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An exact replica of Tim Tebow's throwing motion.

The majority of power rankings out there have the Broncos, Texans, Patriots, Falcons, Packers, and 49ers in their top six. Each conference appears to have three elite teams, and one can justifiably rank them in just about any order.

Brian Burke has Denver first, San Francisco second, and Houston third (although his algorithm leaves the Patriots batting in the nine hole). Football Outsiders puts the 49ers first, followed by the Patriots and Broncos (and his algorithm has Atlanta down at #12). I don’t see much room separating any of those teams, although I’d probably rank them Houston, Denver, San Francisco, Green Bay, New England, Atlanta, if forced to choose. But power rankings at this stage of the game (like every other week!) are meaningless; all six teams will make the playoffs, where their true legacies will be formed.

[As always, the number of wins I’m projecting each team to finish the season with is in column 3. The fourth column – PWIN – shows how many wins I projected last week, and the difference column represents how many wins I added or subtracted this week. The “RSOS” column stands for the remaining SOS for the team, based on the number of projected wins I’m giving to each of their opponents. The “RHG” column stands for remaining home games.]

Happy Thanksgiving to all the readers out there. Check back at noon EST for some Turkey Day trivia.

Houston Texans9-1131300.5212Sure, it was against Jacksonville, but still good to see Houston win when the game doesn't go according to script.
Atlanta Falcons9-1131300.5003Well I'm certainly not going to bump Atlanta after that game.
Denver Broncos7-3131300.3543I can't project more than 13 wins for Denver, right?
San Francisco 49ers7-2-111.510.510.4842Considering the opponent, I'm not sure I've seen a better offensive performance all year. Alex Smith may have been Wally Pipped
New England Patriots7-3111100.4843Patriots look fantastic, but a difficult remaining schedule makes it hard to project a 5-1 finish.
Green Bay Packers7-3111100.5003I'm now projecting the Packers to win the NFC North without the need for a tiebreaker. Nate Silver, watch out.
Baltimore Ravens8-2111100.5423According to Football Outsiders, Baltimore has the best special teams since 1991 through 10 weeks. Schatz tweeted that Baltimore's the 16th best team based on just offense and defense.
Chicago Bears7-31011-10.5003In what has become a November ritual, Jay Cutler's agent is getting very excited, because we are seeing just how much the Bears need him. Although no quarterback could have succeeded against San Francisco.
Pittsburgh Steelers6-4910-10.4383An easy schedule should be the saving grace, but hard to ignore that the glaring quarterback issues here.
New York Giants6-49900.5833The lead in the NFC East is getting smaller; the Giants' margin for error is razor thin right now.
Seattle Seahawks6-49900.4793If the passing game can click, Seahawks should cruise to a playoff berth.
Indianapolis Colts6-49900.5003Rude awakening, but the Colts don't need to be all that good to make the playoffs.
Dallas Cowboys5-59900.4694Survive and advance against Cleveland. Matchup against Robert Griffin III should be fantastic.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers6-49900.6093I really like the direction Tampa Bay is going. Unfortunately, they have a difficult schedule and will lose a tiebreaker to both the Giants and Cowboys.
New Orleans Saints5-59810.5993Saints fans may want to start calculating tiebreaker scenarios with the Giants, Cowboys and Seahawks.
Cincinnati Bengals5-58800.4793Everything about this team screams 8-8. Although with A.J. Green and Geno Atkins, they have a couple of potential All-Pros.
Minnesota Vikings6-48710.6302They had a very good bye week, which consisted of watching the Bears -- their opponent in two of the next three weeks -- look like the Chiefs.
Miami Dolphins4-668-20.5474A few weeks ago, this was the 4th best team in the conference. Now they're the 4th best team in a terrible division. What happened?
Tennessee Titans4-67700.4793On again, off again, Chris Johnson did zilch last week.
Washington Redskins4-67610.4903Robert Griffin III looked outstanding off of a bye week. Washington just needs to keep him healthy.
New York Jets4-67610.4173Jets looked good against the Rams; do they blow all that goodwill tonight?
Buffalo Bills4-67610.4114If Buffalo can upset Indianapolis, realistic to think the #6 seed is in play for them with three straight workable home games on deck.
San Diego Chargers4-66600.4904Norv Turner and Philip Rivers should thank the Jets and the Eagles for taking attention away from how far they've fallen.
Detroit Lions4-66600.6464Lions' season effectively over, as it is most years by Thanksgiving.
Carolina Panthers2-86600.4272As bad as they've looked, three games against the bottom of the AFC West and Philadelphia should help. Burke still says they're better than we think.
Arizona Cardinals4-66600.5103At this point, even I feel bad making fun of the Cardinals.
Oakland Raiders3-76600.4063Underachieving and injured, this Raiders team looks like just about every other Oakland team over the last decade. An easy schedule will help.
St. Louis Rams3-6-15.56.5-10.5262When you get blown out, at home, by a team that spent the whole week forgetting they have a game, you move down in the rankings.
Philadelphia Eagles3-75500.5003Eagles are reminding me of the 2011 Bucs -- they appear to be in full-fledged quit mode.
Cleveland Browns2-84400.4793Browns will play hard, but still lack the talent to do much. Interesting rivalry game this week against a banged up Steelers team.
Jacksonville Jaguars1-93300.4693I don't think Chad Henne is the answer, but his performance is a sign that Blaine Gabbert isn't, either.
Kansas City Chiefs1-923-10.5313Matt Barkley was hurt last weekend, but Chiefs fans weren't happy about that injury to a USC quarterback.
  • George

    Happy thanksgiving to everyone. On the subject of ranking systems I am now effectively running 4 (Least Squares – Winston style, Weighted Least Squares, Massey 1997 Thesis style, Colley in a Massey style sense – e.g. points instead of wins to generate a rating) and then averaging these out when making predictions (e.g. taking the average % chance to cover). Not using capping in any of them so points scored is creating a bias (disappointingly).

    In terms of who is top of each (all essentially hindsight predictions);

    Least Squares: San Francisco, New England (clearly with a gap to), Denver
    Weighted Least Squares: Houston, Denver, Chicago
    Massey 97 style: San Francisco, New England (clearly with a gap to), Denver
    Colley style but with points: San Francisco, New England (clearly with a gap to), Denver

    Re: the weighted results the maths seems to go heavily against some of the odd blips/losses San Francisco has had where they lag a distant 6th.

    Things that the ratings/spreadsheets liked for week 12 (one of which would have already resulted in a tie disappointingly);
    Denver (-10.5) 86.4% chance of covering
    New England (-6.5) 76.2% chance of covering
    Seattle (-3.0) 73.1% chance of covering
    Houston (-3.0) 72.3% chance of covering

    One of the things I liked about the above is essentially in the case of the New England and Houston games you have maths against other factors (e.g. the effects of traveling on a short week) and so far the other factors are 1-0.