2011 NFL Power Rankings – Week 15

NFL Power Rankings 2011 Pre 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Playoffs

Our rankings heading into Week 15. Not much change at the top and bottom these days, Packers and Ravens at #1 and #2, and the Rams and Colts and #31 and #32 for the 4th consecutive week:

Rank Team Comment
1 Green Bay Packers The Packers are a win away from locking up first place in the NFC, then the only question will be whether or not they play for an undefeated season or not. The injury to WR Greg Jennings may impact that decision.
2 Baltimore Ravens The 24-10 final score does not reflect the Ravens dominance against the Colts. A Sunday night matchup with the surging Chargers is a must-win for them to stay atop the division.
3 New Orleans Saints The Saints continue to roll, this time with a closer than expected win against the Titans. They face two bottom dwellers over the next three weeks (MN and CAR) and hope for the 49ers to slip up so they can get that other first round bye.
4 New England Patriots New England’s first-ever win in DC was a nail-biter, but the 34-27 victory keeps the Patriots on track for the AFC East crown. One more win for the Pats will clinch the division and a playoff berth; their first attempt comes next week against Tebow and the Broncos.
5 Pittsburgh Steelers The Steelers crushed the Browns on Thursday night, but Ben Roethlisberger may miss a game or two from an injury suffered in the game. There’s no way another quarterback can survive behind their offensive line.
6 Houston Texans Thanks to some last-second heroics by young quarterback T.J. Yates, the Texans clinched the AFC South and their first franchise playoff appearance. Now they’ll play for playoff seeding, starting next week hosting Carolina.
7 San Francisco 49ers The 49ers were looking like they had the first round bye locked up, but now the Saints have the same record and the 49ers have a harder remaining schedule. They hold the tie breaker against the Saints so they need to just match the wins/loses with New Orleans from here on out.
8 Atlanta Falcons Atlanta currently sits 6th in the NFC and really have just one hard game of their remaining three (vs the Saints in two weeks). After a slow start, Matt Ryan is heating up and will hope to carry that into the playoffs.
9 New York Jets New York had little trouble against the punchless Chiefs in a 37-10 rout, keeping them alive in the playoff chase for the AFC. Though the AFC East title is likely not in play anymore, a win over the Eagles next week would help their postseason chances.
10 New York Giants The Giants beat the Cowboys to take the division lead. They’ve made it through a portion of their tough schedule with a decent 7-6 record, but they can’t afford to slip up in the next 3 weeks.
11 Denver Broncos Stop me if you’ve heard this before; Tim Tebow led the Broncos back from a late deficit to win a game. The latest installment of this narrative–a 13-10 OT win over Chicago–gives Denver sole possession of the AFC West lead going into a game against the Patriots.
12 Detroit Lions Detroit had a great comeback against he Vikings early in the year, and the Vikings were one goal line play away from returning the favor. Suh returns from his suspension just in time to face a rough three game stretch to finish the season.
13 Dallas Cowboys Dan Bailey got iced again, this time by Tom Coughlin, and the Cowboys lost yet another close game and failed to take control of the division.
14 Cincinnati Bengals The Bengals choked away a lead against the Texans in a game that might end up costing them a playoff spot. 9-7 is a possibility, but they’d have to beat the Ravens to finish with 10 wins.
15 San Diego Chargers Philip Rivers led the Chargers to a 37-10 win over the Bills, but thanks to Denver’s win San Diego is still two games back in the AFC West race. Next up is a primetime game against Baltimore that is essentially a must-win to preserve playoff hopes.
16 Oakland Raiders Oakland looked completely overmatched on the road at Lambeau Field, losing 46-16 to the undefeated Packers. The Raiders are still in the hunt for the AFC’s #6 seed, but they host the Lions next weekend in a game they can’t afford to lose.
17 Chicago Bears The Bears were the latest victims to get Tebowed and fell behind the Lions for the wild card. There is only so much the Bears defense can do and Caleb Hanie has to step up and slow down the turnovers to give the Bears a shot at the postseason.
18 Tennessee Titans Tennessee nearly came back to upset the Saints, but they were unable to overcome a 22-17 loss to New Orleans. Thankfully for the Titans, next week they play the Colts as they try to stay in position for a playoff berth.
19 Seattle Seahawks Seattle is making a late season push and while the playoffs are unlikely, they are still a possibility. Marshawn Lynch has made kids across the country turn to Skittles for that extra boost in the process.
20 Philadelphia Eagles It’s hard to imagine the Eagles making the playoffs since they’re two games back with three to go, but stranger things have happened. They need an good effort to save Andy Reid’s job.
21 Arizona Cardinals Arizona probably got a thank you card from the Saints after they knocked off the 49ers. An 8-8 season is possible and more likely if Larry Fitzgerald continues his hot play.
22 Buffalo Bills After such a promising start to the season, Buffalo’s 37-10 loss to the Chargers officially eliminates them from playoff contention. The rest of the season will be played for pride and to spoil other team’s opportunities, though next weekend’s game against Miami is meaningless for each side.
23 Carolina Panthers It’s hard to believe that a team that is ranked 5th in the pass and 8th in the run sits at 4-9, but a lot of those yards have come in lopsided losses. Cam Newton can look forward to some additional help through the draft as the Panthers should have a top 7 pick.
24 Miami Dolphins Miami’s late season resurgence got derailed with a 26-10 loss to the Eagles, eliminating the Dolphins from playoff contention. The Dolphins hit the road to Buffalo next weekend.
25 Kansas City Chiefs The Chiefs scored 10 points again this week; unfortunately, their opponents scored 37 for an easy Jets win. The disappointing KC squad faces the unbeaten Packers next weekend.
26 Jacksonville Jaguars In a match-up between teams with disappointing 2011-12 campaigns, the Jaguars won the day with a 41-14 blowout of the Buccaneers. On Thursday night, the Jaguars will try to play spoiler to the Falcons in the Georgia Dome.
27 Washington Redskins The Redskins gave the Patriots defense all they could handle, scoring 27 points and almost sending the game to overtime. Rex Grossman is clearly the better of the 2 Washington QBs.
28 Tampa Bay Bucs Make it 7 losses in a row, and a 41-14 beating from a bad Jacksonville team is probably the worst loss of all. A lot of changes need to take place in Tampa Bay if they hope to be competitive next year.
29 Minnesota Vikings The Vikings lost a close game to Detroit and may have a potential QB controversy on their hands after backup Joe Webb came in for a banged up Ponder and did very well.
30 Cleveland Browns The Browns offense was woeful yet again on Thursday night. They have too many issues to list here.
31 St. Louis Rams With two playoff teams left on the schedule and one borderline playoff team, the Rams probably wish they could just fast forward to the off-season. The big question: was Sam Bradford a one year wonder?
32 Indianapolis Colts The Colts took another step towards 0-16–and Andrew Luck as a consolation prize–with a 24-10 loss to the Ravens. Will Indianapolis have enough pride to try and derail the playoff hopes of divisional rival Tennessee next weekend?

