Tag:pittsburgh
Posted on: August 28, 2011 2:44 pm
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2011 NFL Pre Season Power Rankings

Welcome to the start of the 2011 NFL season. Just a couple of months ago we were wondering if there was even going to be football and now I am about to release the 2011 pre season NFL rankings.

This offseason has been one of the strangest we have ever seen. A long lockout followed by a flurry of free agent signings in a short period of time. So who is most improved? Which team is in the best position to make a run to the Superbowl? Let's look at our power rankings and try and answer some of those questions.

1. Green Bay Packers - 2010 Super Bowl Champs

The Green Bay Packers are your defending Super Bowl champions and unlike other teams didn't make a big splash in the free agent market. What is scary is they really didn't have to because they are returning so many injured players from last year. Ryan Grant, Jermichael Finley and a slew of other players will be back with the team this year. Aaron Rodgers was impressive last year and there is no reason to believe his spectacular play won't continue. This team is at the top and until someone proves they are better this is where they will stay.

2. New England Patriots - 2010 AFC East Champs

Every year that the New England Patriots start the season with a healthy Tom Brady and Bill Belichick as their head coach they have a chance to win it all. Why? Because they have done it three times in the past 10 years. The Patriots did add some big names this off season in Chad Ochocino and Albert Haynesworth although I am uncertain how much those two will contribute. The one issue this team will have will be in their running game. Is Benjarvis Green-Ellis able to carry this team on the ground? Does he need to? We will find out but right now the Patriots are the best team in the AFC.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers - 2010 AFC Champs

Pittsburgh represented the AFC in the Super Bowl last season and should be poised to make another run at it again this year. They return most of their team and have actually signed some of their most important defensive pieces to long term contracts. This team always wins with defense and over the past few years their offense has begun to make strides to be considered high powered. If Rashard Mendenhall learned how to hold on to the ball this off season then the Steelers could be a force to be reckoned with even though their receiving corps might not be the best in the league.

4. Philadelphia Eagles - 2010 NFC East Champs

Philadelphia was definitely the biggest buyers in the off season. Even though I don't agree with the "Dream Team" tag that Vince Young gave to this unproven team during training camp, it is hard to argue that the Eagles aren't the class of the always competitive NFC East. If Michael Vick can stay healthy, and that is a big if, and the defense can come together behind rookie defensive coordinator, Juan Castillo, the Eagles have a chance of giving the Packers a run for their money this year.

5. New York Jets - 2010 AFC Championship Loser

The New York Jets are never the favorite on paper but for the last two seasons they have found themselves one win away from the Super Bowl. The Jets lost the Nnamdi Asomugha sweepstakes this year but did manage to pick up Plaxico Burress from jail and sign Santonio Holmes to a multi year deal. I am not sure if they have the offense still to match up with the Patriots but I am not betting against them this year. Could this be the year the Jets finally get over the hump and represent the AFC in the Super Bowl? Stay tuned...

There you have it, the 2011 NFL pre season power rankings by Mole & Meares. Check back each week as we will update our top five teams weekly. Will two of these teams meet in the Super Bowl in February? Your guess is as good as ours!

Make sure to visit us at www.moleandmeares.com to see all of our picks each week!
Posted on: January 4, 2011 11:26 am
 

NFL Power Rankings - Post Season

The NFL regular season is now officially over and it is on to the playoffs.  That means it is time to rank the 12 playoff teams in our post season version of the NFL power rankings.  Can anyone beat the Patriots this winter?  Are the Falcons the team to beat in the NFC?  Both of these are good questions and below you will find my attempt at answering them.  Here we go...

1.  New England Patriots - The Patriots have won 8 games in a row and all but two haven't even been close.  They are the only team in the NFL to score over 500 points this season and the only team that has outscored its opponents by over 200 points for the season.  They are also the only team to be undefeated at home and one of two teams (Chiefs) to not lose a game to the NFC.  Did I also mention that Tom Brady is probably the runaway MVP this year?  He has a 65.9 completion percentage, has thrown 36 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions and has a passer rating of 111.0.  Someone tell me how this team doesn't win the Superbowl?

