NFL Power Rankings - Week 14: Dangerous Bengals


NFL Power Rankings - Week 14: Dangerous Bengals

Each week throughout the regular season, we'll be rankingall 32 NFL teams.

Take a look and offer up your thoughts inthe comment box below or to us on Twitter @BearsTalkCSN.

Previousrankings: Week1 Week2 Week3 Week4 Week5 Week6 Week7 Week8 Week9 Week10 Week11 Week12 Week 13

SKJF Comments 1 SK: Despite injuries, Texans just keep getting it done.
JF: Schaub has the Texans in the playoffs, but how long can they last? 2 SK:Wasn't expecting that defensive performance against the Saints.
JF: Remained perfect at home with impressive defensive performance vs. Saints.
3 SK: Peyton Manning has the Broncos reliving their dominating days from the 90's.
JF: Continue to win in different ways as others find new ways to lose.
4 SK:Another AFC East title for the Patriots.
JF: Manning to Thomas is looking a lot like Manning to Harrison used to.
5 SK:Will Harbaugh go back to Smith this weekend?
JF: Held off the Vikings to pick up eighth win. Sitting in a really good spot.
6 SK: Losing Starks should hurt, but the Packers don't seem to be bothered by injuries.
JF: Tough loss to pesky Rams, but the Niners have to get back on the horse.
7 SK: Can't be considered elite if you lose to Charlie Batch at home.
JF: Should not have lost to the banged up Steelers. RG3 & red-hot 'Skins up next.
8 SK:Questions marks with the defense? Didn't see this coming three weeks ago.
JF: They are immune to losses right now.
9 SK: Another come-from-behind late game victory for Andrew Luck.
JF: Apparently they weren't as good as they appeared to be against the Packers.
10 SK: Could be the most dangerous team in the AFC if they reach the postseason.
JF: The Bengals defense is nothing to sneeze at. Telling game this week vs. Cowboys.
11 SK:Russell Wilson has made me a believer.
JF: Proved they can win with a little bit of offense and a whole lot of defense.
12 SK: RGIII, just wow. Can't say enough good things.
JF: Proved they can lose with a little bit of offense and a whole lot of defense.
13 SK:There has never been a team I've been more confused by.
JF: Don't look now, but the Redskins are clamoring for a playoff spot.
14 SK: Have the Buccaneers fallen back to earth?
JF: Inspired play from Charlie Batch was the difference against the Ravens.
15 SK:Who was that young gun at QB that led the Steelers to a victory?
JF: Led the Broncos at the half last week, but couldn't keep up in the second half.
16 SK:As must win as it gets in Cincinnati this weekend.
JF: Took the season series vs. 49ers, now need to improve against everyone else.
17 SK:Losing Harvin for the season hurts Vikings playoff' chances.
JF: Apparently they have a running back that no one can stop. Yet they still lose?
18 SK:Saints season looks to be bleak.
JF: Maybe Tannehill can get back on track in San Francisco. Nah, probably not.
19 SK: Will be a playoff team next season. Book it.
JF: Must-win game in Cincinnati for Cowboys.
20 SK:Beat the Jags, but who hasn't?
JF: Brees won't play as bad as he did in Atlanta the rest of his career.
21 SK:What has happened to their once promising season?
JF: Crushed the Jags and now try to keep slim playoff hopes alive vs. Rams.
22 SK: Greg McElroy, your table is ready.
JF: Continue to look brilliant at times on offense, but manage to foul it up at the end.
23 SK:Promising future. Could be a scary team to deal with down the stretch.
JF: Browns finally got a win on the road. Must beat KC this week at home.
24 SK: Situation still a mess in Detroit.
JF: One point better than the Cardinals.
25 SK: I'll say it again, Has Norv Turner been fired yet?
JF: One point worse than the Jets.
26 SK: Why do they have Jake Locker throwing so many passes?
JF: Will the Chargers win any of their remaining four games? Outlook not so good.
27 SK:Losing skid could hit nine this week.
JF: 45 passes from Locker in a 24-10 loss last week is a sign of what not to do.
SK:Could these be Ron Rivera's final three games as an NFL head coach?
JF: Brown is filling in nicely for McCoy, but the Eagles are DONE.
29 SK:Tim Tebow to Jacksonville in 2013? Hey, why not?
JF: I've soured on the Panthers rather quickly.
30 SK: Misery in Philly. At least Bryce Brown has been a bright spot.
JF: I guess we gave Chad Henne too much credit.
31 SK:Emotional victory for Kansas City. Good to see Brady Quinn getting a chance.
JF: KC gets a win and moves out of the basement.
32 SK:More than likely will have double-digit losses after Thursday's game against DEN.
JF:Home loss to Browns has the Raiders searching for answers.

Five Things from Blackhawks-Rangers: Duels and denied goals

Five Things from Blackhawks-Rangers: Duels and denied goals

There are a lot of similarities between the Blackhawks and the New York Rangers. Both have a nice record to start this season and both are getting through recent injuries as best they can.

And thanks to their goaltending, they had a pretty fun little battle on Friday night.

