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NFL Power Rankings - Week 12

   by Hollywood Sports - 11/20/2014

1. Arizona Cardinals (9-1): They still deserve to be at the top spot even with Drew Stanton at QB after taking handing the Lions their second loss of the season. Patrick Peterson leads an incredible defensive secondary that plays aggressive and forces turnovers and leads a defense that has allowed only 34 points in the 4th quarter all season. But this unit gives up plenty of yards as well which may be a harbinger of things to come. Head coach Bruce Aryans is the star of this team.
2. New England Patriots (8-2): Jonas Grey rewards the Hollywood Sports' Fantasy Football team with 201 rushing yards and four TDs for Sunday Night Football (even though I was already cruising to a double-digit win). Don't be surprised if Grey is not the go-to back in the playoffs, however (Hint: I have stashed the ex-Wisconsin Badger rookie James White who took time away from Mr. 400-Yard Rushing Game Melvin Gordon).
3. Green Bay Packers (7-3): Still R-E-L-A-X-ing. Their offense is simply unstoppable right now which is putting pressure on opposing offenses -- which is producing more mistakes by the opposition.
4. Denver Broncos (7-3): Peyton Manning has thrown multiple interceptions now in three straight games which is the first time he has done that since 2010. While a loss to the Rams is a growing list of very good teams, this franchise is now in a dogfight to win the AFC West with Kansas City.
5. Kansas City (7-3): Nothing too flashy (outside that Monday Night Football win over the Patriots) but they have now racked up five straight wins -- and their last two tight losses were on the road to San Francisco and Denver which is not too shabby.
6. Dallas Cowboys (7-3): Bounced-back nicely with a solid performance in London against the Jaguars two weeks ago. Coming off their bye-week, will they keep their identity of a run-first team … or will the temptation to "unleash" Tony Romo get the best of them?
7. Philadelphia Eagles (7-3): I think there 33-point loss in Lambeau Field says more about catching the Packers on a great day then it is does about the Eagles. And I still strongly like Mark Sanchez running this offense moving forward -- and this sentiment grows stronger every time I hear the ever evolving conventional wisdom about Sanchez being awful on ESPN. Four road playoff victories …
8. Indianapolis Colts (6-4): This franchise in the Andrew Luck regime needs a signature win to build its collective confidence. Still, no shame in losing to Tom Brady and company when they are coming off a bye. Four losses to Philadelphia, Denver, Pittsburgh and New England is no crime. But they need a big win.
9. Detroit Lions (7-3): The defense allowed over 300 passing yards last week in the Revenge of Drew Stanton while not registering a sack. While slowing the pace on offense was designed to help the defense by keeping them off the field, that group is not showing any of its dynamic potential. With losses to Carolina and Buffalo while their "signature" win now seeming to be against the Dolphins, this is a team that has benefited from a soft schedule.
10. Seattle Seahawks (6-4): The loss of defensive tackle Brandon Mebane really hurts. Jamal Charles averaged 6.3 YPC -- including 5.0 YPC before contact -- last week in their loss to the Chiefs. Yet the ever-lowering expectations of this team make them dangerous moving forward.
11. San Francisco 49ers (6-4): The return of pass rusher Aldon Smith really helps. The team continues to exhibit mental and physical toughness. Who wants to play them in the NFC playoffs?
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4): That Monday night game with the Titans looked like it would be more difficult than expected. Getting their ground game going is an encouraging sign. Cutting LeGarrette Blount may be addition by subtraction.
13. Baltimore Ravens (6-4): Their best does not seem to be as good as the best from the elite teams in the AFC. Will John Harbaugh see his team raise their level of play a notch? The absence of Ray Rice continues to slow this team down.
14. Cincinnati Bengals (6-3-1): I have no idea how Andy Dalton played so well in New Orleans and how this team held the Saints to only 10 points in the Superdome except that it proves once again that seemingly sure-things should probably be bet-against out of principle.
15. Miami Dolphins (6-4): A dominating performance on the road against a divisional rival for the Thursday night game is impressive. Head coach Joe Philbin seems to be getting every ounce of talent out of this team.
16. San Diego Chargers (5-5): Their tough schedule of KC then at Denver for a Thursday short week game followed by a trip east to Miami for a 1 PM EST game is no longer an excuse. The offense is scoring only 13.5 PPG over their last four as compared to their torrid 27.3 PPG pace in their first six games.
