The Times’ NFL rankings (after Week 12)
by Lance Pugmire
It still looks like a Houston-Atlanta Super Bowl, but Indianapolis is moving up fast.
Up: Colts + 5 | Down: Packers - 5
Getting ready to clinch a playoff spot with favorable game at Titans after avoiding OT Thanksgiving loss in Detroit.
“Matty Ice” adds to reputation by leading fifth fourth-quarter comeback of season in Tampa. Ryan threw for 353, perfect strike to WR Jones en route.
Said thanks to Chiefs for settling for field goals, and got 85 rushing yards from Knowshon Moreno, two TDs from Manning. Home to Tampa Bay now.
Turned two Drew Brees passes into their own TDs, and Colin Kaepernick rewarded Harbaugh’s confidence with impressive road debut.
Some argue they’re the league’s best team, and 35-point quarter at Jets is a sound case. At Dolphins next.
Their will to win is unquestionable, and the face of that was Ray Rice’s mad dash on fourth-and-29. Get Steelers for second time in three weeks now.
Needed to end losing skid, and doing so by dominating Packers shows they are who we thought they were.
Jay Cutler returns and all is right with the world again, as the opportunistic group collected two fumbles and an INT to keep Vikings at bay.
Injury depleted defense gave up nearly 400 yards in Giants’ loss, and offensive line wasn’t much better, letting five sacks happen. Big game vs. Vikings now.
Amid news that leukemia-sidelined Coach Cuck Pagano is in remission, T.Y. Hilton steps up with TD catch and punt return vs. Bills.
– If Charlie Batch was going to be their QB rest of the way, rankings fall would be greater, but Ben Roethlisberger could be back Sunday at Ravens.
Went toe to toe with top NFC team despite RB Doug Martin getting slowed. Defense will have to be better in critical moments at Denver.
Loving this AFC West schedule assignment after decking Raiders’ Carson Palmer four times, compiling 415 yards with Chargers next.
Allowing 17 points in the final half of the fourth quarter quite a demoralizing feat. What’s worse is they have to go to Bears now.
After scorching Cowboys on Thanksgiving, they try to pull within a game of East-leading Giants Monday night.
Will the NFC North big boys send them to oblivion? First meeting with Bears a good indicator, now they go to Lambeau.
Inspired rally vs. Seahawks keeps them in playoff hunt in December, impressive feat for rookie head coach, QB.
Drew Brees not only threw two pick-sixes, he was sacked five times by 49ers. Now face tough task of Thursday road game at revenge-minded Falcons.
Coach Jason Garrett likely out of a job after Thanksgiving showing, another playoff absence. Might want to replace Tony Romo while at it, too.
Seemed to be in good spot to stage rally at young Colts, but slipped on special teams, couldn’t get defense off field.
Didn’t they used to be tough on Thanksgiving? Now, they not only lose routinely as they did in OT vs. Texans, they find creative ways to do it.
Intercepted Arizona rookie QB four times, and Steven Jackson back to old tricks with 139 yards on ground. Now host 49ers.
Losing to Jacksonville greatest indignity yet. Time to start scouring web for mock-draft rankings.
Season-long effort pays off in turnover-fest victory over hated Steelers. Defensive work deserves applause it won, to Oakland next.
They might win vs. Cardinals Sunday, but Thanksgiving blowout to Patriots makes it clear now heads beyond Fireman Ed’s will roll.
Likely in middle of another long playoff absence like 1984-91, 1996-2003 after fourth-and-29 conversion challenges lost 24-0 lead as greatest choke of campaign.
QB Cam Newton accounts for four TDs at Philadelphia. Gets a similar soft touch Sunday at Kansas City.
Seventh straight loss despite 178 yards from rookie RB Bryce Brown worsens Coach Reid’s final-year spiral. At Dallas Sunday.
John Skelton lost job because of a bad pass, but Ryan Lindley keeps his with four INTs? Beanie Wells (48 yards) wasn’t ground-game boost they need.
Oh, the carnage! Down 24-0 at halftime, 146 passing yards, four sacks and 415 yards allowed. Owner has apologized. Can’t get much worse, right?
QB Chad Henne leads them to rare victory with 261 yards, two TDs vs. Titans. Back-to-back wins not impossible with trip to Buffalo next.
You can’t make a case to defend Romeo Crennel kicking a FG up 3-0 on Broncos’ 5-yard line. Well, maybe that Crennel wanted to seal his firing.