Week 11 in the NFL comes to a close and while some divisions looked just about wrapped up, others have only become less clear. The NFC wild card race is now in full effect, with the Bears, Cowboys, Lions, Giants and Falcons all fighting for a spot to play in January. The AFC, too, has a few teams fighting for position, the most interesting race lying in the AFC North. Point totals were much higher in week 11 after defenses seemed to reign in week 10.
Let's get on with the power rankings. As usual, LW= last week's rankings.
1. Green Bay Packers (10-0) (LW: 1): What else is there to say about the Pack? It is looking more and more likely that they could go undefeated this season. Keep in mind, the last time the Pack had the opportunity to rest players before going into the playoffs ('09 against Arizona) they chose not to. We'll see if McCarthy does the game this time around.
2. San Francisco 49ers (9-1) (LW: 2): Even if Frank Gore was a bit beaten up, the 49ers still managed to take it to the Cardinals and win handily. Their defense didn't allow a single point until the fourth quarter and still have yet to give up a rushing TD this season. I am beginning to see that loss to the Cowboys as an outlier.
3. New Orleans Saints (7-3) (LW: 3): The Saints were one of the last four teams to have their bye in week 11. They host the Giants next Monday night in a game that will undoubtedly have huge implications.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3) (LW: 4): The Steelers also had their bye and have a prime time game against the Chiefs on Sunday night next weekend.
5. New England Patriots (7-3) (LW: 6): It was pretty obvious that the Pats were going to beat a team without their starting QB, RB and one of their best defensive players in Eric Berry. Rob Gronkowski is playing better than any tight end in the league right now, hands down. I anticipate an offensive explosion when they play the Eagles next week.
6. Baltimore Ravens (7-3) (LW: 7): The Ravens love to get up for the big games, don't they? Beating the division rival Bengals was a huge victory for them, helping the Ravens to get a little separation within the division. They will host the 49ers on Thanksgiving for what is undoubtedly going to be the best game of the day.
7. Houston Texans (7-3) (LW: 5): Next week marks the debut of Matt Leinart as starting QB for the Texans. Will they sink or swim against the Jaguars? We shall soon find out.
8. Chicago Bears (7-3) (LW: 9): The Bears won their game against the Chargers, but when you realize that they lost Jay Cutler for the rest of the regular season with a broken thumb, you see that they truly lost. Caleb Hanie takes over as the starting QB from here on out. Matt Forte will get his chance to show why he definitely needs to get paid after this season.
9. Oakland Raiders (6-4) (LW: 11): The still Darren McFadden-less Raiders keep finding ways to win. Michael Bush has become a huge asset to their team. Will the Raiders consider trading one of their big backs to help regain some of their lost picks in the off-season?
10. Dallas Cowboys (6-4) (LW: 12): The 'Boys didn't win in an impressive manner, but a win is a win. They are now tied for first for the division lead in the NFC East. Cowboys fans have to be asking themselves whether or not Tony Romo will falter down the stretch.
11. New York Giants (6-4) (LW: 8): They had a chance to put the nail in the coffin against Vince Young's Eagles and they just couldn't manage to do it. The Giants have hit a bump in the road and things don't get easier when they travel to Louisiana to play the Saints. This team really needs Ahmad Bradshaw back because Brandon Jacobs really just doesn't cut it as an every down back.
12. Cincinnati Bengals (6-4) (LW: 10): By no means are the Bengals out of this division race yet. They still have one more game against the Steelers and Ravens, but they also get to play St. Louis, Cleveland and Arizona. By the way, Andy Dalton passed for 373 yards yesterday. The Red Rifle is for real.
13. Detroit Lions (7-3) (LW: 14): The Lions were able to claw their waay back from a 17+ point deficit for the third time this season. If they do end up making the playoffs, they will not be able to overcome these big holes that they put themselves into early on in games.
14. Atlanta Falcons (6-4) (LW: 17): Matt Ryan and Roddy White had a connection against the Titans that we really haven't seen for a while. White had 147 receiving yards in their victory and will look to have another big game against the depleted Vikings secondary in week 12. Will the Falcons be able to grab a wildcard or possibly even a division title?
15. Denver Broncos (5-5) (LW: 20): This honestly wasn't as difficult as it should have been. Beating the Jets affirmed to me that the Broncos with Tim Tebow just win games and that their team seems to do whatever it will take to do so. I wonder how Kyle Orton is feeling right now.
