NFL Power Rankings: Week 14 | Football | CBC Sports

NFL Power RankingsNFL Power Rankings: Week 14

Posted: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 | 02:53 PM

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Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) returned from a potentially devastating ankle injury to lead the Steelers past the Cleveland Browns. (Don Wright/Associated Press) Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) returned from a potentially devastating ankle injury to lead the Steelers past the Cleveland Browns. (Don Wright/Associated Press)

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Once a week, CBCSports.ca's Tony Care breaks down the balance of power in the National Football League.

Once a week, CBCSports.ca's Tony Care breaks down the balance of power in the National Football League.

1. GREEN BAY PACKERS [unchanged]
Overall record: 13-0
Streak: Won 13
The Packers are getting criticized after receiver Greg Jennings sprained his knee when the game was out of reach against Oakland, but I'm not one of those critics. Jennings will be ready for the playoffs and Green Bay will still be gunning for a perfect season, a decision I would still agree with even if the receiver was lost for the year.
2. BALTIMORE RAVENS [unchanged]
Overall record: 10-3
Streak: Won four
He gets overshadowed by fellow linebacker Ray Lewis, but Terrell Suggs (13 sacks) is having a monster season and has been a key cog in Baltimore's pass rush.
3. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS [unchanged]
Overall record: 10-3
Streak: Won five
The Saints earned every bit of that victory over a tough Tennessee team in Nashville. Along with quarterback Drew Brees, Marques Colston came up big, posting 105 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns.
4. PITTSBURGH STEELERS [up from 5]
Overall record: 10-3
Streak: Won four
Ben Roethlisberger has to be made of steel. I thought he broke is ankle against the Browns, yet he managed to come back in the second half to help lead the Steelers to victory. Can anything keep this guy away from the football field?
5. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS [up from 6]
Overall record: 10-3
Streak: Won five
I've never seen Tom Brady this irritable before. He gets into a heated exchange with offensive co-ordinator Bill O'Brien after throwing an interception late in the fourth quarter against Washington and has been yelling at his receivers often this season. I guess the pressure of having to score on every drive because of a porous secondary is beginning to get to Tom Terrific.
6. HOUSTON TEXANS [up from 7]
Overall record: 10-3
Streak: Won seven
You could argue that this current winning streak of the injury-riddled Texans is even more impressive than what the Packers did last year. Rookie quarterback T.J. Yates was magnificent on Houston's winning drive against the Bengals and the defence remains top notch. All this without the Texans' three best players.
7. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS [down from 4]
Overall record: 10-3
Streak: Lost one
The 49ers finally flinched and are tied with the Saints for the NFC's No. 2 seed. This was a team that looked to be a shoe-in for a first-round bye only two weeks ago.
8. ATLANTA FALCONS [up from 9]
Overall record: 8-5
Streak: Won one
The Falcons may have just saved their season following their 16-point come-from-behind win against the Panthers. Matt Ryan was clutch in the second half, throwing three touchdowns, including two to rookie Julio Jones in the fourth quarter.
9. DENVER BRONCOS [up from 10]
Overall record: 8-5
Streak: Won six
The Broncos owe a debt of gratitude to Bears running back Marion Barber, whose brain cramps in the fourth quarter and overtime allowed Tebowmania to continue this unlikely ride.
10. N.Y. JETS [up from 11]
Overall record: 8-5
Streak: Won three
The Jets are not off the hook just yet. They still have Philadelphia, the New York Giants and Miami on the schedule and none of those teams are going to be a cakewalk.
11. DETROIT LIONS [up from 13]
Overall record: 8-5
Streak: Won one
That wasn't exactly a confidence-building win against the lowly Minnesota Vikings. As bad as Oakland is playing, the Lions will be in tough when they travel to the West Coast this Sunday.
12. N.Y. GIANTS [up from 16]
Overall record: 7-6
Streak: Won one
Eli Manning has been a man possessed this year. He just completed his sixth fourth-quarter comeback of the season and there is no better quarterback at standing in the pocket until the last second in order to complete a pass.
13. DALLAS COWBOYS [down from 8]
Overall record: 7-6
Streak: Lost two
How many times can the Cowboys do this to their fans? Another heart-breaking loss - this time to the Giants - has them reeling again. This one is on the Dallas defence. There is no excuse for allowing a 12-point lead evaporate in the last five minutes of a game.
