Just four weeks left in the regular season, and teams are starting to find their stride in terms of their playoff rankings. Now we seem to have most of the spots filled, but there are still plenty of things that could happen. Here below are our power rankings for a crazy week 14.
NFC Top 5
1. Dallas (1) – The Cowboys didn’t play their best game by any means Sunday in Detroit, but the important thing is they won, and with it featured their newest and possibly most important offensive weapon heading into the playoffs – Jason Witten. The tight end caught a whopping 15 catches and the final TD that won the game. They take on a reeling Eagles team this week at home in a game they should win.
2. Green Bay (2) – Ryan Grant has added a huge part to the Pack’s offense, as their running game been solid the past few weeks. This past week vs the Raiders he rushed for a career high 156 yards and a score in the teams win. The defense seems as solid has it has all season, and the Pack is going to have to be dealt with come January.
3. Seattle (3) – The NFC West once again belongs to the Seahawks, and with their win this week they are now 9-4, and seem poised to take home the #3 seed in the NFC. Matt Hasslebeck is playing as well as he has in two years, and the running game is doing its job. We’ll see if they can land an upset in the playoffs after winning their first home game vs the #6 seed. Likely they would head to Green Bay for what would be an interesting divisional playoff game.
4. Tampa Bay (4) – The Bucs this past week had a lot of things going against them, the biggest of which being the loss of QB Jeff Garcia, which this week was too much to overcome. Garcia should be back next week, and with it the Bucs should be able to get on track vs the Falcons. Look for them to clinch the South, and for them to host the Giants in the first weekend of the playoffs.
5. New York Giants (5) – Another gutsy road win for a team that has the makings of giving the Bucs or possibly the Hawks a tough time in the first round of the playoffs. Not enough credit is being paid to Plaxico Burress, who is simply not 100 percent with the ankle injury, and won’t be till after the season. As long as he can go, the Giants will be dangerous as the playoffs get underway.
NFC Bottom 3
1. San Francisco (2) – This week they had some guy named Shaun Hill playing quarterback. Isn’t that enough said? A lot of changes are coming for this team, that seemed to be on the right track after last season. The loss of Alex Smith hurt, but there are a lot of other reasons that this team has lost as many games as they have.
2. Atlanta (1) – Chris Redman was the winner of “Play QB for a week for the Falcons” contest they had this past week. We saw how that turned out. Yet another team that will be making many personal changes once this nightmare 2007 is over.
3. St.Louis (3) – The Rams continue to try, but this past week had to throw out Brock Berlin as their starter, and the team was not very good on offense, despite holding the Bengals to 19 points. Health is the biggest thing the Rams are going to need in the offseason.
AFC Top 5
1. New England (1) – The perfect season is now totally within reach after they beat up the Steelers at home Sunday. They pulled out all the tricks, including the throw-back pass which worked to Jabar Gaffney. The only, and I mean only, thing that is a concern is what might happen in the playoffs should there be bad weather in Foxboro.
2. Indianapolis (2) – The Colts put their foot on the Ravens neck Sunday night and didn’t let go until they had a very comfortable lead and Jim Sorgi was at QB for the team. They have every intention of getting back to the dance in Glendale in February, and despite how good the Pats are, the Colts are going to give them a fight.
3. Pittsburgh (3) – A major road bump on Sunday in Foxboro, as the team hung in for a half, then went into collapse mode in losing 34-13. Guys like Anthony Smith should learn that you win with your play on the field, not with your mouth. The team has another huge test vs the Jags this week, a team that they have in the past not played well against. They are at home though, so they do have the advantage.
4. Jacksonville (5) – How could you not be impressed with the job that Jack Del Rio and the Jags have done this year? A major QB change, injuries, suspensions and arrests have not stopped this team from being a force in this conference, and next year at this time we very well may be talking about them being the best team in the division or maybe even the conference.
5. San Diego (4) – The Chargers trailed late in Tennessee, but got the job done and pulled out a huge win as they march towards the AFC West title and the playoffs. Phillip Rivers pulled out a gutsy effort hurt, and I thought his play was a big motivator in the Chargers getting the key win. A home game vs the Lions this week should be another win.
AFC Bottom 3
1. Miami (1) – Is John Beck the answer at QB? If so, why did he get yanked after two throws Sunday (one taken back for a TD) in the teams latest defeat? Miami may be the worst team to take a field in the last 25 years, and you can bet that the Ravens, Pats and Bengals are going to do their best to make sure they don’t become a footnote for the worst season the league has seen in some time.
2. Baltimore (2) – The Ravens looked like they gave up Sunday night vs the Colts, and it seemed like they spent too much time during the week still focusing on the loss last Monday night to the Pats. Many say that Brian Billick will be back as the teams coach in 2008, but with the way that this season is ending up, I think they should take a hard look at that.
3. New York Jets (3) – A wild fourth quarter almost saw the Jets pull out a win vs the Browns, but Eric Mangini took the ball out of the offenses hand late simply to kick field goals, which was strange. Kellen Clemens is another question mark, and if he’s the long term answer at the teams QB spot.