Week 11 confirmed that the Eagles and Chargers are done, the Texans and Falcons are vulnerable and that Ed Hochuli can review a play without reviewing it. Chicago dropped the furthest in this week’s rankings following their blowout loss to the 49ers and Tampa Bay continued their climb into the top 15.
Coming up: Can the Bears survive without Jay Cutler? Is Chad Henne the best quarterback in NFL history? And which team did you forget existed during their bye week?
1. Houston (9-1); Last week: 1
Week 11 result: Won vs. Jacksonville, 43-37 (OT)
The Texans have allowed more than 30 points just twice this season. One of those opponents employs both Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne at quarterback. Andre Johnson had a career day with 14 catches for 273 yards and the game-winning touchdown in overtime. Imagine what he could do with a real quarterback like Henne instead of Matt Schaub.
Next up: at Detroit
2. Atlanta (9-1); Last week: 2
Week 11 result: Won vs. Arizona, 23-19
Matt Ryan threw five interceptions and no touchdowns, so of course the Falcons won. It helps when you’re “dueling” the likes of Ryan Lindley and John Skelton. Atlanta has made a habit of winning close games this season, as they are 6-1 in games decided by seven points or less.
Next up: at Tampa Bay
3. New England (7-3); Last week: 4
Week 11 result: Won vs. Indianapolis, 59-24
The Patriots racked up 59 points over the visiting Colts with three passing touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns, two interceptions returned for touchdowns, a punt return for a touchdown - and a measly field goal. Rob Gronkowski caught two more touchdowns but broke his forearm late in the game and will miss 4-6 weeks, which either means the party is canceled or just got better.
Next up: at New York Jets
4. Denver (7-3); Last week: 5
Week 11 result: Won vs. San Diego, 30-23
Even with Peyton Manning, the Broncos have flown under the radar. They have won five in a row, all by at least seven points, and pretty much have the AFC West sewn up, though that is mainly because they share it with the Chargers, Raiders and Chiefs. Some bad news: Willis McGahee will miss the next 6-8 weeks with an MCL tear and leg fracture.
Next up: at Kansas City
5. Green Bay (7-3); Last week: 6
Week 11 result: Won at Detroit, 24-20
Riding a five-game winning streak, the Packers now sit at the top of the NFC North. Aaron Rodgers’ 22-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb with 1:55 left put Green Bay up for good, and Mason Crosby added a field goal with 24 seconds left after the Packers’ defense forced Detroit to turn the ball over on downs. M.D. Jennings also returned an interception 72 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Next up: at New York Giants
6. San Francisco (7-2-1); Last week: 9
Week 11 result: Won vs. Chicago, 32-7
Is Colin Kaepernick the 49ers’ new starting quarterback regardless of Alex Smith’s health? “We’ll see,” Jim Harbaugh said. Kaepernick threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns in proving to be the best quarterback in the Battle of the Backups by a wide margin. Aldon Smith had 5.5 sacks as the Niners terrorized Jason Campbell.
Next up: at New Orleans
7. Baltimore (8-2); Last week: 7
Week 11 result: Won at Pittsburgh, 13-10
It wasn’t a good sign for the Ravens that Byron Leftwich ran for a 31-yard touchdown on the Steelers’ opening drive, but they held Pittsburgh to just a field goal the rest of the way. The Ravens improved to 4-0 in the division, and will have Ed Reed this week after all, as the league rescinded his one-game suspension.
Next up: at San Diego
8. Pittsburgh (6-4); Last week: 8
Week 11 result: Lost vs. Baltimore, 13-10
The Steelers lost Byron Leftwich and Ben Roethlisberger in consecutive weeks to rib and shoulder injuries, which means Charlie Batch will be starting at least the Steelers’ next game. That’s nothing Plaxico Burress can’t cure!
Next up: at Cleveland
9. New York Giants (6-4); Last week: 10
Week 11 result: Bye
Eli Manning feels his arm strength is back after the bye week and hopes the increased velocity will cause defenders to drop his passes rather than intercept them.
