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Week 12 NFL Power Rankings: Balance Power Shifts To The NFC

The AFC has been home to most of the best teams over the past decade or so. That no longer appears to be the case

The AFC has been home to most of the best teams over the past decade or so. The Manning led Colts, The Brady led Pats and the Roethlisberger led Steelers were always fighting out for the top spots in power ranks week to week. But this year, the NFC seems like the home of the powerhouses. Of our top 5 teams this week, four are from the NFC.

And as we look ahead to the rest of this year, I'd say the teams most likely to just into the top 5 at some point are also in the NFC. Certainly the AFC has the Steelers and Ravens, but teams like the Lions, Cowboys and Falcons could all be poised to make runs down the stretch.

Plus, there's the "surprise teams." In the AFC, it was the Bills and Bengals, but suddenly they're both fading fast. In the NFC, it was the 49ers and Lions and those two teams are only growing stronger. So it really seems the excitement is in the NFL.

With that, onto the week 12 power ranks.

1) Green Bay Packers - We found something the Pack can't do, tackle LeGarrette Blount. LW (1)

2) San Francisco 49ers - There's no doubt that the Niners are for real, but we'll see how real they are on the road against Baltimore. (LW 2)

3) New England Patriots - It seem as though the Pats are back on track after back to back blowouts of the Jets and Chiefs. LW (6)

4) New Orleans Saints - Had the week and now don't play until Monday night. (LW 4)

5) Chicago Bears - The Bears are rolling, which makes the fact that they appear to have lost Jay Cutler for the rest of the regular season all that much tougher to swallow. (LW 5)

6) Baltimore Ravens - Back on top of the AFC North. (LW 9)

7) Pittsburgh Steelers - The Chiefs were beaten up by the Pats "no name" defense. Wait until they get a load of all the "names" Pittsburgh brings to town. (LW 8)

8) Detroit Lions - A monster second half on Sunday sets up a monster game on Thanksgiving. (LW 13)

9) Houston Texans - Had a bye, which gives fans more time to dread Matt Leinart starting. (LW 3)

10) Dallas Cowboys - It should tell you something about the Cowboys schedule when Miami really might be the best team they've faced in nearly a month. (LW 11)

11) Atlanta Falcons - Jay Cutler's injury might benefit Atlanta more than any other team if it does indeed eliminate another NFC wildcard contender. (LW 16)

12) New York Giants - The Giants couldn't stop Vince Young in the fourth quarter. Should be interesting to see how they perform against Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers over the next two weeks. (LW 7)

13) Oakland Raiders - Carson Palmer and the Raiders get the first crack at the Jay Cutler-less Bears on Sunday. (LW 17)

14) Cincinnati Bengals - The AFC North title goes through Pittsburgh or Baltimore and those are roads the Bengals just aren't ready for yet. (LW 12)

15) New York Jets - Rex Ryan's act is great when you're winning. When you're losing, it gets old fast. (LW 10)

16) Denver Broncos - Do you think Tim Tebow watched Vince Young play awful for three quarters only to lead his team on an epic game winning drive Sunday night and thought, "Hey! That's my thing!" (LW 24)

17) Philadelphia Eagles - Had the Eagles beaten the Cardinals a week ago, they'd only be one game back in the NFC East right now.  (LW 23)

18) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Tampa has lost four straight as it's NFC South rivals have been winning. (LW 19)

19) Buffalo Bills - Since signing that big new contract, Ryan Fitzpatrick is 0-3 and has 11 turnovers.  (LW 14)

20) Tennessee Titans - Jake Locker got a chance to play and continued the general trend of rookie QBs playing well this season. (LW 15)

21) Miami Dolphins - People are starting to wonder if maybe Matt Moore is the answer at QB in Miami. If they keep winning, he may have to be. (LW 22)

22) Cleveland Browns - There may not be a team that wins or loses uglier than the Browns(LW 26)

23) Seattle Seahawks - Seattle has won two straight and get the Redskins next week. They're inching toward .500. (LW 28)

24) Arizona Cardinals - The excitement around John Skelton seems to have been short-lived. (LW 20)

25) San Diego Chargers - Who has the 3rd longest losing streak in the NFL? The Chargers, who have now dropped five straight. (LW 21)

26) Kansas City Chiefs - I'll just repeat last week's blurb. "This year KC has gone from the worst team in the league, to division leaders, back to one of the worst teams again." (LW 18)

27) Jacksonville Jaguars - Was MJD mocking Lebron James or Cleveland fans with his TD dance? Either way, I wouldn't be mocking anyone when you're 3-7. (LW 25)

28) St. Louis Rams - Pretty awful showing all around from the Rams. Can people just admit that Josh McDaniels has no idea what he's doing and should not be employed by any NFL team? (LW 27)

29) Washington Redskins - The Redskins are now the owners of the second longest losing streak in the NFL at 6. (LW 29)

30) Minnesota Vikings - After a strong performance against Carolina three games ago, Christian Ponder has put up back to back stinkers. (LW 30)

31) Carolina Panthers - If Cam Newton can't lead his team over the Colts this week, he takes himself out of the running for rookie of the year. (LW 31)

32) Indianapolis Colts - The Colts didn't lose this past week. Granted, it was their bye week, but still. (LW 32)