Bulls

NFL Power Rankings - Week 11: Texans back at the top

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NFL Power Rankings - Week 11: Texans back at the top

Each week throughout the regular season, we'll beranking all 32 NFL teams.

Take a look and offer up yourthoughts in the comment box below or to us on Twitter @BearsTalkCSN.

Previousrankings: Week1 Week2 Week3 Week4 Week5 Week6 Week7 Week8 Week9 Week 10

SK JFComments 1 SK: The defense KO'ed the Bears. Arguably the best in the NFL.
JF: Got past a tough Bears team in some even tougher playing conditions. 2 SK: Should get back in the win column with the fading Cardinals on tap.
JF: You can't stay perfect forever (unless you're the '72 Dolphins), still an elite team.
3 SK: Healthy: Class of the NFL. Not 100 percent: Still a Top 3 team.
JF: Lost to arguably the best team in the NFL and had Cutler knocked out of the game.
4 SK: Offense needs to find consistency if they want to hoist the Lombardi.
JF: Got some much-needed rest in Week 10. Can't have a slip-up at Detroit.
5 SK: Scary good. May not lose another game in the regular season.
JF: Just absolutely crushed Oakland. Possibly gearing up for a win streak?
6 SK: A tie...really? The league really needs to look into changing OT rules...again.
JF: Nobody likes a tie, but it's better than a home loss to the Rams.
7 SK:Won't score 55 again, but Baltimore finally put together an all-around game.
JF: Defense played out of its mind in Carolina. This team has its arrow pointing up.
8 SK: Nobody will want to play the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field if they make the postseason.
JF: Not a pretty win over Buffalo, but the Pats still got the job done.
9 SK: Offense is getting it done, can't say the same about that "young talented" defense.
JF: The Seahawks are looking more and more like a contender instead of a pretender.
10 SK: If the season ended today: Broncos would host the Colts in the playoffs...WOW.
JF: Drop three spots after a win? That's what happens after looking terrible vs. Kansas City.
11 SK: Roethlisberger out indefinitely. Bad news for a hobbled Steelers team.
JF: Luck not only can get it done through the air, but his legs helped Indy to 6-3.
12 SK: Looks like the Giants are in their annual mid-season swoon.
JF: Adrian Peterson...no further comment necessary.
13 SK: Could an offensive Juggernaut be forming in Tampa Bay?
JF: I don't know who this Eli Manning is. He and the rest of the G-Men have lost their mojo.
14 SK:Brees has the Saints back in the playoff hunt.
JF: Bucs win their third straight with impressive win over slumping Chargers.
15 SK:AP helped the Vikings to a much-needed victory over the Lions.
JF: Don't underestimate the power of Drew Brees and his New Orleans teammates.
16 SK: Nice win over NYG. Need to string some wins together to get back in playoff picture.
JF: The Bengals finally reached full potential in a game. Dalton is heating up.
17 SK:Question marks on both sides of the ball in Detroit.
JF: Can come off the BYE with a landmark victory over the Falcons. Good luck with that.
18 SK:What has happened to the Dolphins?
JF: Cowboys got better as the game went on for the first time in awhile. Could win next 3.
19 SK: Rivers gave it away in the second half. Seems to be the case all season.
JF:Proved they can stick with any team in the league with a tie in San Francisco.
20 SK:With Giants fading, Dallas can hop right back into the playoff hunt with a win Sunday.
JF: The losses keep piling up and it doesn't get any easier vs. Green Bay.
21 SK: Is Shanny's job in jeopardy following the season?
JF: Chargers are in about as bad of a spot as any team looking to make the playoffs.
22 SK:Been IN a lot of games, but W's only count in this league.
JF: Movin' on up following respectable effort in loss to Patriots.
23 SK: I think it's safe to say their losing skid will hit six this weekend.
JF: Took the BYE week to get healthy. Expect RG3 to shine again.
24 SK:Nick Foles, your table is ready.
JF: Ugly defeat placed on the Dolphins by Titans. Turn your head, tough to watch.
25 SK:Excited to see if Locker and Wright can create some chemistry down the stretch.
JF: Had to win vs. Dallas last week and didn't. Vick is concussed and it may be over.
26 SK:WHY is Carson Palmer throwing so much? Can't win in this league without a run game.
JF: Believe it or not, but the Titans are showing life.
27 SK:Jets are a joke this year. Nobody will be laughing when shown the door this offseason.
JF: Can really ruffle some feathers in Dallas with a win over the Cowboys.
28
SK:How do you lose a game with almost 500 yards of total offense.
JF: Just looked awful in Baltimore last week. At least Palmer is a good fantasy option.
29 SK:Have a chance to spoil some teams playoff chances down the stretch.
JF:It's hard to believe the Panthers are this bad...but they are.
30 SK:What is the Panthers identity?
JF:Identity crisis. Who are they? What do they do? Will they win again?
31 SK: Romeo says no more dancing in Kansas City.
JF: Showed a little spunk in Pittsburgh, but ultimately came up short, again.
32 SK:Worst team in the NFL and it's not even close.
JF: They can't run. They can't pass. They can't defend.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and Kevin Anderson react to a breakout game from Kris Dunn against the Hornets Friday night. They’ll discuss his development and how it impacts rookie Lauri Markkanen. Plus just how long will both the Wolves and Bulls be judged on the Jimmy Butler trade? Is Dwight Howard a hall of famer? And a new era in Philly with Simmons and Embiid. That and more on this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast.

