By Matt Vensel
11:32 AM EST, November 5, 2012
Every Monday morning, the day after my favorite day of the week but still hours before that week’s slate of games officially wraps up with “Monday Night Football,” I will bring you my weekly premature NFL power rankings.
Why Monday? Because who wants to wait until Tuesday or Wednesday for power rankings?
Why 11 teams? I don’t really have a good answer for that one. I’ve always liked odd numbers.
What am I basing them on? Who my gut tells me are the toughest teams to beat that week.
Why isn’t my team on the list!?!?! Take a deep breath and try not to take these too seriously.
1. Atlanta Falcons (last week -- 3): The real reason the undefeated Falcons don’t get as much respect as they feel they deserve? They have only beat one team with a winning record. But I’m not going to fault them for knocking down whichever team is put in front of them.
2. Chicago Bears (5): Even if they had no offense to speak of, I would still rank the Bears in my top five. It feels like their defense scores more points on the road than the Ravens offense does.
3. Houston Texans (2): The NFC was the dominant conference in the season’s first half, but the Texans can make a statement for the AFC this weekend against the Bears. I can’t wait for that one.
4. New York Giants (1): They let one slip away against the Pittsburgh Steelers, giving up two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. But it will be just a bump on the road to the NFC East title.
5. San Francisco 49ers (4): The 49ers had a bye week. I don’t really have much to add other than saying that Jim Harbaugh’s “gobble, gobble, turkey” routine was a little, well, awkward.
6. Green Bay Packers (7): The Packers appear to have gotten their groove back at the right time, with games against the Detroit Lions (twice), Giants and Bears looming in the next few weeks.
7. Denver Broncos (6): Peyton Manning gets most of the pub in Denver, but second-year linebacker Von Miller continues to impress. His three sacks Sunday gave him nine in eight games.
8. New England Patriots (8): The Patriots rolled the dice by trading for troubled cornerback Aqib Talib before the deadline, but he'll help a secondary stacked with disappointments.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (10): So much for the demise of the Steelers defense. Even without star safety Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh is first in the NFL in passing defense and yards allowed and ninth in scoring defense.
10. Baltimore Ravens (9): Who cares if it was pretty? An ugly win on the road is sure better than an ugly loss on the road. And maybe, just maybe, Sunday’s win will boost the confidence of the offense and the Ravens will win back-to-back road games for the first time in 21 months.
11. Indianapolis Colts (NR): I am very impressed by what Chuck Pagano and Bruce Arians have done with the Colts. They infused a bunch of youth, including quarterback Andrew Luck, into their offense and they overhauled their defense. At 5-3, they are in playoff position right now.
On the rise: Detroit Lions. They have won three of their past four games to get back to .500. Sunday’s win was the first in which they didn’t have to come from behind in the second half.
Free-falling: Cincinnati Bengals. The once-promising Bengals are back to bungling games. At 3-5, it doesn’t look like they will have back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in three decades.
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