In last week's SB Nation Arizona NFL Power Rankings, I remarked that Monday Night Football would rock this week. It didn't, though I suppose it would depend on who you were rooting for. The New England Patriots destroyed the New York Jets in prime time to make a point that they're still the kings of the AFC East, but the game itself was almost as boring as Cardinals/49ers.
The biggest climb this week was the Jaguars, as they rose three spots. I'm finally taking this team seriously and you probably should, too. As for the biggest dip, there's a tie between the Jets, Chargers, and Texans -- all of whom fell three slots after varying degrees of disappointing losses.
I've got the Cardinals in their rightful place. Go ahead and argue that they belong anywhere else.
On to the rankings.
(1) New England Patriots (10-2) - Wow. 45-3 win against a team like the Jets establishes the Pats as the Super Bowl favorite -- and it's not even close. (LW: 1)
(2) Atlanta Falcons (10-2) - Matt Ryan sucked on Sunday and they still won. Best team in the NFC. (LW: 3)
(4) Pittsburgh Steelers (9-3) - Apparently the Steelers defeated the Ravens in a Sunday Night Football game between really good teams. I wouldn't know because I couldn't be bothered to watch that snooze fest. (LW: 6)
(5) New York Jets (9-3) - Last week, I reminded you that the Jets' last win against an over .500 opponent was in Week 3. For a while I thought they just played down to their competition, but maybe their offense just isn't that good. (LW: 2)
(6) Baltimore Ravens (8-4) - Basically a lock for the playoffs, but the Steelers loss probably cripples their chance at the division title. Also, they are boring. (LW: 5)
(8) Chicago Bears (9-3) - Won a tight game with the Lions, but games against the Patriots, Jets, and Packers in their last four will make sure that if this team wins the NFC North, they'll have earned it. (LW: 7)
(9) Philadelphia Eagles (8-4) - I'd be really surprised if this team doesn't win the NFC East. I think they're just better than New York; plus, I really want to see Michael Vick in the playoffs again. (LW: 9)
(10) New York Giants (8-4) - Took care of business against a bad Redskins team. After playing Minnesota this week, they have enormous games with Philly and Green Bay that will seal their playoff destiny one way or the other. (LW: 10)
(12) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5) - Showed a lot of grit in a late loss to NFC-leading Atlanta. But losing Aqib Talib and Jeff Fain for the season is nearly a death blow and will help ensure my prediction. (LW: 13)
(13) Jacksonville Jaguars (7-5) - These guys could easily win three of four and the AFC South. Who had Jacksonville in the playoffs? Anyone? (LW: 16)
(17) Oakland Raiders (6-6) - Hell of a win against the Chargers. Who would have thought a Week 14 Raiders-Jaguars game would actually mean something? (LW: 18)
(18) St. Louis Rams (6-6) - Only beating the Cardinals by 13 should drop this team a spot. In their defense, this is about the only NFC West team that doesn't get regularly throttled. (LW: 19)
(19) Seattle Seahawks (6-6) - What a comeback against mighty Carolina! Kinda. If the opponent didn't suck. Obviously, the NFC West crown is going to come down to the Week 17 tilt with the Rams. (LW: 20)
(20) Houston Texans (5-7) - Whatever. That really should just be the slogan of the Texans franchise. (LW: 17)
(21) Cleveland Browns (5-7) - Trying to decide whether this team is a legit 2011 playoff sleeper or if they'll just be that darling everyone picks and then loses 12 games. Leaning towards the former. (LW: 23)
(22) Tennessee Titans (5-7) - They've lost five in a row, but are still just two games back of the AFC South lead. If Kerry Collins didn't look like a corpse then that might mean something. (LW: 21)
(23) Minnesota Vikings (5-7) - Need to win out to have any shot at the playoffs and even then it's wildly unlikely. Watching Brett Favre this season is one of the reasons I'm glad Kurt Warner didn't hang around too long. (LW: 25)
(24) Washington Redskins (5-7) - What a completely lifeless and boring team. I will be legitimately surprised if Shanahan doesn't push for a new QB in the offseason. He just can't help it -- QBs are like crack to him. (LW: 22)
(25) Dallas Cowboys (4-8) - 3-1 in the Jason Garrett era probably means he'll get a shot as the head coach. I have a feeling that doesn't end well. (LW: 26)
(26) San Francisco 49ers (4-8) - So that's what it looks like when the 49ers play a team that doesn't suck. Alex Smith now regains his starting job. I'm sure that will matter a lot. (LW: 24)
(27) Denver Broncos (3-9) - Josh McDaniel probably should have tried winning some games after starting 6-1 last year. I bet he'll regret that when he's a position coach for the Browns next year. (LW: 27)
(29) Cincinnati Bengals (2-10) - Surprising friskiness against the Saints was blown when they jumped offsides on a late fourth down conversion play. The friskiness should count for something. (LW: 30)
(30) Buffalo Bills (2-10) - Any time you get blown out by Tarvaris Jackson, you deserve to drop a few spots. Moral of the story: don't lose to Tarvaris Jackson. (LW: 28).
(31) Arizona Cardinals (3-9) - The Arizona defense showed a little life this week, but the offense is a flat out joke. If I ever see another Max Hall snap in a regular season game, I might pull all the hair out of my head one by one. You're the hero now, John Skelton. Yup, we're boned. (LW: 31)
(32) Carolina Panthers (1-11) - I kind of pity a guy like Jimmy Clausen. He came into Carolina as a second round pick and now that his coach is going to get replaced and his team is going to draft Andrew Luck, his starting career for the Panthers is probably over. Well, at least he sucks. (LW: 32)