Observations from Bulls-Hornets: Kris Dunn, a sigh of relief and hack-a-who?

Observations from Bulls-Hornets: Kris Dunn, a sigh of relief and hack-a-who?

Kris Dunn did it: You can’t play that position without an edge, without some form of “basketball killer” in you. Kris Dunn showed at the very least, he has that in his DNA in his best game as a Bull with a career-high 22 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

Leave it to Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg to point out a forgotten stat: one turnover in 26 minutes.

“That’s the biggest thing I’m proud of,” Dunn said. “Everyone knows I’ve had a lot of careless turnovers in the season. It’s one thing I’ll take credit for.”

Dunn scored 13 with six assists in the fourth quarter alone as the Bulls outscored the Hornets 40-28 for the comeback victory. More than anything, it was his competitive spirit and aggressiveness that stood out. Kemba Walker stood across the way and gave Dunn—and the Bulls—every bit of 47 points.

“He tested my conditioning, for sure,” Dunn admitted. “He’s a great player. He’s been in the league for so long. It was good to go out there and compete with him.”

It could’ve went a different way had Walker not been bothered by Lauri Markkanen’s challenge at the rim, blowing a layup that would’ve given the Hornets the lead back with seconds remaining but he missed it and the narrative changed at least for a night.

And when teams are talking about learning experiences, it’s good to have them in a win every now and again. Markkanen’s challenge at the rim followed by his closing free throws right after, along with a quietly effective 16 points and seven rebounds, proved huge on this night.

Dunn finally having a confidence booster was imperative.

Dunn scored but it wasn’t an easy 20 or a smooth 20. It was an attacking 20, a necessary 20. He did hit some elbow jumpers, especially in the fourth as the defense laid off him.

But his biggest basket was a slithering drive to the rim for a layup with 2:24 left, because he attacked and was under control.

“That’s huge growth for Kris,” Hoiberg said. “He made the right play darn near every time he had the ball in his hands. Rose up with confidence, knocked down huge shots. Defensively got them going, got steals.”

What a relief: Nobody wanted to say it, but it bore out on the floor, the sheer desperation the Bulls played with.

Coming in with a five-game losing streak and headed out west to for four games in the next week, they were staring in the face of a possible double-digit losing streak to end November.

Confidence was sparse after three bad losses, and it’s a dangerous time for a team that will struggle to win games all season.

The United Center crowd got into it, particularly late when the Bulls began climbing back into contention to start the fourth quarter. The fans wanted this win too, even with the eyes being on a larger prize coming in mid-2018.

The relief was written all over Hoiberg’s usually-stress ridden face and he even cracked a couple jokes that weren’t aimed in his direction, as self-deprecation is normally his escape of choice.

“It is important but I asked the guys: is it hard to play with that type of effort? When you play with that type of energy and effort and swagger, it’s fun,” Hoiberg said. “When you play low energy and hang your head, it’s a drag. It’s hard to play at this level with that mentality.”

Starting change: Justin Holiday returned after his quick leave with his wife delivering a baby girl recently and his game-high 27 points showed he missed the Bulls as much as they missed his shooting, hitting four triples and going 10 for 15 from the field.

“Guys were serious about getting their jobs done,” Holiday said. “It was a lot of energy, a lot of energy, competitiveness. That’s how we have to play every night for our team to do well.”

Denzel Valentine, although he didn’t want to say it, wants to be a starter. Hoiberg chose Quincy Pondexter over him recently and then made the change Friday to insert Valentine for more scoring.

Valentine scored 18 with six assists and five rebounds in 32 minutes of run—and with those two starting as scoring options, the Bulls surpassed that seven-point first-quarter mark really early and scored 26 overall.

He hit a big triple in the fourth with 2:49 left to give the Bulls a 110-109 lead on a set play the Bulls actually executed between Valentine, Dunn as a setup man and Robin Lopez as a screen to pop Valentine open.

If he continues to hit 3-pointers at a 40 percent clip, especially with the way the Bulls have struggled to start games, he’ll have the right to feel he belongs in the first five.

“It’s definitely more confidence,” Valentine said. “You feel you’re an NBA starter, you get to go in and feel it out for a second and bring some energy to start the game.”

He didn’t mince words about starting, with a little honesty saying, “I think it’s huge being a starter.”

When asked if he felt validated by his performance and the result being a high-scoring win, it was just as telling.

“I think I deserve…I think I deserved a starting role,” Valentine said. “At the same time it’s different combinations, different people that need to be on the floor at certain times, so if he feels like I don’t need to start, I won’t start. But I feel very comfortable starting as well.”

Hack-a-Dwight: It could be Hack-a-Dwight, hack-a-Drummond, hack-a-Wilt or Shaq or Charles Shackleford.

The Bulls went to it and Howard went two of four from the line but it took a little rhythm from the Hornets and probably slowed Kemba Walker down just enough before he got cooking in the last 90 seconds and almost pulled a win out of his keister.

But…

I hate it. Get it out of the game completely.