Week 10 of the 2012 NFL season was a rough one for several starting quarterbacks, a couple of teams on the brink of collapsing and any fan who watched the Rams-49ers tie game. Norv Turner and Andy Reid both have sealed their fate with their latest loss. Only a major run at the end of the season would save their jobs and that might not be enough. Michael Vick, Alex Smith, Ben Roethlisberger and Jay Cutler were all knocked out last week and all four could be out this week. Three of those four teams have serious playoff aspirations and none of those teams have a proven backup who can shoulder the load.
Week 11 is the start of crunch time. Everyone has played at least nine games and everyone is entering the second half of the season. Every penalty, turnover and loss is now greatly magnified. You can survive a cold spell during the early part of the season, but a team that gets cold at this point of the season is in trouble.
Here are the latest Power Rankings following Week 10:
1) Houston Texans (8-1)- They out Chicago Bear’d the Chicago Bears. They forced four Bears turnovers in the first half on the road. This is an elite team even if they aren’t built to come back from more than a seven point deficit.
2) Chicago Bears (7-2)- The Bears are perfectly built to compete against any team. They tackle well, the force turnovers and they have a very balanced offense. As long as Jay Cutler stays healthy down the stretch, this team isn’t going anywhere.
3) Green Bay Packers(6-3)- No team has a longer winning streak (four straight wins) than the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers has been on fire despite a banged up offense. The NFC North might decide the NFC just like it did two seasons ago.
4) Atlanta Falcons (8-1)- The Saints loss wasn’t a bad one. The Saints are back on track and it was on the road. Atlanta is still a really good offensive team. It will take a good defensive team to knock them out this January.
5) San Francisco 49ers (6-2-1)- Is that the 49ers record of the San Jose Sharks? The 49ers three non-wins make me think they are really beatable. Their six wins make me think they will hoist the Lombardi Trophy in February.
6) Baltimore Ravens (7-2)- Give this team credit, they lose two key defensive players and they become a great offensive team instead of a great defensive one. Now they might actually be better suited for a playoff run.
7) New England Patriots (6-3)- I don’t care about the defensive issues, this offense is the most balanced in the league. They can hurt with you a lot of different players and when they are all healthy, they are unstoppable.
8) Denver Broncos (6-3)- Peyton Manning will take this offense as far as he physically can. He is in complete control. The defense has a nice pass rush and does enough to keep teams from getting into shootouts.
9) Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3)- They can compete with the elite teams in the NFL and then they play down to some of the worst teams. Good enough to make the playoffs, but will probably need to beat the Ravens twice to win the North.
10) New Orleans Saints (4-5)- The Saints are back. The offense is on fire and the running game is starting to come alive. They never really had much of a defense in the past and they have been okay. They are the favorite to win the final wildcard spot in the NFC.
11) Indianapolis Colts (6-3)- Don’t sleep on this Colts team. They have become the best story in the NFL this season. They are fighting hard while their head coach is fighting a bigger battle away from the team. We have also seen Andrew Luck become a near elite quarterback before he plays in his first December as a pro.
12) New York Giants (6-4)- Since the third quarter of their loss to the Steelers in Week 9, the Giants have been outscored 45-13. This team has fallen asleep along with the rest of the NFC East. They are good enough to win the division, but that might be it.
13) Seattle Seahawks (6-4)- The Hawks have a great defense, an intimidating home field advantage and not much else. They will be in the mix for the final wildcard spot, but will need a big road game to seal the deal.
14) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4)- This team looked dead just a few weeks ago. Now the offense is on fire and this team has a chance to sneak into the playoffs and be a scary team come January. Nobody had a better offseason than Tampa Bay when you combine the draft and free agency.
15) Cincinnati Bengals (4-5)- That was a season saving win against the Super Bowl champion New York Giants. The defense is tough and the offense can be explosive. They are the only threat to the Colts for the final wildcard spot in the AFC.
16) Minnesota Vikings (6-4)- If the Vikings make the playoffs, Adrian Peterson deserves some serious MVP consideration. He has over 1,100 rushing yards while the passing game ranks 29th in the NFL.
17) Tennessee Titans (4-6)- Jake Locker is back and so is the real Chris Johnson. The defense still stinks, but the offense will keep them in most games.
18) Miami Dolphins (4-5)- Their still in the AFC playoff picture, but they need to get back on the winning track fast. This was a team that was riding on confidence and momentum before their recent two game losing streak.
19) Detroit Lions (4-5)-This is a scrappy bunch. They are keeping themselves in the playoff picture because of Calvin Johnson and a desire to battle for 60 minutes. The bad news, their remaining schedule is really tough. I mean really, really tough.
20) St. Louis Rams (3-5-1)- A win would have been huge in San Francisco, but half of a win is still better than a loss. This is a team going in the right direction, but they still have a ways to go on offense.
21) Arizona Cardinals (4-5)- I like the defense too much to completely write them off, but they are an injury to Larry Fitzgerald away to never scoring a point again.
22. Dallas Cowboys (4-5)- The Philadelphia Eagles actually did themselves a favor on Sunday. They helped convince Jerry Jones that Jason Garrett can get the job done. He can’t and this team will eventually fall apart.
23. Washington Redskins (3-6)-I don’t see this team quitting late in the season. RG3 could be a dangerous quarterback as long as this team has a slim chance of making the playoffs.
24. Buffalo Bills (3-6)- The offense just needs a quarterback to become one of best in the NFL. The defense has potential as well, but they need the right coach. Some quarterback and head coach is going to be coming into a great situation next season.
25) San Diego Chargers (4-5)- This does not look like a 4-5 team. There is just no spark in that offense and the secondary is getting worse each week.
26) New York Jets (3-6)- It sounds like Rex Ryan is going to stick by Mark Sanchez until the very end. They are one more loss away from being done.
27) Philadelphia Eagles (3-6)- The issues on this team seem to have no end. It’s only a matter of time before Andy Reid gets the boot. According to owner Jeffrey Lurie, it will only take two more losses.
28) Cleveland Browns (2-7)- I liked the way the Browns were playing before their bye week. The offense is generating some big plays and the defense is getting better. They could ruin a complete team’s seasons in December.
29) Oakland Raiders (3-6)- Injuries to the backfield have really hurt this offense, while the defense continues to be awful. I like the direction this team is going, but 5 wins would be a good season with the talent that Dennis Allen inherited.
30) Carolina Panthers (2-7)- Cam Newton didn’t take a step backward this season, he fell down three flights of stairs.
31) Kansas City Chiefs (1-8)- The battle for Geno Smith is on. The Chiefs and Jags are tied at 1-8 and neither team looks capable of winning another game this season. Should be an unexciting finish.
32) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8)-It is only a matter of time before GM Gene Smith is fired, Blaine Gabbert is replaced and the team is playing in Southern California.