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NFL Power Rankings: Giants, Stillers fall; Jets, Packers rise

Indy and New Orleans stay unbeaten. The Chargers stay hot. The Vikings regain their edge.

And so much more as the NFL continues the stretch run to the playoffs. A look at the latest Power Rankings to sort it all out:

1. Colts (13-0) (1): Colts wrap up homefield advantage through the AFC playoffs. Now the question is: Will rookie coach Jim Caldwell begin to rest his starters in advance of the playoffs? He says he’ll go with “healthy” players. Then again, the Colts had 29 players on this week’s injury report. We’ll find out soon enough. Colts at Jags on Thursday night.

2. Saints (13-0) (2):
Saints appear more intent on going for the unbeaten season. They come off a narrow road win against the pesky Falcons and now host reeling Dallas.

3. Chargers (10-3) (3): That’s eight straight for the Bolts, who dispatched the Cowboys in Big D.

4. Vikings (11-2) (4): Nice bounce-back effort at home against the Bengals, as Brett Favre & Co. rebound from last week’s clunker in Arizona.

5. Eagles (9-4) (5): Iggles win shootout at Giants Stadium to take command in the NFC East.

6. Packers (9-4) (8): Two of Pack’s losses this season to Favre’s Vikings. Will there be a third showdown in the playoffs?

7. Bengals (9-4) (7): Bengals still in contention for No. 2 seed, but Sunday’s loss in Minnesota didn’t help.

8. Broncos (8-5) (9): Broncos can’t knock off unbeaten Colts, but they get awful Oakland at home for what should be a bounce-back win and a stranglehold on an AFC wild card spot.

9. Patriots (8-5) (12): Plenty of drama in New England with “Lategate,” questions about Randy Moss’ game-day demeanor and a narrow home win over the Panthers.

10. Cardinals (8-5) 6): A week after putting it to the Vikings, the Cardinals come up small in San Francisco and can’t close out the NFC West. Seven turnovers. Yikes.

11. Jets (7-6) (16): They’re still hanging on in the wild card race after three straight wins. Defense looks terrific. Running game, too. Only issue is whether Mark Sanchez ready to return from knee injury.

12. Cowboys (8-5) (11): Another December fade in Big D? Cowboys do their part to keep the issue alive with two straight December losses. And with a road game in New Orleans on Saturday, can a third be far behind?

13. Dolphins (7-6) (15): They don’t win pretty, but they do win. A huge one over Jacksonville to stay in the hunt in the AFC East and the wild card race.

14. Titans (6-7) (14): Playoff hopes almost gone, but Titans remain one of hottest NFL teams. They make it six wins in last seven weeks by romping at home over hapless Rams.

15. Giants (7-6) (10): Defense continues its collapse against the Iggles in 45-38 loss. Tom Coughlin says he’s still standing by embattled defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan.

16. Ravens (7-6) (17): Here’s what will cure all that ails you: playing the Lions at home. Ravens romp. Up next: Da Bears at home.

17. Jaguars (7-6) (13): Jags come up small at home against Dolphins. Now it’s the Colts at home on Thursday. If Indy begins to rest starters, there’s a chance.

18. 49ers (6-7) (21): Niners put together superior defensive effort against Cardinals at home, postponing ‘Zona’s NFC West title clinching. A two-game lead with three weeks left too much for 49ers to overcome.

19. Texans (6-7) (22):

Houston pours it on against Seahawks at home. Too little, too late.

20. Steelers (6-7) (18): Stillers had awful weekend off thinking about that brutal performance in Cleveland. Now it’s Green Bay at home.

21. Falcons (6-7) (19): Falcons at least make it close against Saints without QB Matt Ryan and RB Michael Turner.

22. Redskins (4-9) (26): Skins still playing hard for lame duck head coach Jim Zorn. Now they get a chance to play spoiler against the Giants and after that the Cowboys.

23. Panthers (5-8) (20): Could be John Fox’s final days in Carolina.

24. Bills (5-8) (27): Bills intercept Matt Cassel four times on way to road win at KC.

25. Bears (5-8) (24): Bears fans were hoping the stretch run would mean something with Jay Cutler in town. Unfortunately, they’re just playing out the string.

26. Raiders (4-9) (23): With Bruce Gradkowski likely down with injuries to both knees, Tom Cable won’t commit to JaMarcus Russell. That’s right. Charlie Frye might get the start over the player they now call JaCarcus on Sunday in Denver.

27. Seahawks (5-8) (25): Seahawks still don’t know the direction of the team without the next general manager in place.

28. Browns (2-11) (31): Fresh off a Super Bowl victory – otherwise known as a Week 14 win over the Stillers at home – Browns are at woeful Chiefs on Sunday.

29. Chiefs (3-10) (28): The nightmare rookie season of Todd Haley is almost over.

30. Lions (2-11) (29): Ditto for Jim Schwartz.

31. Buccaneers (1-12) (30): Ditto for Raheem Morris.

32. Rams (1-12) (32): Ditto for Steve Spagnuolo.



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