2010 NFL Week 15 Power Rankings

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 12: Mark Sanchez  of the New York Jets picks himself up after an incomplete pass against the Miami Dolphins at New Meadowlands Stadium on December 12, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Finally, a team is offering stability at the top of the rankings.

Check out Week 14’s Power Rankings

1. New England Patriots
Previous Week: 1
This is the fourth week in a row I’ve had the Patriots in the top spot. I only mention that little factoid because before the Pats made their home atop Mount Power Rankings, the No. 1 spot acted as a revolving door for teams. New England is peaking at the right time, which has to be a scary thought for AFC playoff contenders. Tom Brady is unbeatable in blizzard-like conditions.

2. Atlanta Falcons
Previous Week: 2
Never before have I seen a team fly under the radar as well as the Falcons have this season (not that they have any control of that). Even when they’re supposed to blow out a team and do just that, people aren’t impressed. Everyone is waiting for this team to fall and in the meantime, the Falcons keep winning. Here’s the real interesting part: this team hasn’t even played a complete game yet.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers
Previous Week: 3
The Steelers’ defense is getting warmed up at just the right time, which is interesting because the Patriots’ offense is peaking now, too. We may be headed for a Pittsburgh-New England rematch soon enough.

4. New Orleans Saints
Previous Week: 4
The Saints’ defense is starting to have that opportunistic feel about them again. They picked off Sam Bradford twice inside the red zone last week and returned one of the gifts for a touchdown right before half. I’m sure Gregg Williams wishes his unit wouldn’t give up so much yardage with the playoffs fast approaching, but he has to be pleased with the amount of turnovers its now producing.

5. Baltimore Ravens
Previous Week: 6
The Ravens were lucky to escape Houston with a win on Monday night. Yes, they were up 28-7 early in the third quarter but they got too complacent and allowed the Texans to tie the game after 99 and 95-yard drives late in the fourth quarter. Houston had also stolen all the momentum heading into overtime so again, the Ravens were fortunate to make it out of Texas with a W. They have some issues to iron out before the playoffs.

6. Philadelphia Eagles
Previous Week: 8
Nice win for the Birds last Sunday night in Dallas. Andy Reid’s squad fell behind in the second half but never panicked and got a couple of monster plays out of Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson. That said, Vick is still taking too many hits, which has to be a concern for Reid with the Giants’ ferocious front seven on deck.

7. New York Giants
Previous Week: 10
The Giants’ performance Monday night in Minnesota wasn’t awe-inspiring from an Eli Manning standpoint, but Tom Coughlin had to love the way his running game destroyed a usually stout Minnesota front seven. The defense played incredibly well too, although most defenses will look good when the other team don’t use a quarterback. Either way, it was a huge win after a couple of days of chaos and with the Eagles game coming up. Now it’s gut-check time.

8. San Diego Chargers
Previous Week: 12
The Chargers caught the Matt Cassel-less Chiefs at the right time but they’re not out of the woods yet. Any Oakland-type meltdowns the rest of the way and San Diego will be home for the playoffs. Both KC and San Diego have cakewalk schedules the rest of the year, so the Bolts will just have to pray that their division rivals collapse in the final weeks.

9. Chicago Bears
Previous Week: 7
I’m not surprised the Bears lost to the Patriots last weekend. I’m surprised that they got the beating of a lifetime in what I consider “Chicago Bear conditions.” And I’m not referring to the weather, because Brady and the Pats obviously can play in the snow. I’m referring to the fact that the Bears and their fans absolutely love the underdog, we’re-better-than-everyone-says-we-are, nobody-gives-us-any-respect role. And then they go out their and they get destroyed on their home turf. Granted, if you’re going to get destroyed you might as well get destroyed by the best team in the league. I just expected more out of the eventual NFC North champs.

10. Green Bay Packers
Previous Week: 9
I hate when people say that a team is better than their record because hey, their record is their record. But in the case of the Packers, I happen to think it’s true. They’ve been decimated by injuries and yet, the numbers still suggest they’re better than their record would indicate. But no matter how you slice it, the Pack are in deep trouble. They travel to New England this Sunday night and if Aaron Rodgers (concussion) can’t go, Matt Flynn isn’t going to beat the Pats on their home turf. That means Green Bay must hope the Bears lose to the Vikings on Monday night. And with how poorly Minnesota played against the Giants, that’s a long shot. It appears as though all hopes have been dashed for this once promising team.

11. New York Jets
Previous Week: 5
The Jets fooled me, just like they fooled everyone else. The worst part is that I called this team overrated all preseason. I said they wouldn’t make the playoffs and that Mark Sanchez would be the reason for it. But I fell for his strong play early on and stuck with the Jets even though I could see with my own eyes that they were barely beating bad teams. Overrated is an overused term in sports, but it fits when it comes to the Jets.