17. St. Louis Rams (4-6): Has now notched wins against the Seahawks, 49ers and the Broncos (and they were beating the Cardinals in the 4th quarter two weeks ago). Pass rush has re-emerged. Shaun Hill can make almost all the throws and makes the logical progression in his reads.
18. Cleveland Browns (6-4): The absence of center Alex Mack remains devastating with Isaiah Crowell and Terence West combining to average just 3.8 yards per carry in their loss to the Texans. Wide receiver Josh Gordon likely returns this week which could be a game-changer for this team (and it is why they stay ranked ahead of the team that just beat them).
19. Houston Texans (5-5): J.J. Watt makes them dangerous for any game. Surprised how effective Ryan Mallet was in his first career start and fourth regular season performance in his career. And it was on the road without the services of Arian Foster.
20. Buffalo Bills (5-5): Looked listless against the Dolphins but I choose to read very little from poor Thursday night performances given the short week. Their great defensive line keeps them formidable.
21: New Orleans Saints (4-6): I don't understand how they let that Bengals team destroy them in the Superdome. Still, there potential remains higher to win the NFC South then …
22. Atlanta Falcons (4-6): This team is still playing for likely lame duck head coach Mike Smith. With Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White, they remain dangerous on offense with their cobbled-together offensive line slowly getting better. But the inattention to the defensive-side of the football is why owner Arthur Blank will be cleaning house in the offseason.
23. Minnesota Vikings (3-7): Were unlucky to face the "good" Jay Cutler last week. Only nine rushing attempts for Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata combined last week must be addressed. Yet this team will more often over-achieve under first-year head coach Mike Zimmer and that has them ranked atop all the other teams with at least seven losses.
24. Washington Redskins (3-7): Robert Griffin III continues to struggle. Colt McCoy gives them the better chance to win in the short-term. RG3 is playing for a contract so some surprising good performances may still be on the way. The defense is underrated which helps explain their win at Dallas.
25. New York Giants (3-7): So much more potential than their record yet this team seems to have long given up on the season. They probably still have one or two more big upsets in them. Is Eli Manning getting rid of the ball early to avoid getting hit?
26. Chicago Bears (3-7): Like the Giants, very unpredictable at this point. The talent on offense can keep them competitive against anyone if it is the "good" Jay Cutler. But this team is a mess and going nowhere. Has second-year head coach Marc Trestman lost the locker room?
27. Carolina Panthers (3-7-1): Regression was expected -- but not like this. Cam Newton has admitted he is hurt. The defense is a shell of the terrifying unit last year. Yet only 1 1/2 game out of first place in the NFC South, which means head coach Ron Rivera may be able to rally the troops. Winner of the division gets to hit "Reset" by hosting a game in the opening round of the playoffs.
28. Tennessee Titans (2-8): Played very well against the Steelers on Monday night. Zach Mettenberger is playing better than expected. Hey, that Ken Whisenhunt can coach some quarterbacks! Expect this team to continue to improve in Whisenhunt's first season as he shows why he took this job over the Lions' opening.
29. New York Jets (2-8): Coming off their bye-week after a nice upset win over the Steelers. The defense remains good and the offense is likely less unstable under Michael Vick. But will this team play hard for head coach Rex Ryan the rest of the way?
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8): Josh McCown finally shows why this franchise invested in him in the offseason. While this is a lost season for first-year head coach Lovie Smith, they might be dangerous down the stretch as he slowly continues to change the culture of this organization.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9): Blake Bortles is steadily improving a pass attack nice is developing two nice wide receivers. Can Denard Robinson stay healthy at running back given his small frame? He could not stay healthy at Michigan when playing quarterback. They come off the bye week from their trip to London last week.
32. Oakland Raiders (0-10): A running game that is last in the league that fails to manage even 70 rushing YPG is keeping the defense on the field and offering no help to rookie QB Derek Carr. Maurice-Jones Drew has lost too many steps and it is a joke that Darren McFadden was once considered one of the brightest backs in the NFL.

Best of luck for us -- Frank.

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