This is the week it happens. The week everyone piles on and crushes me. There are big changes from last week and some of the events of the last seven days have really forced me to adjust my power-ranking outlook. There are leap-frogs and big drops and big gains in this week’s rankings, but still no change at the top:
#10: Oakland (Unranked last week, 7-4): Almost on cue, another Dolphins’ opponent pops into the Top 10. Carson Palmer seems to have things pretty well figured out and the Raiders kicked six field goals to beat the Bears. It’s always tough to make the cross-country trip, so here’s to hoping the Fins bounce them right on out of the rankings.
#9: Dallas (Unranked, 7-4): Speaking of the Fins…the Cowboys certainly weren’t overly impressive in their 20-19 Thanksgiving win, but Tony Romo is playing really well right now so I figured I’d throw them a bone. No reason to think they won’t be here again next week, either–their next game is at Arizona.
#8: Atlanta (#9, 7-4): The Falcons are a truly tough team to figure out. Once again this past week, they did what they needed to do to win, but I’m not sure any of us are so sure just how good this team is. If they keep winning, though, we’ll get a chance to see in the playoffs.
#7: Houston (#7, 8-3): The Texans survived another injury on Sunday against Jacksonville and now face a much stiffer test this weekend against the Falcons.
#6: San Francisco (#2, 9-2): A massive drop for the Niners, which is probably a bit harsh, but I’ve never been fully convinced they’re fully for real. With an NFC West-heavy schedule down the stretch, I expect the wins to keep coming, but they’ll need some help to move back up the rankings.
#5: New England (4, 8-3): Through no fault of their own, the Patriots drop a spot this week. I just couldn’t justify leaving the Ravens at #5 following their win over the 49ers, so the Pats get the short end of the stick. I’m sure you’re all heartbroken over that.
#4: Baltimore (#5, 8-3): As mentioned, the Ravens get a little bump thanks to their Thanksgiving night win over San Fran in HarBowl I. I’m continuing to have a really hard time figuring out how I feel about all of the AFC teams in the top five, but for right now, this is what I’m settling on.
#3: Pittsburgh (#3, 8-3): The Steelers stay put after their good-enough win at KC on Sunday night. They’ll host the 7-4 Bengals on Sunday and a Cincinnati win would really make a mess of the AFC North.
#2: New Orleans (#5, 8-3): I certainly had no plans to move the Saints up three spots following an expected home win over the Giants, but they get the national TV-bump, as I watched the entire game and came away insanely impressed by Drew Brees and this offense, which put up 49 points after being shutout in the first quarter. Sean Payton “ran up the score” on NY and it worked for me!
#1: Green Bay (#1, 11-0): The Packers must have eaten some pregame Turkey on Thanksgiving because they looked very sluggish in the first half against the Lions. Then the third quarter started and they rolled right over Cinderella on their way to a 27-15 win that wasn’t even that close. They travel to take on a desperate Giants team this week, but I think the G-Men are going to need more than desperation to hand the Pack their first loss of the season. 12-0, here they come.
OUT this week: Chicago, Detroit
IN this week: Oakland, Dallas
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.