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INSIDER WEEK 13 POWER RANKINGS

By Glenn Bernardi
Jets Insider.com Contributing Writer
December 5th, 2006
Martyball keeps the Bolts on top again.
Martyball keeps the Bolts on top again.
As we turn the 3/4 Poll it's time to reward the apparent division winners with the first 8 slots, all of whom own a 2 Game lead or more in their respective divisions, then turn our attention to the wild card contenders. Bringing up the rear are the faders and the nags.

1. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS {10-2} - Last Week #1
Tomlinson continues his assault on the NFL as he gashed the Bills for 178 Rushing and two TD's. He's now only two shy of the NFL record for TD's scored in a single season {28} and three shy of setting a new bench-mark. It gets worse for the rest of the league as Shawne Merriman wasted no time in wrecking havoc upon his return, registering two sacks and a forced fumble.

2. BALTIMORE RAVENS {9-3} - Last Week #2
I'll give Baltimore a mulligan this week. The Bengals are no slouches and the Ravens traveled to Cinci on a short week for a Thursday nite showdown. That's a tough spot verses a desperate Bengals team, and still they held that high-powered Cinci offense to only 13 Pts.

3. DALLAS COWBOYS {8-4} - Last Week #6
Parcells is on a roll and so are his Cowboys, having all but nailed-down the NFC East. Right now everything the tuna touches is turning to gold. Romo, Gramatica, whatever. I wish he could pick my lottery numbers this week.

4. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS {10-2} - Last Week #3
Those Titans are turning into Giant killers, first literally {NY Giants} then figuratively as they upended the Colts with a last second 60 Yard FG. Interesting one this week as Indy seeks to bounce back at Jacksonville.

5. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS {9-3} - Last Week #4
This teams stay in the TOP 5 is looking mighty tenuous. They needed a lot of help from the inept Lions in their own building, and of course Detroit obliged {as usual}, but this week Miami might not be quite as generous.

6. CHICAGO BEARS {10-2} - Last Week #5
They should be ranked #2 or #1, only Rex Grossman is holding them back. Anyone who infers the Bears defense is overrated must be drunk. This team is 10-2 despite the fact that their QB is giving them less than nothing. Just for the record, less than nothing means he's not making any plays for his own team, but he's making a ton of plays for the other guys.

7. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS {8-4} - Last Week #8
Reggie Bush finally had his signature game, scoring four TD's verses the Niners, and Drew Brees is making a serious push for league MVP. If not for LT he'd get my vote.

8. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS {8-4} - Last Week #9
Mike Holmgren got way to conservative on Sunday night, basically playing for FG's in the 4th Quarter, and it almost bit him in the @$$ when Denver scored a late TD to tie it. But his kicker bailed him out with one more FG, a 50 Yarder, at the wire.

9. CINCINNATI BENGALS {7-5} - Last Week #10
If I wasn't honoring the likely division winners this week with the first eight spots I'd probably rank the Bengals #5, even at 7-5, that's how impressive they have been as of late.

10. NEW YORK JETS {7-5} - Last Week #12
In my view Mangini is on the cusp of being widely recognized as an elite Head Coach, and he's young, only going to get better, and that's what most franchises would kill for. The Jets have never had an elite HC {this young} in their entire existence. If the Jets ever lost this guy it would be an unmitigated disaster. So I would think outside the box, give him a 10 Year extension at bokoo bucks, and insure "franchise stability" for the next decade.

11. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS {7-5} - Last Week #14
About the only thing that didn't break right for the Jets on Sunday was Jacksonville beating Miami. Now we'll see if they can stop their recent trend of "Win One, Lose One" verses a Colts team eager to get back on the winning tip.

12. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS {7-5} - Last Week #7
I am forever indebted to CBS for making the immediate switch to Cleveland following the Jets rout of GB. Just in time to watch Phil Dawson boot that Game Winner for the Browns.

13. DENVER BRONCOS {7-5} - Last Week #11
When I said Mike Shanahan should whack Jake the Snake and try a Hail Mary with Jay Cutler, I was just doing my part on behalf of our beloved J-E-T-S, JETS JETS JETS!! That's my alibi and I'm sticking with it.

14. ATLANTA FALCONS {6-6} - Last Week #23
I made a terrible mistake last week, I under-estimated just how dreadful the NFC really is. I jumped the gun, so to speak, assuming the 5-6's were toast. I apologize and I promise not to under-estimate the little sisters of the poor again.

15. PHILADELHIA EAGLES {6-6} - Last Week #25
Welcome to the NFC, the NFL's version of heaven, where life is beautiful and no team ever dies.

