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The Polite Power Rankings: Week 13

The good poet Robert Browning gave us these prescient words: “Jove strikes the Titans down not when they set about their mountain-piling, but when another rock would crown the work.” Ok, maybe that’s a little harsh. And maybe the Jets had a little more to do with the recent Titans-toppling event than Jove did. Blame whomever you’d like, but the fact of the matter is that the NFL’s last remaining undefeated team finally has one in the “L” column. And that means there’s a new top dog in this week’s rankings.

1. New York Giants (2)

Deep down, we all knew the Giants were the best team in football. And now they can take their seat at the top of the rankings. All phases, all day — these guys are playing like they have their sights on another ring.

2. Tennessee Titans (1)

Look, teams aren’t supposed to go undefeated. It’s a rare thing. The Titans will be fine — as long as they can keep the locker room in check, that is. LenDale White’s post-game griping about his limited carries didn’t reflect the kind of one-for-all attitude that marks most championship teams.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (5)

Once again, Willie Parker goes down. But the Steelers’ strong bench (see: Mewelde Moore and Matt Spaeth) has proven that depth matters.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4)

At the end of the first quarter on Sunday, the Bucs were losing by 17 to the worst team in football. By the end of the game, they were up by 18. A comeback (against a good or bad opponent) is good for the soul and gives a team fuel heading into the final stretch.

5. New York Jets (6)

For weeks now, I’ve been trying to come up with a way to work “Benny and the Jets” into my write-up about these guys. But nothing’s coming to me. If you have any ideas, drop a comment. By the way, the Jets beat the then-undefeated Titans on Sunday — and they’re looking like they’re hitting their stride at the time of year that it matters most.

6. New England Patriots (8)

7. Indianapolis Colts (9)

8. Carolina Panthers (3)

9. Washington Redskins (10)

10. Baltimore Ravens (12)

Add an actual offense to the Raven’s perennially ferocious defense and you have a formidable football team. Baltimore heads to Cincinnati on Sunday — and the fragile Bengals are gonna feel it.

11. Dallas Cowboys (11)

Tony Romo had a monster day (341 yards, three TDs and no interceptions) and Terrell Owens was at the center of the action (seven receptions for 213 yards and one score) — two vital components if Dallas plans to get back on track.

12. Arizona Cardinals (7)

13. Atlanta Falcons (14)

14. New Orleans Saints (20)

If we didn’t already have Barack, I’d be chanting: Drew Brees for Pres! This guy knows how to make very special things happen. Now, Mr. Brees, can we get a little consistency down there in the Big Easy?

15. Chicago Bears (17)

16. Denver Broncos (13)

17. Miami Dolphins (15)

The Dolphins have made plenty of strides this year, but as they showed Sunday, they’re not quite equipped to handle a New England team that has vengeance on the brain.

18. Buffalo Bills (19)

19. Minnesota Vikings (21)

20. Green Bay Packers (18)

21. Philadelphia Eagles (16)

Sure, you want to send a message to your team when it’s stinking up the stadium. But pull your franchise QB at halftime? Though Donovan McNabb is back in the driver’s seat on Thanksgiving day, he’s likely to be in an entirely different uniform by this time next year.

22. Houston Texans (26)

23. San Diego Chargers (25)

24. Cleveland Browns (22)

25. Jacksonville Jaguars (24)

26. San Francisco 49ers (23)

27. Oakland Raiders (30)

28. Seattle Seahawks (28)

29. Cincinnati Bengals (27)

30. Kansas City Chiefs (29)

31. St. Louis Rams (31)

32. Detroit Lions (32)

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