14. TENNESSEE TITANS [down from 12]
Overall record: 7-6
Streak: Lost one
Rookie Jake Locker did a lot of good things in relief of the injured Matt Hasselbeck against the Saints. But somebody needs to remind Locker that when facing a final play, he has to throw the ball in the end zone, regardless of whether it gets intercepted.
15. OAKLAND RAIDERS [down from 14]
Overall record: 7-6
Streak: Lost two
The Raiders had no shot in Green Bay, but Carson Palmer seems to be regressing. Those four inceptions he threw brought him to 13 in seven games. That's concerning.
16.CINCINNATI BENGALS [down from 15]
Overall record: 7-6
Streak: Lost two
Rookie Andy Dalton is finding out just how hard it is to win games in December, especially against playoff-calibre opponents.
17.CHICAGO BEARS [unchanged]
Overall record: 7-6
Streak: Lost three
I'd really love to know what the hell running back Marion Barber was thinking going out of bounds in the last two minutes against the Broncos. All he has to do was fall down in bounds and the Bears pretty much would've chewed up most of the clock. Then he fumbles in overtime to complete Chicago's nightmare. Glad he's not playing for the Cowboys anymore, because if he did...oh never mind.
18. ARIZONA CARDINALS [up from 20]
Overall record: 6-7
Streak: Won three
The improving Cardinals' defence limited 49ers running back Frank Gore to only 10 carries and 72 yards. I know he was banged up but that's how you beat San Francisco - by stopping their running game.
19. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS [down from 18]
Overall record: 6-7
Streak: Won two
It's just like the Chargers to make a late-season surge and keep things interesting. That's why they need a coaching change. This team has no consistency.
20. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS [down from 19]
Overall record: 6-7
Streak: Won two
If only the Seahawks could play all of their games at home. They are certainly a different team at CenturyLink Field.
21. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES [up from 25]
Overall record: 5-8
Streak: Won one
The defence came to play against the Miami Dolphins. Where was this effort when the team needed it most?
22. BUFFALO BILLS [down from 21]
Overall record: 5-8
Streak: Lost six
Head coach Chan Gailey remains confident in quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. I'm not sure the people of Western New York agree.
23. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS [down from 22]
Overall record: 5-8
Streak: Lost one
Todd Haley, who was fired this week, learned that one winning season and a playoff appearance means little in today's NFL.
24. MIAMI DOLPHINS [down from 23]
Overall record: 4-9
Streak: Lost one
See Todd Haley, only insert the fired Tony Sparano.
25. CAROLINA PANTHERS [down from 24]
Overall record: 4-9
Streak: Lost one
The Panthers have had no problems getting out to big leads in recent weeks. Too bad they can't finish.
26. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS [up from 29]
Overall record: 4-9
Streak: Won one
No matter how bad a season the Jaguars are dealing with, they can always count on a great effort from running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
27. WASHINGTON REDSKINS [unchanged]
Overall record: 4-9
Streak: Lost two
I don't blame head coach Mike Shanahan for calling London Fletcher's unnecessary roughness penalty on the Pats' Tom Brady "horrible." It was a truly brutal call.
28. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS [down from 26]
Overall record: 4-9
Streak: Lost seven
The season can't finish fast enough for the Bucs, especially for QB Josh Freeman.
29. CLEVELAND BROWNS [down from 28]
Overall record: 4-9
Streak: Lost three
I don't care what rookie head coach Pat Shurmur says. There's no way he should've re-inserted Colt McCoy into the game against the Steelers after his quarterback took a vicious helmet-to-helmet shot from linebacker James Harrison.
30. MINNESOTA VIKINGS [unchanged]
Overall record: 2-11
Streak: Lost five
The Vikings' pass defence couldn't stop a pop warner team, must less an NFL squad.
31. ST. LOUIS RAMS [unchanged]
Overall record: 2-11
Streak: Lost four
I wonder what Steve Spagnuolo thought of the Haley and Sparano firings this week? Could he be next?
32. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS [unchanged]
Overall record: 0-13
Streak: Lost 13
"We need to find a way to get our team better so we can get a victory. And not just one. We're running out of time.," Colts coach Jim Caldwell told reporters after the team's 13th straight loss, this one to Baltimore. Jim, you're actually thinking of winning more than one game this year? You are a funny man!

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