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Week 13 Power Rankings: Cardinals Continue To Freefall

With back-to-back losses, the Cardinals continue to fall in the Power Rankings

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Just when it looks like the NFL has lost interest, we get a fantastic slate of Thanksgiving games that almost makes the whole season worth it.  After this week, the teams seem to be separating themselves into three categories: the great teams (Dallas, Oakland, Kansas City, New England, Seattle, etc) the "meh" teams still fighting for a playoff spot (Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Tampa, etc.) and the "awful" teams who can only beat worse team then them or, in some cases, there ISN'T a worse team than them.

This week, the Arizona Cardinals join that bottom tier of the league.  The team has only 4 wins on the season versus lesser competition and, while they are in each and every game, it seems to be a given that they will blow it one way or another.  If the Cardinals had gone 2-0 on this road trip stretch, they'd likely be in the top category.  If they went 1-1, they'd be in the middle category.

Dropping both games lands them in that "bad team" category and while it's amazing to see such a fall in such a short time, that's the margin of error in the NFL this year.

With that, here are the Week 13 Power Rankings:

1) Dallas Cowboys (10-1) -€” 10 straight wins.  Impressive.  Most impressive.

2) Oakland Raiders (8-2) -€” Am I crazy to put the Raiders this high?  Maybe.  But maybe not.  They've had some impressive wins and some clutch performances out of Derek Carr, along with steamrolling the Denver Broncos that took a tough Chiefs team to the last seconds of overtime on Sunday night.  Will the lack of playoff experience hurt them in the long run?  Perhaps.  But for now, they're the second hottest team in the NFL.

3) New England Patriots (8-2) -€” The Patriots are still winning but they've taken a hit as Rob Gronkowski limped off, Tom Brady wasn't at full health on Sunday and they needed a late game comeback to beat the lowly Jets.  While the Patriots are still the team to beat in the AFC due to their playoff experience, this team might not be the Super Bowl contender we think with how shoddy they've looked on defense.

4) Kansas City Chiefs (8-3) The Giants fall back a spot if only because the Chiefs took a tough Denver team and won in overtime (with Alex Smith making some clutch plays mind you) and the Giants struggled until a pick-6 late to beat the lowly Browns.  The Chiefs defense, with a healthy Justin Houston, could be a major Super Bowl contender if the team can manage to sustain enough offense.

5) New York Giants (8-3) While the Giants struggled at times with the Browns, and still don't have a run game, Eli and ODB have been legit along with their pass rush duo of Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon.  Giants might go a long way this year if they can consistently find a push to control the clock with their running backs.  They fall behind the Chiefs excellent defense, but not enough is being talked about Landon Collins as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

6) Seattle Seahawks (7-3-1) -€” The Seahawks haven't been the same ever since letting Christine Michael walk.  Joking aside, how in the world do you only score 5 points on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?  They were looking so good and all of a sudden, you have to wonder how much their home-field advantage has to do with it.  If this Seattle team can't lock up the #2 seed, they might be in danger of another Divisional Round exit like last year.

7) Denver Broncos (7-3) The Broncos took the Chiefs to Overtime and needed a rally from their Quarterback to get there and Trevor Siemian made some excellent throws against a great defense (okay, versus a bad Philip Gaines) to get them there.  However, when it came down to it, they couldn't get close enough in overtime and forced a 62-yard field goal miss by their kicker.  The offense HAS to improve if Denver wants any chance of a title repeat.

8) Atlanta Falcons (7-4) The Falcons handled Arizona and may have found a new explosive weapon in Taylor Gabriel.  They remind me a lot of the 2015 Arizona Cardinals: the #1 offense in the league, with a pass rush and D that just BARELY gets the job done when it counts, with Vic Beasley and Dwight Freeney playing the roles of Markus Golden and, well, Dwight Freeney.  But Atlanta still is hurting after losing their star cornerback Marcus Trufant and stud defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn for the season.  And if Arizona loses their Patrick Peterson and Calais Campbell, their defense is a hot mess.  Atlanta's was one with those players which can't bode well for their Super Bowl hopes.

9) Miami Dolphins (7-4) The Dolphins played the 49ers and while we didn't see a bazillion yards out of Jay Ajayi, they handled business despite Colin Kaepernick looking very sharp.  The Dolphins under Adam Gase have been a disciplined, competitive and winning football team.  It'll be exciting to see the young offense grow over the next few years.

10) Detroit Lions (7-4) There are three constant things in 2016: Celebrity deaths, political arguments and Matt Stafford leading a come-from-behind game-winning drive for the Lions in the 4th quarter.  They do it again to beat the Vikings and at this point Minnesota's season looks all but over while Stafford has put himself into the MVP conversation.  If just barely.

And the rest:

11) Washington Redskins (6-4-1)

12) Minnesota Vikings (6-5)

13) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5)

14) Baltimore Ravens (6-5)

15) Buffalo Bills (6-5)

16) Tennessee Titans (6-6)

17) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5)

18) Houston Texans (6-5)

19) Indianapolis Colts (5-6)

20) Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)

21) San Diego Chargers (5-6)

22) Green Bay Packers (5-6)

23) New Orleans Saints (5-6)

24) Carolina Panthers (4-6)

25) St. Louis Rams (4-7)

26) Arizona Cardinals (4-6-1) Arizona keeps falling down, and while they won't quit or give up, their team just can't seem to make enough plays to win the game.  But they certainly make enough plays to lose it.  It's a "look in the mirror" year for the team, who has a young core to build around but too many questions about effort, mental prep and focus to answer this season and face one of the better offensive and defensive combinations in the NFL in the Redskins at home next week.  This team needs a win not just for this season, but for confidence moving forward for 2017.  At this point, they're playing for draft position.

27) Cincinnati Bengals (3-7-1)

28) New York Jets (3-8)

29) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9)

30) Chicago Bears (2-9)

31) San Francisco 49ers (1-10)

32) Cleveland Browns (0-12)

What do you think? Did I give the Chiefs too much credit? Too high on the Panthers and Redskins? Should the Patriots still deserve to be number one?  Sound off in the comments section!

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