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Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery top WR duo ranks

Every Thursday, Chris Wesseling rolls out the power rankings for one specific NFL position.

So far, we have ranked the top running backs, inside linebackers, outside linebackers, tight ends, defensive tackles and wide receivers, defensive ends, kick returners, running backs and linebacker duos in the league.

Click here for our midseason report on the top five players from each position over the season's first half.

This week, we turn our attention back to the league's top wide receiver duos.

This is not a fantasy football cheat sheet, nor is it an attempt to predict which players will finish with the best statistics this season. The premise is which wide receiver duo I would want for the 2013 season. Although statistics, scouting reports and other factors such as durability were considered, the criteria is based primarily on game film from the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

1. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears


Jay Cutler was on pace to have the best season of his career before missing time due to a torn groin and a high-ankle sprain. Less than two years after leaving the NFL to coach high school football, Josh McCown is playing the best ball of his 11-year career. Coach Marc Trestman's Midas touch as the quarterback whisperer cannot be overemphasized, but it's no coincidence that both quarterbacks have played at such a high level with Jeffery giving Marshall a run as the Bears' most productive receiver. Both receivers are mismatches due to their size, ability to get vertical and run-after-catch skills. Their combined 1,646 yards lead all wide-receiver duos through 11 weeks.

2. Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker/Eric Decker, Denver Broncos


The Peyton Manning-to-Thomas connection produced the NFL's highest passer rating in 2012. So far this season, Manning's passer rating on throws to Thomas ranks second only to Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks throwing to DeSean Jackson. The bubble screen master, Thomas, leads the league in yards after contact. Welker and Decker take turns playing second fiddle in Manning's pick-your-poison offense.

3. Dez Bryant and Miles Austin/Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys


With Julio Jones out for the season, Bryant and A.J. Green have the strongest claim to the second spot behind Calvin Johnson as the game's best receiver. He leads the position in touchdowns over the past two seasons. Filling in admirably for an injured Austin, Williams is on pace for more yards and touchdowns than any rookie receiver from the 2012 draft class.

4. Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans


The emergence of Case Keenum is evidence that Johnson's low touchdown totals of the past three seasons were due to Matt Schaub's deficiencies rather than a sign of his own decline. It's no wonder he was miffed when a tone deaf Gary Kubiak bizarrely yanked Keenum for Schaub last week. Hopkins is second only to the San Diego Chargers' Keenan Allen in receiving yards among rookies.

5. Jordy Nelson and James Jones/Jarrett Boykin, Green Bay Packers


If Randall Cobb were healthy, he and Nelson would comprise a top-three duo. Nelson might be the most underappreciated superstar in the NFL. Boykin has picked up the slack since Jones injured his knee last month, placing eighth among wide receivers in yards over the past five weeks.

6. A.J. Green and Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals


Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden put an unceremonious end to Green's five-game streak of 100-yard games. Green still is on pace to break Chad Johnson's single-season franchise record for receiving yards. Jones has flashed play-making ability as a receiver and a runner, but he has disappeared from the offense since his four-touchdown breakout versus the New York Jets four weeks ago.

7. DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper, Philadelphia Eagles


Jackson isn't a true No. 1 receiver -- he doesn't make contested catches in traffic or move the chains -- but he's a big-play machine in Chip Kelly's offense. A liability in the first month of the season, Cooper has been a top-10 receiver in terms of yards and touchdowns over the past six weeks. He's making a strong argument for the Eagles to move on from impending free agent Jeremy Maclin in 2014.

8. Calvin Johnson and Kris Durham/Nate Burleson, Detroit Lions


There's a strong argument to be made that Johnson already is the second-greatest wide receiver in NFL history. It's a testament to his exceptionalism that the Lions made the list despite a season-long vacancy on the opposite side. With glaring weaknesses at cornerback and wide receiver, this team is another year away from truly contending.

9. Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals


Fitzgerald has been given the benefit of the doubt due to poor quarterback play last season and twin hamstring injuries this year. He hasn't played at an elite level since 2011, which is not to say he can't do it again once he's back to full speed. Floyd is loaded with potential, but has been held under 50 yards in half of this season's games. The Cardinals will need more consistency from him in 2014 and beyond.

10. Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle/Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants


Cruz started the season on fire, but has yet to prove he can consistently beat double teams. He's seen extra coverage because Nicks has been either injured or ineffective in each of the past two seasons. The Giants have to be leaning toward letting Nicks walk in free agency because he's been outplayed by Randle this year.

Ruled out due to injuries or suspension: Julio Jones, Roddy White, Reggie Wayne, Randall Cobb, Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin, Justin Blackmon

The latest "Around The League Podcast" previewed "Thursday Night Football" and "stuck a fork" in the Bills' 2013 chances.

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