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INSIDER WEEK 14 POWER RANKINGS

By Glenn Bernardi
Jets Insider.com Contributing Writer
December 12th, 2006
TD King Ladanian Tomlinson and the Chargers stay on top.
TD King Ladanian Tomlinson and the Chargers stay on top.
1. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS {11-2} - Last Week #1
Three more TD's for Tomlinson and that makes 29, a new single season record, as the Chargers light-up an outstanding Broncos defense for 48 Points. That makes 7 in a row for SD and 9 out of their last 10, as LT now conjures up only one question worth asking and its entirely justified in my view .. Is LT the Greatest RB of All-Time, even better than Jim Brown?

2. BALTIMORE RAVENS {10-3} - Last Week #2
Ravens 20 KC 10 @ Arrowhead. That's why I gave them a mulligan last week following a Thursday night loss @ Cinci off a short week with travel. This team has a tremendous defense and just enough offense to really make it matter.

3. CINCINNATI BENGALS {8-5} - Last Week #9
Granted, beating up on the Raiders is nothing to write home about, but that makes four in a row for the suddenly smoking hot Bengals and two of those recent victims were the Saints and Ravens, and that is a big deal. BIG ONE this week, @ Indy on MNF.

4. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS {9-4} - Last Week #7
I said it last week and I'll say it again, if not for LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew "Cool" Brees would be the obvious choice for league MVP. Brees dropped 42 on the previously red-hot Cowboys {@ Dallas}, and it could have been 49 had Sean Payton {Coach of the Year} not called off the dogs {kneel-down inside the 5 with over three minutes to play}. Forget that "nice little story" nonsense, this team is for real.

5. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS {8-5} - Last Week #11
I recently labeled them under-achievers precisely because I swore they were an elite team in my earlier rankings and they kept on making me look bad. NOT ANYMORE. Two weeks ago they dismantled Miami and on Sunday they exposed that soft Colts defense with 375 Yards rushing {that is not a typo} in a 44-17 blood-bath.

6. CHICAGO BEARS {11-2} - Last Week #6
Devin Hester is spectacular and Grossman did a nice job on MNF, but the big story here is the loss of DT Tommie Harris. Ferocious defense is what made them special, they already lost S Mike Brown for the season, now they lose Harris as well. That's two impact players off their defense, and that is a BODY BLOW for Chicago's Super Bowl aspirations.

7. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS {10-3} - Last Week #4
Get this, Maurice Jones-Drew, Fred Taylor and Alvin Pearman nearly "averaged" 10 YPC as all three almost hit the century mark in the same game. Pearman fell short with 71 Yards on 13 Carries, while Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor gashed Indianapolis for 166 and 131 respectively. Now try to imagine just how badly LT would punish these marshmallows if his Chargers should happen to meet Indy come January?

8. DALLAS COWBOYS {8-5} - Last Week #3
Who Dat? Who Dat? Who Dat there gonna beat them Saints? NOT THE COWBOYS, that's for damn sure. 42-17 and it wasn't that close. If not for a lucky tipped ball {Owens TD that should have been an INT} and Payton calling off the dogs, it would have been a lot worse for Dallas.

9. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS {9-4} - Last Week #5
One week after narrowly escaping verses the putrid Lions, Tom Brady threw for a grand total of 78 Yards as Miami handed NE their lunch. Skunked them 21 to Zip as they beat Tom Brady to a bloody pulp.

10. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS {8-5} - Last Week #8
Arizona 27 Seahawks 21. The sad part is, and I swear this is true, I actually picked Arizona to beat them outright in my Yahoo {no spreads} Pick'em Pool. That's how highly I think of Seattle.

11. NEW YORK GIANTS {7-6} - Last Week #17
Let's not throw a party for the Giants. Even the Jets could have beaten Chris Weinke with their season on the line, I hope?

12. PHILADELHIA EAGLES {7-6} - Last Week #15
I wrote them off when they lost McNabb, but if the season ended today the Eagles would be in the playoffs and Jeff Garcia deserves a ton of credit for salvaging their season. Of course residing in the NFC doesn't hurt either.

13. ATLANTA FALCONS {7-6} - Last Week #14
There are quite a few teams in the AFC that look at Atlanta, Philly and the Giants and can't help but wish they resided in the NFC too.

14. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS {7-6} - Last Week #12
EXHIBIT A, the KC Chiefs. There's no doubt in my mind they win the NFC West, and probably the NFC East as well.

15. DENVER BRONCOS {7-6} - Last Week #13
EXHIBIT B, the Denver Broncos. They may not win a division title with the rookie Jay Cutler, but they never would have felt the need to hook Jake Plummer in the NFC. Just ask the Chicago Bears and Rex Grossman.

16. BUFFALO BILLS {6-7} - Last Week #19
I know Jet fans will find this hard to believe, but Willis McGahee has had a very sub-par career thus far if not for the NY Jets. I think he's averaging less than 60 Yards Per Game verses the rest of the league and 115 PG verses the Jets. Really warms your heart to know this, huh?

