The Times’ NFL rankings (after Week 15)
by Lance Pugmire
Two new teams move into the top 10, but Denver remains the team to beat.
Up: Dolphins + 6 | Down: Chargers - 5
Swarming, opportunistic defense, reborn Peyton Manning and now Knowshon Moreno’s running like Terrell Davis.
They needed to flex some muscle after trip to Patriots and RB Arian Foster (165 yards) and WR Andre Johnson (151) did that.
Matt Ryan (23 of 28) rids ghost of last season’s playoff loss to Giants to put them a win away from home field throughout NFC.
QB Colin Kaepernick throws four TDs at Patriots to reward Coach Harbaugh’s faith, and it never hurts to have speed like LaMichael James’ to burn.
Bit of a harsh drop after Tom Brady played the character card again in comeback from 31-3. Many would love a 49ers rematch in Super Bowl.
Clinched North by beating scuffling Bears, as Aaron Rodgers’ connection to WR James Jones (three TDs) proves impossible to stop.
A week after 58-0 win, they fail to call off fake punt up by 30. Now Harbaugh and Carroll renew their, “What’s your deal?” acquiantance in big Sunday night battle.
Kirk Cousins’ impressive work in relief (329 yaards, two TDs) vs. Browns should net him another start against battered Eagles, letting RG III rest up for Dallas finale.
QB Andrew Luck finally quieted in fourth quarter. Disconcerting that he was sacked five more times, with defense getting a bit rolled over.
Have to like the team with a man possessed. Adrian Peterson bursting for 212 yards vs. Rams to bear down on Eric Dickerson’s rushing record.
Unexpected stinker from Eli Manning, whole team stunning given that this is when they usually turn it on.
The Joe Flacco haters out in force after his 20-of-40, pick-six trouncing by Broncos. Now they face another tough task at desperate Giants.
If you saw this Tony Romo run of greatness coming, you’re alone, but it’s happening, and positives of OT triumph over Steelers should repeat vs. Saints.
In wild-card driver’s seat after running away late vs. Eagles. Can they now show more grit than they did in earlier meeting vs. Steelers?
How can they miss playoffs after starting 7-1? They’ve lost five of six. Starting that Jay Cutler has thrown 17 INTs vs. Packers.
As dark as things appear, they typically rise up to win games like this one against Bengals.
Someone had to rise sharply as middle group struggled. Hammering Jacksonville like they did, still being “in the hunt” as good a reason as any.
They tried eight- and nine-man fronts and still couldn’t stop Adrian Peterson. QB Sam Bradford gave away 10 points with turnovers, too.
All is right with Drew Brees again (307 yards, four TDs) vs. Buccaneers as he heads to play spoiler at Cowboys Stadium .
Might be saving Coach Ron Rivera’s job after beating Atlanta, and then dominating Chargers.
Fourth consecutive loss a product of QB Josh Freeman erratic throwing — four INTs — and losing a fumble.
Making Coach Pat Shurmur a Black Monday casualty seems harsh given their competitiveness.
Yes, Toronto fans chanted, “Let’s go Blue Jays” late in 50-17 pounding by Seahawks.
Probably don’t deserve this big of a bump, but teams below were so horrid this past week. Does he stay or go? Nice run by Chris Johnson in Monday Jets’ win.
Those bad words Coach Rex Ryan uttered at game’s end would be a good title for season-ending “highlight” film.
Transformed four turnovers into TDs vs. Lions to finally, finally! snap nine-game losing streak at home.
Went to this game as a fan, and after no offensive plays beyond 10 yards, trailing 24-0 at half to Panthers in rain, bid adieu to Norv Turner and left.
Of course they want to upset Redskins in this spot, but are incapable of doing so.
Sebastian Janikowski’s five field goals and Darren McFadden’s 100-plus yards in shutout of Chiefs eases pain of deeply flawed campaign.
Now if you’re talking about a name that’s in the mix for Black Monday, it’s Jim Schwartz after this collapse with this talent.
In running for top draft pick after undermanned stinker in shutout loss to Raiders.
No, Chad Henne couldn’t exact revenge vs. Miami, but, yes, they might be worst two-win team in history.