A weekly review of how teams performed in relation to last week’s Power Rankings (with new rankings scheduled for Tuesday):
Still waiting for those once-vulnerable Chicago Bears to implode?
It's not happening, or at least it has not happened yet. Quite the opposite has been true for the team that risked mixing Mike Martz with Jay Cutler.
The Bears have bounced back from a 1-3 October to win four in a row. They had beaten bad teams (Buffalo, Minnesota) and an injured team (Miami) before their Week 12 victory against Philadelphia, the sixth-ranked team in ESPN.com's NFL Power Rankings entering the week. Look for the 12th-ranked Bears to crack the top 10 when our four panelists -- me, John Clayton, Paul Kuharsky and James Walker -- cast ballots following the Monday night game.
For the Bears, who approach December as the only NFC North team with more than seven victories, upcoming home games against the New England Patriots and New York Jets are looking more like opportunities than games to dread.
The reckoning: The top five teams in the Week 12 rankings won. The sixth- and seventh-ranked teams lost. Five games featured lower-ranked teams beating higher-ranked teams. Let's take a closer look at them ...
(25) Minnesota 17, (18) Washington 13: Brett Favre wasn't handing that game ball to Leslie Frazier as much as he was handing it to someone other than Brad Childress, right there on the field for all to see.
(20) Houston 20, (17) Tennessee 0: The Texans might be right when they suggest the Titans coach aggressive (dirty?) tactics. From 2002 through Week 11, the Titans led the league in total accepted and declined penalties across the following categories: disqualification, 15-yard facemask, horse collar tackle, personal foul, roughing the kicker, roughing the passer, taunting, unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
(19) Miami 33, (16) Oakland 17: Two rough weeks in a row for the Raiders and (former?) MVP candidate Darren McFadden.
(14) San Diego 36, (9) Indianapolis 14: Peyton Manning's recent fall removes him from the MVP discussion for now.
(12) Chicago 31, (6) Philadelphia 26: The Eagles should be fine. They draw Houston at home in prime time next week.
Still to play: San Francisco at Arizona on "Monday Night Football" (ESPN, 8:20 p.m. ET).
My early favorite for the No. 1 spot: Atlanta. New England is close behind, however.