2.  Atlanta Falcons - The Falcons are definitely the best team in the NFC at this time but they aren't the Patriots.  They showed two weeks ago against the Saints they can be beat and be beat at home.  With that said they are the most likely candidate to face the Patriots in the Superbowl but they are far from a lock.  Matt Ryan is unproven in the post season and althought Matty "Ice" has had a very good season, we all know that the post season separates the men from the boys.  If Ryan continues his stellar play they should have a chance to play in February.

3.  Pittsburgh Steelers - The Steelers have the best defense in the league again this year, only allowing 232 points against for the season.  Their offense, on the other hand, shows up only from time to time.  They have probably the best chance of any other AFC team to take down the Patriots this year except for the fact that Tom Brady owns them.  If their defense can play at the same level they have all season and they find a way to put the ball in the end zone instead of through the uprights they might have a chance.

4.  Chicago Bears - The Bears have a first round bye but at the same time they do have some cause for concern.  I know they didn't have anything to play for in the final week of the season but they still lined up their first stringers against the Packers and only managed 3 points.  What is more concerning is that Cutler looked shaky and so did their offensive line giving up 6 sacks.  This team is still good though and their defense in probably the best in the NFC.  If Cutler can hold onto the ball and not turn it over than the Bears have what it takes to play for a chance to go to the Superbowl but I am not sure if they can go further.

5.  Baltimore Ravens - The Ravens are almost the exact clone of the Pittsburgh Steelers, they play the same type of football.  Their defense has shown at times that they can give up points but their offense is more consistent than the Steelers.  Other than the Steelers, the Ravens match up best against the Patriots and I believe it will be either the Ravens or the Steelers playing the Patriots for the right to go to Dallas.  If the Ravens can ratchet up their defense for the playoffs and they can continue to run the ball down the throat of their opponents then this team has a chance.

6.  Green Bay Packers - The Packers are the most dangerous 6 seed I have ever seen.  They are coming into the playoffs on a two game win streak where both games were basically playoff games for them.  Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFC when he is healthy and that will be the goal of the offensive line of the Packers, keep Rodgers off the ground.  It is truly amazing what this team has accomplished with the amount of injuries they have sustained this season.  I like the Packers to win this week and go into Atlanta next week with a chance to shock the world.

7.  New Orleans Saints - The Saints are not quite the same team they were last year but they are back in the playoffs with a chance to defend their Superbowl crown.  They won the lottery and get to face the first sub 500 team to ever make the playoffs this year when they travel to Seattle on Saturday.  Stranger things have happened, but I would be surprised not to see New Orleans make it to the divisional weekend of the playoffs.  From there, who knows what happens, they proved a couple of weeks ago they can go into Atlanta and win so maybe they can do it again?

8.  Kansas City Chiefs - The Chiefs are an interesting team.  They, perhaps, run the ball better than any other team in the playoffs and they are very quick on the defensive side of the ball.  They have a tough first round game against the Ravens but they will get to play in the friendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium.  No one expected this team to be in this position and that is sometimes the most dangerous team out there.  They are playing on house money so they could be looser than everyone else because they know they have nothing to lose.  

9.  Indianapolis Colts - The Colts managed to find a way into the post season again and this time with a JV team around Peyton Manning.  On one hand, it is hard to imagine this Colts team making any noise in the post season but on the other hand it is never a good idea to bet against Manning.  The Colts are riding a 4 game win streak but two of those games were against the awful Tennessee Titans.  I think that the injuries have taken their toll on this team and I can't imagine them being able to beat the elite teams in the AFC this year, could be a one and done this post season.

