Power Rankings: Patriots hold down No. 1 spot, Browns climb into top 10

2:29 | NFL
NFL Power Rankings: Week 11
Wednesday November 12th, 2014

So you want parity? You want intrigue? Then Week 11 is for you.

• Sanchez more than capable of leading EaglesWeek 10 winners, losers

Of the 14 NFL games that will kick off between Thursday night and Monday night, a dozen will involve at least one team either currently in the playoff picture or within a game of getting there. That list includes the 3-6 Falcons visiting the 3-6 Panthers, but still ... it counts.

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The stakes continue to rise as we head into mid-November. Here's how the latest Power Rankings shape up:

NFL Power Rankings
  • 1
    1New England Patriots
    last week: 1
    record: 7-2
    Want to know the real not-so-secret reason behind the Patriots' offensive success this season? They're not turning the ball over. They coughed it up twice in a Week 1 loss to Miami, three times in a Week 4 loss to Kansas City and once total in their other seven games.
    Last season, the Colts finished with 14 turnovers; every other team had at least 18. New England's currently on pace for between 10 and 11 turnovers in 2014.

  • 2
    2Arizona Cardinals
    last week: 2
    record: 8-1
    The injury-induced transition from Carson Palmer to Drew Stanton might be a hit, but it's not a colossal drop-off. To put it in Van Halen terms (which is what everyone really wants, right?), it's closer to a David Lee Roth-to-Sammy Hagar transition than a Hagar-to-Gary Cherone mess.

  • 3
    3Denver Broncos
    last week: 3
    record: 7-2
    Perhaps because it occurred against the Raiders (or because Aaron Rodgers matched the feat later Sunday), Peyton Manning's run of five straight possessions with a touchdown pass went almost unnoticed. We all know we're watching greatness when Manning takes the field, but even after all these years it still can be hard to appreciate just how remarkable a passing quarterback he is.

  • 4
    4Philadelphia Eagles
    last week: 4
    record: 7-2
    The Eagles led 17-7 Monday night before Mark Sanchez completed his third pass, so Sanchez's first high-pressure situation as the starter will have to wait. On the other hand, if Darren Sproles keeps scoring whenever he feels like it and Connor Barwin keeps tackling everything that moves, Sanchez might not find himself in many tight spots.

  • 5
    5Detroit Lions
    last week: 5
    record: 7-2
    In relatively recent memory, the Lions have lost games because A) an opposing kicker hit a 61-yard field goal; B) their coach threw a challenge flag on a play that couldn't be challenged; and C) a different Detroit coach decided to "take the wind" after winning an OT coin toss. And there are many more examples of bad luck for this franchise.
    The tables have turned the past three games, all late wins. Are the Lions cashing in all their stocked karma in one lump sum?

  • 6
    6Green Bay Packers
    last week: 7
    record: 6-3
    The last interception Aaron Rodgers threw at Lambeau Field happened on Dec. 2, 2012 (h/t Evan Silva). He has attempted 286 passes while playing parts of 10 home games since then.
    "He was great," Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb said of Rodgers' six-touchdown performance on Sunday, via the Washington Post. “It’s normal.”

  • 7
    7Kansas City Chiefs
    last week: 6
    record: 6-3
    It's one thing to play a strong game and win, as the Chiefs have done this season against the Patriots and Chargers, among others. It's another thing entirely for a team to win despite looking like it has never practiced nor played the sport of football before. Kansas City pulled the latter off Sunday, shucking aside three rather grotesque quarters to rally past the Bills. And only really good teams can do that.

  • 8
    8Seattle Seahawks
    last week: 9
    record: 6-3
    As Samuel L. Jackson's Jurassic Park character so coolly uttered (as if there's another way for Samuel L. Jackson): "Hold on to your butts."
    The Seahawks have steadied themselves to reach a 6-3 record. Four of their next six games are on the road; four of their next six games are against either San Francisco or Arizona. If the defending champs want to protect their crown into January, they will have to earn it.

  • 9
    9Indianapolis Colts
    last week: 10
    record: 6-3
    Baseball has WAR (wins above replacement). Football Outsiders offers up DYAR (defense-adjusted yards above replacement -- more explanation here) as a way of measuring a player's value. Peyton Manning sits No. 1 in the 2014 DYAR rankings; Andrew Luck is No. 2. No matter what method used to break down NFL quarterbacks, Luck has ascended toward the top.