Antti Raanta edged Scott Darling as the Rangers took a 1-0 overtime victory over the Blackhawks on Friday. It was surprising that Raanta got the start, only because he had started for the Rangers on Thursday against Winnipeg. But he’s been hot, he’s good at the United Center in his career and obviously it was the right decision.

The Blackhawks are back at it on Sunday against another team going through its injury issues, the Dallas Stars. Before then, however, let’s look at the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ overtime loss to the Rangers.

1. A familiar goalie duel. Two seasons ago Scott Darling and Antti Raanta were fighting for the Blackhawks’ backup goaltending spot. So it seemed fitting that they face each other on Friday night. They didn’t disappoint. Each goaltender had his share of stellar stops, many coming in the second period as each team looked for an edge. Raanta got the victory, running his record at the United Center to 15-0-3. The two had a quick, good-natured talk at the end of the game. “It was all friendly,” Darling said. “We were just saying, ‘good job’ and we’re happy for one another.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

2. Kane alright. Patrick Kane got the concussion protocol call in the second period a few moments after he was hit into the glass by Nick Holden. After Kane was called for high-sticking he was sent to the locker room, returning as the Blackhawks went on their first power play of the night at 17:28 of the second period.

3. The Rangers’ successful challenge. Just when you thought the Blackhawks were taking a 1-0 lead the third period (Marian Hossa), the Rangers challenged for offside. They won, nullifying Hossa’s attempt at his 15th goal of the season. Hossa was disappointed, and is frustrated at how some of the rule changes are taking away goals when the league is trying to increase scoring. Coach Joel Quenneville, when asked if he’d like the rule changed if he could, laughed. “Right now? Sure.”

4. A better all-around game. We may be harping on the Blackhawks’ injury situation but when you’re missing three key guys (Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford) it’s going to alter your game. But the Blackhawks played a strong all-around game against the Rangers and had some good scoring chances. All things considered, and against a very good Rangers team, Quenneville liked what he saw. “We know they’re a dangerous team off the rush, a lot of guys can make plays, a ton of speed. You have to respect that in ways and they check well in their own end,” Quenneville said. “I thought we did some good things. I think on the rush game we did a good job of taking away that danger.”

5. When will the Blackhawks return to health? Yeah, we’re looking ahead a little bit on this one, and we may have a clearer picture by Saturday morning. If Toews and Seabrook are skating and come out of the session well, there’s a chance they could play on Sunday. The Blackhawks have done alright despite the injuries. But you have to wonder when they start feeling a bit depleted.

Rangers win riveting goaltending duel over Blackhawks in overtime

Rangers win riveting goaltending duel over Blackhawks in overtime

When Scott Darling and Antti Raanta vied for the Blackhawks’ backup goaltending job two seasons ago, there was definitely a strong competition. But it was still one built on respect.

“We had no bad blood in that situation,” Darling said on Friday. “We’ve remained friends. He’s having a great season and I’m happy for him.”

On this night, Raanta may have been just a bit happier.

Raanta stopped all 26 shots he saw against his former team, notching his first shutout of this season, and Nick Holden gave the New York Rangers a 1-0 overtime victory over the Blackhawks on Friday night. The Blackhawks are 1-2-1 in their last four games but remain atop the Western Conference with 38 points.

The Blackhawks were missing Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford in this one. Nevertheless, it was a tight game, one in which both goaltenders were stellar. Darling stopped 36 of 37 shots – Holden’s overtime winner was the first goaltender allowed to New York in two games against them.

Considering the players missing, the Blackhawks will take the point.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“With or without Toews, you’re always thinking when it’s in the third period and it’s close and getting inside 10 minutes, let’s get it to overtime,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’ve seen a ton of overtimes in the league. You gotta get the one point. We’ve had some success trying to get the extra one. Tonight, not, but that’s got to be the mindset.”

The Blackhawks were close to taking the 1-0 lead six minutes into the third period, when Marian Hossa thought he scored his 15th goal of the season. But the Rangers challenged for offside. Upon further review, the goal was nullified.

“Well, obviously that’s a tough one,” Hossa said. “I mean, I didn’t notice it was close to offside but obviously with today’s technology, with this new rule, it’s a game of inches. It’s slowing the game down, I think. You’re getting confused, what exactly the coaches are looking for. They created this new rule and we just have to deal with it. But sometimes it’s more frustrating because the league wants to increase the scoring and right now, I think more goals are disallowed because of this.”

Hartman, who had the pass to Hossa, was also disappointed but agreed with the review’s ruling.

“You get your excitement up a little bit and you try not to get too ahead of yourself when you know they are reviewing it. You just try to see it as both ways, if they do call it a goal, if they call it back,” Hartman said. “Obviously it was the right call. It was just a tough one.”

The Blackhawks will take the point out of this one. Despite the players they were without they played a solid game. They had good, quality scoring chances. Their current backup was just slightly bested by their previous one.

“Both [goalies] were great, both [teams] had excellent looks at the net,” Quenneville said. “We missed some good opportunities on 2-on-1s and they had some good looks around Darling as well. Both guys got their teams to overtime, got a point. It’s a good point if you want to look at it like that. I didn’t mind the way we played but Darls was excellent.”