17. NEW YORK JETS {7-6} - Last Week #10
That was a total team effort, from Mangini's inexplicable punt on 4th & 1 at the Bills 38, to Shottenheimer's ultra conservative game plan, to Chad's downright abysmal afternoon, to a sick and banged up Willis McGahee flatout gashing the Jets defense AGAIN, to Lee Evans toasting two Jets DB's on a school-yard STOP & GO I use in touch-football, to YOU NAME IT. So what looked like a promising day, with the Pats getting smoked in Miami and the Broncos/Chiefs both dropping to 7-6, all got derailed as Buffalo manhandled the Jets in their own building.

18. MIAMI DOLPHINS {6-7} - Last Week #21
Tom Brady has failed to pass for 100 Yards only four times in his career, and all four {Including Sunday} came verses Miami. As has often been the case when these two teams lock horns, Jason Tayor was the catalyst. He harassed Tom Brady all over the field as Miami skunked NE 21-0. Brady's stats for the day .. 12 for 25, 78 Yards, 3.1 Yards Per Completion, 5 Sacks. I think that's what they call a proper @$$-Kickin?

19. TENNESSEE TITANS {6-7} - Last Week #18
That makes four in a row for Tennessee, Houston being their latest victim, but they clipped some pretty good teams during this streak as well .. Indy, the Giants and Eagles .. all of whom would make the playoffs if the season ended today, no thanks to Vince Young and his surging Titans.

20. PITTSBURGH STEELERS {6-7} - Last Week #20
Even on a down year the Steelers are still good enough {and proud enough} to beat the stuffing out of the woeful Browns and their backup QB.

21. MINNESOTA VIKINGS {6-7} - Last Week #25
There's nothing like the Detroit Lions to get you back in the race. Just what the doctor ordered.

22. CAROLINA PANTHERS {6-7} - Last Week #16
.. and these under-achievers were just what the doctor ordered for the G-Men, especially their beleaguered head coach. I would have paid money to see Tom Coughlin's sideline reactions had his Giants struggled verses Chris Weinke. I tuned in for that reason, like I was tuning into a possible train-wreck. Does that make me a bad guy?

23. ARIZONA CARDINALS {4-9} - Last Week #29
Like I said, I picked them to beat Seattle outright, so that didn't come as a shock too me. These guys can be a dangerous underdog.

24. ST LOUIS RAMS {5-8} - Last Week #23
Even the NFC can't save them now, and that's saying a lot.

25. GREEN BAY PACKERS {5-8} - Last Week #27 Packers 30 SF 19. When will Brett Favre retire? Probably when he can no-longer carve-up defenses like the 49ers. That's when he'll know it's over.

26. SAN FRAN 49ERS {5-8} - Last Week #24
They had a long way to go to get back to respectability, they're almost there, but they have a little further to travel.

27. HOUSTON TEXANS {4-9} - Last Week #22
Most of Houston wanted the hometown kid, Vince Young, at #1 Overall in the draft. Everyone else wanted Reggie Bush. Needless to say this was not a good week for the Texans as Vince Young capped off his homecoming with a dynamic TD Run in OT, reminiscent of his Longhorn exploits. Then to make matters worse, Reggie Bush busted out some of his USC magic Vs Dallas on SNF. Mario Williams is a heck of a player in his own right, but try telling that to Texans fans.

28. CLEVELAND BROWNS {4-9} - Last Week #26
Did you know that new QB for the Browns, Derek Anderson, wears a size 17 Shoe .. and he'll need every inch of those feet when he's running for dear life from that Ravens defense this week. FEET DON'T FAIL ME NOW!!

29. WASHINGTON REDSKINS {4-9} - Last Week #28
That 2nd RD Pick {to the Jets} is starting to look pretty good again. Let's hope the Saints can make it look even better this week.

30. TAMPA BAY BUCS {3-10} - Last Week #32
When you have three teams like the Bucs, Lions and Raiders, all equally as dreadful, it's virtually impossible to distinguish the worst of the worst. So we'll try something more tangible henceforth, we'll analyze the #1 Overall Pick derby, and right now the Bucs are running third.

31. OAKLAND RAIDERS {2-11} - Last Week #31
The Raiders have a dangerous game this week, the Rams in their building, and this after the Rams were eliminated from contention on MNF, thus operating on a short week while knowing their season is over. I'd view this as a serious threat to our #1 Overall Pick aspirations if I was Al Davis. It might be time for Uncle Al to bust out his ace in the hole, like he did last year verses the Jets, QB Marques Tuiasosopo. JUST LOSE, BABY!!

32. DETROIT LIONS {2-11} - Last Week #30
Word has it RB Kevin Jones is done for the season. If that's true, it might be just enough to put Detriot over the top, or to assure they don't blow this thing {#1 Overall Pick} down the stretch. Though Al Davis could neutralize the loss of Jones with his ace in the hole {Tuiasosopo}, and that will bear watching?

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