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NFL Power Rankings through Week 12

Chiefs Quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn patiently explains to Tyler Palko that he should shoot to complete passes to his own teammates. (Photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports)

Back-ups-turned-starting-quarterbacks simply sucked; God continued to mess with conventional football wisdom (and common sense) despite the end of the NBA lockout; and Stevie Johnson made my wildest dreams come true (okay, second-wildest).

Just another week in the NFL.

With Thanksgiving come and gone like so many unlucky (yet incredibly delicious) turkeys, some teams have more to be thankful for than others. As I do each week, I’ll break down the ranks of the NFL for Week 12 in my usual powerful manner. Last week’s rank in parentheses.

Without further ado, NFL Power Rankings of the magical, the mediocre, and the miserable through Week 12:

32 (32). Indianapolis Colts (0-11)

15-29, 226 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, a 60.4 passer rating, and this sound bite: “At least we put ourselves in a position to win it in the second half.” I think it’s about time Curtis Painter looked to his last name for a little career advice.

31 (31). St. Louis Rams (2-9)

Every week, my roommate and I pick against the spread for kicks and giggles. Every week, the Rams have graced the bottom of these very rankings of mine. So why, pray tell, would I wager on the Rams to cover unless they were given two touchdowns? I don’t know. I think I need a CAT scan.

30 (27). Jacksonville Jaguars (3-8)

Their measly 13 points in Week 12 means the Jaguars have yet to break the 20 point barrier in any game this season. Somehow benching Blaine Gabbert in favor of Luke McCown didn’t help matters.

29 (28). Minnesota Vikings (2-9)

No Adrian Peterson? No problem! The Vikings still found a way to lose without their best player.

28 (30). Carolina Panthers (3-8)

The Panthers won on the road for the first time since Dec. 7, 2009. “This is something we can build off, use as a springboard as we go forward,” coach Ron Rivera said after the game. Sometimes you just have to let people find out the hard way that the pool is empty.

27 (29). Arizona Cardinals (4-7)

Rookie Patrick Peterson helped the Cardinals to a win by weaving through the Rams for his fourth punt return for a touchdown. This begs the question, is it really that hard to kick the ball out of bounds?

26 (24). Kansas City Chiefs (4-7)

Tyler Palko surrendered another four turnovers this week to all but cost the Chiefs a shot at the playoffs. Luckily, Kansas City claimed Kyle Orton to take over at QB and lead a charge to the front of the weak AFC West. Do you think KC realizes this is the same Kyle Orton who used to start for the Denver Broncos before being benched in favor of a quarterback who can’t complete 50 percent of his passes?

25 (22). Seattle Seahawks (4-7)

Somehow the Seahawks gave up 16 points to Rex Grossman and the Redskins in the fourth quarter to blow the game. And by “somehow,” I mean “predictably.”

24 (25). Cleveland Browns (4-7)

Another poor snap led to a squibbed field goal attempt by kicker Phil Dawson, allowing the Bengals to come back for a 23-20 win. Cleveland fans tried to forget another harrowing sports memory by watching their favorite movie of all time, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and the air was filled with the sound of wistful sighs.

23 (26). Washington Redskins (4-7)

ESPN’s game recap characterized Rex Grossman as “brilliant early” and “great again in the closing minutes.” Is this real life?

22 (21). Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7)

The Bucs had five turnovers in their fifth straight loss. You know the Bucs are bad when not even Bill Simmons can support Josh Freeman any longer.

21 (19). San Diego Chargers (4-7)

The Chargers mustered only 13 points in their sixth straight loss. This loss was understandable, though, because not only does God love Tim Tebow, He thinks Philip Rivers is a douchebag.

20 (20). Buffalo Bills (5-6)

Stevie Johnson’s touchdown dance mocking Plaxico Burress’s gun incident proved to come all too true, as Johnson was assessed a penalty for excessive celebration (leading to a Jets touchdown) and also dropped critical passes on the Bills’ final drive (which came up short). As someone who has been anxiously waiting for this celebration to surface, though, I say it was totally worth it.

19 (17). Philadelphia Eagles (4-7)

After building a quick 10-point lead in the first quarter, the Eagles were outscored 38-10 the rest of the way to essentially end their playoff aspirations. It appears the Dream Team is stuck in limbo alongside Leonardo DiCaprio’s wife from Inception.

18 (23). Miami Dolphins (3-8)

If not for a botched snap by Matt Moore that Dallas recovered in the end zone for a touchdown, the Dolphins might have won their fourth in a row. Then again, that also could be directly attributable to having Matt Moore line up under center.