10.  New York Jets - The Jets are a hard team to get a read on.  Their defense is no where near as good as it was last year when they made the run to the AFC championship game and their offense has been hit or miss.  With all of the off the field distractions, StergerGate, TrippingGate, FootGate and now FavreTextingGate I am not sure if there is any time left to focus on football.  This team has all the tools to be a Superbowl contender, but they can't seem to get out of their own way.  Mark Sanchez needs a year or two more to mature into a better quarterback and Rex Ryan needs to learn how to close his mouth from time to time.  This is not the Jets year.

11.  Philadelphia Eagles - The Eagles are limping into the post season after two consecutive losses.  Now granted, the loss on Sunday was because of the Eagles resting most of their starters but it is a loss nonetheless.  Michael Vick hasn't been as electric recently as he was in the middle of the season, perhaps all of the hits he has been taking are finally taking a toll on him.  Their defense has more holes in it than a piece of swiss cheese.  Eagles fans should take solace in the fact that after week one they would never have thought they would be in the playoffs.  This is going to be a very short post season for the Eagles. 

12.  Seattle Seahawks - 7-9.  First team EVER to make the playoffs with a losing record.  They don't even deserve to be in these rankings.  Enjoy your home playoff game because that is where your season ends.

There you have it, the power rankings for the 2010-2011 NFL playoff teams.  Do you see them ranked differently?  Let me know by leaving comments below.  Also, don't forget to check out my online NFL picks show, The Mole & Meares show, at www.moleandmeares.com.  We will be picking all of the playoff games this post season.

Meares

Posted on: December 29, 2010 9:06 am
 

NFL Power Rankings - Week 17

Going into the final week of the NFL regular season, the playoff picture is almost completely set.  Their are only three spots available, one in the AFC and two in the NFC, which will be determined this Sunday.  The Patriots have locked up home field advantage in the AFC and Atlanta is all but guaranteed home field advantage in the NFC.  Some teams have backed into the playoffs (Eagles & Jets) and some teams will enter the playoffs on a roll.  With how crazy this NFL season has been I would expect some surprises in the playoffs.  Here are the top 5 teams entering week 17...

1.  New England Patriots (13-2) - The Patriots have won 7 games in a row and haven't scored less than 31 points since November 7th.  I would venture to say that this offense is rolling right now.  New England is not known for resting their starters much, even in games where nothing is on the line so I believe we will see the Patriots roll out to an early lead on Miami at home this week and then coast through the second half and enter the playoffs on an 8 game win streak.  It is tough to envision a Superbowl in February that won't include the Patriots.

2.  Atlanta Falcons (12-3) - The Falcons finally lost at home and showed they aren't unbeatable in the Georgia Dome.  Matt Ryan only lost for the second time at home in his career.  With that said the Falcons face the lowly Panthers this week at home and a win gives them the number one seed in the NFC and forces the road to the Superbowl to go through Atlanta.  I like Atlanta to win this week and force teams to beat them on their own turf but we now see that is not an impossible task. 

3.  Baltimore Ravens (11-4) -  The Ravens are quietly on a 3 game win streak.  Three of their four losses this year came against the Patriots, the Falcons and the Steelers, all playoff teams.  Their fourth loss was at the Cincinnati Bengals who they face at home this week with a chance to avenge their earlier loss and perhaps sneak into the two seed in the AFC.  If the Ravens continue to pound the ball down their opponents throat and can find a way to capture their defense of years past they could be the team to give the Patriots some trouble come late January. 

4.  Chicago Bears (11-4) - The Bears just continue to impress, taking down the Jets last week at home after falling behind 21-10.  I have doubted this team all year, waiting for Jay Cutler to become the turnover machine we are all accustomed to seeing.  That hasn't happened and now with the Vikings upsetting the Eagles last night, the Bears have clinched a first round bye in the NFC.  They face the Packers this week in Lambeau with nothing to play for whereas the Packers need a win to make the playoffs.  More than likely, the Bears will rest most of their starts and the Packers will cruise into the playoffs. 

