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Foxboro Blog Top 12: Week 11

With seven games left to go, you can rest assured that the Top 12 is going to be interesting each week.  Why?  Well, for starters, the margin between team #1 and #7 is razor thin, which means the slightest thing, such as an embarrassing loss to the Rams, can send a team like the Colts plummetting down the board.  Add to the fact that we have a #1 vs. #2 matchup on tap this week, followed by a #3 vs. #6 and a #4 vs. #9, and you know you're in for some fireworks!  And this is just the start of it…


#1 – Denver Broncos

After a long wait, the Broncos will finally get their chance to reclaim their spot atop the AFC West.  Games don't get much bigger than this in Week 11.

Last Week: 1      Change: 0       Record: 8-1       Next Game: vs. Chiefs


#2 – Kansas City Chiefs

I can almost guarantee you that either Denver or KC will be the #1 team next week.  Well, unless Denver wins and Peyton Manning's ankle subsequently explodes…

Last Week: 4      Change: +2       Record: 9-0   Next Game: @ Broncos


#3 – San Francisco 49ers

The Niners didn't look great this past week, but it was one bad half against a decent team.  Don't want to punish them too harshly when they've generally looked dominating the past few weeks. 

Last Week: 2      Change: -1       Record: 6-3      Next Game: @ Saints


#4 – New England Patriots

With both Indy and Cincy losing, the Patriots really couldn't have had a much better bye week.  A not-to-be-overlooked Panthers team is next on tap.  Glad the Niners got the wake up call instead of the Patriots who have to be focused now.

Last Week: 5      Change: +1       Record: 7-2     Next Game: @ Panthers


#5 – Seattle Seahawks

This ranking is almost assuredly too low.  Still, there was some undoubtable ugliness the past few weeks and that stench still lingers. If they drub the Vikings the way they should, order will be restored next week, I promise.

Last Week: 6      Change: +1       Record: 9-1      Next Game: vs. Vikings


#6 – New Orleans Saints

The Saints appeared to be dominant once more, thrashing the Cowboys in the Super Dome.  Too bad home field throughout the playoffs is going to be awfully hard to come by for New Orleans.  That, and the fact that even if they do make it to the Super Bowl, it happens to be in an outdoor stadium in the cold.

Last Week: 7      Change: +1       Record: 7-2       Next Game: vs. 49ers


#7 – Indianapolis Colts

When the rankings are this tight, a bad loss to a team like the Rams means that you plummet.  Even if you've managed to beat the Broncos, Seahawks, and Niners. 

Last Week: 3      Change: -4       Record: 6-3      Next Game: @ Titans


#8 – Detroit Lions

Can it be?  The Lions are the front runners in the NFC North!

Last Week: 8      Change: 0      Record: 6-3    Next Game: @ Steelers


#9 – Carolina Panthers

I thought for sure the Panthers would be one and done on the Top 12 last week.  Then the beat the Niners.  And given the shaky landscape here at the bottom of the Top 12 and below, they may just be on the list to stay.

Last Week: 12     Change: +3       Record: 6-3  Next Game: vs. Patriots


#10 – Cincinnati Bengals

The injury bug hit the Bengals hard, they just haven't been able to recover.  Still, that game-tying hail mary play was about as amazing as they come.  Too bad, (or fortunately, for the Patriots) it ended up being irrelevant.

Last Week: 9      Change: -1       Record: 6-4    Next Game: vs. Browns


#11 – Chicago Bears

I think the Bears took out a mortgage on the #11 spot in the rankings.

Last Week: 11      Change: 0      Record: 5-4     Next Game: vs. Ravens


#12 – New York Jets

And with the injury to Aaron Rodgers and the lack of any other suitable team to take their place, I bring to you something that would have seemed unthinkable ten weeks ago – the New York Jets in the #12 spot.

Last Week: N/A      Change: N/A       Record: 5-4       Next Game: @ Bills


 

Derek Hanson

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.

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Foxboro Blog Top 12: Week 11

In what may be a first for the Top 12, all twelve teams remained on the board this week, but none of them held the same position that they did last week. Things are starting to get interesting as we get deeper into the season.


#1 – Houston Texans

I underestimated the Texans last week by ranking them under the Bears.  They not only proved me wrong, but they took back the top spot on the board thanks to New Orleans knocking off Atlanta. 

Last Week: 3      Change: +2     Record: 8-1       Next Game: vs. Jaguars


#2 – Atlanta Falcons

It was a good run at the top for the Falcons.  Now it's time to prove that they can perform in the post-season, which is really all that matters.

