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2009 NFL Power Rankings: Week 12

by: AnthonyP On  Monday, December 7, 2009
Tags:  2009   Afc   Football   Nfc   NFL   Power Rankings  

Cardinals Titans FootballWeek 12 and Thanksgiving are the beginning of the end for the NFL regular season, and whilst there have been very few standout franchises in 2009 – actually there has been exactly three – there has been a whole lot of mediocrity and inconsistency which has left us with a playoff race consisting of an official week 12 record 16 teams fighting for their Super Bowl lives.

Forget about Indianapolis they clinched this week, New Orleans will make it in with a win next week, whilst Minnesota will more than likely follow suit the week after that. I think it’s safe to say at this point that barring a meltdown San Diego should steamroll the AFC West with the Patriots matching their bullishness in the East, whilst there is absolutley no resistance to the Arizona Warnerdolls from the NFC West; deservedly or not, the Chargers, Pats and Cardinals will feature in the postseason. That in my mind, leaves 16 teams fighting for 6 spots.

Starting with the two most contestable divisions, the Cowboys are perennial choke artists but are afforded the luxury of a floundering Philadelphia team and a Giants organisaition in freefall in the NFC East. Whilst the AFC North is Cincinnati’s for the taking if they Pittsburgh continue to ride the injury wave that is crippling the heart of both their offense and defense.

Teams on the down are the Giants, Falcons and Texans who despite being postseason calibre just can’t seem to put it all together, have seen their season ruined by in opportune quarterback injuries and a horrible rub of the midseason schedule. I would add Denver to the sinking ship list, if they didn’t hide their inevitable choke artist-ry behind a surprising and – dare I say it – competant victory over the Giants on Thursday.

Teams with momentum as they surge for the playoffs are hard to com by, but the Packers and Titans would be your obvious candidates. Whilst the road is marred by tricky away ties in Chicago, Pittsburgh and Arizona for Green Bay, it’s nothing compared to the Titans’ schedule who will likely be required to beat either San Diego or Indianpolis if they want to see 9 wins and postseason paydirt.

Jacksonville continue to spin their wheels and will likely get caught napping if MJD isn’t getting the 20+ carries he deserves, whilst Miami, the Jets, Baltimore and San Francisco (the NFC is too strong for you 49ers fans, sorry!) offer little inspiration in frustrated filled seasons despite picking up wins on Sunday. Honestly, none of those 5 teams are playoff worthy, but with the AFC in dire straights one of them should sneak in alongside an underrated Pittsburgh side if – and I’m not saying it will – the wheels fall off the Titan bandwagon.

Player of the Week

Vince Young – Driving your team 99 yards (he had a previous long drive from inside his 5 eradicated by a weak Kenny Britt fumble, so it wasn’t a fluke) and converting 3 fourth downs for an expired time game winner is enough in my books for ‘TPS Player of the Week’. Nigh on 400 yards doesn’t hurt either.

Under the Radar Performance of the Week

Chad Clifton – It may have been against the Lions and Browns, but this Packer offensive line, especially Clifton, looks to have turned a corner in their torrid pass protection issues. Now they have a sterner test against Baltimore, but when you give Aaron Rodgers time you know he’s going to show the opposition why he’s deservedly regarded as a top 5 signal caller in the NFL.

The Biggest Movers and Shakers

downRight when you thoughtwe might be in for a renaissance, New York knock the stuffing out of themselves (yes, horrific Thanksgiving pun) and go right back to square one in a do or die encounter with Dallas next week.

upWith a lot of mediocrity in the NFL right now it’s tough to find any teams moving up; ranking places 9 through 16 have almost become interchangeable it’s got so bad.