5.  New Orleans Saints (11-4) - What an impressive win in Atlanta last week.  As I alluded to earlier, the Falcons had not lost at home all season and yet the Saints managed to go into the Georgia Dome and take down the best team in the NFC.  This keeps the Saints slim hopes alive of winning their division and securing the number one seed in the NFC.  This scenario is highly unlikely with the Falcons facing the worst team in the NFL and the Saints welcoming in the upstart Buccaneers who believe they still have a chance to make the playoffs.  But that is why they play the games, you never know!

Honorable Mentions:  Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles

There is the top 5 teams in the NFL after week 16. Thoughts or opinions?  Feel free to leave a comment!  Also don't forget to visit my site, www.moleandmeares.com, to watch our weekly picks video and submit your week 17 NFL picks for a chance to win a weekly prize.

Meares
Posted on: December 21, 2010 9:22 am
 

NFL Power Rankings - Week 16

What an amazing week 15 in the NFL.  There were so many good games and so many surprises at the same time.  There have been some major shakeups in our week 16 power rankings and the playoff picture has become much clearer as we head into the final two games of the season.  We have two new teams in our top 5 although our top 2 spots remain the same for the fourth consecutive week.  Don't forget that my online NFL picks show, The Mole & Meares Show, will be featured in a segment about social media on Showtime's Inside the NFL on Wednesday night at 9 pm.  Here we go...

1.  New England Patriots (12-2) - Here is some scary news for the rest of the NFL, the Patriots played their worst game in a long time on Sunday night and still managed to beat a Packers team who was desperate for a win.  Yes, Matt Flynn was the quarterback and yes, the Packers have been decimated by injuries all year long, but the Packers showed heart and almost came away with a victory.  The Patriots are basically on cruise control for the last two games as one more victory will lock up home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  This should be the week where they get that done as they will travel to Buffalo to face the AFC east basement dweller Bills.  Although the Bills have played a lot of teams tough this year with homefield advantage on the line, I like the Patriots to continue their winning ways.

2.  Atlanta Falcons (12-2) - The Falcons entered week 15 in the perfect spot for a trap game.  They had won 7 games in a row and have a huge game against the Saints on tap for Week 16.  They had to travel across the country to face a Seahawks team who is battling for their division in a stadium known for its 12th man.  With all of that said, the Falcons took care of business and easily defeated the Seahawks.  The Falcons look to be head and shoulders above the rest of the teams in the NFC as they just keep on winning.  They are undefeated at home this year and with one more win the ticket to the Superbowl for the NFC will have to be punched in Atlanta.  This week they have their toughest test yet as the Saints will come marching into Atlanta off of a tough loss to the Ravens.  This will be the best, and last, Monday night football game of the season.

3.  Baltimore Ravens (10-4) - The Ravens offense woke up on Sunday against the Saints and all but clinched a playoff berth in the AFC.  The Ravens still have to be worried about their supposed stingy defense allowing Drew Brees and company to put up 24 points against them.  With that said, this was a huge win for the Ravens who needed a victory to get back on track in the AFC North and although they have the same record as the Steelers, they are actually behind them with the tie breaker.  I believe the Ravens are the better team at this time with the awful loss the Steelers endured at home last week to the Jets.  The Ravens travel to Cleveland this week to face the Browns who always seem to give the Raven a tough game.  

4.  Chicago Bears (10-4) - The Bears join our top 5 for the first time in a long time this season.  I am starting to believe that they are a decent team.  They took care of business in Minnesota last night against a struggling Vikings team in the bitter cold.  I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop on Jay Cutler and for him to throw 3 picks in a game but it doesn't happen.  He is quietly playing the best football of his career and if he continues his consistent play there is no telling how far this team can go.  They have another huge game this week as they will play host to the NY Jets who are fighting for their playoff lives.  With the division wrapped up for Chicago will they play with the same intensity they have shown the past few weeks?