Last Week: 1    Change: -1      Record: 8-1     Next Game: vs. Cardinals


#3 – Green Bay Packers

Only one team has beaten both the Texans and the Bears, and that's Green Bay.  That's a pretty solid argument for them being #1 on the board.  Actually, I'm not quite sure why I'm sticking the Pack at #3 given that fact, other than out of respect for the total package put forth by Houston and Atlanta over the past 10 weeks.

Last Week: 5     Change: +2       Record: 6-3       Next Game: @ Lions


#4 – Chicago Bears

Losing a close game against a top tier team is nothing ot be ashamed of, even if the Bears have fallen flat during their two biggest games so far this season.  What's more concerning is possibly losing Jay Cutler if this concussion lingers. 

Last Week: 2      Change: -2       Record: 7-2       Next Game: @ 49ers


#5 – New England Patriots

The Patriots may have found themselves rising even higher this week if they had blown out Buffalo like they should have.  One step at a time…

Last Week: 6      Change: +1       Record: 6-3      Next Game: vs. Colts


#6 – San Francisco 49ers

All you need to know is that the Patriots won 45-7 over the team that the 49ers just tied (eeewww) to understand why they are currently in the #6 spot.

Last Week: 4      Change: -2       Record: 6-2-1       Next Game: vs. Bears


#7 – Denver Broncos

The Peyton Manning hype train is moving full speed ahead.  I'm partially on board, but have to wonder how much of Denver's success is due to lackluster competition.

Last Week: 9     Change: +2       Record: 6-3      Next Game: vs. Chargers


#8 – Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens hung 55 on the Raiders, which is worth a bump.  Still, it was the Raiders.  We've yet to see Baltimore really hang with a good team since their rash of injuries, so I remain a bit suspect about them. 

Last Week: 10     Change: +2       Record: 7-2       Next Game: @ Steelers


#9 – New York Giants

The Giants have looked awful the past two games, but I can't in good conscious say that Seattle is a better team than them right now, so they will only fall one spot as a result.

Last Week: 8     Change: -1     Record: 6-4      Next Game: Bye Week


#10 – Seattle Seahawks

The Hawks are deadly at home.  Too bad they will likely spend their post-season on the road as the NFC's #6 seed.

Last Week: 11   Change: +1      Record: 6-4       Next Game: Bye Week


#11 – Indianapolis Colts

I never thought this Week 11 matchup for the Patriots was going to be a tough contest.  It looks like the return of the Pats/Colts rivalry happened sooner than anyone could have expected.

Last Week: 1s      Change: +1       Record: 6-3     Next Game: @ Patriots


#12 – Pittsburgh Steelers

Barely beating KC on MNF?  Unimpressive.  Potentially losing Rapistberger for several weeks with a shoulder injury?  Concerning.    Screwing the Patriots over by not being at full strength for your two games against the Ravens?  Maddening. 

That's how you drop five spots in one week, my friends.


Last Week: 7      Change: -5       Record: 6-3       Next Game: vs. Ravens


 

Derek Hanson

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.

Foxboro Blog Top 12: Week 11

The quicker they rise, the quicker they fall.  The Giants, who had a meteoric rise from off the board to the #2 spot in a matter of weeks, have plummeted 8 spots following their loss to Philly.  With games looming against New Orleans and Green Bay, they may not be long for the Top 12.  Echoing those sentiments are the Lions, who join the Bills as unexpected contenders who have cooled off as the leaves turned colors.  Then there are the faithful Packers, Patriots, Ravens, Steelers, and Saints who have dominated the top half of the board for much of this season.  It’s not an overly exciting week for the Top 12, but with QB’s dropping like flies there’s plenty room for debate regarding the rankings this week.  Hopefully Week 12 will shed some light on how things should truly stand.
 

Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
1 logo 1 0 10-0 @ Lions
The Packers could be set up for a fall this coming week against Detroit.  I think the Lions will play them tough, but too many people are expecting the upset.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
2

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2 0 9-1 @ Ravens
This next game is a huge test for the Niners.  Beat Baltimore, and no one will be able to doubt them any longer.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
3

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5 +2 7-3 @ Eagles
The Patriots’ defense has been slowly getting better week by week.  At this point, given their play and remaining schedule, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t take the AFC’s top seed.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
4 logo 7 +3 7-3 vs. 49ers
Baltimore has served its time for losing to Seattle, and can now take their rightful place above the Steelers, who they beat twice.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
5 logo 4 -1 7-3 @ Chiefs
You could argue that the Steelers should be above the Pats, but they lost to the Ravens twice, who lost to Seattle, Tennessee, and Jacksonville.  The Patriots haven’t lost a game this year when they’ve actually hung on to the ball.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
6 logo 6 0 7-3 vs. Giants
This game could have huge playoff implications for the Saints.  It could be the difference between heading to San Fran or Lambeau in the divisional round.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
7 logo 8 +1 6-4 vs. Bengals
Give credit to the Bengals, they hung tough with Pittsburgh and Baltimore. However, they will likely need to beat one of those teams to eventually wrap up the last AFC wild card spot.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
8 logo 11 +3 6-4 vs. Vikings
The Falcons are hanging around, staying alive, and waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting powerhouse in the playoffs.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
9 logo 10 +1 7-3 @ Raiders
The Bears would be up near the top of the board if they hadn’t lost their quarterback. 
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
10 logo 9 -1 7-3 @ Jaguars
Ditto.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
11 logo 3 -8 6-4 @ Saints
@ New England, @ San Fran, @ New Orleans, vs. Green Bay.  With those surrounding games, that loss to Philly on Sunday was inexcusable for the Giants.  They absolutely needed to seize that opportunity.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
12 logo N/A N/A 6-4 vs. Dolphins
I truly believe the Giants are better, but if the remaining schedule is any indication, the NFC East may very well run through Dallas.  


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Derek Hanson

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.

Foxboro Blog Top 12: Week 11

With eleven ten games under each team’s belt, it’s about time that we saw some stability in our rankings.  It’s been a crazy year, no doubt, but by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, we should have a fairly good idea of where each team lies in the pecking order.   This week, four of the Top 5 teams held onto the exact same spot they did last week, and six out of twelve overall held firm.  We’ll see how long this stability lasts, though, with half of our Top 12 teams facing off against each other this week.  This week’s big riser was the Green Bay Packers, who shot up four spots after stringing together some pretty convincing wins.  Plummeting, are the Giants, who fell four places after losing two straignt NFC East games.  Onto the rankings…

Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
1 logo 1 N/A 8-2 @ Lions
The Patriots have beaten four of the current Top 12 teams.  No other team can say that about themselves, which is why no other team deserves the #1 spot.  It’s been two big statement wins for the Pats back-to-back.  Now if they take care of business in Detroit, it will be time for the biggest statement of them all against the Jets.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
2 logo 2 N/A 8-2 vs. Packers
Atlanta continues to rack up the wins, but will face perhaps the biggest challenge of their season this week against the scorching Packers.  The NFC’s #1 seed may very well be on the line.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
3 logo 3 N/A 7-3 vs. Buccaneers
Baltimore won’t see any upward movement after pounding Carolina. Now it’s time for a real NFC South test with the Buccs on the horizon.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
4 logo 8 4 7-3 @ Falcons
The Pack have been quietly pummelling their opposition week after week.  Now is their chance to claim hold of the NFC by taking down the Dirty Birds.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
5 logo 5 N/A 7-3 @ Bills
The Steelers got smoked by New England and then smoked the Raiders.  I have a feeling that they’re either going to make a serious run or crash and burn come playoff time.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
6 logo 4 2 8-2 vs. Bengals
Garbage win, after garbage win, after garbage win, after garbage win.  I’m done respecting it.  The Jets are getting dropped.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
7 logo 7 N/A 7-3 @ Cowboys
New Orleans is just quietly biding their time, racking up wins.  Nobody’s really talking about them, but they could easily end up with the NFC’s #1 seed.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
8 logo 10 2 7-3 @ Bears
Michael Vick has turned the Eagles into a very scary team to face.  Still, his post-season track record leaves something to be desired.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
9 logo 9 N/A 6-4 vs. Chargers
There’s no shame in losing a close game to the #1 team.  Indy stands pat at #1.  Now they need to take care of business against the Chargers, or it could be panic time in Nap City.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
10 logo 11 4 6-4 vs. Jaguars
That’s back-to-back divisional losses for the G-Men.  We don’t take kindly to that in the Top 12.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
11 logo 11 1 5-5 @ Colts
San Diego is pulling their annual dig out from a hole.  I’m seeing another AFC West title in their future.  But please, let’s stop the Philip Rivers for MVP talk.  MVP’s play for teams above .500.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
12 logo N/A N/A 7-3 @ Ravens
Welcome to the Top 12, Tampa!  The Buccs have made the NFC South a major battle, and you honestly can’t write them off for the title.  And how crazy is this?  Let’s say the Buccs and Saints do overtake Atlanta (they’re only a game back), and Chicago stays hot…   Thanks to the suprising Buccaneers, the #2 team in this week’s rankings would be out of the playoffs.  Unreal.
Derek Hanson

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.