12. Jacksonville Jaguars
Previous Week: 13
Wow, are the Jaguars really this far down? I’m calling shenanigans on my own rankings, although I don’t see where I can move them up. That said, if they beat the Colts this Sunday in Indianapolis I’ll have a nice, warm spot for them in the top 10 next week.

13. Indianapolis Colts
Previous Week: 14
This is it – the season is on the line for the Colts this Sunday in Jacksonville. Beat the Jags and the AFC South gets turned on its head for the final two weeks. Lose to them and the AFC South will officially be viewed as Jaguar Country. God, I love the NFL.

14. Kansas City Chiefs
Previous Week: 11
Tough break for the Chiefs last week not having Matt Cassel. But the good news is that after they play the Rams in St. Louis this Sunday, they host the Titans and Raiders in the final two weeks. Those are all winnable games and seeing as how they still own a one-game lead over the Chargers in the division, KC is in great shape.

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Previous Week: 15
I know the game last Sunday in Washington was decided when Hunter Smith couldn’t hold onto a high snap on the botched extra point attempt but the Bucs were more dominate than the 17-16 final would indicate. If their defenders could catch, they would have picked off Donovan McNabb about three times and made it a more comfortable game for themselves. Now if they can only keep their players out of prison, maybe they can make the playoffs.

16. Dallas Cowboys
Previous Week: 16
Nice effort by the ‘Boys last Sunday night. No matter how well Jon Kitna might be playing, they’re still at a disadvantage with him under center and Tony Romo on the sidelines. But the Cowboys keep fighting under Jason Garrett, which was something they didn’t do (for whatever reason) under Wade Phillips.

17. Miami Dolphins
Previous Week: 20
Uh, nice win, Miami? I really don’t know what to say when a team’s punter was the reason they won.

18. St. Louis Rams
Previous Week: 22
I’m bumping this team up because it has heart. The play Sam Bradford made by chasing down Roman Harper (who had scooped up an apparent fumble) late in fourth quarter with the game out of reach was highly impressive. He could have let Harper walk into the end zone and instead Bradford hustled his ass off and pushed the Saints’ safety (who apparently is 96-years-old based on the effort he gave on the play) out-of-bounds to save a score. Granted, the play was eventually overturned and didn’t count, but Bradford didn’t know that at the time. This team is overmatched damn near every week and yet, they’d make the playoffs if the season were to end today (which is kind of sad given the state of the NFC West, but this is supposed to be a positive write up).

19. Oakland Raiders
Previous Week: 18
Please stay healthy from now on, Darren McFadden. We all want to see you play every week.

20. Minnesota Vikings
Previous Week: 17
The Vikings are exactly where they were two years ago: they need a quarterback.

21. Houston Texans
Previous Week: 21
Everyone got to witness the greatness that is Matt Schaub and the ho-ho-rendousness that is Matt Schaub on Monday night against the Ravens. Those final two drives in the fourth quarter were a thing of beauty but his final pass (a pick-six) makes Houston fans wonder if their team has the right man to lead them to the playoffs.

22. Cleveland Browns
Previous Week: 19
There were a couple of Brown fans that gave me crap because I said Cleveland overpaid for Jake Delhomme. Now what?

23. San Francisco 49ers
Previous Week: 26
Where the F was that Alex Smith all season? Oh that’s right, he doesn’t get to face the Seahawks every week.

24. Seattle Seahawks
Previous Week: 23
The playoffs are on the line and you play like that, Seattle? Nice work.

25. Washington Redskins
Previous Week: 24
If someone asked me before last week’s games what team I thought would lose on a botched extra point, I definitely would have said the Lions. But if someone gave me two choices, I would have definitely said the Lions and Redskins. The season couldn’t end fast enough for the folks in D.C.

26. Tennessee Titans
Previous Week: 25
Now Jeff Fisher says he wants to get Kenny Britt and Randy Moss on the same field together. Why wasn’t a plan in place to that before this? You’re time might be up in Tennessee, Jeff.

27. Buffalo Bills
Previous Week: 28
How about them Bills!

28. Cincinnati Bengals
Previous Week: 29

29. Detroit Lions
Previous Week: 31
I’m pretty sure Ndamukong Suh and Calvin Johnson could go 2-14 on their own, with no other players helping them out.

30. Arizona Cardinals
Previous Week: 30
Immediately following the Cards’ win over the Broncos, I read a headline that said Ken Whisenhunt was sticking with John Skelton at quarterback. As if he was really going to go back to Derek Anderson.

31. Denver Broncos
Previous Week: 29
The Broncos are the only team to fire their coach this season and not win with their interim the following week. Worst yet, they were slaughtered by the Cardinals – ‘nuff said.

32. Carolina Panthers
Previous Week: 32
I love how Steve Smith called out Jimmy Clausen after last week’s loss to the Falcons and said, “He’s not at Notre Dame anymore.” You’re right about that Steve, although I don’t remember Clausen breaking his arm in a pickup flag football game and missing all of training camp. What a team player that Steve Smith character is.

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