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NFL Power Rankings - Week 12: Green Bay rising

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NFL Power Rankings - Week 12: Green Bay rising

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

SK JF Comments 1SK: Got caught looking past Jaguars,but Schaub saved the day.
JF: Almost suffered embarrassing home loss to Jags, but held them off. 2 SK:When it's all said and done, Packers may be the best team in the NFC.
JF: Ryan looked like a Cardinals QB last week (5 INT) in narrow win over Arizona.
3 SK: Still don't know how ATL is 9-1?Somehow just keep squeaking by BAD opponents.
JF: Anyone else get the feeling Rodgers is just getting started?
4 SK: Total beatdown of the Bears.Kaepernick should be the guy from here on out.
JF: Very impressive beat down of Bears on MNF.
5 SK:Losing McGahee hurts, but Broncos have a favorable schedule down thestretch.
JF: They don't win pretty, but they do keep on winning.
6 SK:Are they ever going to lose a game in the AFC North?
JF: This is just the way Elway and the Broncos had hoped the Manning project would go.
7 SK: Lose Gronk, but get A-Aron back.Not a bad position to be in.
JF: When you score 59 points you win most games. Losing Gronk will hurt.
8 SK:O-Line is in shambles after massacre by the bay. Cutler or not, theline can't block.
JF: Monday's loss was a nightmare for the Bears. Need Cutler back fast.
9 SK: Can't take fading Dolphinslightly.
JF: Coming off a BYE week the Seahawks are hungry and they're gonna eat.
10 SK: Freeman has saved his starting joband has Bucs squarely in the playoff picture.
JF: Statement game in Chicago this weekend for the Vikings.
11 SK:Not the opponent (Green Bay) you want to see coming off the bye week.
JF: It's time for Manning to snap back to reality and become Eli-te again.
12 SK:Showdown looming with the 49ers on Sunday.
JF: The Bucs can't be stopped of late, but that may change vs. Falcons.
13 SK:Charlie Batch, step right up. You're the contestant on the SteelersQB carousel.
JF: Home dominance will come to an end against the 49ers.
14 SK:Rough loss in New England. Still right there in the playoff mixthough.
JF: Should move above .500 vs. the Raiders this week.
15 SK:Could vault past the Bears in NFC North with a win at Soldier Field.
JF: Lost a little luster with blowout loss in New England.
16 SK:Don't look now. The Bengals seem to have found their mojo again.
JF: Still have a good team, but without Big Ben they are mediocre.
17 SK:Squeaked by the Browns, but a win is a win.
JF: Can make a statement with a home over Redskins on Turkey Day.
18 SK:Is RGIII even from this planet? He's doing un-human things right now.
JF: Must-win game at home vs. Rams.
19 SK:The Lions mess if a season continues after not being to put Green Bayaway.
JF: RG3 and the 'Skins will have yet another tough test in Dallas.
20 SK:Losers of five out of their last six and it doesn't get any easierwith Baltimore on tap.
JF: Really at a crossroads. Important week for the Lions.
21 SK: Losing skid has hit three foreverybody's early season surprise team.
JF: Things have really turned sour in St. Louis.
22 SK: Rejoice! TheBills have finally notched a November victory.
JF: Did you expect them to be higher? Not after last week.
23 SK: Need consistency down the stretch.Never know what you'll get each week from Titans.
JF: Narrow defeat to Dallas had to hurt.
24 SK:Ended losing streak, but Jets are nowhere near where Rex Ryanenvisioned them.
JF: Looking to pick up steam late. Spiller ready to carry the load.
25 SK:Blew a big lead in Atlanta. Time to see what Cardinals have in RyanLindley.
JF: This Dolphin tale won't have a happy ending.
26 SK: Sorry Eaglesfans, but it doesn't look like Andy Reid is quitting anytime soon.
JF: Must build off of road win in St. Louis and get on a roll.
27 SK:No positives to take from Sunday's loss to the Jets.
JF: No room for a letdown against Jacksonville.
28
SK:It's looking more and more like Ron Rivera may not be back inCarolina next season.
JF: So many talented players, so few wins.
29 SK:So close, but yet so far. I still believe they are better than theirrecord indicates.
JF: Had Tampa Bay beat, but they let them off the hook.
30 SK:Maybe they shouldn't have mortgaged the future on CarsonPalmer.
JF: Proved they're a different team when Henne is under center.
31 SK:Better team with Henne. Gabbert could be searching for a new job inthe offseason.
JF: Not good when you get passed up by Jacksonville in the Power Rankings.
32 SK:There isn't one good thing you can say about the current state of theChiefs right now.
JF: A pair field goals last week was enough to send K.C. to the cellar.