Foxboro Blog Top 12: Week 11

Get ready for a crazy week in the Foxboro Blog Top 12!  There were some big losses that sent our top teams plummeting downward, as well as one particular matchup where the winner found themselves dropping a spot and the loser gained two ranks.  In other news, my hard stance on Brett Favre and the Vikings has softened a bit, there’s two new contenders in the rankings after Denver and Atlanta fell off, and we are headed for a clash of the titans on Monday night!

Click on “Read More” to view this week’s edition of our Top 12 Rankings…

Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
1 2 1 10-0 vs. Patriots
New Orleans finally looked like a #1 team playing a bunch of scrubs in the game vs. Tampa Bay.  Now they get finally get a chance to put their stamp on the ’09 season vs. New England.  Win this one and the road to the Super Bowl goes through New Orleans.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
2 logo 4 2 7-3 @ Saints
The Patriots imposed their will on the Jets, but that’s the past.  A win next week practically locks up the division, put the Pats on track for a first-round bye, and will have them seated firmly atop the NFL ladder.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
3 logo 5 2 9-1 vs. Bears
I said the Vikings would go no higher than 5th until they actually beat a good team.  Then the Bengals lost to Oakland and opened up a huge gap at the top of the standings.  We’ll get to the reasoning behind Indy’s drop in a minute, but let’s just say that I’d put my money on Favre and Adrian Peterson if they were playing the Ponies this week.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
4 logo 3 1 10-0 @ Texans
Their win over Baltimore marked the third victory in a row that was secured by a mind-numbingly bad play or decision on the part of their opponent.  Yes, it’s better to be lucky than good, but how long can their luck hold out with that damaged secondary?  I say it ends in Houston where the Texans absolutely “must win” to keep their season alive. 
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
5 logo 7 2 7-3 vs. Chiefs
If there’s one team on this list that scares me a bit as a Patriots fan, it’s the Chargers.  When they finally manage to get their act together, they can be deadly.  Their five wins in a row is more than any team’s other than the Saints and Colts.  I’d say their act is together.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
6 logo 1 5 7-3 vs. Browns
If you thought putting the Bengals at the top of rankings last week was simply a move to jinx them and open up the door for the Patriots to slide into the AFC’s #2 spot you’d be correct.  I’m just surprised it actually worked!
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
7 logo 9 2 7-3 @ Titans
The Cardinals may be underdogs, but definitely don’t count them out of the race for the NFC title.  It’s Tennessee and Minnesota up next, followed by cream puffs.  If they can win one of those two, the #3 seed is theirs.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
8 logo 8 None 7-3 vs. Raiders
Dallas has looked pretty anemic the past two weeks, barely eeking out victory over Washington and losing to Green Bay. Still, they’re 7-3 and I couldn’t justify ranking a 5-5 team who lost their last game above them.  Lose to the Raiders this week, though, and they’re automatically off the chart.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
9 logo 10 1 5-5 vs. Steelers
Baltimore has had, without question, the most difficult schedule in the league this season.  I’m giving them a pass at 5-5 because I honestly believe they’re better than that. Now that things lighten up a bit, it’s time for them to prove me right and take one of those wild card spots.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
10 logo N/A N/A 6-4 @ Broncos
The G-Men find themselves back among the NFL elite with their win against Atlanta.  With Dallas only a game ahead in the standings, another NFC East title and a home playoff game aren’t out of the equation just yet.  
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
11 logo 6 5 6-4 @ Ravens
Horrible, horrible loss for Pittsburgh.  They win that game and maybe, just maybe they have a prayer at the AFC North.  Now their two games with Baltimore will likely determine who sits at home and who goes to the playoffs.
Ranking Team Last Week Change Record Next Game
12 logo N/A N/A 6-4 @ 49ers
Surprise, surprise!  There were a lot of teams I could’ve put here, but only Jacksonville has won three straight.  They have three very winnable games in @SF, and home vs. Hou and Mia.   They need to take two of three there.  Then, if they can manage a win vs. the Colts who will likely be resting with their #1 seed secure, it’s a matter of beating the Browns to finish 10-6.  In my books, that equals playoffs.
Derek Hanson

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.

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