NFL Power Rankings Week 12: New NFL Bookends

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SLR’s Week 12 NFL Power Rankings: 32-25 Nov 14, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Indianapolis Colts cornerback Cassius Vaughn (32) breaks up a pass intended for Tennessee Titans wide receiver Justin Hunter (15) during the second half at LP Field. Indianapolis won 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) ▼1

There is no doubt that this Jaguars team is better than the one that started the season 11 weeks ago. That said, it’s still worse than every other team in the NFL, so welcome back to the basement, Jaguars! It missed you, but it knows you don’t feel the same.

31. Atlanta Falcons (2-8) ▼1

This is quickly going from a down year to a complete disaster that needs to be blown up in the offseason. Matt Ryan has never really been on the top shelf of quarterbacks, but he’s playing at a Mark Sanchez-like level right now. Does he need to be replaced, too? Or is this just a bad, fluky season?

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) ▲2

Is Greg Schiano saving his job with this surge of solid play lately? The rest of the NFC South certainly hopes so. He and the Bucs have done a great job of getting production from any running back available (Mike Shanahan-style), but the Josh Freeman saga will loom large when it comes time to convince anyone to play in Tampa Bay in 2014.

29. Minnesota Vikings (2-8) NC

It’s hard to fault them too much for falling to the Seattle Seahawks. Nine other teams have done the same this year. Besides, there’s not much left to say about the Vikings. They’re pretty consistent. The quarterback situation is a mess, Adrian Peterson is awesome, and the defense is an abomination, and it’s basically been that way since Week 1.

28. Houston Texans (2-8) ▲1

Case Keenum has played reasonably well for the Texans, and he might even have a future in Houston. So why would they pull him for Matt Schaub with the season effectively over? If you’re not looking towards the postseason, try out the young quarterback. Struggles are expected, but you don’t pull a kid out over them. Not when you’re 2-7.

27. Washington Redskins (3-7) ▲1

If there’s a silver lining, it’s that Mike Shanahan won’t have any reason to play anyone hurt this year. This entire season has looked like rehab for Robert Griffin III. He’ll be fine, but the defense needs a top-to-bottom overhaul.

26. Tennessee Titans (4-6) ▼6

The Titans nearly pulled out some Ryan Fitzmagic against the Colts, but then they didn’t. Kind of like how they looked like a decent team this year, and then they weren’t. They’re 1-5 in their last six, but the good news is that Jake Locker actually looked like a guy they could build around before he went down for the season with injury this time.

25. Oakland Raiders  (4-6) NC

This team needs to find a franchise quarterback. Guys like Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin are shining in this offense, because it has enough pieces to compete. But are those guys really good quarterbacks, or does the offense around them simply lift them? Also, am I seriously talking about Oakland’s offense making its quarterbacks look good?