NFL Power Rankings: Raiders ahead of Patriots; 49ers face Gase
From 32 to 1...
Eleven weeks are now in the books...
32) Cleveland (0-11)
The Giants, Bengals, Bills, Chargers and Steelers stand in the way of a perfect season. The 2008 Detroit Lions, the only “team” in NFL history to go 0-16, are beginning to get very nervous.
31) 49ers (1-9)
The 49ers pack up this week and head to Miami. They’ll remain in Florida next week in preparation to face the Chicago Bears. The big question is who will come back with the team. This might be Chip Kelly’s best opportunity to defect.
30) Jacksonville (2-8)
Blake Bortles, who led the NFL with 18 interceptions last season, is tied with Ryan Fitzpatrick in that category this year. The Jags remain committed to determining whether he’s worth the effort.
29) Chicago (2-8)
Jay Cutler’s audition for future employment is in serious danger due to a shoulder injury that could shut him down for the season.
28) N.Y. Jets (3-7)
It might be time to abandon Revis Island. That patch of land is taking on a lot of water these days.
27) Los Angeles (4-6)
Jeff Fisher has pictures of someone doing something very bad. How else to explain his continued employment? Let’s turn the clock back to Fisher’s speech to his team in the opening of Hard Knocks: “I’m not (freaking) going 7-9 or 8-8 or 9-7, OK? Or 10-6, for that matter. This team is too talented, I’m not going to settle for that. I know what I’m doing.”
26) Cincinnati (3-6-1)
Bold prediction: This will not be the year Andy Dalton wins his first game in the postseason.
25) San Diego (4-6)
The Chargers have 15 players on injured reserve, losing 202 games to injuries. If Mike McCoy can just convince ownership he should remain as the coach, he should be in position to compete with the top of the AFC West.
24) New Orleans (4-6)
Just for a change, the Saints’ historically leaky defense is holding up its end the bargain. But six giveaways in two games is not exactly the recipe for getting back in the division race.
23) Green Bay (4-6)
This team is horrible. (Not horrible, in the Browns or 49ers way, mind you.) And Aaron Rodgers knows better than to advise anyone at this point to R.E.L.A.X.
22) Carolina (4-6)
They’ll become the San Jose Panthers, as they remain in the Bay Area between their upcoming game against the Raiders and next week’s trip to Seattle. The Panthers hope their stay ends up better than the last time they visited for Super Bowl 50.
21) Tennessee (5-6)
Things generally do not work out so well when spotting the opponent 21 points. The Titans’ rally at Indianapolis fell short.
20) Arizona (4-5-1)
We really like Bruce Arians. His team is falling far short of its high expectations for this season. We wish him good health.
19) Tampa Bay (5-5)
An upset win in Kansas City, sparked by Cal product Chris Conte’s 53-yard interception return of Alex Smith pass, has the Bucs breathing down the Falcons’ necks.
18) Baltimore (5-5)
Remember Ray Lewis? He says Joe Flacco lacks passion. But it’s OK because he later clarified that his remark was not personal. Whew. That could’ve gotten ugly.
17) Buffalo (5-5)
Rex Ryan has turned down a cabinet position to see if he can’t somehow get the Bills into the playoffs.
16) Pittsburgh (5-5)
The Browns showed up at the perfect spot on the Steelers’ schedule to end a four-game losing streak. And the good news as Mike Tomlin looks to save his job is that Cleveland visits in the final week of the season.
15) Indianapolis (5-5)
Andrew Luck played the entire game Sunday but on Monday experienced concussion symptoms. That means former 49ers third-stringer Scott Tolzien is in line to start an all-important Thursday game against Pittsburgh.
14) Philadelphia (5-5)
The plans for the statue to replace Rocky Balboa with Carson Wentz have been tabled for a while.
13) Minnesota (6-4)
The Vikings finally began playing with some physicality on Sunday. Unfortunately for the guy holding the parabolic microphone for FOX, they started with him as they ran out of the locker room.
12) Atlanta (6-4)
The Falcons are playing .500 ball at home, and they need back-to-back wins against Arizona and Kansas City to establish themselves as the team to beat in the NFC South down the stretch.
11) Miami (6-4)
Adam Gase and the Dolphins have rolled up five consecutive victories. With a win over the 49ers on Sunday, the finalist for San Francisco’s head coaching job in 2015 will have as many victories in his first season as Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly have combined in in two years.
10) Detroit (6-4)
The Lions have a huge intra-division matchup against the Vikings. And, as we all know, the Lions always win on Thanksgiving Day, except for the years they don’t.
9) Houston (6-4)
Nobody. We repeat, nobody gets any breaks on the Raiders’ other home field in Mexico City.
8) N.Y. Giants (7-3)
It’s better to be lucky than good, right. The Giants’ 27-point margin in their seven wins is the lowest for any seven-win team in NFL history.
7) Washington (6-3-1)
“How do you like me now!?!” That’s what Kirk Cousins yelled in the ear of GM Scot McCloughan, who was reluctant to sign the QB to a big-money contract in the offseason. We’ll answer for Mr. McCloughan: Cousins is a lot more likable on a team-friendly contract.
6) Kansas City (7-3)
The Chiefs will face four consecutive AFC West opponents beginning Sunday night at Denver. There are rumblings in Kansas City that Alex Smith might be just . . . wait for it . . . a game manager. Nah.
5) Denver (7-3)
The Broncos just have to hold it together for this season. Then, Tony Romo will ride to the rescue. Or, at least, that seems to be his plan.
4) Seattle (7-2-1)
Doug Baldwin was definitely in the Thanksgiving spirit. It wasn’t a turkey, but Baldwin did give offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell “the bird” as he broke the huddle. Baldwin wanted to catch a TD pass, not throw one, as Bevell requested with his play call against the Eagles. Just keepin’ it classy.
3) New England (8-2)
The Patriots’ win over the 49ers secured their 16th consecutive season without a losing record. The last team to accomplish that feat? The 49ers under Eddie DeBartolo (1983-’98), of course.
2) Raiders (8-2)
Everything Jack Del Rio touches this season turns to silver. And the Raiders will soon end their 13-year streak of losing seasons. Cheers to you, Dr. Death.
1) Dallas (9-1)
The Cowboys were thoroughly inspired to pull off a rousing victory after Tony Romo’s emotional announcement that he is actually going to continue to collect paychecks in his role as the highest-paid backup quarterback in the NFL.