5.  Philadelphia Eagles (10-4) - In what is being called the game of the century (at least here in Philly), the Eagles came back from a 21 point deficit in the New Meadowlands stadium with less than 8 minutes to go in the fourth quarter.  The victory has all but clinched the NFC East for the Eagles and has definitely gone a long way to building this young teams confidence for January.  Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy make up the most dymanic four team offensive punch in the NFL.  This week the Eagles welcome in the Vikings to Lincoln Financial Field.  If the Eagles win they clinch the NFC east and move one step closer to perhaps a first round bye.  

Honorable Mentions:  New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts

There is the top 5 teams in the NFL after week 15. Thoughts or opinions?  Feel free to leave a comment!  Also don't forget to visit my site, www.moleandmeares.com, to watch our weekly picks video and submit your week 16 NFL picks for a chance to win a weekly prize.

Meares
Posted on: December 14, 2010 9:25 am
 

NFL Power Rankings - Week 15

The playoff picture is starting to become clear and there is now a dominant team in the NFL emerging.  This is the first week in a while where there is no changes in our top five rankings.  The only changes occur in our honorable mentions.  There are at least 5 huge games this week that could definitely impact our rankings and have huge playoff implications.  On a side note, The Mole & Meares Show, our online NFL picks show, will be appearing on Inside the NFL on December 22nd on Showtime at 9pm.  Our video from last week featured Susannah Collins from Inside the NFL who made a special guest appearance.  Make sure to check it out at ww.moleandmeares.com.  Ok...Here we go...

1.  New England Patriots (11-2) - Last two weeks, Patriots 81, opponents 10.  Those two games were against division leaders, not the Panthers and the Bills.  The Patriots have now emerged as the dominant team in the NFL.  Tom Brady is the hands on favorite to win the MVP award.  Bill Belichick should win the coach of the year.  With all of that said, they actually have a very good game this week as they welcome in the desperate Green Bay Packers.  The Packers could be without Aaron Rodgers (concussion) and if that is true, the Packers have no chance to win.  Can anyone compete with the Patriots at this point?

2.  Atlanta Falcons (11-2) - The Falcons took care of business on Sunday in what could have been a trap game against the lowly Carolina Panthers.  The Falcons got out to an early lead and never looked back.  This week they travel across the country to face the Seahawks in one of the toughest stadiums to play in.  The Seahawks are coming off an embarrassing loss at the hands of the 49ers and will be desperate for a win to have any chance of making the playoffs this year.  I think the Falcons have progressed enough to take care of business but I wouldn't be completely surprised to see an upset.  The Falcons will face the Saints the week after so they need to take care of business or risk playing for the division the following week.

3.  Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3) - The Steelers defense made the Bengals look awful on Sunday.  Not only did the Steelers hold the Bengals to 34 yards rushing but the only two touchdowns the Steelers scored came on the defensive side of the ball with two interceptions returned to the house.  The Steelers might be the only team that can compete with the Patriots in the AFC, the only problem is that Tom Brady is incredible against the Steelers.  This Sunday the Steelers will invite the reeling Jets into Heinz field.  The Jets have lost two games in a row and have looked pitiful doing it.  If the Steelers defense continues to play like they did this past Sunday, this game will be over early in the first quarter.

4.  New Orleans Saints (10-3) - Are the Saints the quietest defending Superbowl champions ever?  No one is talking about them yet they continue to improve each week. For the fifth consecutive week, the Saints put up at least 30 points.  Their offense is beginning to click on all cylinders especially with the return of Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush to full health.  There is a chance, albeit a small one, that if they win out they could get the number one seed in the NFC.  With that said, this Sunday will be a huge test for the Saints as they travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens.  If the Saints go into the Raven's house and win, I guarantee they will no longer be under the radar.

5.  Baltimore Ravens (9-4) -  The Ravens won last night against the Texans although it took them till overtime to get the job done.  I predicted the Ravens to win the Superbowl before the season and I am starting to lose faith.  They had a huge lead which they allowed the Texans to erase and could have easily lost this game.  They haven't been playing Ravens defense of recent and if they are going to emerge as the AFC representative in Dallas in February then they need to get back to Ravens football.  This week they face a very tough test when the Saints come marching into Baltimore.  The defense will need to find a way to stop the potent Saints offense in order to win this game.  