Here’s how the rest of the NFL played itself out in week 12:

Rank Team Record Change Comment
1 Indianapolis Colts 11-0 - Indy found themselves 17 points down on an explosive Houston offense, but fortunately found themselves 20-7 down at the half against a fading Houston offense, and 4 consecutive touchdowns later, they were on the pleasant side of a 35-27 canter. Up Next: Tennessee Titans
2 New Orleans Saints 11-0 - I actually thought this might be the Saints’ undoing, but 5 TDs from Breesus Christ saw them home in impressive fashion. Up Next: @Washington Redskins
3 Minnesota Vikings 10-1 - Early Pro Bowl voting figures feature Minnesota Vikings players leading the vote in 11 of the 19 catagories for the NFC. Considering Sidney Rice will likely make it as well, why don’t we just move the Pro Bowl to Minnesota, save on transport and forget about Kyoto. Up Next: @Arizona Cardinals
4 New England Patriots 7-4 - New England are cracking on defense, and were repeatedly gashed by Pierre Thomas in key situations. On the bright side, they’re in the AFC East so they won’t fear for their playoff spot too much. Up Next: @Miami Dolphins
5 Cincinnati Bengals 8-3 - A victory against Cleveland means pretty much nada, but considering Larry Johnson and Bernard Scott managed 180 yards between them, I’d hate to think what a returning Cedric Benson could total if he’d been playing. Up Next: Detroit Lions
6 Pittsburgh Steelers 6-5 - I’ll apologise for being a tad harsh on Dennis Dixon last week, because he actually played a really good game. He just lacked the poise to convert in overtime and it slipped the Steelers to 2 games back. Big whoopsie Dennis. Up Next: Oakland Raiders
7 Dallas Cowboys 8-3 - I’m still not convinced Dallas are a top 10 team, but with no franchise really interested in winning football games outside of the big three, they’ll have to do. Up Next: @New York Giants
8 San Diego Chargers 8-3 - Can we stop saying LT ran well? He got in twice from short yardage but also fumbled badly at the goaline. Hall of Fame? Undoubtedly. Productive number one? Not so much. Up Next: @Cleveland Browns
9 Philadelphia Eagles 7-4 - DeSean Jackson was withdrawn with a concussion ala Brian Westbrook, so now the Eagles will hope Jason Avant can step up in a season where they’ve seemingly been hit with injury everywhere. Up Next: @Atlanta Falcons
10 Baltimore Ravens 6-5 up4 Joe Flacco was a statue in the pocket falling 5 times to the Steeler rush. I somehow think a healthy Ben Roethlisberger would have altered this outcome. Up Next: @Green Bay Packers
11 Green Bay Packers 7-4 up2 Is it too early to annoint this guy the #1 A-Rod in all of professional sport? Up Next: Baltimore Ravens
12 Arizona Cardinals 7-4 - Until Kurt Warner returns this team will be in a holding pattern around slot 12. They have top 10 talent, but they just can’t show it with Leinart under center. Up Next: Minnesota Vikings
13 Houston Texans 5-6 down2 3 soul crushing defeats on the bounce see Houston slip but I still maintain that Houston are a quality organisation. Sadly, it looks less and less likely will get to see them after week 17. Up Next: @Jacksonville Jaguars
14 Tennessee Titans 5-6 up1 Chris Johnson wants 2000 yards and with matchups against St. Louis, Seattle and San Diego in the upcoming weeks I have to question whether 3000 is a more realistic target. Up Next: @Indianapolis Colts
15 Denver Broncos 7-4 up1 Denver snapped the funk in impressive fashion, effectively cutting the strings of New York’s parachute with the cold hard ground just 1 week away for New York’s premier outfit. Up Next: Kansas City Chiefs
16 New York Giants 6-5 down6 It’s all or nothing for the Giants next week. If they don’t stop the rot against Dallas, it will likely be game over for the postseason perennials. Up Next: Dallas Cowboys
17 Miami Dolphins 5-6 - Miami’s hopes were slim before they lost a winnable divisional battle. 9 wins may make it, but the apart from the Jags, the rest of Miami’s schedule features teams TPS ranks higher than the Tuna. Up Next: New England Patriots
18 New York Jets 5-6 up2 Miami’s schedule may be too tough to handle, but when you look at 9 wins being a potential wildcard place, the Jets have an outside chance if the Colts and Bengals bench starters in weeks 16 and 17. Longshot to say the least Up Next: @Buffalo Bills