Commentary breakdown: Alex (AFC North, NFC East), Brian (AFC East/South/West), Pat (NFC North/South/West).

Alex Chalupka - Originally from the Baltimore-Washington area, Alex is a huge Baltimore Ravens and Maryland Terrapins fan who currently resides in Little Rock, Arkansas. He’s also an Orioles fan and follows the NBA and other sports as objectively as possible. He enjoys writing about all sports and is the founder/editor of theSportsGeeks.com. - Follow him on Twitter here - Visit his personal website

Brian Parker - Born in Maine, a state with no professional sports team, Brian Parker is nonetheless a huge statistics nerd and fan of the NFL and NHL, with some passing interest in the MLB. Regional ties see him as a Patriots and Red Sox fan, though a childhood of watching Patrick Roy tend the net as a Montreal Canadien puts him on the opposite side of his fellow New Englanders for that NHL rivalry. Brian has both an M.A. and a B.A. in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from the University of Maine. - Follow him on Twitter here - Visit his personal website

Pat Lussenhop - Pat was born and raised in rural Minnesota and is currently living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He graduated from St. John's University (MN) with a degree in psychology and went on to get his masters in school psychology at the University of Northern Iowa. He's a lifetime sports fan and follows basketball and football the most. His favorite teams include any team that has "Minnesota" in it's name and he enjoys sports statistics and any good sporting debates. - Follow him on Twitter here

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