Nerds in Sports Podcast: Being a 'professional nerd' and Star Wars theories about Rey's parents

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Nerds in Sports Podcast: Being a 'professional nerd' and Star Wars theories about Rey's parents

On this edition of Nerds in Sports, we talk with io9.com senior editor Rob Bricken.

Rob explains how he juggles being a fan with being a ‘professional’ nerd, how he came to run io9.com, plus his theory on why Rey’s parents are in Star Wars may shock you.

Kevin Anderson and Michael Piff co-host. We are Nerds. In sports.

Listen to the Nerds in Sports Podcast here.

Blackhawks Camp Synopsis: Roster starting to take shape

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Camp Synopsis: Roster starting to take shape

One week down, roughly one week to go.

Some things have fallen into place during the Blackhawks’ first seven days of training camp but this week is when it really gets interesting. The roster will continue to take shape and the competition for the few vacancies will intensify. Here’s a look at what we’ve already seen in Week 1 and questions for Week 2.

Stock Rising

Jordan Oesterle. We could put a few of the young forwards here, but we’ve talked about them quite a bit and will continue to do so. So right now let’s look at Oesterle, who coach Joel Quenneville liked “a lot” in Thursday’s game against the Red Wings. A puck moving defenseman, Oesterle said he played on the right side with the Edmonton Oilers but could also play on the left. If Oesterle has another good week of camp, that and his versatility might get him a chance on a Blackhawks defense still looking for the right pieces.  

Stock Falling

Tomas Jurco. Please realize where we’re coming from with this assessment: where does he fit in this lineup? He didn’t get a lot of opportunities last season but when he did play there wasn’t anything that made him stand out. Stan Bowman likes him and much like with David Rundblad, the Blackhawks want to give the Jurco a chance to justify the draft pick they gave up for him (a third-round selection from the 2017 draft). Several young guys are pushing hard for roster spots. Can Jurco be an every-day player or do the Blackhawks have a decision to make in favor of some of those up-and-coming players? Just very interested to see how this turns out.

Biggest surprise

Nick Schmaltz’s second-line center opportunity. Maybe we should’ve been more open minded to this happening but considering how little that line changed last year you figured Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane would stay together even after the Artemi Panarin trade. But given the strides Schmaltz has made in his own game and the skating work he and Kane did together this offseason, Quenneville wants to see what Schmaltz can do in the middle. There’s always tinkering with this team; we really should have seen the possibility coming but we didn’t.

Some Remaining Questions

- If there’s one forward spot vacant out of training camp, which young player wins it? John Hayden. Here’s why: even if Alex DeBrincat doesn’t make this team out of camp, the Blackhawks’ top six is looking pretty good. Meanwhile the bottom six, especially that fourth line, has some holes. Getting a young player with some size, speed, skill and sandpaper that Quenneville likes and trusts (and he likes and trusts Hayden) would be a great addition to the bottom six.

- Will there be any surprises on defense? Maybe. Part of it depends on what the Blackhawks do about the Michal Rozsival situation. Rozsival didn’t pass his physical (upper body injury) and is not participating in camp. You hate to see someone go out like this, but it may be the end for the veteran. If so, the seventh defensive spot opens up and so do the Blackhawks options. After Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Connor Murphy you have Cody Franson (if the Blackhawks sign him), Oesterle and Jan Rutta who have made good preseason impacts. Michal Kempny’s in the mix, too. Gustav Forsling is on the bubble. He had a great camp last fall but didn’t improve off it; that has to change this season.

- Will the top line combination work? There’s no doubt the Blackhawks missed Brandon Saad. He may not have been facing the sturdiest Red Wings team on Thursday but Saad’s powerful game was nevertheless impressive and a reminder of how much the Blackhawks missed that element the last two seasons. But the Saad-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik combo hasn’t gotten a great look yet — Toews missed Thursday’s game due to illness. Saturday should be the first chance to see if these three can really click.