When I previously filled in for Shouse's power rankings series during Breast Cancer Awareness month, the Bears were sitting pretty at the bye week and were ranked top in the division and no lower than 6th overall. Nine weeks on and things have changed greatly; cheerleaders are no longer wearing pink and we all expected the second half of the schedule to be much tougher, but injuries and continued offensive offensiveness have contributed in no small measure to the Bears dropping five of the last six. T.J. said last week that the Bears were in trouble; the consolation, as such, is that many people were already mentally preparing for the return Packers game to be a loss.
Elsewhere in the division, the Vikings once again rode the medical wonder of Adrian Peterson's surgically repaired knee - evidently they had the technology, and were able to rebuild him - to pound out 224 yards on the ground in a win over the Rams, and keep their slender playoff hopes alive.
Then there's the Lions, but their season went south some time ago and this was only further displayed in an embarrassing loss to the Cardinals, who would probably love to have
Jason Campbell Kyle Orton Rex Grossman behind center for them right now. Then again, the way Stafford was playing (three interceptions, two of which were returned for TDs) and his overall regression this season, some Lions fans might feel the same...
Here were go! Links to individual Power Rankings lists are at the top of the table.
|Packers (10-4)||6 (6)||6 (6)||6 (6)||6 (6)||6 (6)||9 (10)||5 (7)|
|Bears (8-6)||15 (15)||14 (11)||17 (15)||16 (13)||16 (12)||17 (14)||6 (6)|
|Vikings (8-6)||14 (14)||15 (16)||12 (15)||14 (16)||14 (15)||27 (26)||20 (24)|
|Lions (4-10)||27 (27)||28 (25)||29 (28)||27 (23)||28 (24)||14 (12)||14 (12)|
The Packers solidify their hold on the top spot in the division, and the Vikings mostly overtake the Bears in the subjective rankings - as TJ noted last week, you can only rank a team led by Christian Ponder so highly, which seems a damning indictment on our own offense.
According to Advanced NFL Stats (whose list is, strictly speaking, not a power ranking), the Lions continue to be more efficient than they are good. More efficient for everyone to poop on.
Via Football Outsiders' DVOA ratings, a breakdown of the offensive, defensive, and special teams rankings for the three NFC North teams still in playoff contention:
|Packers (10-4)||5 (7)||5 (6)
||8 (9)||20 (11)|
|Bears (8-6)||6 (6)
|Vikings (8-6)||20 (24)||18 (18)||26 (23)||6 (7)|
So, not much change apart from our significantly impacting GB's special teams... or did they do that themselves with that moment of madness that handed us the ball? Too bad we did very little with it. Full disclosure: I couldn't find rankings on FO that matched up with last week's post, so they don't entirely tally... I imagine TJ will pop on to correct this.
The rest of the season, insofar as the division goes, comes down to us and the Vikings, who currently hold the tiebreak with a better intradivisional record The good news is that they face the Texans and Packers in their final two games, at least one of which they have to drop if we're to have any hope of sneaking into the playoffs. FO has the Texans with the 13th-best offense, the 5th-best defense, and the league's worst STs... so if they were really going for it, Leslie Frazier should have AP return kicks. And, um, change the name of the team to the Minnesota Viking.
Peruse the rankings and share your thoughts below.