2011 NFL Power Rankings: Week 10
Remember when the Bears, Falcons and Jets were being written off? It wasn't that long ago.
All three began the season with high expectations, and all three endured some early struggles. Chicago was hindered by a shaky offensive line, Atlanta lacked consistency on offense and New York was beset by spotty play on both sides of the ball. After Week 5, the teams had a combined 6-9 record, not exactly the stuff of Super Bowl contenders.
Well, in the past four weeks there's been a reversal of fortunes. All three have won three straight to move back into their respective division races. They've also made steady progress in the rankings. Our voters (ESPN.com's John Clayton, ESPN.com's Ashley Fox, AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky, NFC West blogger Mike Sando and AFC East blogger James Walker) are highest on the Bears (No. 9), but the Jets (No. 11) and Falcons (No. 13) aren't far behind.
Rivalry games in Week 10 present opportunities for all three to pick up momentum. The Jets host New England (No. 12), while the Falcons host New Orleans (No. 4) and the Bears host Detroit (No. 7). Of course, a victory over New England won't be the springboard it once was (the Patriots tumbled seven spots this week), but it could loom large for New York in the long run.
The Pats aren't the only descending AFC East team. Buffalo, a top-10 staple since Week 4, also has plummeted seven spots. The Bills now find themselves at No. 14, one spot ahead of Dallas, this week's biggest mover (plus six).
Editor's note: "LW" indicates each team's ranking in the Week 9 edition of the 2011 Power Rankings.