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NFL Power Rankings through Week 11

Jay Cutler can tell his team to calm down: the Bears won't plunge in the rankings because of his broken thumb. (Photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports)

Week 11 has come and gone, meaning the last four teams had their bye week and everyone in the NFL has played the same number of games (10). With six weeks left, who is poised to make a run to the playoffs, and who will trip over themselves in their effort to get there?

One note for this week’s Power Rankings: I made the executive arbitrary decision not to penalize the Bears in advance for losing Jay Cutler to injury. They remain in the top five for their impressive 7-3 record behind Cutler, and only time will tell if they can maintain their spot without him.

My apologies if I ruined the surprise of reading the rankings for yourself. Last week’s ranking in parentheses.

Without further ado, in honor of Thanksgiving I present my Power Rankings of the gobblers, the gobbled, and the gobbledygook through Week 11:

32 (32). Indianapolis Colts (0-10)

There’s still time to get full value when you trade in your old early-2000s model Peyton Manning jersey for the 2012 Indy Luck. But hurry! This offer is available for a limited time only, as the Colts will only get closer to the second winless season ever after the bye week.

31 (31). St. Louis Rams (2-8)

On 12 separate occasions, the Rams failed to gain more than a single yard on first down. Sooo, how about those Cardinals!

30 (28). Carolina Panthers (2-8)

The Carolina defense was sliced and diced for 49 points on Sunday, allowing Matthew Stafford to throw for five touchdowns. Cam Newton may be a dynamic quarterback, but unless he’s a two-way player, the Panthers are going to struggle.

29 (23). Arizona Cardinals (3-7)

The Cardinals scored their only touchdown on a meaningless throw from Richard Bartel to Larry Fitzgerald. Apparently the fierce quarterback competition in Arizona is over who can get benched the fastest.

28 (25). Minnesota Vikings (2-8)

Adrian Peterson sprained his ankle, dooming the Vikings to relying on a rookie QB and Toby Gerhart. In a related story, Gerhart is a white guy not named Peyton Hillis.

27 (24). Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7)

Blaine Gabbert’s go-ahead touchdown pass bounced off the hands of wide receiver Mike Thomas as time expired for a painful loss. Well, as painful as it can be for a team that released its starting quarterback days before the season started.

26 (30). Washington Redskins (3-7)

Just when they finally put together a decent game, Washington kicker Graham Gano missed a 52-yard field goal to win the game in overtime. The main takaway here is…his parents named him Graham Gano? No wonder he’s a kicker.

25 (29). Cleveland Browns (4-6)

The last five games have seen the Browns score 6, 10, 12, 12, and 14 points. Somehow, they won two of those games. I don’t know if this is a product of God’s pity or some cruel torture in which Cleveland has to watch in case the Browns win, even though they’re guaranteed to score a maximum of two touchdowns.

 24 (27). Kansas City Chiefs (4-6)

The Chiefs put the first points on the board in the first quarter, but were then outscored 34-0 the rest of the way. After the game, coach Todd Haley expressed his disappointment that the league denied their petition to just start the game as if it were sudden-death overtime.

23 (26). Miami Dolphins (3-7)

With a win Sunday, the Dolphins became the third team to compile a three-game winning streak after starting 0-7. What is going on? This is more confusing than when I first learned dolphins were mammals.

22 (22). Seattle Seahawks (4-6)

The Seahawks were dominant over the Rams, forcing three turnovers and controlling the ball for 35 minutes. If this were 2010, they would be right on track to win the NFC West. Or as I like to call it, the WTF West.

21 (21). Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6)

Tampa Bay finally played reasonably well, controlling the clock and accumulating 455 yards of total offense. Sadly, they happened to be playing the undefeated defending champions. Wah wah

20 (16). Buffalo Bills (5-5)

In losing three straight, the Bills have been outscored 106-26. The losing streak started after Ryan Fitzpatrick signed his $59 million contract. Cue the Twilight Zone music!

19 (19). San Diego Chargers (4-6)

Unable to gain even a single yard in the fourth quarter, another loss finds the Chargers dwelling in the AFC West basement along with the woeful Kansas City Chiefs. Someone should probably inform Norv Turner that reverse psychology isn’t an effective motivational ploy for professional athletes.

18 (15). Tennessee Titans (5-5)

Chris Johnson’s most recent box score: 12 carries for 13 yards. You seriously can’t run for more than 1-yard per carry, Chris Johnson? You’re 5-foot-11. You could just fall forward and you would be more successful.

