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NFL 2013 Power Rankings – Week 12

Coming into this week, I didn’t think any of the games were going to be very entertaining but it turns out I was wrong. In the 1 o’clock group of games, there were some real barn burners, none more exciting than the Chargers-Chiefs game that came down to a late touchdown pass from Phillip Rivers. But that in itself sets up the point I want to make. Three weeks ago, if you had to guess who would win this game, most people would have said the Chiefs. Hell even before the game, most people would pick the Chiefs at home over the fraudulent Chargers, but it turns out the real frauds are the Chiefs. Sure they lost Tamba Hali and Justin Houston to injury, but giving up 38 points at home is pretty bad. Now what happens when they play a team that can stop Jamaal Charles? Or a team that can drive down the field like the Chargers did. Even the Broncos, who are much more talented than their opponents, had to come back and win on the road. My point is that the AFC is full of frauds. They may have looked like great teams early on but are they good enough to beat their NFC counterpart? On to the rankings.

32. Atlanta Falcons (2-9) (31) – The Falcons actually played with a little heart in this game. Not enough heart to come away with a win though. It appears they’re racing the Houston Texans for the first pick in the draft. Matt Ryan threw the ball too many times in my opinion. He completed a good amount of his passes for 292 yards but they never established the run. Next game: @ Buffalo Bills

31. Minnesota Vikings (2-8-1) – A tie. Their game ended in a tie. Thats about as bad as a loss in my eyes. It doesn’t gain them any ground, not that it would have helped. Christian Ponder played well and Adrian Peterson had a game very typical of the reigning MVP. Both teams played in overtime as if they didn’t know a game could end in a tie. Figures Leslie Frazier would be the one to do that. Next game: vs Chicago Bears

30. Houston Texans (2-9) (28) – The Texans are so bad, which is weird because they’re so talented. I know Arian Foster and Brian Cushing have been hurt but there’s still talent on this team so who’s to blame? Gary Kubiak. Gary Kubiak is to blame and he will be fired. It wouldn’t surprise me if they fired him before the end of the season. Then again, he just had a heart attack. The least they could do is wait until the season’s over. Next game: vs New England Patriots

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) (32) – I never thought I’d see it this season but the Jaguars have risen past the number 32 in the Keeping It Real Sports NFL Power Rankings. Say it with me everyone- DUUUUUUVVVVVAAAAALLLLLL!!!!!! Holy hell, these guys have come out of the bye week like a bat out of hell, winning two of their last three games. But alas, with wins come losses in other arenas. If they keep winning (and they may not) they’ll probably miss out on a can’t miss quarterback in the draft. Next game: @ Cleveland Browns

28. Oakland Raiders (4-7) (26) – Matt McGloin has played well enough to earn himself another start, according to head coach Dennis Allen. This game was close and it could have ended the other way if the refs called the McGloin to Marcel Reece pass a touchdown. The defense couldn’t really stop the Titans and more importantly, couldn’t keep the Titans off the field. Next game: @ Dallas Cowboys (Thanksgiving)

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-8) (29) – The Bucs have won three straight and a lot of that has to do with Mike Glennon. I was talking to a friend of mine who loves the Bucs and he’s hoping his team makes a move for AJ McCarron in the draft. I don’t think thats necessary because Glennon’s been doing a decent job and I think he’s earned the job for now. He’s been taking care of the ball and putting his team in good situations. I think one of their biggest needs is along the offensive line to help their running game and provide some balance. Next game: @ Carolina Panthers

26. Tennessee Titans (5-6) (27) – The Titans had missed Jake Locker earlier but now they’ve captured some Fitzmagic and they’re still in the hunt for a wildcard spot in the playoffs. Fortunately they’re playing well. Chris Johnson isn’t playing like CJ2K but he’s contributing. Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter have emerged as legitimate deep threats to balance the offense. Beating the Raiders was a huge step on their road to the playoffs. Next game: @ Indianapolis Colts

25. Cleveland Browns (4-7) (22) – The Browns should be in a better position than they’re currently in. They’ve lost two straight winnable division games and could be 6-5 right now. Jason Campbell got hurt, Brandon Weeden came in and threw a pick six. Josh Gordon had a hell of a game and like the genius that I am, I didn’t start him on my fantasy team. 33 points wasted. The Browns aren’t technically out of it but more losses like these won’t help them. Next game: vs Jacksonville Jaguars