Next up: vs. Green Bay
10. Chicago (7-3); Last week: 3
Week 11 result: Lost at San Francisco, 32-7
After San Francisco’s six-sack performance Monday night, maybe the Bears should look into drafting an offensive lineman or five. Gabe Carimi, the team’s first-round pick in 2011, and the Chicago line have allowed 34 sacks, second-worst in the NFL. The Bears’ highly-touted defense didn’t help matters either, allowing the game’s first 27 points against a quarterback making his first career NFL start.
Next up: vs. Minnesota
11. Seattle (6-4); Last week: 11
Week 11 result: Bye
Pete Carroll and the Seahawks return from their bye week perhaps the healthiest team in the league.
Next up: at Miami
12. New Orleans (5-5); Last week: 14
Week 11 result: Won at Oakland, 38-17
The Saints are back. New Orleans has won three in a row and five out of six, all while ranking dead last in the league in rushing and total yards allowed per game, and next to last in passing yards allowed per game. To counter that, Drew Brees is first in the NFL with touchdown passes with 28. He’s also donating $1 million to Hurricane Sandy relief, so two thumbs up to him.
Next up: vs. San Francisco
13. Tampa Bay (6-4); Last week: 17
Week 11 result: Won at Carolina, 27-21 (OT)
Trailing the Panthers 21-10 with six minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Josh Freeman led the Buccaneers to 11 points to tie the game in regulation. Vincent Jackson’s 24-yard touchdown reception and subsequent two-point conversion tied the game with 12 seconds remaining, and Freeman’s touchdown pass to Dallas Clark 4:20 into overtime won the game for the surging Bucs, who are 5-1 since starting 1-3.
Next up: vs. Atlanta
14. Minnesota (6-4); Last week: 13
Week 11 result: Bye
The Vikings hope star receiver Percy Harvin will be back at practice Wednesday after using the bye week to heal his sprained ankle. Harvin missed Minnesota’s Week 10 win over Detroit.
Next up: at Chicago
15. Indianapolis (6-4); Last week: 12
Week 11 result: Lost at New England, 59-24
Andrew Luck wasn’t very good against the Patriots. Neither were the Colts’ special teams. Nor was their defense. Luck threw three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns, as the Colts were outscored 52-10 after the first quarter, in which they actually led.
Next up: vs. Buffalo
16. Dallas (5-5); Last week: 15
Week 11 result: Won vs. Cleveland, 23-20 (OT)
Coming off last week’s win over the Eagles, the Cowboys faced much stiffer competition. At least former Eagle Sheldon Brown was there to assist Dallas’ comeback with a pass interference penalty that moved the Cowboys into field goal territory late in the fourth quarter.
Next up: vs. Washington
17. Cincinnati (5-5); Last week: 16
Week 11 result: Won at Kansas City, 28-6
A.J. Green is really good. Green caught a touchdown pass for the ninth consecutive game and Dalton accounted for three touchdowns in the win over the Chiefs. They will look to get above .500 as they host former franchise quarterback Carson Palmer for the first time since he was traded last season.
Next up: vs. Oakland
18. Washington (4-6); Last week: 21
Week 11 result: Won vs. Philadelphia, 31-6
Robert Griffin III had about the easiest game you will see from a quarterback: 14-of-15 for 200 yards and four touchdowns, one of them on this heave to Santana Moss. He also ran for 85 yards. The Redskins lost safety Brandon Meriweather for the season to a torn ACL in what was his first game of the season.
Next up: at Dallas
19. Detroit (4-6); Last week: 20
Week 11 result: Lost vs. Green Bay, 24-20
It was fun while it lasted for the Lions. They started 1-3, clawed back to 4-4, only to lose their last two games to division rivals. Calvin Johnson had five catches for 143 yards and a touchdown, but Matthew Stafford threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.
Next up: vs. Houston
20. Miami (4-6); Last week: 18
Week 11 result: Lost at Buffalo, 19-14
It certainly appears as if Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill has hit the wall. Coming off a game in which he threw three interceptions, Tannehill threw two more against the Bills, including one on the final drive. He completed just 14-of-28 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown.
