Comedian Louis C.K. once famously explained how he eats: "I don't eat until I'm full; I eat until I hate myself." I'm pretty sure that the majority of America ate a lot like Louis C.K. over Thanksgiving weekend--I know I sure did.
While we all stuffed ourselves with food, we were also able to overload our proverbial plates with some Week 12 NFL football. We saw a few hot streaks extinguished by superior teams. We saw some teams take command of their playoff scenarios while others wilted back towards the pack. And we saw the ongoing precipitous downfall of teams like the Jets, Chiefs, Eagles, and Raiders. There was a little bit of everything to snack on--just like the leftovers in our refrigerators.
With five weeks left in the regular season, which teams are still the most stuffed with talent...and which teams just hate themselves?
As always, we list our power rankings with each team's record followed by how their ranking changed compared to last week.
- Falcons (10-1, +1): Atlanta escaped by the skin of their teeth yet again, but beating one of the NFL's hottest teams on the road is no small task.
- Texans (10-1, -1): It took nearly ten quarters for Houston to beat teams with a combined record of 6-16. They're still coasting to a first round bye, but what has happened to the vaunted Wade Phillips defense the past couple weeks?
- 49ers (8-2-1, NC): Just like the Falcons, San Francisco put an end to a winning streak on the road. The dynamic play of Colin Kaepernick combined with their incredible defense makes this team a scary foe in January.
- Patriots (8-3, NC): There's nothing like a good old-fashioned Patriot butt kicking. They run up the score like a 14 year old that has been playing Madden 13 for way too long.
- Broncos (8-3, +1): Denver brought their "C" game to Kansas City and still coasted. Absolutely nobody wants to see this team in the playoffs with how they're playing on both sides of the ball.
- Ravens (9-2, -1): It took a 4th and 29 miracle to put San Diego out of their misery. They haven't looked like an elite team for months, yet they keep on winning.
- Giants (7-4, +2): Classic Giants. Just when you think they're struggling, they put a hurting on a team and remind everyone that they're the defending champs.
- Bears (8-3, NC): Chicago's blowout win over Minnesota was costly thanks to six injuries to key players. It pains me to say it, but Jay Cutler simply makes this team better. His quick throws into small windows can make his offensive line actually look passable.
- Packers (7-4, -2): You can't win when you can't keep your quarterback upright. Green Bay needs to block and scheme better if they want to hang with the league's best.
- Colts (7-4, +3): If the playoffs started today, Andrew Luck would visit Peyton Manning in the Wild Card round. That might garner some national attention.
- Buccaneers (6-5, NC): Tough loss for the Bucs. Their schedule isn't doing them any favors down the stretch either. Tampa heads to Denver, New Orleans, and Atlanta for their last three road games.
- Seahawks (6-5, -2): Hey Seattle: winning all your home games and losing all your road games probably won't get you in the playoffs.
- Bengals (6-5, +4): Don't look now, but Cincy has won three straight by a total of 64 points. They're going to have a say in the AFC postseason picture after all.
- Steelers (6-5, -2): It's pretty tough to win when you have to count your team's turnovers on two hands. It's also pretty tough to win in Baltimore next week with your third string quarterback.
- Redskins (5-6, +3): Last week I said that Washington was too beat up to seriously contend for the postseason. It seemed pretty logical. I forgot that Robert Griffin III defies all logic.
- Vikings (6-5, -2): Chicago is an absolute house of horrors for the Vikes. They've won only once at Soldier Field since 2000. But wait, it gets worse--they travel to Green Bay next week.
- Saints (5-6, -2): The loss to San Francisco might mean that their recent surge was too little too late. Their next three games: at Falcons, at Giants, home for Buccaneers. One loss puts them behind the 8 ball; two losses put them at home for the playoffs.
- Cowboys (5-6, -2): This team is more interesting when they lose because it's pretty obvious that they aren't good enough to win with any consistency.
- Dolphins (5-6, +4): I've given up on trying to figure this team out. Are they decent? Mediocre? Bad? I guess it differs from week to week.
- Lions (4-7, -1): Was Thursday's game the most "Lions" game ever? It had just about every ingredient of a classic Detroit loss. It was Thanksgiving. It featured a bad call that went against them. It was a high scoring game that ended in heartbreak. Yep, I think that about covers it.
- Bills (4-7, +1): It's a lost season, but at least Buffalo still appears to be playing hard. It's more than I can say about most of the teams after them on this list.
- Rams (4-6-1, +3): If only they could play Arizona every week. Steven Jackson is enjoying quite a renaissance in the past couple weeks, which is nice.
- Titans (4-7, -2): It's not a good year for football in Tennessee. The Titans and Volunteers have a combined record of 9-14.
- Jets (4-7, -4): They made their fan mascot retire. It would be sad if it wasn't so damn funny.
- Chargers (4-7, -1): FOURTH. AND. TWENTY. FREAKING. NINE. Wow.
- Panthers (3-8, +4): They finally looked good on Monday night! But then again, it was against Philadelphia, so it doesn't really count.
- Browns (3-8, +2): Forcing eight turnovers is amazing. Needing a late TD to win a game where you forced eight turnovers? Not as amazing.
- Cardinals (4-7, -2): Ryan Lindley threw for 312 yards in his first NFL start. He also threw two touchdowns--to the Rams.
- Jaguars (2-9, +2): Chad Henne to Justin Blackmon has looked pretty impressive in Jacksonville the past couple weeks. But I suppose anything will look pretty impressive after Blaine Gabbert.
- Raiders (3-8, -2): Oakland should just forfeit all their eastern time zone early games. It'll save them money and embarrassment.
- Eagles (3-8, -4): I didn't think it was possible, but the Eagles out-Eagled themselves on Monday. I'm simply in awe of their ineptitude.
- Chiefs (1-10, NC): The last time Kansas City scored more than one touchdown in a game: Week 4. I simply expect their ineptitude.