Seahawks head up our NFL Power Rankings for another week, but Panthers are on the rise
1. Seahawks (10-1): OK, now Seattle has some weapons. The return of Percy Harvin— a 58-yard, game-changing kick return— only increases Seattle’s dominance over the NFL. With Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch leading the way, it’s going to be tough to unseat the kings of the Pacific Northwest.
2. Broncos (9-1): Defense? In Denver? Three sacks on Alex Smith and a goal-line stand were just as important as anything Peyton Manning did Sunday night. The Broncos have added scary, new dimension.
3. Chiefs (9-1): It’s funny that we’re talking about an ineffective offense with Andy Reid at the helm, but KC won’t go anywhere until they consistently put up big numbers.
4. Saints (8-2): One thing you thought you’d never hear: New Orleans needs a win this week to fend off the pesky Panthers for first place.
5. Panthers (7-3): They are up to six straight wins, including back-to-back upsets over the 49ers and Patriots. Ron Rivera went from the hot seat to possible Coach of the Year.
6. Colts (7-3): The trade for Trent Richardson may have been pointless the way Donald Brown was running last Thursday. It was like he wanted to beat somebody up, maybe the guy that was trying to steal his job.
7. Patriots (7-3): You can’t cry over non-calls (good or bad) and the Panthers proved that you can throw deep on the New England’s secondary, even Aqib Talib.
8. Bengals (7-4): Wow, if Cincy can win a divisional game where Andy Dalton struggles (93 passing yards, really?) then they can never be counted out. Never, James Harrison.
9. 49ers (6-4): The Niners are in must-win mode after dropping two straight. Luckily for them, they draw the reeling Redskins and suddenly error-prone Robert Griffin III this week.
10. Lions (6-4): The Steelers may have laid out the blueprint for slowing Matthew Stafford and Megatron. Can the Lions win if they are forced to rely on their ground game?
11. Bears (6-4): In the year of the backup quarterback, Josh McCown continues to prove he’s one of the best second-stringers out there.
12. Cardinals (6-4): Arizona is a mystery wrapped inside an enigma, buried in a riddle. The Cards keep winning despite no real running attack and a stagnant Larry Fitzgerald.
13. Eagles (6-5): Who said head coach Chip Kelly would fail in the NFL? If the Birds keep winning, LeSean McCoy can wipe his ass with any team’s towel he wants to.
14. Ravens (4-6): Ray Rice finally busted out with the big day his fantasy owners had been dreaming about for months. If he can prove it wasn’t a mirage, Baltimore gets back in playoff race.
15. Dolphins (5-5): Miami had arguably the biggest win of Week 11, proving they could overcome a shocking scandal while fighting for their playoff lives.
16. Jets (5-5): As Willie Colon so eloquently stated, “We lost to the f-in’ Buffalo Bills. You did. And they whooped you. That can’t happen.
17. Cowboys (5-5): We’re as anxious as owner Jerry Jones to see how the Boys bounce back after an off week to think about— and get over— that beat down in New Orleans.
18. Chargers (4-6): Maybe Philip Rivers and Drake should spend some time together. It’s hard to do these things alone.
19. Giants (4-6): Don’t look now. The Giants have won four in a row, with a few cupcakes on the horizon.
20. Steelers (4-6): The Steelers are shockingly still in the hunt and the Rooney family just tossed those Ben Roethlisberger trade proposals in the trash heap.
21. Rams (4-6): Will the real Tavon Austin stand up, please stand up? We’re still not sure what to make of the Rams’ explosive rookie – and neither is head coach Jeff Fisher.
22. Packers (5-5): Sometimes you aren’t what your record says you are. The Pack are lost and injured. Somewhere Aaron Rodgers is grilling brats.
23. Titans (4-6): When the biggest news is that you signed John Skelton, you might play for the Tennessee Titans.
24. Raiders (4-6): Matt McGloin? The Raiders have a QB controversy after undrafted rookie threw three TDs and posted a 105.9 passer rating.
25. Redskins (3-7): Credit the Skins for valiant comeback attempt in Philly, but that doesn’t make up for the first three quarters. Robert Griffin III looks broken and alone.
Best of the worst: 26. Bills (4-7); 27. Browns (4-6); 28. Texans (2-8); 29. Vikings (2-8); 30. Buccaneers (2-8); 31. Falcons (2-8); 32. Jaguars (1-9).