NFL Power Rankings Week 11: Teams in Tailspins

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SLR’s Week 11 NFL Power Rankings: The Top 8

Nov 10, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley (98) reacts after tackling Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (not pictured) during the second half at Soldier Field. Detroit defeats Chicago 21-19. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

8. Detroit Lions (6-3) ▲2

The Lions were extremely fortunate to get out of Soldier Field with a win this season. A lot of their old habits started cropping up again: stupid penalties, offensive droughts, tissue-soft coverage in late-game situations. They’re in the driver’s seat in the NFC North now, but they may not good enough to stay there if they play mistake-ridden football like they did in Chicago. That being said, the fact that they performed well enough to win in a big game instead of withering is a huge step forward for this squad.

7. San Francisco 49ers (6-3) ▼2

Had you told Jim Harbaugh this week that he would be able to hold the Panthers to 10 points, he probably would have felt a lot better about his chances. Of course, he might also have forgotten that he was playing against an ever better defense than his own.

6. Carolina Panthers  (6-3) ▲4

Seeing the Carolina Panthers at 6-3, a lot of people are going to want to talk about Cam Newton, but Newton just completed 50 percent of his passes for 169 and an interception. His team is 29th in the league in passing offense. Newton isn’t winning games for this team, that fantastic defense is doing it by allowing less than 13 points per game. They didn’t just beat the 49ers, they beat the 49ers at their own game.

5. New England Patriots (7-2) ▲3

Shane Vereen looks like he’s on track to return in Week 11. If that’s true, prepare for a much different-looking Patriots offense from here on. With Vereen, Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola all healthy, we might finally get a chance to see what the Patriots offense was actually supposed to look like in 2013.

4. New Orleans Saints (7-2) ▲2

That was just a good old-fashioned dismantling. Jimmy Graham played roughly half of the Saints’ offensive snaps, and the Saints still moved the ball at will. That was how they needed to respond to an ugly loss against the Jets: by getting Darren Sproles and Marques Colston back.

3. Seattle Seahawks (9-1) ▲1

The Seahawks blew out the Falcons and nobody cares. For as good as this team is, they sure don’t get talked about very much. Granted, the Falcons aren’t very good, but they beat them by 23, and it’s barely a blip on the radar. We might end up with two of the least-respected No. 1 playoff seeds in history this season.

2.  Denver Broncos (8-1) ▲1

I’m actually more impressed with the Broncos now than I was earlier in the season when the offense looked like Tecmo Bowl starring 11 Bo Jacksons. Defense was a big concern with this team early in the season, but they’re quelling those concerns now. The fact that they don’t have to win every game via shootout bodes well for them in the future, especially considering their suspect pass protection. Their biggest challenge against Kansas City is going to be keeping Peyton Manning conscious against a vicious Chiefs pass rush.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-0) NC

This is the first time since Dec. 30, 2012 that there was a regular season week of NFL football, and the Chiefs didn’t win. No, I will not move them down.