Next up: vs. Seattle
21. San Diego (4-6); Last week: 19
Week 11 result: Lost at Denver, 23-20
Philip Rivers in the Chargers’ four wins has eight touchdowns to three interceptions. In the Chargers’ six losses, he has nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Wonder why San Diego’s season is basically over.
Next up: vs. Baltimore
22. Tennessee (4-6); Last week: 24
Week 11 result: Bye
The Titans laid low during their bye week, and I bet you didn’t even notice they were off.
Next up: at Jacksonville
23. Buffalo (4-6); Last week: 25
Week 11 result: Won vs. Miami, 19-14
All it took for the Bills’ defense to put it together was a visit from the Tannehill-led Dolphins on a Thursday night. Jairus Byrd had an interception and a forced fumble as the Bills ended their three-game losing streak. Leodis McKelvin gave Buffalo the lead early with a 79-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Next up: at Indianapolis
24. New York Jets (4-6); Last week: 27
Week 11 result: Won at St. Louis, 27-13
Just when you think they’re done, the Jets pull you back in. Eh, not really. They’re still done. Mark Sanchez was “efficient,” however, which is the nicest thing anyone has said about him since “He’s better than Tebow.”
Next up: vs. New England
25. St. Louis (3-6-1); Last week: 22
Week 11 result: Lost vs. New York Jets, 27-13
Sam Bradford threw 44 passes and completed 23 for 170 yards. That’s 3.9 yards per attempt. It was the first time this season the Rams were favored. Vegas certainly won’t make the same mistake twice.
Next up: at Arizona
26. Arizona (4-6); Last week: 23
Week 11 result: Lost at Atlanta, 23-19
Arizona forced six turnovers on the road and LaRod Stephens-Howling ran for 127 yards and a touchdown, and the Cardinals still lost. Probably had something to do with Ryan Lindley and John Skelton combining to complete 11-of-27 passes.
Next up: vs. St. Louis
27. Cleveland (2-8); Last week: 28
Week 11 result: Lost at Dallas, 23-20 (OT)
Cleveland has made so much progress this season. After starting the season 0-5, the Browns have gone 2-3 in their last five and are now good enough to lose at the end of games or in overtime rather than in the first quarter. Joe Banner is a miracle worker.
Next up: vs. Pittsburgh
28. PHILADELPHIA (3-7); Last week: 26
Week 11 result: Lost at Washington, 31-6
The Eagles continue their plunge down the rankings, but mark my words, they will beat New Orleans Dallas Washington Carolina this week. There’s no way they can lose four five six seven games in a row. It’s about as unlikely as Andy Reid leaving LeSean McCoy in the game at the end of a blowout, only to see him sustain a concussion.
Next up: vs. Carolina
29. Carolina (2-8); Last week: 30
Week 11 result: Lost vs. Tampa Bay, 27-21 (OT)
Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott will likely join Juan Castillo and maybe even Todd Bowles in unemployment this offseason. Carolina’s defense is really bad, and has conspired with Cam Newton to allow them to lose a number of close games late.
Next up: at Philadelphia
30. Oakland (3-7); Last week: 29
Week 11 result: Lost vs. New Orleans, 38-17
The Raiders have allowed 135 in their last three games while only scoring 69. Now that they have cut first-round bust Aaron Curry, the root of all their problems, surely they’ll be able to handle Andy Dalton and A.J. Green.
Next up: at Cincinnati
31. Jacksonville (1-9); Last week: 32
Week 11 result: Lost at Houston, 43-37 (OT)
Justin Blackmon! That was impressive. Chad Henne! Also impressive. The Jaguars were weirdly competitive, at least on the offensive side of the ball. Jacksonville’s defense allowed Schaub to pass for 527 yards, tied for second all-time in a single game. Still, they lost. It was enough to get out of the basement though.
Next up: vs. Tennessee
32. Kansas City (1-9); Last week: 31
Week 11 result: Lost vs. Cincinnati, 28-6
The Chiefs killed a guy and got someone else shot in the face. On the other hand, two weeks in a row with a lead.
Next up: vs. Denver