  • 10
    10Cleveland Browns
    last week: 19
    record: 6-3
    On the cover of the Dec. 3, 2007 Sports Illustrated, above the masthead, was this tease for an article: "How the Browns Learned How to Win." Inside was Damon Hack's story, titled "Believeland," which looked at how "a Browns team that's built for the future ... is suddenly winning big games now."
    Those Browns missed the playoffs at 10-6, then did not win more than five games over the next six seasons. These Browns might turn out to be the real cover story. They're the team to beat in the AFC North.

  • 11
    11Dallas Cowboys
    last week: 13
    record: 7-3
    A bye week gives the Cowboys -- most importantly, Tony Romo -- a few extra days to rest up for the stretch run. And it also gives Dallas' front office a little more time to figure out which piece of anonymous Dez Bryant criticism to leak to the press next.

  • 12
    12San Francisco 49ers
    last week: 18
    record: 5-4
    The NFC West took some serious injury hits this week. Perhaps none will sting as much as Patrick Willis' season-ending foot injury, one that came right as the 49ers pulled off a win in New Orleans and prepared to get Aldon Smith back. Does two steps forward and one huge step back give the 49ers enough momentum for a playoff push?

  • 13
    13Pittsburgh Steelers
    last week: 8
    record: 6-4
    I managed to pull a solid GPA in college because when I forced myself to focus, the good grades followed. I also could have had a better GPA if I hadn't, you know, opted to sleep in or grab a drink rather than study.
    This is sort of where the Steelers are at. When they lock in, like against Indianapolis and Baltimore, they're scary. But then they skip a game against the Jets to play Mario Kart and the picture shifts.

  • 14
    14Baltimore Ravens
    last week: 16
    record: 6-4
    The Ravens boast a top-10 offense (No. 8 in points per game at 26.1) and a top-five defense (18.1 PPG allowed). So why doesn't this feel like a top-10 team at the moment? Mainly because Joe Flacco has been hit or miss -- he has three touchdowns and three interceptions over the past three weeks -- and because the secondary is in all-hands-on-deck mode.

  • 15
    15Miami Dolphins
    last week: 12
    record: 5-4
    If you were to pick one guy on offense that the Dolphins could least afford to lose, it probably would have been OT Branden Albert. His season-ending knee injury might pose a problem this team cannot solve in time to steal a wild-card spot.
    "Big, huge [loss]. I don't even know what to say about it," WR Mike Wallace told ESPN.com's James Walker. "That's a humongous loss. He's been a great player and a great guy to have on the team and in the locker room."

  • 16
    16San Diego Chargers
    last week: 17
    record: 5-4
    Finally, it appears as if RB Ryan Mathews is ready to return -- some needed good news for a Chargers team that was being TKO'd by Miami last we saw it. A Week 11 home game with Oakland should be a further boost. Emphasis on "should," though, because the Raiders have not come any closer to victory this season than they did versus San Diego back in Week 6.

  • 17
    17New Orleans Saints
    last week: 14
    record: 4-5
    The Saints are the best the NFC South has to offer right now, which is like saying the California roll is the best sushi choice at your local gas station.
    OK, OK, in the Saints' defense, they have gone 2-2 during a tough stretch and could have been 4-0.

  • 18
    18Cincinnati Bengals
    last week: 11
    record: 5-3-1
    They're several spots behind the rest of their division -- including a Ravens team they swept this season -- because, right now, they're simply not very good. The Bengals' sleepwalk against Cleveland should have hammered that point home. It's not just Andy Dalton, either (though he's clearly not helping).

  • 19
    19Buffalo Bills
    last week: 15
    record: 5-4
    Cornerback Leodis McKelvin had this explanation for his costly fourth-quarter fumble Sunday, which played a large role in Buffalo's 17-13 loss: "S--- happens."
    Forgive Bills fans if they feel like the winds of chance push against them more often than not. Their team hasn't been to the playoffs since 1999, and the McKelvin-aided setback against the Chiefs ultimately might cost them a shot at breaking that streak this season.

  • 20
    20Minnesota Vikings
    last week: 22
    record: 4-5
    The Vikings are 4-1 against teams sitting below .500 and 0-4 against teams above .500, so thus far there's been a pretty clear line of demarcation for their success. But with four games still left against teams with losing records, Minnesota could make this interesting down the stretch.