24. Buffalo Bills (4-7) (24) – Bye Week. Next week: vs Atlanta Falcons

23. San Diego Chargers (5-6) (25) – The Chargers should really be higher in the rankings but I’m not sold on them because they lose to teams that they shouldn’t lose to. I also think Philip Rivers is putting this team on his back. If the Chargers can get into the playoffs, they’ll be a tough team to beat. Next game: vs Cincinnati Bengals 

22. Miami Dolphins (5-6) (18) – The Dolphins came out and smacked the Panthers in the mouth early in this game but as the game went on, Cam Newton regained his confidence and form and stole this game away from the Dolphins. Ryan Tannehill played well, the defense played well but they didn’t run the ball very well and the offensive line looked bad. The Dolphins, like almost everyone else, are still alive. Next game: @ New York Jets

21. Washington Redskins (3-8) (17) – Its time for the Skins to move on from Mike Shanahan. The game has passed him by. No one can coach forever. Joe Gibbs couldn’t. Marv Levy couldn’t and now Mike Shanahan can’t. As a matter of fact, I’ll go as far as saying Mike Shanahan never could. He didn’t win anything until he got John Elway and Terrell Davis. Skins are done. Put a fork in em. Next game: vs New York Giants (SNF)

20. Philadelphia Eagles (6-5) (20) – Bye Week. Next game: vs Arizona Cardinals

19. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) (19) – Bye Week. Next game: @ San Diego Chargers

18. St Louis Rams (5-6) (23) – If the Rams were in the AFC, they would be in the playoff hunt. But alas, they are not. They’re in the NFC West, possibly the toughest division in football, and they’re still competitive. We saw Tavon Austin do work again, we saw the Long brothers battle each other and we saw the Rams once again show that they can win without Sam Bradford as long as they run the ball. Next game: @ San Francisco 49ers

17. New York Jets (5-6) (16) – The Jets are also still alive in the AFC playoff picture but my gut says they don’t make it. Geno Smith is not a good quarterback. He’s regressed this season and doesn’t show any signs that he’s learning from his mistakes. The argument in his favor is that he’s a young quarterback that probably shouldn’t starting anyway, but he’s making mistakes he made in Week 1. There’s only so much the defense can do and bringing in Ed Reed clearly didn’t help. That long pass from Flacco to Jacoby Jones was nice but two years ago Ed Reed picks it off and runs it back 40 yards. Next game: vs Miami Dolphins

16. New York Giants (4-7) (15) – The Giants are probably not going to make the playoffs. They made a valiant effort and it took a late second field goal on a good drive by the Cowboys to beat them. They couldn’t stop Dez Bryant on third down and couldn’t stop Jason Witten all game. Now the Giants have to focus on finishing the season strong and looking toward the offseason. Next game: @ Washington Redskins

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-6) (21) – A month ago, everyone was writing the Steelers off. Now, they’re 5-6 and they’re well on their way to a playoff berth. This is why good organizations stay on top. The Steelers were patient and now they’re right on the cusp of a playoff spot and looking really dangerous. Next game: @ Baltimore Ravens (Thanksgiving)

14. Green Bay Packers (5-5-1) (12) – I dropped them in the power rankings because a tie means nothing. A tie, especially to a division team, does nothing. Scott Tolzien wasn’t getting the job done so Mike McCarthy put in the very familiar Matt Flynn and he actually played well. I wonder if Mike McCarthy is aware that games can end in a tie because he had the ball deep in Minnesota territory and kicked a field goal when he could have gone for the touchdown. Even if they didn’t into the end zone, the Vikings would have had the ball at their own 2 yard line under the shadow of the goal post. Next game: @ Detroit Lions (Thanksgiving)

13. Chicago Bears (6-5) (11) – The Bears couldn’t stop a runny nose, let alone stop the run. Zac Stacy ran all over them. Tavon Austin ran a reverse toss for 65 yards. I’m still wondering if that was a designed run or if it was a broken play that Austin “fixed” and took to the house. Next game: @ Minnesota Vikings

12. Detroit Lions (6-5) (10) – If the Lions aren’t careful, they could lose their lead in the NFC North and miss the playoffs. As inconsistent as Matthew Stafford seems to be, I don’t think that will happen. This Lions team is very talented and can play with anyone in the league. Its tough to win when you turn the ball over five times but thats not the kind of thing that will happen too often. Next game: vs Green Bay Packers (Thanksgiving)