16. Buffalo Bills (5-5) (LW: 13): Ryan Fitzpatrick's new contract is beginning to look like a mistake. Losing to the Miami Dolphins should be considered an embarrassment at this point. Remember when everyone said this team would make the playoffs? Ya, me neither.
17. New York Jets (5-5) (LW: 15): Ironic how after all of the Super Bowl promises, Rex Ryan's Jets might not even make the playoffs this year. I fully expected for them to beat the Broncos on Thursday night, but they made Tim Tebow look like the more competent QB.
18. Tennessee Titans (5-5) (LW: 16): Matt Hasselbeck left the game early with an elbow injury against the Falcons. Jake Locker came in and looked really good, but if Hasselbeck has to miss additional time, this team might be in trouble. Chris Johnson needs to step up and earn all that money he just signed for.
19. Philadelphia Eagles (4-6) (LW: 23): Vince Young threw three INTs, but he still managed to keep his team's playoff hopes alive by beating the division rival Giants. LeSean McCoy looked like an All-Pro as usual, but the secondary still looks average. The playoffs are still a long shot, but it's not out of the realm of possibility.
20. San Diego Chargers (4-6) (LW: 18): Norv Turner is on the hot seat with the Chargers dropping their fifth straight game. Philip Rivers is struggling with a league leading 17 picks on the season. Need I say anything else? This was supposed to be their year (just like every year).
21. Cleveland Browns (4-6) (LW: 24): The Browns and their offensive line helped Chris Ogbonnaya gain 115 yards on the ground, but what are we to think of Colt McCoy? Is he truly their QB of the future? The numbers don't suggest so.
22. Seattle Seahawks (4-6) (LW: 25): Tarvaris Jackson never does anything spectacular, but he looks to be a competent stopgap QB until the 'Hawks get their franchise guy. Maybe Pete Carroll made a good decision after all. Now the question is whether or not they choose to re-sign Marshawn Lynch.
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6) (LW: 21): Josh Freeman had a great game against the Packers, passing for 342 yards, 132 of them going to his tight end Kellen Winslow. LeGarrette Blount also rushed for over 100 yards, including one of the best runs of the year. The Bucs need to figure it all out in time to make a run at the postseason.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7) (LW: 19): The Jags had a chance to win the game with only a few seconds to go in the game, but were unable to get the job done. They allowed 115 yards a third string RB and lost a very winnable game. Their team just didn't look all that great.
25. Arizona Cardinals (3-7) (LW: 22): It appears that any possible QB controversy that once existed is now gone after John Skelton threw three interceptions and was unable to help his team score any points against the 49ers. Kevin Kolb will definitely be starting under center once he is healthy enough to do so.
26. Miami Dolphins (3-7) (LW: 31): Tell me if I saw this correctly: Matt Moore passed for three touchdowns against the Bills. Their defense looked good, picking off Ryan Fitzpatrick twice during the game. They also held Fred Jackson to 17 yards on the ground. Once they get a QB and a more consistent run game, they might be a decent team. Has Tony Sparano saved his job during this past month?
27. Washington Redskins (3-7) (LW: 26): The 'Skins kept the game close enough to push the Cowboys into overtime, but they were unable to avoid their sixth straight loss of the 2011 season. Rex Grossman only threw 1 INT, so he probably gets to keep his starting job for another week.
28. Kansas City Chiefs (4-6) (LW: 28): Tyler Palko got his first NFL start and unfortunately he had to play the Patriots during it. The Chiefs held tough in the first half, but were eventually overwhelmed by the insane Patriot offense. This team is building a decent product for the future, but will Matt Cassell be a part of it?
29. Carolina Panthers (2-8) (LW: 30): I decided to move the Panthers up because they actually looked somewhat decent against the Lions... in the first half. Once all of their youth develops, they will find a way to finish games.
30. St. Louis Rams (2-8) (LW: 27): Sam Bradford was sacked five times, allowing two fumbles that led to touchdowns against the Seahawks. They were forced to punt ten times. Steven Jackson carried the ball 15 times for 42 yards. Does that sum it up well enough?
31. Minnesota Vikings (2-7) (LW: 27): This team sinks and swims with Adrian Peterson and yesterday, they were like submarines. Peterson left the game in the 2nd quarter with an ankle injury and didn't return. Christian Ponder also threw three interceptions, which is never good for the confidence of a young quarterback. Better luck next year, Vikes.
32. Indianapolis Colts (0-10) (LW: 32): Hey the Colts finally didn't lose a game! Oh, that's because they had their bye week. What does an 0-10 team even do during a bye week?