RankingsNovember 23, 2011

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NFL Rankings: Thanksgiving Showdowns

By R.J. White

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and with it comes five of our top 10 teams squaring off in battle. Top-ranked Green Bay takes the trip to No. 9 Detroit in what may be the biggest Turkey Day game the Lions have ever played. The tenth-ranked Cowboys face a Dolphins team they’ll be expected to handle. And in the best matchup of the day, two brothers-turned-head coaches do battle when the No. 2 49ers head to Baltimore to face the No. 5 Ravens. It’s going to be a holiday treat, and now that we’re done cutting the corny promo, let’s head to our rankings.

RankPreviousTeamRecordWeek 11Week 12
11Green Bay Packers10-0W, TB 35-26at DET
Including the playoffs and excluding the pre-season (obviously), the Packers have won 16 straight. Does it end here?
22San Francisco 49ers9-1W, ARI 23-7at BAL
SF has given up 11 points or less in half their games, and I’m not completely sure the Ravens offense is good.
33New Orleans Saints7-3Byevs. NYG
Third best? The Saints are actually closer to the No. 12 Giants than the No. 2 49ers. Expect a good game Monday.
46New England Patriots7-3W, KC 34-3at PHI
Their defense is still awful, despite what Tyler Palko may lead you to believe. Still, they’d be AFC No. 1 this week.
57Baltimore Ravens7-3W, CIN 31-24vs. SF
Another big win for BAL, and SF will decide this division; they play BAL Thursday and PIT later in the season.
64Houston Texans7-3Byeat JAC
We’re dropping them a couple spots for losing Matt Schaub, but Arian Foster could still lead them to the No. 1 seed.
75Chicago Bears7-3W, SD 31-20at OAK
They drop a few spots despite the win with Jay Cutler out and have tough games in Oakland and Green Bay left.
88Pittsburgh Steelers7-3Byeat KC
Can’t look ahead to game against Cincy, but the Palko-led Chiefs should be child’s play for this defense.
911Detroit Lions7-3W, CAR 49-35vs. GB
The offense quickly righted the ship in Week 11 after a slow start, but the pressure’s on the defense this week.
1010Dallas Cowboys6-4W, WAS 27-24vs. MIA
After pulling out their third straight win, the Cowboys are now back in the driver’s seat in the NFC East.
1114Atlanta Falcons6-4W, TEN 23-17vs. MIN
The Falcons are the big winners after the Cutler injury, as the window is open to grab a Wild Card spot.
129New York Giants6-4L, PHI 10-17at NO
They won the first game of their six-week gauntlet before losing the last two weeks; still three toughies to go.
1316Oakland Raiders6-4W, MIN 27-21vs. CHI
Tebow gets a ton of attention (rightly), but Carson Palmer has now won two straight on the road with this team.
1420Denver Broncos5-5W, NYJ 17-13at SD
Predictions at San Diego? I say 4-for-11, 42 yards, TD, INT, 85 rushing yards, 2 TDs … and another win.
1513Cincinnati Bengals6-4L, BAL 24-31vs. CLE
The Bengals played strong in a tough matchup, and it wouldn’t be crazy to see them make noise in January.
1612New York Jets5-5L, DEN 13-17vs. BUF
With the Broncos coming on (and the Jets know that first-hand), they can ill-afford another loss in a should-win.
1715Tennessee Titans5-5L, ATL 17-23vs. TB
The inconsistent Titans now need to take control of the opportunity that presents itself after the Schaub injury.
1823Seattle Seahawks4-6W, STL 24-7vs. WAS
No, the Seahawks aren’t that good, but another solid win makes them one of the best of the also-rans.
1925Philadelphia Eagles4-6W, NYG 17-10vs. NE
Big win for the Eagles, but they need to buckle up, because they need six more to even have a shot at the title.
2026Miami Dolphins3-7W, BUF 35-8at DAL
Three straight wins — where has this team been all season? The Cowboys better not be caught napping on Thursday.
2119Tampa Bay Buccaneers4-6L, GB 26-35at TEN
The Bucs played a little better than expected against the Packers, but a fourth straight loss ends their season.
2218San Diego Chargers4-6L, CHI 20-31vs. DEN
The last team the Chargers beat was the Broncos … seven weeks ago. Now they’re just the next sacrificial lamb.
2317Buffalo Bills5-5L, MIA 8-35at NYJ
Even at 5-5, the Bills belong this low after losing by a combined score of 106-26 over the last three weeks.
2427Cleveland Browns4-6W, JAC 14-10at CIN
Remember before the season started how the Browns were the sneaky sleeper and the Bengals were unworthy?
2521Kansas City Chiefs4-6L, NE 3-34vs. PIT
The Tyler Palko Era started just as expected, with the Chiefs getting blown out on Monday night. Doesn’t get easier, kid.
2622Jacksonville Jaguars3-7L, CLE 10-14vs. HOU
Weird loss for the Jaguars — you figure the defense should have held the Browns to single digits and secured the win.
2724Arizona Cardinals3-7L, SF 7-23at STL
After piecing several competitive weeks together recently, the Cardinals needed the 49ers to remind them who they are.
2828Washington Redskins3-7L, DAL 24-27at SEA
Yes, Rex Grossman kept them in last week’s game, but they ultimately lost their sixth straight. Fire Shenanihan already.
2929St. Louis Rams2-8L, SEA 7-24vs. ARI
Even with a 31-point effort against the Saints, the Rams are averaging just 12 points per game. That’s a big problem.
3030Minnesota Vikings2-8L, OAK 21-27at ATL
All-Day should spend all winter resting and getting ready for 2012, but with his competitiveness, that ain’t happening.
3131Carolina Panthers2-8L, DET 35-49at IND
When the bottom two teams on the rankings play each other, you know it’s going to be a slugfest. Plenty of slugs here.
3232Indianapolis Colts0-10Byevs. CAR
Ignoring this awful team, am I the only one who thinks Robert Griffin III will be a better pro than Andrew Luck? Probably.

R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe, writes for FanDuel and Razzball and has previously written for FanHouse. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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