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.

By the bye: Blackhawks keep rolling following break

By the bye: Blackhawks keep rolling following break

When you're on a roll, you hate disrupting it for anything.

The Blackhawks probably felt that in some respect heading into the new NHL-mandated bye week on Feb. 12, but the need for rest usurped any worry on that front. Still, when the Blackhawks reconvened last Friday, the question remained if they could pick up where they left off on that pre-bye, five-game winning streak.

As coach Joel Quenneville said of the unusual break, "we talked about it going into it: you don't know how you're going to come out of it."

Apparently it hasn't been a problem.

The Blackhawks have won two of their first three out of the bye, including their 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.

Coming out of this break hasn't been easy for a lot of teams. The Blackhawks, like 11 other teams up to this point, lost their first game out of it. But in that loss to Edmonton, the Blackhawks played well. That continued on Sunday in Buffalo and on Tuesday in Minnesota. Now back in a rhythm schedule-wise, the Blackhawks are hitting their stride performance-wise.

"I thought we played a good game against Edmonton but we still felt there'd be some good will down the road. I thought we continued on with these next two on the road, probably played the same way going into it. So it's been a good stretch for us, and much better than we were at the beginning of the year," Quenneville said. "I like the improvement in our game."

A big part of the Blackhawks' success is finding their four-line rotation.

Jonathan Toews was joined by Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik early in the Ice Show trip, the three were given time to mesh and it's paying productive dividends. The second line is always a threat. Their third and fourth lines are a great combination of defense, skill and youth.

As the lines have started rolling, so have the Blackhawks. Each line had someone score against Buffalo. The top line thrived vs. the Wild. 

"I think all year we kind of expected the offense, coming from Arty's [Artem Anisimov's] line and maybe my line, but what's making us a really good team is our third and fourth line going out there and just battling every shift, just working, giving other teams no time, no chance to make plays with the puck," Toews said. "I think when you can rotate four lines like that, everyone starts to pick up their pace and their speed and then you just rotate in and it doesn't matter who scores on a given night. We're getting contributions from all over the place and it makes you a dangerous team and a tough team to beat."

Instead of taking steam out of the Blackhawks' sails, the bye appears to have re-energized them.

"Yeah it was good for our team," Ryan Hartman said. "We had a few guys who didn't get [rest during] the all-star break. They were still playing, and it was nice for those guys to get away from the rink and kind of get in the sun and take your mind of hockey for a bit, refresh the brain and body. I think we all needed those couple days of rest. As it's looked the last couple of games we've looked fresh and we've been bringing it almost a full 60. I wouldn't say we're quite playing a full 60 but we're really close and that was crucial for us."

Playing a full 60 was one of the Blackhawks' biggest problems earlier this season. Much like the four-line rotation, it's showing up at the right time. The Blackhawks have a great opportunity this week to get closer to the Wild, who started their break on Wednesday.

The issues that plagued the Blackhawks earlier this season are starting to dissipate. They weren't sure how they were going to come out of this break. So far, they've followed rest and relaxation with a rejuvenated game. 

"We're just rolling four lines now. Every line can score and every line's playing the best hockey," Panik said. "That's helped us."

Bears add another assistant coach to John Fox's staff

Bears add another assistant coach to John Fox's staff

John Fox and the Bears have added another assistant coach.

Zack Azzanni is leaving the University of Tennessee to become the Bears' new receivers coach.

Azzanni has been with Tennessee since 2013 as a receivers coach and passing game coordinator. Prior to that, he spent time at Wisconsin, Western Kentucky, Florida, Central Michigan and six seasons at Bowling Green.

Azzanni was on Urban Meyer's coaching staff at Bowling Green in 2001-02 and also coached Pittsburgh Steelers superstar receiver Antonio Brown at Central Michigan. Under Azzanni's tutelage at CMU from 2007-09, Brown totaled 305 receptions for 3,199 yards and 22 TDs, earning a sixth-round draft selection in 2010.

Curtis Johnson spent 2016 as his first season in the role of Bears' wide receivers coach, but announced he was leaving after the Senior Bowl to take a job with the New Orleans Saints.

It's unknown if Azzanni will get a chance to coach Alshon Jeffery (who is currently a free agent) but the incoming coach will have an important job in molding young receivers like Kevin White and Cameron Meredith.