Dan Pompei's NFL power rankings

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Last week in parenthesis

1. Broncos (1): In their last four games, no team has come within 13 points of them, and in their 11 game winning streak they have only trailed in the fourth quarter once.

2. Packers (2): Despite the fact they lost Sunday, Aaron Rodgers is playing great football. And that's a very good sign for the Packers.

3. Seahawks (4): Too bad the vote for offensive rookie of the year can't be put off for a week after Russell Wilson takes on RG3.

4. 49ers (5): In his last nine games, Frank Gore has failed to rush for 100 yards. If 49ers are going to win in the playoffs, Gore has to heat up.

5. Patriots (6): They made an NFL record 444 first downs and head into the playoffs with the NFL's most dangerous offense.

6. Vikings (7): If Christian Ponder plays like he did Sunday in the playoffs, the Vikings can go all the way.

7. Falcons (3): Bad way to head into the playoffs: They lost their last game and possibly their top cornerback and top pass rusher.

8. Redskins (9): They now have avoided committing a turnover in six games this year, which speaks well to their playoff chances.

9. Colts (11): In most years, Andrew Luck is a runaway winner for offensive rookie of the year. He might not get many votes this year.

10. Texans (8): They lost three of their last five and no longer look like the same team that won 10 of their first 11.

11. Ravens (10): Ray Lewis' return should give them an emotional charge, and the Ravens will need one after losing four of their last five.

12. Bengals (12): They will need to pick it up offensively to beat the Texans. They have scored just one offensive touchdown in their last eight quarters.

13. Bears (13): Ten victories got four teams in the playoffs, and usually gets any team in, but the Bears lost the wrong games and missed the cut.

14. Giants (14): They lost five of their last eight and became the 14th Super Bowl winner to fail to make it to the playoffs the next season.

15. Steelers (16): This is what you have to love about the Steelers — they underachieved and missed the playoffs but apparently are not making major changes. Only in Pittsburgh.

16. Cowboys (18): After a fine, fine season from Tony Romo, his three interceptions against the Redskins were the three nails in this team's coffin.

17. Rams (15): It will be a surprise if this team doesn't finish next season's power rankings quite a bit higher than 17th.

18. Panthers: (20): Ron Rivera and his coaching staff did a heck of a job down the stretch to turn around the Panthers and win five of their last six.

19. Saints (17): They had their biggest victory of the year over the weekend — re-signing suspended coach Sean Payton.

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