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NFL Week 11 Power Rankings: Panthers rise, Titans fall

As we move towards the later stages of the season, the play-off picture is beginning to take place, and the men separate themselves from the boys so to speak. With a host of teams sitting in and around .500, anything could happen from here on in. The Week 11 Power Rankings are here:

Cardinals continue to make their play-off push
Cardinals continue to make their play-off push
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

1) Kansas City Chiefs (9-0)

With a bye this past week, the Chiefs remain atop the league power rankings being the only undefeated tea left in the NFL. Having played a host of backup or below-average quarterbacks in the past few weeks, their toughest test of the season comes this weekend as they take on Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

2) Seattle Seahawks (9-1)

We all know how formidable the Seahawks are at home, with Russell Wilson unbeaten and CenturyLink Field in his career, but they are also 5-1 on the road this season. With a commanding lead over the 49ers in the NFC West, the Seahawks appear to have tied up the division barring major set-backs.

3: Denver Broncos (8-1)

Another week, another win for the Broncos who continue to cruise through their schedule. The best offense in the league takes on the best defense in the league this weekend, where we should be able to decide who is the AFC's top dog.

4) New Orleans Saints (7-2)

Drew Brees rinsed the woeful Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, with the Saints putting up 49 points. This team are as explosive as they get, and will always be in with a chance come the fourth quarter. The Saints need to win out essentially if they wish to lock up home field advantage.

5) Indianapolis Colts (6-3)

The Colts suffered their most embarrassing loss of the season being trounced by the Rams at Lucas Oil Stadium, but this team has still picked up some big scalps this season. The Colts should take care of their division, but I can't help but feel this is a team that will be one-and-done in the play-offs due to injuries in key positions.

6) New England Patriots (7-2)

The Patriots come back from the bye week with a matchup against the surging Carolina Panthers who have reeled off five straight wins, including a statement win in Candlestick against the 49ers on Sunday. Giving them time to get healthier, the Pats should be a major AFC factor come January.

7) Carolina Panthers (6-3)

Many of us had written off Ron Rivera in Carolina as they were searching for replacements, but now on a five-game win streak and in possession of a Wild Card spot in the tight NFC, the Panthers are for real. The win against the Niners proved to us that Cam Newton can perform in the clutch.

8) Detroit Lions (6-3)

In a highly-contested NFC North, for once the luck is falling in the way of the Lions. With both Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler (and Seneca Wallace...) going down to injury, the Lions really need to avoid mistakes to take the division. On their day, they have the best defensive line in football; these days need to be more frequent.

9) San Francisco 49ers (6-3)

A disappointing loss against the Panthers really hurt the Niners' chances of winning the NFC West, and look like they'll have to be content with the fifth seed. The loss of Vernon Davis was huge, as no one, not even Mario Manningham, were able to fill the void, but this offense is getting healthier and will improve down the stretch.

10) Cincinnati Bengals (6-4)

A truly horrible outing against the Ravens which should not have been as close as it looked was just the continuation of a repetitive trend we see with Andy Dalton: he balls out for a month, then capitulates the next month. There is no middle ground. The loss to the Ravens reopens the divisional race.

11) Chicago Bears (5-4)

Their season hinges on the health of Jay Cutler who could be done for the year. The Bears are serviceable with Josh McCown as quarterback, but they are a weaker team. The Bears secondary has been atrocious so far this season and needs to pick up the rest of the way.

12) Green Bay Packers (5-4)

The Packers just need to get through the next month or so without Aaron Rodgers and keep themselves in the mix within the NFC North. Now being led by Scott Tolzien (who?) it's hard to imagine the Packers winning too many games whilst Rodgers is out.

13) New York Jets (5-4)

A team that is totally inept at stringing together back to back wins this season, the Jets are probably going to lose this week against the Bills, but to much of our surprise, Geno Smith and the gang are in the play-off mix.

14) Dallas Cowboys (5-5)

It's like the Cowboys don't want to win their division. Unable to establish a lead over the pack in the NFC East, the Cowboys sit at 5-5 wondering what the next few weeks may bring. One thing is for sure, they need improved defensive play if they want to be taken seriously.

15) Baltimore Ravens (4-5)

Just managing to eke out a win against the Bengals on Sunday re-opens the AFC North race being only two games back. The offense stinks right now with the running game being stifled at the line of scrimmage, this needs to be addressed if the Ravens have any hopes of repeating last years heroics.

16) Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)

Nick Foles has thrown 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions this year. Faultless offensive production is the reason they are beginning to reel in the Cowboys and now share the division lead. The Eagles will always be a dangerous team to play, but haven't played a mega-offense since they were trounced by the Broncos, which pre-dates the vast defensive improvement.