17 (18). Tennessee Titans (6-5)

190 yards rushing? Is that you, Chris Johnson? Halloween was a month ago, why are you dressing up as yourself from 2009?

16 (16). New York Jets (6-5)

Mark Sanchez threw 4 TDs, the last one to go ahead with just a minute left. Congratulations, Jets fans – your quarterback did what he was supposed to do! We’re all so proud.

15 (15). Denver Broncos (6-5)

I already gave up last week trying to explain the Broncos’ success behind Tim Tebow. You didn’t really expect me to try to find another way to say “divine intervention,” did you?

14 (12). New York Giants (6-5)

I couldn’t be happier to see the Giants fall to 6-5 and out of first place in the NFC East. Well, that’s not true. I would be much happier if Eli had thrown an interception on every one of his 45 pass attempts on Monday night. Can’t a man dream?

13 (10). Detroit Lions (7-4)

Too bad Ndamukong Suh didn’t clarify the rule on curb-stomping when he met with Goodell, because Suh has now been suspended for two games following his attempt to squash Packers’ lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith.

When reached for comment, Dietrich-Smith was actually happy that Suh stepped on him, claiming, “I kind of enjoy all the newfound publicity where reporters, you know, talk to me and stuff.”

12 (5). Chicago Bears (7-4)

Caleb Hanie lived up to all of my expectations with a performance worthy of the underwear salesman I thought he was – 18-36, 254 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, and a 56.9 passer rating. Hanies – the new Depends, made special to keep back-up QBs from crapping their pants!

11 (14). Oakland Raiders (7-4)

Special teams ruled the day for the Raiders, as Sebastian Janikowski went a perfect 6-6 on field goal attempts and Shane Lechler bombed five punts at an average of 54.6 yards per kick. That includes one Lechler launched 80 yards downfield for a touchback. Is it weird that my first thought was, “I hope that guy never kicks me in the nuts!” while making the sign of the cross?

10 (13). Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)

Andy Dalton connected with A.J. Green on a sensational 51-yard catch-and-run that led to the game-winning field goal. Both Dalton and Green remarked how nice it would be to fill out their divisional schedule with six games against Browns and simply forego the rivalries with the Steelers and Ravens.

9 (9). Atlanta Falcons (7-4)

After the Falcons struggled to dispatch the Vikings, tight end Tony Gonzalez said, “We know we’re a lot better than that. Sooner or later we’re going to hit our stride.”

As a reporter, my follow-up question would have been, “Tony, Nick Bohlen from Sports of Boston here. Would you say that is your favorite empty sports cliché that everyone has heard a million times, or do you have another you prefer instead?”

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

The Texans won at the cost of losing Matt Leinart for the season to a broken collarbone. Now they have brought in Jake Delhomme to run the offense. Yep, that Jake Delhomme.

7 (11). Dallas Cowboys (7-4)

Dan Bailey’s field goal as time expired gave the Cowboys the slimmest margin of victory possible. But a win is a win, and the Cowboys are in first place in the NFC East, poised to have Tony Romo choke again in the playoffs.

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

Tom Brady shredded the Eagles secondary for 361 yards and 3 touchdowns, and he did it while wearing his man-UGGs. I knew there was a reason I bought a pair!

5 (3). Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3)

The Steelers lost safety Troy Polamalu to a head injury, but it was their offense that barely scored enough points to overcome Tyler “The Human Turnover Machine” Palko. According to Rashard Mendenhall, the government was behind the poor play of the Steelers offense.

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

In the battle of the Harbaugh brothers, the 49ers lost 16-6. If I had a chance to talk to Alex Smith before the game, our conversation would have gone like this: “Alex Smith, I’d like to introduce you to Terrell Suggs and the Baltimore Ravens front seven. Also, meet the ground. You’ll be spending a lot of time there.”

3 (4). New Orleans Saints (8-3)

Drew Brees tossed four touchdowns and scrambled for another in routing the Giants 49-24. I would say he’s a “G,” but considering he beat the G-men, that would be confusing. I also happen to be extremely white.

2 (6). Baltimore Ravens (8-3)

The Baltimore defense dialed up nine sacks on Thanksgiving night, just one more part of Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. Alex Smith, on the other hand, might argue it was more along the lines of Cain’s sexual harassment.

1 (1). Green Bay Packers (11-0)

The undefeated season is starting to become a frightening possibility. If they make it to the Super Bowl at 18-0, I mandate that whoever plays the Packers sign David Tyree for the express purpose of making an impossible catch to destroy Green Bay’s hopes and dreams.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go waterboard myself. Until next week.

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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One comment for “NFL Power Rankings through Week 12”

  1. tebow gets so much hate from media only

    Posted by ben hill | December 3, 2011, 10:08 am

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