  • 21
    21Houston Texans
    last week: 20
    record: 4-5
    The Ryan Mallett era begins in earnest Sunday, when Houston visits Cleveland. It could be a short journey. With Mallett's contract up at the end of the year, the Texans are far from tied to the former Tom Brady backup. Things weren't great under the guy Mallett's replacing, Ryan Fitzpatrick, but they could have been worse.

  • 22
    22St. Louis Rams
    last week: 21
    record: 3-6
    Plenty of promising signs from the Rams over the past four weeks -- a 4-4 stretch that included wins over Seattle and San Francisco, plus Sunday's hard-fought loss in Arizona. The issue is that they're drifting into no-man's land now. Has Jeff Fisher done enough to keep this team on its current track? Or is there enough evidence for the franchise to move another direction?

  • 23
    23Atlanta Falcons
    last week: 27
    record: 3-6
    The Falcons have two wins over the Bucs and one over the Saints ... and that's good enough to be within a game of first place in the NFC South. Atlanta's upcoming schedule might put the kibosh on any division-title talk, but even having that discussion now is a pretty glaring indictment of the league's worst division.

  • 24
    24Washington Redskins
    last week: 25
    record: 3-6
    If Robert Griffin III can stay healthy for the final seven weeks (knocks on every piece of wood within a mile radius), Alfred Morris could be primed for a huge close to 2014. He's averaging 91.5 yards per game in Griffin's two full outings this season, just 60.2 yards in the other seven weeks.

  • 25
    25New York Giants
    last week: 26
    record: 3-6
    The Giants allowed an unimaginable 350 yards rushing to Seattle on Sunday -- more than New York's run game has totaled over this ongoing four-game losing streak (333). Rashad Jennings has missed all of those losses. Having him might not have saved the season, but his absence has crippled the Giants' offensive balance.

  • 26
    26Carolina Panthers
    last week: 23
    record: 3-6-1
    Cam Newton's Monday nighter in Philadelphia was on par with one of those nature films where a cheetah chases down a zebra in slow-motion. Nine sacks, four turnovers, countless more hits. By the fourth quarter, I was just rooting for it to be over so Cam could go home.

  • 27
    27New York Jets
    last week: 31
    record: 2-8
    Sometimes, the NFL just produces fluky results. Hence, the Jets not only upsetting Pittsburgh but forcing four turnovers in the process -- one more than their defense had come up with over their first eight games.
    Afterward, Michael Vick said he believes that the Jets would have more wins if he had been starting all season. Maybe. But Geno Smith's record wouldn't be what it is had the rest of his teammates performed as they did Sunday.

  • 28
    28Tennessee Titans
    last week: 29
    record: 2-7
    Tennessee is just sort of ... there, like Kansas in the Big 12 football landscape or Wake Forest in the ACC. Aside from tracking Zach Mettenberger's progress, the Titans do not even have a storyline that's all that appetizing at the moment. Perhaps 2015 will bring brighter days. This season in Tennessee has been utterly forgettable.

  • 29
    29Chicago Bears
    last week: 24
    record: 3-6
    Someone want to poke the Bears with a stick or bring them a glass of water or something? It's hard to tell if they are even still kicking at this point of the season. Sunday's 55-14 loss in Green Bay was one of the worst performance ever produced by a team coming out of a bye week.

  • 30
    30Jacksonville Jaguars
    last week: 30
    record: 1-9
    A season-ending foot injury for leading receiver Allen Robinson and a concussion for Allen Hurns struck the latest blows to Jacksonville's attempt to build rapport among its young offense. At least Denard Robinson keeps making noise out of the backfield.

  • 31
    31Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    last week: 28
    record: 1-8
    Quarterback Josh McCown had to choke back tears during his postgame press conference Sunday. "One and eight," an emotional McCown said, repeating the Bucs' record multiple times. "You want to give your teammates and the coaches and the fans and your family and everybody here better than that. It just hurts. It hurts."
    That 1-8 might be 1-15 soon, so it's probably not going to get much better for McCown and Co. this season.

  • 32
    32Oakland Raiders
    last week: 32
    record: 0-9
    The Raiders have now lost 15 straight games dating to last season and are 5-34 overall in their previous 39. Prior to their Week 10 defeat, the Raiders' odds at Vegas' South Point Sportsbook of finishing 0-16 were at 10-1. Might want to get on that before the payout drops.

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