Benigno’s Best: Week 13 NFL Power Rankings
1. Green Bay Packers 11-0 (1)
Champs continue to cruise. Now 17 straight wins. Not that there was any doubt, but with Bears’ loss and Packs’ beat down of Lions on Turkey Day, they have all but clinched the NFC North.
Next: @ Giants
2. New Orleans Saints 8-3 (3)
Forty-nine points and 577 total yards of offense in waxing of fading Giants. Four more Brees TD passes, now 39 consecutive games with a TD pass for Drew. Just 8 away from Johnny U’s once thought to be untouchable record.
Next: vs. Lions
3. Baltimore Ravens 8-3 (5)
Nine sacks of Alex Smith as Baltimore D devastates Smith and Niners on Turkey Day. Ravens undefeated at home. Watch out if they get home field throughout AFC playoffs.
Next: @ Browns
4. San Francisco 49ers 9-2 (2)
Jim Harbaugh loses the battle of the brothers in Baltimore, but with four games left against lousy NFC West opponents, that could be Niners final regular season loss. They can clinch division this week with win against St. Louis.
Next: vs. Rams
5. Houston Texans 8-3 (4)
Houston wins fifth straight in Jacksonville, but lose backup quarterback Matt Leinart for season with broken collarbone. With Matt Schaub already done for the year, can they continue to win with T.J. Yates or Kellen Clemens at quarterback?
Next: vs. Falcons
6. New England Patriots 8-3 (7)
Brady, Welker, Gronkowski and company basically finished off Eagles with blowout win in Philly. Winless Colts next up in Foxboro. Not exactly the same old feeling for this rivalry without Peyton Manning around.
Next: vs. Colts
7. Pittsburgh Steelers 8-3 (6)
Not very impressive in Sunday night win in K.C., but Big Ben and company still able to get W. Whoever thought smash-mouth Steelers would turn into air-Roethlisberger? And really who wants to see these guys in the playoffs?
Next: vs. Bengals
8. Oakland Raiders 7-4 (unranked)
Carson Palmer really starting to find his way in Oakland. Look out when Darren McFadden returns from injury. Has there ever been a better kicker/punter combo than Janikowski/Lechler?
Next: @ Dolphins
9. Atlanta Falcons 7-4 (unranked)
Atlanta has bounced back nicely from horrible loss to Saints three weeks ago, with home wins over Titans and Vikings. NFC South showdown vs. Saints in New Orleans on Monday night of Christmas weekend could be for division title.
Next: @ Texans
10. Dallas Cowboys 7-4 (10)
Boys make it four straight wins surviving revitalized Fish on Thanksgiving. Couple that with Giants’ loss to Saints and look who’s all alone atop NFC East. Two games in last four weeks vs. Big Blue will determine who wins this division.
Next: @ Cardinals
Fading Out: Chicago Bears & Detroit Lions
Closing In: Cincinnati Bengals & Denver Broncos