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11-23-2004, 03:43 PM
Power Rankings: A few of our Favre-orite things
By Pete Prisco
SportsLine.com Senior Writer
Tell Pete your opinion!

Updated Nov. 23, 2004

Things to love:

The first bite of a good slice of real New York pizza; the kind you can fold up to eat as you watch the grease drip onto the plate.
An iced-up beer while sitting on a float under a hot sun in the tropics somewhere (preferably Aruba).
Brett Favre with the football in his hands in the final two minutes.
Favre did it again, against the Texans, performing his two-minute mastery in leading Green Bay to a 16-13 come-from-behind victory that has the Packers as hot as the Aruba sun.


LB James Farrior helps the Steelers defense control games. (AP)
The Packers have won five consecutive games, putting their 1-4 start way, way behind. Green Bay is tied with Minnesota at 6-4 in the NFC North, which also means they are tied for the third-best record in the NFC behind Philadelphia (9-1) and Atlanta (8-2).

Wasn't it only five weeks ago this team was dead and buried? Now they're creeping up the SportsLine.com Power Rankings, cracking the top 10 this week.

Lesson to learn: With Favre around, you can never count out this team. We have come to expect that. What really should stand out to those who must face Green Bay is how the Packers' defense limited the Texans to 58 yards of total offense and no points in the second half.

How far will the Packers go this season?
Miss the playoffs
First round and done
NFC title game
On their way to Jacksonville

With the return of Grady Jackson at tackle and end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila coming to life, the Packers look to be improving on that side of the ball, too.

Shootouts were the norm for Green Bay for much of this season. Seeing a game played in the teens has to make the Packers happy.

Over the next two weeks, Green Bay and Baltimore, which is at No. 8 this week, are two teams that will each get a chance to show how dangerous they can truly be.

Baltimore plays at New England this Sunday, while the Packers travel to Philadelphia in a week to play the Eagles in hopes of trying to make amends for that gut-wrenching loss in last year's playoffs.


That says it all.

I'll be covering that Eagles-Packers game next week, which will provide the chance for another thing I love: a great Philly cheese steak.

Now all I need is help in deciding whether it should be Pat's or Geno's.

The Power Rankings through Week 11:

Current Team Previous
1 Pittsburgh Steelers 1
Their formula of running it and stopping the run is carrying this team. They're back to the old Steelers ways.
2 New England Patriots 2
There is no letup in this team, despite all their injuries in the secondary. They keep on rolling.
3 Philadelphia Eagles 3
Aside from a game with Green Bay next week, the schedule is really favorable. The NFC playoffs probably are going through Philly again.
4 Atlanta Falcons 4
At 8-2, they have a lock on their division. But that isn't enough for this group, which seems to be coming together on offense at the right time.
5 Indianapolis Colts 5
Watch out for the defense. It is getting better. As long as they can play with the lead, the defense will make plays.
6 Denver Broncos 7
They have a huge one in a week against San Diego, but they can't look past Oakland. Or can they?
7 San Diego Chargers 8
Watch out for the Chiefs. Anytime a team goes to Arrowhead, it better be ready for a fight.
8 Baltimore Ravens 9
This is a team coming on strong, thanks to Kyle Boller; can make a real statement with a victory at New England.
9 New York Jets 10
Still in the thick of the playoff hunt with that ugly victory at Cleveland. At least they didn't botch the clock management this time.
10 Green Bay Packers 11
Five weeks ago, they looked like they were going nowhere. Now they're a legit threat to the Eagles in the NFC.
11 Jacksonville Jaguars 6
That was a major choke losing at home to a crippled Titans team. The playoffs might be lost because of that slip-up.
12 Minnesota Vikings 14
Playing without Randy Moss is taking a toll on this team. At least they fought through it against the Lions with a much-needed victory.
13 St. Louis Rams 12
There is no way this is a team that has a playoff look. If they don't get going, they won't be.
14 Seattle Seahawks 15
If they had blown that game to the Dolphins, the Holmgren Haters would have come out in force. As it is, are they really that good?
15 New York Giants 13
Eli Manning did OK in his first start, but 10 points isn't going to win a lot of games.
16 Tennessee Titans 20
They fight and scrap better than any team in the league. They are dangerous for any team the rest of the way.
17 Kansas City Chiefs 23
At 3-7, the playoffs are done. That makes them one of the biggest -- if not biggest -- disappointments of the season.
18 Chicago Bears 16
They're learning that a defense can only go so far, and even it didn't play well against the Colts.
19 Detroit Lions 17
It may be time to yank Joey Harrington, just in time for Thanksgiving.
20 Houston Texans 19
They're playing better, which is good enough for this season, but they better win in 2005.
21 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 22
What Jon Gruden has done with this offense is masterful. Making Brian Griese a legit passing threat is amazing.
22 Buffalo Bills 25
This is a team to watch closely for 2005 if they can improve the offensive line play a bit.
23 Carolina Panthers 30
Playoff hopes aren't dead yet, which is a tribute to this staff.
24 Arizona Cardinals 21
Why is it that this team starts feeling good about itself and then has a game like it had against the Panthers? That's the Cardinals way.
25 Cincinnati Bengals 24
They battled the Steelers all day, which is a good sign for the future. They're a year away.
26 New Orleans Saints 18
The owner ripped the team, and rightfully so. That was awful against the Broncos.
27 Washington Redskins 26
The defense can do only so much. Joe Gibbs isn't the offensive wizard we thought, is he?
28 Cleveland Browns 27
Bye-bye, Butch? It's starting to look that way.
29 Dallas Cowboys 28
Look for many of the younger players to start playing more and more down the stretch. It's time to get ready for 2005.
30 Oakland Raiders 29
The Raiders seemed to put a lot into beating the Chargers. Now that it's gone, look for them to take the rest of the season off -- like many of the previous Sundays.
31 San Francisco 49ers 31
What happened to this young team making strides as the season moved along? It's going in the opposite direction.
32 Miami Dolphins 32
The Jim Bates era started out just like the Dave Wannstedt era ended -- with a loss. At least they haven't quit.