Honorable Mentions: Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Chargers

There is the top 5 teams in the NFL after week 14. Thoughts or opinions?  Feel free to leave a comment!  Also don't forget to visit my site, www.moleandmeares.com, to watch our weekly picks video and submit your week 15 NFL picks for a chance to win a weekly prize.

Meares
Posted on: December 7, 2010 9:26 am
Edited on: December 13, 2010 2:51 pm
 

NFL Power Rankings - Week 14

*UPDATE* THE MOLE & MEARES SHOW WILL BE APPEARING ON INSIDE THE NFL ON SHOWTIME ON DECEMBER 22ND, 2010!!!!

Read my rankings below and make sure to visit us at www.moleandmeares.com to see our most recent video with a special appearance from Sussanah Collins from Showtime as we get ready to appear on Inside the NFL next week!!!! 

After 13 weeks in the NFL the top teams are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the league.  The Sunday and Monday night games were two of the best games of the year and caused one of our top 5 teams from last week to fall completely out of our top 10.  Both teams who won the two premier games jumped up in our rankings and we have two new additions to our top 5 this week.  There are only a few good games in week 14 setting up a huge week of games the following week.  I would be surprised to see any major movements after next Monday but you never know. Here we go...

1.  New England Patriots (10-2) - Wow...the Patriots embarrassed the Jets on Monday night football.  Tom Brady is now the front runner for the MVP after throwing for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns.  The Jets had a chance to answer critics who claimed they had an inflated 9-3 record and they failed miserably.  Since week 2 the Jets have only beaten one team with a winning record and last night it showed.  The Patriots defense played really well causing 3 turnovers and holding the Jets to 3 points.  The Patriots travel to Soldier Field on Sunday to face the Bears who are also trying to prove their record isn't inflated but if last nights game is any indication, it isn't going to end well for Chicago. 

2.  Atlanta Falcons (10-2) - The Falcons found a way to win on Sunday against the Buccaneers even though they didn't play their best football of the year.  For the first time this season Matt Ryan through mulitple interceptions but the Falcons were still able to overcome the mistakes and pull out a late game comeback for a nice divisional win.  The Falcons have perhaps the easiest schedule left among the elite teams in the NFL as they will face the Caronlina Panthers twice in their last 4 games with the first meeting coming this Sunday in Carolina.  Barring a huge upset, the Falcons should be in the drivers seat for the best record in the NFC.

3.  Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3) - As a fan, two of the best games of the year are when the Steelers play the Ravens.  These games are without a doubt, the most physical games of the year.  On Sunday, Pittsburgh got the better of the Ravens, with Troy Polamalu causing a late turnover when he knocked the ball out of Joe Flacco's hands deep in Raven's territory.  The Steelers went on to score their only touchdown of the game and take a one game lead over the Ravens in the AFC north.  This week they welcome in the hapless Bengals into Heinz Field.  The Bengals have given the Steelers fits over the last couple of seasons so this game is no gimmee although I am hard pressed to think the Bengals have a chance.

4.  New Orleans Saints (9-3) - The Saints have quietly won 5 games a row and are only one game behind the Falcons in the NFC south.  I say quietly but some may say they have gotten lucky recently.  If Roy Williams falls down they lose to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and if the Bengals had any discipline on defense Sunday's game could have ended differently.  Drew Brees got Pat Sims of the Bengals defensive line to jump offsides late in the fourth quarter on fourth down which resulted in a first down and the eventual game winning touchdown.  The Saints will welcome the upstart St. Louis Rams into the Superdome on Sunday.  The Saints need to be focused on the Rams and not looking ahead to their week 15 matchup with the Falcons because the Rams are fighting for their division crown.  