17 (20). Philadelphia Eagles (4-6)

With Michael Vick injured, Vince Young led an 18-play, nearly nine minute drive in the fourth quarter for the game-winning score. It was also Young who dubbed the Eagles the “Dream Team.” It all makes sense!

16 (12). New York Jets (5-5)

Words cannot express how excited I was when the Jets were Tebowed. Instead, I’ll have to turn to chanting: J-E-T-S LOST LOST LOST!

15 (17). Denver Broncos (5-5)

I saw the Red Sox come back from 3-0; I watched them blow a nine game lead in the course of a month. For better and worse, I understand the unpredictability of sports. But, nothing can explain how Tim Tebow beat the Jets to become 4-1 as a starter. I have no idea where to rank the Broncos. I give up.

14 (18). Oakland Raiders (6-4)

After a frightening neck injury to receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, the Raiders managed to hold on for a 27-21 win. Surprisingly, Heyward-Bey did not suffer the injury from the whiplash of watching another Carson Palmer pass turn into a pick-six.

13 (14). Cincinnati Bengals (6-4)

Two weeks ago, I suggested I didn’t care to watch the Bengals, and my only commenter, ‘mimi longworth,’ took issue with my assessment. But the Bungles still haven’t shown me they can win against real competition after losing two in a row to the Steelers and Ravens; the prosecution rests. I probably shouldn’t alienate the only reader who was compelled enough to comment on my writing. Oops.

12 (7). New York Giants (6-4)

Driving in Eagles territory, Eli Manning fumbled away a win when he was hit from behind. I’ve always wanted to write that.

11 (13). Dallas Cowboys (6-4)

Tony Romo has thrived in November, as Sunday’s narrow overtime win improved his career record to 18-2 during this month. And to think that still wasn’t good enough for Jessica Simpson.

10 (11). Detroit Lions (7-3)

After three straight turnovers to start the game, the Lions offense had the following 10 possessions: TD, punt, TD, TD, TD, punt, TD, TD, TD, kneel-down to end the game. That’s crazy! Almost as crazy as this picture of head coach Jim Schwartz with Kid Rock.

9 (10). Atlanta Falcons (6-4)

Atlanta may have won, but they still can’t seem to be consistently impressive: 25 first downs, 432 total yards, 36:59 time of possession, but they only scored 23 points and only won by six. In gambling news, I may or may not have taken the Falcons giving 6.5.

8 (9). Houston Texans (7-3)

What are the odds Matt Leinart used the bye week to study the playbook instead of party in a hot tub?

7 (8). New England Patriots (7-3)

Does it make me a bad person if I thoroughly enjoyed the Patriots going for it on fourth and goal up by 24 with a minute left?

6 (6). Baltimore Ravens (7-3)

The Ravens won behind uncharacteristic performances on both sides of the ball: the defense gave up 483 yards, while the offense put up 31 points. Still, the highlight of the game was when Torrey Smith was tackled by his dreadlocks. Cut your hair, hippy!

5 (5). Chicago Bears (7-3)

The Bears didn’t give up a sack in their win, but still managed to lose quarterback Jay Cutler for the rest of the regular season to a broken thumb. Now they’ll have to rely on back-up Caleb Hanie. Is it just me, or does anyone else think he sounds like an underwear spokesperson? You’re right, it’s just me.

4 (4). New Orleans Saints (7-3)

With their Monday night matchup against Eli and the Giants looming after the bye, New Orleans sent an ultimatum to Archie Manning: the Saints or your son. Pick one, already.

3 (3). Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3)

I was going to ask if Ben Roethlisberger left his house during the Steelers’ bye week, but I didn’t see anything in the police report.

2 (2). San Francisco 49ers (9-1)

The 49ers won handily, holding Arizona to seven points and controlling the ball for an unfathomable 44 minutes and 16 seconds. Even three missed field goals by David Akers couldn’t make it interesting.

1 (1). Green Bay Packers (10-0)

Far from dominant, the Packers still put up 35 points and won by nine, led by defensive lineman B.J. Raji’s first quarter rushing touchdown. That’s right, someone other than Aaron Rodgers.

For variety’s sake, I may or may not be intentionally overlooking his three touchdown passes…

About Nick Bohlen - @ndbohlen

Nick is an editor and regular contributor for the Patriots, Celtics, and Red Sox sections of SoB. (Despite growing up in Vermont, just a short drive from Canada, hockey never really caught on with him.) Follow him on twitter: @ndbohlen

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