16. CAROLINA PANTHERS {6-6} - Last Week #13
And to think, I actually caught some negative feedback last week for ranking the Jets ahead of these under-achievers. So much for that, huh?

17. NEW YORK GIANTS {6-6} - Last Week #16
I think someone better keep a close eye on Tom Coughlin and keep that man away from sharp objects. I think he's starting to lose it. You can see that Travis Bickle bug-eyed expression beginning to develop. You can see the sideline antics edging closer and closer to Woody Hayes territory. The man needs an early vacation, he needs this torture to end sooner rather than later, and Carolina {under-achievers or not} will probably do their part this week to end this nightmare for Coughlin as soon as the regular season concludes, to insure there is no football beyond that for the G-Frauds. I only bring this up because I care.

18. TENNESSEE TITANS {5-7} - Last Week #21
And these guys are mostly to blame for Coughlin's condition. If you're looking for a culprit, other the Giants players themselves {talk about the inmates running the asylum!}, look no further than Vince Young and the Titans. And this week they gave Tony Dungy a sleepless night as well, but he's better equipped to handle it at 10-2.

19. BUFFALO BILLS {5-7} - Last Week #17
They gave my #1 team all they could handle on Sunday, and they are playing very good football since early November, so the Jets would be crazy to take this team lightly. They better take this team DEAD SERIOUS or these Bills will delight in dancing on their graves come Sunday night. Consider this a warning, Jets, but DO NOT turn it into a prophecy. Just bring your A-Game and you'll beat these guys, anything less and you're inviting disaster, it's that simple.

20. PITTSBURGH STEELERS {5-7} - Last Week #24
At this point the Steelers are just playing for pride, and the Bucs were the perfect punching-bags to beat up on.

21. MIAMI DOLPHINS {5-7} - Last Week #15
They made a nice little run, Miami did, but Jacksonville ended the charade and now they are left to lament that dreadful start. Oh well, too bad you guys aren't in the NFC, huh? Not that I'm shedding any tears.

22. HOUSTON TEXANS {4-8} - Last Week #22
If I were a Texans fan, I would be very excited about this teams future. Of all the losing teams in the NFL, I believe this young team has the biggest upside. There are reasons they're 4-8 other than youth, like their O-line and Secondary, but they have some dynamite pieces in place as well, especially on defense {i.e. Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans}.

23. ST LOUIS RAMS {5-7} - Last Week #18
If they can upset the Bears on MNF they're right back in contention. It doesn't matter that they've lost 6 out of their last 7, not in the NFC where 8-8 just might get you an invitation to the dance.

24. SAN FRAN 49ERS {5-7} - Last Week #19
Their job is much easier than the Rams, they just have to beat the Packers in their own building to get back in the race.

25. MINNESOTA VIKINGS {5-7} - Last Week #20
Their job is even easier than the 49ers, they just have to beat the woeful Lions to get back in the race. And let me go on record here, if Brooks Bollinger leads an NFL team to the playoffs the NFC has officially hit rock bottom.

26. CLEVELAND BROWNS {4-8} - Last Week #28
They lost Charlie Frye for the season, tough break, but Derek Anderson {Who?} came off the bench to rally the them to victory over the KC Chiefs. With no help from the zebras, I might add.

27. GREEN BAY PACKERS {4-8} - Last Week #26
If there was a mercy rule in the NFL the officials would have called this one at halftime {31-0}. If this were a prizefight it would have been stopped. This was a good old fashioned {don't mess with the penguin} massacre, courtesy of the NY Jets.

28. WASHINGTON REDSKINS {4-8} - Last Week #27
The Washington Redskins were just what the doctor ordered for the ailing Falcons. If you need to win a game and get back in the NFC wild card race, you couldn't ask for a better hand-picked stumble-bum.

29. ARIZONA CARDINALS {3-9} - Last Week #30
In any normal year, any halfway decent conference, the Cards would have put the Rams 2006 season to sleep on Sunday with their 34-20 beat-down, but we've already been over this.

30. DETROIT LIONS {2-10} - Last Week #32
On the one hand you have to give them credit for putting such a scare into NE at Gillette, and really out-playing NE in a game they should have won, but on the other hand it's just like the disgraceful Lions to throw it all away in the 4th Qtr.

31. OAKLAND RAIDERS {2-10} - Last Week #31
Same old story Vs Houston. Stout defense, no offense, and most of all, they just keep on losing.

32. TAMPA BAY BUCS {3-9} - Last Week #29
How bad are things for the TB Bucs? Jon Gruden actually elected to kick a last second FG {Pitt 20 TB 3} just to avoid being shutout. How embarrassing is that? How humiliating? Just take the shutout and get out of dodge with your dignity in tact. Anyway, that earns these clowns the #32 Spot this week.

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