5.  Baltimore Ravens (8-4) -  The Ravens suffered a tough loss to the Steelers on Sunday night.  They seemed in control for 55 minutes of the game only to fall short after a late game turnover.  I have a feeling these two teams will see each other again in January.  With that said the Ravens now have to turn their focus to Monday night as they will travel to Houston to face the struggling Texans who are coming off a mini bye week after playing last Thursday night.  I believe the Ravens will right the ship and get back on track with a road victory at Houston and I can only hope for that Ravens/Steelers matchup in January. 

Honorable Mentions:  Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants

There is the top 5 teams in the NFL after week 13. Thoughts or opinions?  Feel free to leave a comment!  Also don't forget to visit my site, www.moleandmeares.com, to watch our weekly picks video and submit your week 14 NFL picks for a chance to win a weekly prize.

Meares
Posted on: November 30, 2010 10:30 am
Edited on: November 30, 2010 10:31 am
 

NFL Power Rankings - Week 13

With only 5 weeks left in the 2010 NFL season we are starting to get a clearer picture of who are the best teams in the league.  Week 13 will bring the picture even more clear, especially in the AFC as there are some matchups between top teams with the Jets traveling to New England and the Steelers heading to Baltimore.  We have a new number one team this week and one new addition to our top 5.  Here we go...

1.  Atlanta Falcons (9-2) - I hate the nickname "Matty Ice", mainly because he has yet to win an important game in January but I am starting to warm up to it after the Falcons defeat of the Packers last Sunday.  Matt Ryan is playing as efficiently as possible at the quarterback position and led the Falcons to another late victory.  The Falcons only two losses came against teams from Pennslyvania, so as long as they can stay away from one state in the union they should have a very good chance of making it to Texas in February.
 
2.  New England Patriots (9-2) - The Patriots played on Thanksgiving this past week in Detroit and for 40 minutes looked like they might have trouble with the Lions, but then they turned on the after burners and ended up beating the Lions by 21.  The Patriots defense is still a cause for concern and week to week you never know how they are going to perform.  They have their biggest game of the year on Monday night football this week as they welcome the Jets into Foxboro field for a match up of 2 of the 3 teams at 9-2.  This rivalry is good anytime they play, add in the division title to the mix and we are looking at the game of the year to date.  It all will come down to which Patriots defense shows up but a victory would go a long way to securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs. 

3.  New York Jets (9-2) - The Jets also played on Thanksgiving when they faced the Bengals in the new Meadowlands Stadium.  This game was basically over before it started as the Jets won ever facet of the game.  Terrell Owens called superstar corner for the Jets, Darrelle Revis, average prior to the game...that sort of backfired as Revis held TO to 3 catches for 14 yards and made TO look like an average receiver.  The Jets will have their game of the year this week as they travel to New England for a showdown with the Patriots which will go a long way to decide the AFC east and home field advantage in the AFC playoffs.  If the Jets can limit their turnovers and shutdown Brady and company they have a chance to move up in our rankings.

4.  Baltimore Ravens (8-3) - The Ravens took care of business against the much improved Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home on Sunday.  The final score was 17-10 but the game was never as close as the final score.  The Ravens defense looked really good, holding the Bucs to less than 250 yards of offense.  Josh Freeman looked confused at times and definitely did not play his best game of the season.  Joe Flacco had a very efficient game and Ray Rice pounded the ball 20 times down the throat of the Bucs defense.  Balitmore will play host to the Steelers on Sunday night football in a game that will go a long way to deciding the AFC north.  The Ravens already beat the Steelers once so a win would give them a game lead with the tiebreaker. 

5.  Chicago Bears (8-3) - Chicago has received no love all season in our rankings, mainly due to the lack of good wins so far this season.  They changed our thinking on Sunday as they laid a beat down against the Eagles.  The Chicago defense looked really good, limiting Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson from making any big plays.  They out-coached the Philadelphia Eagles and now stand alone on top of the NFC north.  They will travel to Detroit this week to face a Detroit team that doesn't quit.  Although on paper this looks like a game Chicago should win, they better take Detroit seriously because this would be a bad game for a let down.  

