NFC North: 2013 NFL Week 11 Power Rankings

A weekly examination of the Bears’ ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 13 | Last Week: 9 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The Chicago Bears dropped two spots in the ESPN.com Power Rankings from ninth to No. 11 after a 21-19 loss at Soldier Field on Sunday that significantly hurt the team’s prospects in the NFC playoff picture.

In addition, the Bears lost quarterback Jay Cutler indefinitely, and on Monday the club placed cornerback Charles Tillman on injured reserve with the designation to return. Although those injuries could turn out to be major blows, the Bears provided at least a sliver of hope they can get through them with their performance in Sunday’s loss.

Detroit entered the game ranked No. 6 in scoring, yet the Bears held the Lions to six points below their 27.1-point average, and limited their No. 2 passing offense to nearly 100 yards fewer than their average, in addition to forcing a turnover. On offense, with Cutler limited due to a high ankle sprain, the Bears finished with two 100-yard receivers in Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall.

With a backup quarterback starting this week in Josh McCown, the Bears must now win five of their final six for a legitimate shot at advancing to the postseason, and four of those games come on the road.

Elsewhere in the division, the Lions moved up two spots from 11th to ninth in this week’s rankings, while the Green Bay Packers fell from No. 11 to 13th after a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Packers could fall even further in the coming weeks as they continue to play without Aaron Rodgers, who suffered a broken collarbone in a Nov. 4 loss to the Bears.

Minnesota, meanwhile, stayed at No. 30 despite their win over the Washington Redskins.

Four of the six panelists gave the Bears 11th-place votes, while two put in votes for No. 12 and No. 13.

The team’s struggling defense has shown signs of life in the past two outings, but obviously it will be difficult to fill the void left by Tillman’s absence. Offensively, the Bears need to shore up a rushing attack that averaged just 1.9 yards per attempt against the Lions. Given some of the issues the team faces, its standing at No. 11 seems a tad generous.
A weekly examination of the Packers' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 5 | Last week: 11 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The Green Bay Packers are two teams: One with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and one without him.

Rodgers has played seven full games this season, leading the Packers to a 5-2 record and an average of 30.3 points per game. Without him over most of the past two weeks, the Packers are 0-2 and averaging 16.5 points per game.

So it's not surprising to see the Packers fall from No. 8 two weeks ago to No. 13 now. The real question, in both the Power Rankings and real life, is whether they will be buried by the time Rodgers returns from a fractured left collarbone. He won't play Sunday at the New York Giants, who have won three consecutive games, and his original timetable makes him questionable at best for a Week 12 game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Could he return in time for the Thanksgiving Day game at the Detroit Lions? Possibly. In either event, if you concede that the Packers will need a 10-6 record to earn a playoff spot, you realize they can only lose two more games for the rest of this season -- with or without Rodgers -- to get there.

Rank all 32 teams yourself here.

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NFC NORTH SCOREBOARD

Thursday, 9/4
Sunday, 9/7
Monday, 9/8