Snow is a friend to some and an enemy to others. This is your lesson for last week in the NFL boys and girls. As Tom Brady and the Patriots proved that not even a heavy snow storm can stop them (minus the tuck rule of course), the Minnesota Vikings were losing a home game in a crucial showdown against the New York Giants as the roof caved in on their stadium, their season, and pretty much the career of Brett Favre. For the first time in 298 games, Favre was not the starting QB or even in the game, but that is another story for another time.
After what we saw last week, it is becoming more clear who will be contenders for the big prize and who are pretenders. Winning teams step up, no matter what. Snow did not stop the Pats, but made the Bears look lost. The Jets had no chance in the heavy rain, as Miami was the better of the worse on this day. So now, the NFL Power Rankings and who stands tall in the league. Sit back, read and relax, as we get closer to the playoffs.
32. Carolina Panthers (1-12): Sack dances when you are 1-12, and trailing by 20 is pretty sad, kind of like the Carolina Panthers, oh wait, we are talking about the Panthers.
31. Cincinnati Bengals (2-11): Seems like years ago when they were in the playoffs, and it was only last year.
30. Denver Broncos (3-10): The firing of Josh McDaniels led to getting crushed by the Arizona Cardinals? That’s not good business.
29. Detroit Lions (3-10): Nothing great about last week’s win with Rodgers being out, but they did win.
28. Arizona Cardinals (4-9): Your QB was 15-37, but yet you still won big? Next up Carolina, are we talking win streak?
27. Buffalo Bills (3-10): Who looked more like we expected, the Browns in the loss, or the Bills with the win?
26. Washington Redskins (5-8): Poor, just poor. The kicking game seems to have gotten the memo about tanking this season. At least they are finally all on the same page.
25. Minnesota Vikings (5-8): In their defense, usually the home team in Detroit plays badly. It is time for a new QB in Minnesota.
24. San Francisco 49ers (5-8): If they play the next 3 weeks like they were expected to do earlier this year, they can still steal this division, big ifs however.
23. Dallas Cowboys (4-9): Not a great performance, but played the Eagles tough, and look like a team at last.
22. Houston Texans (5-8): They do play better than their record, but in this league you have to finish to win. Comeback was spirited, but once again, short.
21. Tennessee Titans (5-8): I am running out of places to put them. Who are these guys?
20. Cleveland Browns (5-8): At least we can say they play to the level of the competition. The good teams they play well, then they crap it up in Buffalo?
19. Seattle Seahawks (6-7): Guess what they got the Rams for Christmas? If you said the key to the NFC West Division you are correct.
18. St. Louis Rams (6-7): But oh shoot the Rams got the same gift for the Seahawks!
17. Oakland Raiders (6-7): Improving still, but last weeks late loss was from the days of old. The running game is looking strong, but it will be too little too late.
16. Indianapolis Colts (7-6): Still alive, but still not playing that great. Home game with Jacksonville is the season if they lose.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5): Washington gave the game away, but the Bucs still are a decent team. It will get better.
14. Miami Dolphins (7-6): The better of 2 teams that played badly won this past Sunday, but Miami’s defense has been good the last few weeks. Now if they only had a QB.
13. Kansas City Chiefs (8-5): After falling apart without Matt Cassel, I would say if they finish 11-5 and win this division, does he not get at least a peek for MVP?
12. Green Bay Packers (8-5): When Aaron Rodgers went down with that concussion, the Packers season may have gone with it. A game sold as a “W” turned into a tough “L”.
11. San Diego Chargers (7-6): Back in form last week, they still have a chance here. No room for losses right now.
9. Chicago Bears (9-4): The Patriots are just blowing past everyone, much like the wind and snow blew through the Bears last week. Loss of Rodgers can be the default ticket to win the division.
8. New York Jets (9-4): Last week for them in the top 10 if they play like this again. Hard rain is the only saving grace, but they have to win everywhere, every way to be a contender.
7. New York Giants (9-4): Good job of containing the Vikings in preparation for the big showdown with Philly.
6. Baltimore Ravens (9-4): The Monday night announcers actually said “The Ravens defense is tired and has nothing left tonight”. Have you ever known them to not give it 110 percent? They did get worn down, but made the key play as usual.
5. Philadelphia Eagles (9-4): Michael Vick will have to be more than good with all the injuries on defense, but I think he can be. Giants game this week is for all the marbles.
4. New Orleans Saints (10-3): How scary are they as a 5 seed in the playoffs? Of course it would keep them from playing at home. The champs are playing great football.
3. Atlanta Falcons (11-2): Props for not looking past Carolina as they ready for New Orleans. Matt Ryan’s new found fame can explode with a win here.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3): Troy Polamalu for MVP? It’s not crazy talk. He anchors this amazing defense, the way Brady leads that awesome offense. Do you see what I’m getting at?
1. New England Patriots (11-2): For their next act, they will try and play in the collapsing dome in Minnesota, or maybe against a Pro-Bowl team? They are crazy good and showing no signs of wear.
It is just a few short weeks to go football fans. So get out and watch, enjoy the time, and great football to all!
If you’d like to hear anything else from me on topics or ideas I can be reached at [email protected]
Join ESPN Insider today for the best sports analysis online, plus ESPN The Magazine!