Honorable Mentions:  New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles

There is the top 5 teams in the NFL after week 12. Thoughts or opinions?  Feel free to leave a comment!  Also don't forget to visit my site, www.moleandmeares.com, to watch our weekly picks video and submit your week 13 NFL picks for a chance to win a weekly prize.

Meares
Posted on: November 23, 2010 9:26 am
 

NFL Power Rankings - Week 12

For the first time in a long time the majority of our power rankings remain the same after week 11.  Only one team falls out of our top 5 with one new addition.  Our top teams took care of business and this NFL season is setting up to be one of the most exciting come the end of the year.  It is still a little early but it is hard to imagine right now any team being able to rest players come week 17.  I can imagine a lot of playoff scenarios in place during that final week of the season.  On to our top 5, here we go...

1.  New England Patriots (8-2) - The Patriots held on Sunday to defeat the Colts after Peyton Manning through a very untimely interception deep in New England territory.  They remain our number one team for a second week, tying the record for most weeks at the number 1 position, that is how unpredictable this season has been.  I am still not sure they are the best team in the league or if there is even a best team in the league right now, but they have beaten the Steelers and Colts in consecutive weeks.  They have a short week this week as they will travel to Detroit to face the Lions on Turkey Day.  After their last two games this one should be slightly easier but that is what we thought when they faced the Browns and look what happened then. 

2.  Atlanta Falcons (8-2) - The Falcons pulled away from the St. Louis Rams in the second half on Sunday and still have the best record in the NFC.  The Rams put up a valiant effort but it wasn't enough in the end and Matt Ryan continues to impress every week for the Falcons.  The Falcons will welcome the Packers into Atlanta on Sunday for what seems to be the game of the week in the NFL.  With only 3 games left on their schedule against teams with a winning record, this game could go a long way to helping them secure home field advantage in the playoffs.  A win against the Packers could vault Atlanta into the top spot on our power rankings.

3.  New York Jets (8-2) - Santonio Holmes might prove that he was the best pickup of the off season.  For the second time in as many weeks, Holmes scores the winning touchdown in the last possible second to give the Jets their third straight heart pounding victory.  The Jets continue to win games when you think their is little or no hope left.  They also have a short week this week as they will face the terrible Cincinnati Bengals on Thanksgiving night in Northern New Jersey.  Win or lose they will have 10 days to prepare for a showdown in week 13 on Monday night against the Patriots.  For the Jets sake, lets hope they don't overlook the Bengals on Thursday.

4.  Philadelphia Eagles (7-3) - The Eagles and Michael Vick continue their winning ways by taking care of business against the New York Giants on Sunday.  This game wasn't pretty with a ton of mistakes by both teams but in the end the Eagles found a way to win.  The Giants were able to contain Vick and perhaps give other teams a blue print to do the same thing.  This week the Eagles travel to Chicago to face the vaunted defense of the Bears.  This game features two teams that are leading their division at 7-3 and for Chicago, it would go a long way to proving they belong as an elite team in the NFC.  

5.  Green Bay Packers (7-3) - The Packers ended the Vikings season on Sunday and in the process sent Brad Childress packing as he was fired yesterday.  They destroyed the Vikings in every facet of the game and they seem to be overcoming some of the huge injuries they sustained earlier in the season.  Greg Jennings is showing that he is one of the top 5 receivers in the NFL today while Aaron Rodgers continues to impress.  They have their toughest game in a long time on Sunday as they will travel to Atlanta to face the best team in the NFC.  If they win this game they have a shot at obtaining home field advantage in the playoffs and no team wants the road to the Superbowl to go through Lambeau Field. 

Honorable Mentions:  Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There is the top 5 teams in the NFL after week 11. Thoughts or opinions?  Feel free to leave a comment!  Also don't forget to visit my site, www.moleandmeares.com, to watch our weekly picks video and submit your week 12 NFL picks for a chance to win a weekly prize.

Meares
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com