by Robert Ferringo - 11/25/2005
Let me just say that Thanksgiving is the most underrated holiday there is. The whole family gets together, you eat great food, football is front and center, and then you get blasted that night because you have three days to sleep it off. Next to Arbor Day and Play God Day (Jan. 9) it's the top holiday there is. My question is why do we only do this once a year? Shouldn't this be like a once a month thing?
Chicago at Tampa Bay, Sunday at 1 p.m.
How low can the total go? I know that Tampa Bay has scored 66 points and surrendered 62 over its last two contests against two solid defenses. However, Chris Simms will be no match for the Bears defense, and Tampa Bay should take advantage of the Bears' rookie quarterback on the road.
New England at Kansas City, Sunday at 1 p.m.
Each of these clubs is clinging to playoff hope. Kansas City still dominates in Arrowhead (outscoring opponents 113-88 at home this year, 21-7 straight up since 2002). With the exception of the Pittsburgh game, New England has been dicey on the road (3-2). Kansas City is 6-2 against the number in its last eight versus New England.
N.Y. Giants at Seattle, Sunday at 4:15 p.m.
There should be about 70 points tallied in the Great Northwest this weekend. Be wary though, a lot of points were anticipated in the Seahawks meeting with Dallas earlier in the year but that ended at 13-10. Seattle is 9-4 against the number in its last 13 at home.
Pittsburgh at Indianapolis, Monday at 9 p.m.
It's all about Big Ben. If Roethlisberger is healthy, I firmly believe that Pittsburgh is the team that could unseat Indianapolis. The Steelers have a similar makeup to the Patriots clubs that have given Peyton and the Boys fits.
That being said, Indianapolis is way too fast on turf. If The Colts do manage to win this game, it will virtually assure them of home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Given their schedule, I could see them losing two games - maybe three - but they'll have such a lead on Denver that they won't be caught.
Without further ado, my Week 12 Power Rankings:
1) Indianapolis (10-0) - The Colts are 18-1 in their last 19 regular season games. That one loss was the final game of 2004, and Manning and Edge played about 30 seconds.
2) Denver (8-2) - The Broncos have now scored more than 20 points in 10 consecutive games. They're yielding only 16 per game in that stretch.
3) Seattle (8-2) - I don't think that having the division clinched this early will be good for this team. However, Holmgren needs to keep them focused on home-field advantage.
4) Pittsburgh (7-3) - With Ben Roethlisberger this is the second best team in the NFL. With Tommy Maddox they're about 16th.
5) Dallas (7-3) - The Cowboys are now (23-13-1) SU on Thanksgiving.
6) Chicago (7-3) - Opponents 18 percent TD conversion rate in the red zone is impressive. But the fact that the Bears only let teams inside their 20 a total of 22 times through 11 weeks is ridiculous.
7) Carolina (7-3) - Coach John Fox is just 6-14 against teams with winning records.
8) Jacksonville (7-3) - The Jags are just biding their time until the rematch with Indianapolis in Week 14.
9) Cincinnati (7-3) - Why are the Bengals getting credit for their loss to Indy? They were shredded by Manning and Co., and still haven't beaten any decent AFC teams.
10) San Diego (6-4) - The Antonio Gates Situation is a tremendous kink in the Chargers offense because none of the young receivers have proven themselves reliable.
11) New York Giants (7-3) - Enough of Brandon Jacobs already. He's only converting 50 percent of his short yardage runs into first downs.
12) Tampa Bay (7-3) - Their linebackers aren't reacting to misdirection - counters, play-action, etc. - like they used to. I don't know why, but they've looked confused these past two games.
13) Atlanta (6-4) - Right now that 3-3 record against the NFC is a huge anchor. That's the first playoff tiebreaker if they finish even with Dallas or New York (each 6-4).
14) New England (6-4) - The Pats secondary has yielded 321, 360, and 343 yards passing over the last three weeks.
15) Kansas City (6-4) - This game against New England is a Must.
16) Washington (5-5) - Gibbs going to need serious damage control. They've lost two straight and five of their last seven.
17) Philadelphia (4-6) - The arbiter's ruling in the Owens case may be one of the only victories this organization celebrates for awhile.
18) Oakland (4-6) - Did you catch any of that ESPN interview with Randy Moss last week? He didn't exactly give a ringing endorsement for Norv Turner.
19) St. Louis (4-6) - This team can't decide if they want to fight each other, or their opponents.
20) Buffalo (4-6) - This isn't a very tough team to figure out. 4-1 at home, 0-5 on the road.
21) Minnesota (4-5) - The best thing about having Brad Johnson is that it forces the team to be a methodical, running-oriented ball club.
22) Detroit (4-6) - The question is, do they blow up the team after this season - dumping Mariucci, Millen, and Harrington - or give them one more shot.
23) Baltimore (3-7) - The fans have weighed in on the Jamal Lewis/Chester Taylor debate, and it wasn't even close. I expect a huge letdown from these guys this week.
24) Cleveland (4-6) - Trent Dilfer is unhappy with splitting snaps with Charlie Frye. However, that's the correct move for the franchise.
25) Green Bay (2-7) - Green Bay has lost its eight games by an average of four points.
26) Miami (3-7) - The combined passer rating of their quarterbacks is around 60.
27) Arizona (3-7) - Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald have combined for 1,679 passing yards. That's more than Atlanta, the Jets, Buffalo, Chicago, Houston and San Francisco have for the season.
28) New Orleans (2-8) - They're game against the Jets may be the worst Sunday Night Football game ever.
29) New York Jets (2-8) - Just remember that Ty Law could've gone anywhere he wanted.
30) Tennessee (2-8) - I hate to see Steve McNair go out like this.
31) San Francisco (2-8) - These guys are playing extremely hard for Mike Nolan.
32) Houston (1-9) - What? The Texans? Yeah, they still suck.
Questions or comments for Robert? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out his Insider Page here.
The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of Doc's football picks service.