It's amazing how quickly the NFL regular season passes. We're already in Week 13 and that means that the playoffs are coming into view on the horizon for many teams. For others, there's already nothing to play for except positioning for next year and the hope to gain some late-season momentum to keep the fans interested. It was a wild weekend in the NFL in Week 12, so here are our latest NFL Divisional Power Rankings.
NFL DIVISIONAL POWER RANKINGS, WEEK 13:
1. NFC North - The Bears picked a great week to win given that the Packers, Vikings and Lions all lost. It's nice to make up a complete game on everyone in the division so late in the season and it might be Week 12 that puts them over the top in the end. Still the Packers are just fine, despite their place in the standings. The Lions were robbed by refs. The Vikes are picking the wrong time to fall, and they'll likely be in last place when all is said and done.
2. AFC North - The Ravens and Steelers are predictably at the top of this impressive group, but there are issues among the leaders and signs of life in the lower tier. The Steelers have major injury concerns and Ryan Clark recently called out the troops for feeling entitled. The Bengals have new life after facing the dregs of the AFC West and even the Browns earned a win on Sunday. Strong division top to bottom.
3. NFC South - The Falcons earned a tough win against the Bucs on Sunday, and the game showed the grit of both teams. Don't count out New Orleans as well, amazing enough as that sounds. The Saints took a tough loss from the 49ers, but they are still in this. Even the Panthers earned a win and have reasons for future hope in the midst of a lost season. Perhaps another win at Kansas City coming up will bolster some young confidence on a team that needs it.
4. NFC West - Oh how the mighty have fallen! The 49ers continue to win with a suffocating defense and Colin Kaepernick is turning heads around the NFL. However the Seahawks are falling back to .500. The Cardinals have lost an incredible 7 games in a row and the Rams aren't much better than Arizona. At one point in the season, this was the best division in football. Now it looks like one contender with three also-rans.
5. AFC South - The Texans are fortunate that the replacement refs somehow worked their game against the Lions in Week 12. That said, they're headed to a cushy seed in the playoffs either way. So are the Colts, who solidified their standing at 7-4. It's the Titans who are uncertain of who they are at this point in their development. Meanwhile, the Jags won a game with Chad Henne at the helm which could help spell the end for Blaine Gabbert. However, they're still not good.
6. NFC East - The Giants are the class of the division, but that's a loaded statement. Robert Griffin III makes the Redskins look really good, but there are too many moments when his presence is not enough. The Cowboys are frustrating to everyone, including themselves. The Eagles need to blow it all up just two years after buying their way to a Super Bowl (remember those headlines in the offseason?). Questions up and down despite the press everyone receives here.
7. AFC East - Let's be honest. The New England Patriots have won 5 in a row and could walk nonchalantly to yet another division title in the AFC East. But even with the winning streak, is anyone buying the Pats' stock at this point? Have they beaten a team that made anyone take a second glance? Does every victory come with a caveat. This year, there's no internal power to overcome in the East. The Dolphins aren't great and the rest are far worse.
8. AFC West - The only reason the AFC East isn't in the basement is because the AFC West exists. The Chargers have lost 3 games in a row and they have the second best streak in the division -- the Raiders have lost 4 and the Chiefs have 8 consecutive losses. The Broncos are running away with things and they look the part. Peyton Manning found the easiest place to land after such a year away from football.