2011 NFL Power Rankings: Week 11
Was the New England Patriots' demise greatly exaggerated? Judging by the latest results, the answer is an emphatic yes.
A week after tumbling out of the top 10, the Patriots regained their swagger in a 37-16 pummeling of the rival New York Jets on Sunday night. The victory sprung Tom Brady and Co. up four spots to No. 8. Not a bad one-week turnaround.
New England isn't the only traditional power on solid ground with our voters (ESPN.com's John Clayton, ESPN.com's Ashley Fox, AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky, NFC West blogger Mike Sando and AFC East blogger James Walker). The Chicago Bears (No. 5) and Dallas Cowboys (No. 12) are both rising in the rankings, while the New York Giants (No. 7) are holding steady after a narrow loss to the No. 2 San Francisco 49ers. Few teams have it going like Chicago, which has won four straight; the Bears have gained 13 spots since Week 6.
So which of the four has the most upside in the big picture? The Patriots have resided as high as No. 2, but a lot would have to happen for them to regain that lofty standing. The Cowboys have been out of the top 10 all season, but a favorable schedule could help them make headway over the next three weeks.
The Giants easily have the toughest remaining schedule of the bunch, and they've been battling the injury bug since training camp. Can they keep things together for a strong stretch run? Can the Bears stay stout on defense and continue to keep QB Jay Cutler clean in the pocket? Stay tuned.
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Editor's note: "LW" indicates each team's ranking in the Week 10 edition of the 2011 Power Rankings.