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NFL Power Rankings: Patriots, Cardinals, Packers, Broncos lead way - Metro US

NFL Power Rankings: Patriots, Cardinals, Packers, Broncos lead way

Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots are steam-rolling the NFL.
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  1. 1. New England Patriots (9-2): If you go to the league standings page at NFL.com, you will see that the 9-2 Cardinals are ahead of the 9-2 Patriots. This is the only world in which the 9-2 Cardinals are better than the 9-2 Patriots. (It’s because Arizona has a better conference record at 7-1.) Just ask the Lions, who lost to the Cards by eight points on the road in Week 11 but were shredded by the Pats on the road in Week 12 by 25 points.
  2. 2. Arizona Cardinals (9-2): It was just a matter of time before Bruce Arians’ Kangol hat went from “fashion-statement” to “lame.” The Joe Maddon of the NFL doesn’t look nearly as smart when his offense can only muster three points. The Cards will look to rebound at Atlanta this Sunday.
  3. 3. Green Bay Packers (8-3): After putting up back-to-back 50-point outings at home, the Packers were only able to put 24 points on the Vikings in Minnesota. No doubt, Aaron Rodgers and Co. were looking ahead to their date at Lambeau against the Patriots this coming Sunday. Rodgers vs. Tom Brady for the first time.
  4. 4. Denver Broncos (8-3): The Broncos found themselves down 14-3 to a legit Miami squad in the second quarter Sunday and it looked as though Denver was about to implode. But the Broncos’ offensive line got its act together and allowed Peyton Manning to throw for four touchdowns. He was sacked just once.
  5. 5. Philadelphia Eagles (8-3): A blowout win at home over the Titans isn’t going to “wow” anyone, but give the Eagles some credit for taking care of business when they need to. In a league where good teams almost always lose one game over the course of a season to a team they shouldn’t lose to, Philly dismisses the dregs rather easily.
  6. 6. Dallas Cowboys (8-3): Tell Grandma to take the bird out of the oven early on Thursday. Eagles at Cowboys is what Thanksgiving football should be. We’ll find out a ton about Dallas in this one. The Cowboys haven’t beaten a quality opponent in over a month.
  7. 7. San Francisco 49ers (7-4): Speaking of great Thanksgiving matchups, the Niners will host the Seahawks in the “Couch Pass-out Classic” on Thursday night. Take a fireball shot around 9 p.m. and see if either Seattle or San Fran can break double-digits.
  8. 8. Seattle Seahawks (7-4): The NFC West has the Cardinals, Seahawks, 49ers and frisky Rams. Any of those teams would be dominating the disgrace that is the NFC South right now as Carolina is still very much alive with a 3-7-1 record.
  9. 9. Detroit Lions (7-4): No team in the league is hanging with the Patriots right now, so we’ll give Detroit a pass for laying an egg in Foxboro. The hardest part of the schedule is over for the Lions as they play the Bears, Bucs and Vikings over the next three weeks.
  10. 10. Cincinnati Bengals (7-3-1): Since a mid-season hiccup in which they gave up 43 and 37 points to the Patriots and Panthers, respectively, the Bengals’ defense has been keeping opponents in the 20s. That’s good, but it remains to be seen if it’ll be good enough against the class of the AFC.
  11. 11. Indianapolis Colts (7-4): The Colts could very well be a division fraud, beefing up on victories thanks to the fact that they play in the lowly AFC South. They’re undefeated in division play, but haven’t been able to handle teams like the Broncos, Eagles, Steelers and Patriots.
  12. 12. Baltimore Ravens (7-4): We used this space last week to rag on old man Steve Smith. Well, the bye week gave Sr. a chance to rest them old legs and he responded with a big touchdown and 89 receiving yards against New Orleans. Torrey Smith also had a big day, catching five balls for 98 yards.
  13. 13. Cleveland Browns (7-4): Brian Hoyer hasn’t posted a quarterback rating over 100.0 in the past four weeks and threw three interceptions against the Falcons this past Sunday. Enter Johnny Manziel? Not quite. Manziel picked the wrong week for his entourage to get in a hotel fight at 2:30 in the morning.
  14. 14. Miami Dolphins (6-5): The Dolphins have certainly earned our respect this season. Unlike most teams in this range (looking at you Steelers), Miami hasn’t been embarrassed in a game this season. They beat the Pats in Week 1 and hung around with the Packers and Broncos until the very end.
  15. 15. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4): The Chiefs were obviously fatigued in their brutal loss at Oakland as they used all of their energy to beat the Seahawks just four days prior. But short weeks are no excuse for legit contenders. Every team has to deal with them. Grow up, Kansas City!
  16. 16. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4): We stopped trying to figure out the Steelers weeks ago, but hopefully this bye week will offer up some clarity going forward. A quirky scheduling twist: the Steelers haven’t played the Bengals yet. They will play them twice in December.
  17. 17. San Diego Chargers (7-4): Remember the innocent days when Philip Rivers was considered an MVP candidate and Tom Brady was considered washed-up? San Diego is currently riding a two-game win streak, but it’s the most uninspiring win streak in the history of win streaks.
  18. 18. Buffalo Bills (6-5): I’m certain the Bills wouldn’t mind playing all of their home games in Detroit as long as the Jets were their opponents each week. It will take a lot for the Bills to stay in the playoff picture as they have the Browns, Broncos and Packers coming up.
  19. 19. Chicago Bears (5-6): The Bears could have easily packed it in after getting walloped by the Packers but they have won back-to-back games. Sure, those wins came against the Vikings and Buccaneers, but Chicago is in no position to complain.
  20. 20. Houston Texans (5-6): Ryan Mallett played through a torn pectoral muscle Sunday against Cincy, and won some big bonus points from his Texans teammates. But who knows if simply being Texas tough is enough to earn a starting job in 2015?

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