ran for two touchdowns and the Dolphins D intercepted Rex Grossman twice, earning their first home victory of the year. The Dolphins end a drought of seven straight losses at home dating back to last November and are now gaining some momentum, even if the momentum is coming a little late in the season.
27. St. Louis Rams Record: 2-7 Rank Last Week: 31
Lucky to pull out a victory in Cleveland due to a botched snap, the Rams earned their second win this weekend, defeating the Browns 13-12. Steven Jackson had a huge rushing day, running for 128 yards and Sam Bradford was able to contribute 155 yards to the aerial attack. The missed field goal by the Browns helped the Rams tremendously; hopefully St. Louis won’t rely on luck for the rest of the season.
28. Minnesota Vikings Record: 2-7 Rank Last Week: 23
Round one against the Packers was close, but round two wasn’t even a contest as the Vikings couldn’t get going offensively and were only able to score off a Packers muffed punt. Minnesota simply played poorly and gave up after halftime. This team has a lot of talent, but was no match for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The Vikings are last in the NFC North and need to start building a team that can contend with the teams in their division.
29. Cleveland Browns Record: 3-6 Rank Last Week: 24
A botched snap led to a defeat in the waning minutes against the Rams this weekend as Phil Dawson, known for being an extremely efficient field goal kicker, failed to put the ball through the up-rights. Dawson was able to make four field goals earlier in the day, but the most important one skipped off the turf throwing off Dawson’s timing and ended the Browns chances for a victory. With the fans booing them off the field, the Browns should be ashamed they couldn’t pull together for a win that seemed so certain.
30. Washington Redskins Record: 3-6 Rank Last Week: 25
The magic number is five, five straight losses by the Washington Redskins that have gotten them to this point and the most consecutive losses in the career of Mike Shanahan. Rex Grossman came off the bench after being replaced just four weeks ago, and didn’t do much better than before, throwing two interceptions and ending with a passer rating of 58.7. A promising start has been flushed down the toilet and now the Redskins are fighting with the Eagles to remain out of last place in the NFC East.
31. Carolina Panthers Record: 2-7 Rank Last Week: 26
A frustrated Cam Newton and the Panthers looked miserable against the Titans losing 30-3. Newton was sacked five times and threw an interception, just managing over 200 yards passing. This was the Panthers worst performance of the season as Carolina just played poorly this weekend and need to win next week against the Lions. Rebuilding has only begun and even with this loss, there is a lot to learn, especially for the young gunslinger.
32. Indianapolis Colts Record: 0-10 Rank Last Week: 32
Curtis Painter was finally yanked from the game in the fourth quarter being replaced by “I stepped out of the back of the end zone,” Dan Orlovsky. Only managing three points, the Colts are certainly on pace for 0-16. One enthusiastic Colts fan held up a sign at the game asking, “where have all the good times gone?” He’s got a point and you can only feel sorry for this once elite team.