By Matt Vensel
10:05 AM EST, December 17, 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. Denver Broncos (last week -- 2): I’m sure it won’t make Sunday’s loss feel any better, but the Ravens were beaten by the best team in the NFL. The Broncos haven’t lost since early October.
2. San Francisco (5): They blew a four-touchdown lead to the New England Patriots, but they showed me something when they held it together and bounced back to pick up a huge 41-34 win.
3. New England Patriots (1): The Patriots are still one of the leading contenders to win the Super Bowl, but this loss all but ensures they will have to go through Denver and Houston to do it.
4. Green Bay Packers (4): Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes to James Jones, but it was the Packers defense that got it done, holding the Chicago Bears to 190 yards in Sunday’s win.
5. Atlanta Falcons (7): They made quite a statement on Sunday. After hearing all week about how they were frauds, the Falcons beat down and shut out the New York Giants in a 34-0 win.
6. Houston Texans (3): The division-clinching win over Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts was nice, but I have to drop the Texans after they were embarrassed by the Patriots a week ago.
7. Washington Redskins (9): I guess drafting Kirk Cousins after landing Robert Griffin III wasn’t that foolish after all. Cousins put the Redskins in first place with a win over the Cleveland Browns.
8. Seattle Seahawks (11): A week after beating the Arizona Cardinals, 58-0, they beat the Buffalo Bills, 50-17. The division is a long shot, but they will be a tough out in the playoffs.
9. Indianapolis Colts (8): They lost to the Texans, the team to beat in the AFC South. But they may become that team soon.
10. New York Giants (6): Which Giants team will show up this weekend? The Ravens need it to be bad Eli and those Giants.
11. Dallas Cowboys (NR): It has been another rollercoaster season in Dallas, but they control their destiny with two games left.
On the rise: Adrian Peterson. I’m counting him as his own team because he is carrying the Minnesota Vikings right now.
Free-falling: Baltimore Ravens. They have lost three straight games and the injuries continue to mount. And their final two regular-season opponents are desperate and talented teams -- that's a dangerous combination for any reeling team to play.
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