17) Arizona Cardinals (5-4)

The Cardinals are one game back of the 49ers. One game back. With major wins against fellow play-off hopefuls Carolina and Detroit, especially at University of Phoenix Stadium, the Cardinals can give anyone a game. A run of 'winnable' games according to Carson Palmer could see the Cardinals right in the mix come Week 17.

18) San Diego Chargers (5-4)

Primed for a play-off push at 5-4, the Chargers have an incredibly tough schedule to come home this season. Two games against the currently undefeated Chiefs, as well as games against the Bengals and Broncos. A weak AFC needs to fall in favour of the Chargers if they want a play-off berth.

19) St. Louis Rams (4-5)

A blow-out victory against the Colts on Sunday surprised everyone, but it reaffirms that the Rams aren't that bad a team. It'll go down as 'the day Tavon Austin arrived' with three total touchdowns on the day. It appears Brian Schottenheimer has had an epiphany.

20) New York Giants (3-6)

The Giants have played their way back into contention in the NFC East, mainly due to the poor opposition, but the Giants are on a three game winning streak, and play Scott Tolzien (anyone figure out who he is yet?) and the Packers this weekend. If games go their way, they'll be only one back.

21) Pittsburgh Steelers (3-6)

Again,, following a horrific start, the Steelers are picking up wins in a cruddy division where the race is only getting tighter. With key divisional games coming up, the Steelers cannot afford to lose many more games if they have any play-off hopes.

22) Cleveland Browns (4-5)

Jason Campbell has sparked a mini-revival for the Browns, who are only a couple games back of the Bengals. With a showdown game against the Bengals on the horizon, it's not totally crazy to think the Browns could turn over the Bengals and make the AFC North even tighter.

23) Miami Dolphins (4-5)

Losing five of their last six games, including a defeat to the then win-less Buccaneers, has ruined a great start for the Dolphins. This is a team in turmoil with the ongoings in the Martin-Incognito saga the past few weeks. Their team has an eerily similar resemblance to the 2012 Cardinals, minus the locker-room beef.

24) Tennessee Titans (4-5)

Their faint hopes of the sixth seed in the AFC took a massive hit by handing the hapless Jaguars their first win of the NFL season. With Jake Locker now done for the year, Ryan Fitzpatrick has a great opportunity to audition for the 2014 backup role for the remainder of the season. The Titans officials have a big call to make in regards to the future of Locker and the franchise.

25) Oakland Raiders (3-6)

The Raiders continue to exceed expectations and impress the masses this season, even if it's not represented in the win column. Terrelle Pryor is the most dynamic quarterback in the NFL, and possibly the best pure athlete as well. He's a project, but a good one with a high ceiling. The Raiders are moving in the right direction.

26) Houston Texans (2-7)

Despite the loss to the Cardinals last time out, Case Keenum has added new life to the Texans, and it continues to raise doubts over Matt Schaub's long term future with the team. A new franchise record of seven straight losses is obviously a bad thing, but it's clear to see that, with a quarterback, the Texans will be an AFC powerhouse in 2014.

27) Buffalo Bills (3-7)

E.J. Manuel continues to unenthral Bills fans during his rookie season, and doesn't really look all that good. It's early days, but the doubts are there on whether Manuel is the long term answer. They have the pieces in place to be a good team, and will continue to grow together.

28) Washington Redskins (3-6)

A poor performance against the Vikings on Thursday night cemented their place at the basement of the NFC East, but still only remain two games back. They can easily run the table in the division and make the play-offs, but the way they are playing, it's hard to imagine.

29) Atlanta Falcons (2-7)

Injuries are the cause of their fall from grace and not poor play. Without Julio Jones and Roddy White for the vast majority of the season will do this to a one-dimensional passing offense. They cannot get any pass rush on defense giving opposing quarterbacks an age to find the open man. That's where they need to address this offseason.

30) Minnesota Vikings (2-7)

Christian Ponder is now injured, and the quarterback carousel continues to spin in Minneapolis. Matt Cassel will take the reigns with Josh Freeman as the backup. It's clear the Vikings will need to address the position in the offseason.

31) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8)

Attaining their first win of the season against the free-falling Dolphins will be a morale booster for the Buccaneers, but it still doesn't change that this team needs a regime change in the offseason. There is too much talent going to waste on this team.

32) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8)

Also picking up their one and only win thus far against the Tennessee Titans will make the rest of the season a little more bearable, but this team has too many holes and are a long way off from being a factor.