2011 NFL Power Rankings: Week 14
For the many teams on the fringe of the playoffs, time is running out.
With only four weeks left in the regular season, teams such as the Bengals, Cowboys, Falcons, Giants, Lions and Raiders -- all losers in Week 13 -- need to remedy their inconsistent ways or else. They're not the only ones living on the edge. The Broncos and Titans helped their causes with victories on Sunday, but, at 7-5, neither has much margin for error.
So who will emerge from the fray and ultimately nail down postseason spots? 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) have some hunches.
Let's start with the Broncos. Five straight victories have vaulted Denver to the top of the AFC West and all the way to No. 10 in the rankings. The Falcons, despite losing at Houston, actually moved up one position to No. 8. The Cowboys dropped only one spot to No. 9, a light punishment for their overtime loss in Arizona.
The Bears and Raiders weren't viewed in the same positive light, as each team fell five spots. Chicago (No. 17) is still 7-5, but, with Caleb Hanie (six picks in two starts) at quarterback and RB Matt Forte out indefinitely with a knee injury, our voters apparently don't see much upside in the Windy City. Oakland also has key injuries on offense, as well as a tough upcoming schedule.
Are both teams' playoff bubbles about to burst?
Perhaps, but they're not the only ones on tenuous ground.