19 Jacksonville Jaguars 6-5 down1 Right around the time David Garrard fumbled for the second time in the redzone and failed to convert on any of his four trips there, I bet Jack Del Rio was wishing he had some sort of beast running back that he could feed the ball to 25+ times and be taken seriously as a head coach, franchise and playoff contender. Oh wait… Up Next: Houston Texans
20 Atlanta Falcons 6-5 down1 Matt Ryan’s turf toe will keep him out for a minimum of a week, but between you and me, Chris Redman looked marginally more productive and a heck of a lot less turnover prone. Up Next: Philadelphia Eagles
21 San Francisco 49ers 5-6 - San Fran are playoff contenders virtue of a schedule featuring Seattle, St. Louis and Detroit. If they tack on a win against Arizona then they may even take the division. Having said that, I would be ashamed to call myself NFC West champions. Up Next: @Seattle Seahawks
22 Washington Redskins 3-8 - Allowing just 1 sack and more time for Jason Campbell gave Washington a shot against Philadelphia – especially when they have the number 1 pass defense to keep trouble at bay – but like has happened more often than not in 2009, they just never really wanted to win. Up Next: Detroit Lions
23 Chicago Bears 4-7 - Next week the Rams should allow Chicago to cleanse their pallet of what continues to be a horrific 2009 campaign. Up Next: St. Louis Rams
24 Carolina Panthers 4-7 - Darrelle Revis is a man. The guy held a hot Steve Smith to just 5 yards receiving and when you ask Jake Delhomme to throw anywhere else but Smitty, the result is ugly. Like interceptersaurus ugly. Up Next: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
25 Seattle Seahawks 4-7 - There’s a lot of Justin Forsett love being bandied about but was I the only one to notice the opposition? Up Next: San Francisco 49ers
26 Buffalo Bills 4-7 up2 Ok that was impressive. Now if Buffalo can do the same against New York next week we might just forget how totally horrendous Buffalo have been all year… NO MAINSTREAM MEDIA, WE WON’T. You don’t wave a wand and make 10 bad weeks dissapear. Up Next: New York Jets
27 Kansas City Chiefs 3-8 - Kansas City are getting brutalised and need left tackle help badly. Brandon Albert had a nice rookie season at blindside, but he just doesn’t have the foot speed to avoid a shift to guard. Or to put it another way, he just doesn’t have the foot speed to NOT-avoid something, like an NFL defensive end one in a while. Up Next: Denver Broncos
28 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1-10 down2 I think Tampa are a better team than results would indicate during the Josh Freeman era, and I would actually fancy them as underdogs at Carolina if it wasn’t for the little fact that THEIR FRONT 7 COULDN’T EVEN STOP ME! Up Next: @Carolina Panthers
29 Oakland Raiders 3-8 - There is just nothing going on in this franchise, and despite grabbing his first touchdown, their last three consecutive top 10 picks have amounted to absolutley 0 on field talent. Up Next: @Pittsburgh Steelers
30 Detroit Lions 2-9 - Matt Stafford couldn’t play, Daunte Culpepper didn’t want to play, Calvin Johnson is fit enough to stand on the field and take shots, but not fit enough to catch more than 2 balls. Why are Detroit ranked 30th again? Because they enjoy risking the health of franchise cornerstones in the name of futile attempts at victory. Up Next: @Cinncinati Bengals
31 St Louis Rams 1-10 - Steven Jackson is like the kid at school whose overprotective and embarassing mom insists on chaperoning him to all the cool parties. I quite literally think SJax will cringe when he sees his Pro Bowl helmet with that goofy sheep on it. Up Next: @Chicago Bears
32 Cleveland Browns 1-10 - Cleveland just lost their best player to IR, and I hope that Cleveland fans aren’t deluding themselves into thinking Shaun Rogers is actually going to stick around next year. Hell. No. Up Next: San Diego Chargers

Be sure to check back next week with our NFL Power Rankings post week 13.




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