NFL Power Rankings Week 12: New NFL Bookends

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SLR’s Week 12 NFL Power Rankings: 24-17

Nov 17, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Green Bay Packers fullback John Kuhn (30) receives a pass from Green Bay Packers quarterback Scott Tolzien (16) against the New York Giants during the fourth quarter of a game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

24. Buffalo Bills (4-7) ▲2

That’s the kind of performance Bills fans have been waiting on all season. The last five games of the season are basically a proving ground and learning experience for E.J. Manuel, who appeared to take a huge step forward against a strong Jets defense.

23. San Diego Chargers (4-6) ▼2

They just seem to tread water around .500 every season. Philip Rivers is pretty good, but not great. Ryan Mathews is playing much better, but it’s obviously not enough. They need to load up on receivers this offseason.

22. Baltimore Ravens (4-6) ▼5

Yeah, the Ravens are bad. But even the incomparable Ozzie Newsome can’t replace half a Super Bowl team and expect no falloff. The fact that a Super Bowl team can finish below .500 less than a year later is why the parity-driven NFL is so exciting every year. Of course, if they run Ray Rice for the rest of the year like they did against Chicago, maybe they won’t finish under .500 at all.

21. Cleveland Browns (4-6) ▼7

They have talent, and a few pieces to build around. They just can’t ever seem to get any further than the foundation. That was their ugliest performance of the season against Cincinnati.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-6) ▲4

With a big win over the Lions, the Steelers have pulled into a three-way tie for second place in the AFC North. The bad news is, the Bengals still lead the division by three games. At the very least, Ben Roethlisberger’s four touchdown performance should quiet talk of him being traded in the offseason.

19. Miami Dolphins (5-5) ▲3

At this point, what’s the point of trying to predict anything about any AFC East team? They’re different every week they show up. The Dolphins have a good defense that slowed the Chargers to basically a collection of field goals, but who’s to say they won’t give up 50 points next week?

18. Green Bay Packers (5-5) ▼3

That’s three games without Aaron Rodgers, and three losses. If Rodgers doesn’t get back soon, he might not have a playoff run left to save.

17. New York Giants (4-6) ▲6

With his team reeling at 0-6, Tom Coughlin’s seat couldn’t have gotten much hotter. But now they’re on a four-game winning streak, they’re two games back in the NFC East, and Coughlin might be closer to Coach of the Year consideration than fired. That being said, beating the Packers with their practice squad quarterback is not exactly a signature win. Still, regardless of how the wins come, the playoffs are now a possibility, not a punchline.