11. Baltimore Ravens (5-6) (14) – The Ravens are very mercurial to me. They can look really good yet look really bad from week to week. The defense looks really good and thats going to help them if they make the playoffs but they rely too heavily on the pass. If they want to be successful, they’re going to have to get Ray Rice going in games where the field isn’t covered in mud. Next game: vs Pittsburgh Steelers (Thanksgiving)

10. Arizona Cardinals (7-4) (13) – The fourth straight good game from Carson Palmer, the Cards are playing well. If the 49ers don’t manage to turn it around, it could make things really interesting in the NFC playoff race. Next game: @ Philadelphia Eagles

9. Indianapolis Colts (7-4) (5) – The Colts are still going to win the AFC South but Andrew Luck has lost two straight games for the first time since he was a freshman at Stanford. For some reason, the Colts seem intent on running the ball ineffectively and then praying that Andrew Luck will dig them out of a huge hole. Its a bad system. Do better Colts. Next game: vs Tennessee Titans

8. Dallas Cowboys (6-5) (9) – I’ve been saying it for a while now. Tony Romo is not a bad quarterback. He might make more money than he should but he’s having a pretty good year and the Cowboys are in position to make the playoffs. They easily could have lost this game but they didn’t and now they’re 6-5 and tied for the division lead. Next game: vs Oakland Raiders

7. New Orleans Saints (9-2) (8) – It wasn’t a spectacular win but it was a win. Drew Brees was efficient and Pierre Thomas had a good game rushing, which is surprising why they didn’t run more. The defense did its job and got after Matt Ryan. Next game: @ Seattle Seahawks (MNF)

6. New England Patriots (8-3) (7) – We all thought this game was over. Then the Pats staged their biggest comeback in franchise history. Everyone thought the game was over again. Then the Broncos tied the game and they took it to overtime. When the Pats won the toss and deferred, we all thought Belichick was nuts and the game was over. Little did we know that Belichick was banking on the Broncos not being able to move the ball against the wind and he was right. Then the game was over. We need a nickname for Bill Belichick if we’re calling Ron Rivera, Riverboat Ron. Hell of a gamble. And a hell of a game by Tom Brady. Next game: @ Houston Texans

5. San Francisco 49ers (7-4) (6) – This was a must win game for the Niners because they have to keep pace with the Cardinals now. They knew that and Colin Kaepernick delivered. The Redskins defense couldn’t do anything. The Redskins offense couldn’t do anything. The 49ers are going to be a dangerous team if they get into the playoffs. They’re starting to peak at the right time and Michael Crabtree is close to returning. Next game: vs St Louis Rams

4. Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) (3) – The Chiefs are among several frauds in the AFC and I’ve dubbed the conference the “All-Fraud Conference” and it works because AFC is still the acronym. The Chiefs might not be the biggest frauds in the AFC but their vaunted defense gave up 41 points. I know they were missing Tamba Hali and Justin Houston but if this is what happens when they don’t have their best pass rushers, they don’t stand a chance when they play Denver again. Next game: vs Denver Broncos

3. Denver Broncos (9-2) (2) – I feel like the Broncos might be frauds as well. I know they were on the road but they were up 24-0 to a team that has flaws all over the place. The Patriots can’t run the ball, and Tom Brady routinely passes to the same guy. Cover that guy and make sure they can’t pass on you. Simple as that. The Broncos defense was underwhelming and Peyton Manning looked a little more like Eli in this game. Still, they put themselves in position to win more than once and they have a chance to lock up the top seed in the AFC playoff race if they can win on the road next week. My gut says they will and they’ll need it if they want to make a deep run. Next game: @ Kansas City Chiefs

2. Carolina Panthers (8-3) (4) – Seven straight wins for Riverboat Ron and the Panthers! The man is an absolute gambler. The Panthers gambled several times on third and fourth down, and to their credit, they won. Cam Newton took the Dolphins best punch, looked wobbly and survived. This is a dangerous team that should win their eighth straight game next week. Next game: vs Tampa Buccaneers 

1. Seattle Seahawks (10-1) (1) – Bye Week. Next game: vs New Orleans Saints

As always, if you have questions or comments, hit me up Facebook, email me ats_talouis@yahoo.com or follow me on twitter @FunnyManStan
The Queens native handles all things football on KeepingItRealSports.com. Stan attended Holy Cross High School in Flushing, Queens and SUNY Old Westbury. He's spent his post graduate career in different parts of the media, as an editorial assistant, a production assistant and a board operator. He can be followed on twitter @FunnyManStan and routinely performs standup comedy all over New York City.

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