The Times’ NFL rankings (after Week 11)
by Lance Pugmire
Up: Bills + 8 | Down: Bears - 6
Can’t play perfectly every week, but with players like WR Andre Johnson around, with QB Matt Schaub going fantasy crazy, that’s OK.
Five INTs by QB Matt Ryan against visiting Arizona a sign of trouble, couple questionable calls away from losing again.
Loss of RB Willis McGahee will allow defenses to more liberally add a nickel back in secondary. Softer schedule in coming weeks helps.
WR Randall Cobb emerges as another solid target for QB Rodgers, who led victory despite two missed FGs by Mason Crosby, interception.
Dominant pass rush led by Aldon Smith’s 5 1/2 sacks, emergence of backup QB Kaepernick vs. Bears strong case for NFC title run.
Injury loss of TE Rob Gronkowski eliminates top catching option for Brady. Likely doesn’t matter as others in division fall by wayside.
Showed what it takes to stand up to bully Pittsburgh in big road division game Sunday night. They were pounded last year at Chargers.
Had bye before drawing revenge-minded Packers in New Jersey. Will Manning revert to recent struggles or past big-game greatness?
As Houston, 49ers’ losses show, they clearly need Jay Cutler back to increase points production and limit defense’s time on the field.
Another team desperate for its QB’s return will instead have to likely rely on third-string Charlie Batch at Browns.
Road tests off bye at Miami, Chicago will show if they’re more than a home-body. Defense ranks No. 2 in league vs. pass.
WR Vincent Jackson earns his free-agent bucks with game-saving fourth-quarter TD and two-point catches in fourth straight win. Sharply improved team.
Make-or-break three-game stretch awaits at Bears, at Packers, home to Bears. Getting WR Percy Harvin back from sore ankle seems critical.
They’ve found .500 after 0-4 start, but another slide seems probable as weak defense prepares for 49ers, Falcons, Giants.
Theory that seeing Tom Brady at work might benefit Andrew Luck seems impossinble to embrace getting rolled like that by Patriots.
Would’ve expected more convincing victory over visiting Browns. Seems far-fetched to project this group in the postseason.
Relishing schedule break by rolling over Chiefs and awaiting Raiders. QB Andy Dalton directs league’s 10th-best pass offense.
Robert Griffin III’s long bombs broke the will of Eagles. Tough stretch now wiuth Cowboys, Giants, Ravens in line next.
Too little, too late, or is Miami win the start of late surge with Colts, Jaguars, Rams next? Defense must remain stout.
Not enough offense to overcome recent slide against pass, and schedule unforgiving with Seattle, Patriots, 49ers up next.
RB Chris Johnson is getting better, but own run defense ranks 28th in league. Hard road to nine wins with Houston, Packers on schedule.
Losing to Green Bay just about does it for playoff hopes with Texans up on Thanksgiving, followed by Colts, at Packers.
Winning at St. Louis no little thing, as continued faith in QB Mark Sanchez pays off. Still, heavy ‘dog vs. Patriots Thanksgiving night.
Offensive line ineptness worsens struggles of QB Rivers, run game. Meanwhile, G.M. A.J. Smith’s castoffs Brees, Jackson, Turner shine.
Not showing up now despite edict from owner that playoffs were needed. More than the coach will lose job for this.
Rightfully booted John Skelton from QB after he missed WR Fitzgerald in end zone. Problem is rookie Lindley did nothing while defense gave all in Atlanta.
Committed three turnovers, and failed to force one for a fifth straight game in loss to slumping Jets. Now they go to Arizona.
Most recent loss reveals flaw in replay system, when officials were barred from reviewing “incomplete” pass that clearly was a lost Dallas fumble.
Tough to hang in there without RBs, costly miscues by QB, defense in shambles. At Bengals next, 1-4 on road.
Losing like bad teams do: late. At least they get chance to rehabilitate record some with Eagles, Chiefs up next.
Another lopsided loss mutes game effort week earlier, and now they face possible onslaught vs. streaking Broncos.
Their best showing of the year was in Sunday’s defeat vs. Texans, with WR Justin Blackmon showing why he was top pick.