2011 NFL Power Rankings: Week 12
Can the Lions defeat the unbeaten Packers on Thanksgiving? It's not inconceivable.
Let's say it does happen, and the 49ers beat Baltimore on Thanksgiving night. What would those results mean for our rankings? Perhaps a new No. 1 for the first time all season.
That's not all. 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) would be hard-pressed to keep Detroit (No. 10) out the top five, regardless of its recent sporadic play, and a Ravens' loss could open the door for another team to crack the top five. (The Patriots would be the best guess here.)
And don't forget about the Cowboys. Dallas (No. 9), a steady mover in recent weeks, also plays on Thanksgiving (against Miami). A fourth straight victory would solidify the Cowboys' place in the top 10 and continue to give them momentum for a late-season push. They'll play feeble Arizona (No. 27) in Week 13, so Tony Romo & Co. figure to have a sizable head of steam heading into their showdown with the rival Giants in Week 14.
But real intrigue lies up top, where significant changes could be imminent. Of course, if the Packers roll in Detroit and the Ravens prevail in the Harbaugh Bowl, the aforementioned scenarios -- at least when it comes to a new No. 1 -- would be moot. But hey, it's our job to imagine the possibilities.
Editor's note: "LW" indicates each team's ranking in the Week 11 edition of the 2011 Power Rankings.