After Weeks 10 and 11 had a significant impact on the Power Rankings, the league calmed down a little in Week 12. While the Top Five and Top Ten retain many of the same teams we saw last week, there was a couple reasons for shake-up in this week’s rankings.
The Tennessee Titans defeated Indianapolis Colts behind a dominant effort from Derrick Henry, regaining the AFC South lead in the process. The San Francisco 49ers upset the Los Angeles Rams, and the Arizona Cardinals fell to the New England Patriots. Basically, the NFC West just got even tighter, with the 49ers potentially making it a four-team race.
But for that to happen, the Seattle Seahawks would have to falter. Though it took all sixty minutes, Seattle dispatched the Philadelphia Eagles 23-17 on Monday night.
I’m writing these rankings ahead of Wednesday’s postponed matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens. I’ll assume a Steelers win, with Lamar Jackson out due to COVID-19. If Robert Griffin III and the Ravens do pull off an upset, it will be reflected in next week’s Power Rankings.
Post-Week 12 Power Rankings
- Kansas City Chiefs (10-1) [Last Week: 1]
- Six Straight Weeks at the Top: The Chiefs earned their sixth straight win, dispatching Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-24 on Sunday. They haven’t had the toughest schedule in the NFL this season, but Kansas City improved to 4-1 against teams with winning records this season.
- Pittsburgh Steelers* (10-0) [Last Week: 2]
- At time of writing, the Steelers and Ravens are still yet to play their Week 12 matchup. It’s unlikely a win over the Lamar Jackson-less Ravens would elevate Pittsburgh to the top spot in the rankings.
- New Orleans Saints (9-2) [Last Week: 3]
- Taysom Hill’s passing numbers don’t exactly jump off the page, but the Saints were able to roll to an easy 31-3 win over the quarterback-less Broncos on the road.
- Green Bay Packers (8-3) [Last Week: 8]
- The Packers ping-pong back upwards to the #4 spot after a decisive victory over the Chicago Bears. Losses by the Rams and Buccaneers also helped Green Bay move up in the standings.
- Seattle Seahawks (8-3) [Last Week: 4]
- While the Seahawks, with a defense prone to giving up points, hold a strong 8-3 record, I still don’t trust them to get it done every week. This team could have ten wins right now if they played their cards right.
- Buffalo Bills (8-3) [Last Week: 9]
- The Bills took care of business last week, defeating the Los Angeles Chargers 27-17. Buffalo was good last year, but this year, they’re one of the best teams in the NFL, it would seem.
- Arizona Cardinals (6-5) [Last Week: 5]
- Losing to the Seahawks was fine, but falling 20-17 to the Patriots was a little disheartening. Arizona could have and should have beat New England, but made too many mistakes. At 6-5, the Cardinals are third in the NFC West and seventh in the NFC.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5) [Last Week: 7]
- Tom Brady and the Buccaneers have now lost back-to-back games for the first time this season. Their competition couldn’t be better though, as they lost 27-24 to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. While the final score was close, it’s wroth noting Kansas City held a 27-10 lead heading in to the fourth quarter.
- Tennessee Titans (8-3) [Last Week: 12]
- I initially had the Titans at #10, and even #9 feels a little low for the AFC South leaders. Tennessee hit a rough patch, losing three out of four games including a matchup with the Bengals But in the last two weeks, defeating the Ravens 30-24 and the Colts 45-26, the Titans are back on track and playing good football again.
- Los Angeles Rams (7-4) [Last Week: 6]
- The Rams didn’t play their best football on Sunday, but still had a chance to beat the 49ers in the fourth quarter. They lost 23-20, and while Los Angeles still sits second in the NFC West with the top wildcard position, they’re probably kicking themselves for failing to win a game over a beatable San Francisco team.
- Indianapolis Colts (7-4) [Last Week: 11]
- While Indianapolis defeated Tennessee in their first go-around, the Colts had no answer for Derrick Henry as they dropped their Week 12 matchup 45-26 to the Titans.
- Baltimore Ravens* (6-4) [Last Week: 10]
- While I’m writing this before Wednesday’s Ravens-Steelers matchup, I don’t think it would be too fair to judge Baltimore on the outcome of the game. But one thing’s for certain: even when everyone is healthy, the Ravens are trending downwards quickly. A loss to the Steelers could complicate the Ravens playoff aspirations.
- Cleveland Browns (8-3) [Last Week: 14]
- Cleveland beat Jacksonville 27-25 in a surprising nail-biter to improve to 8-3. The Browns are the worst eight-win team in the league though, and while they’ll be playoff-bound, I’m not sure how much noise they can make in the postseason.
- Miami Dolphins (7-4) [Last Week: 15]
- After losing to the Broncos last week, Miami got back in the win column, with Ryan Fitzpatrick leading the Dolphins to a 20-3 win over the helpless Jets.
- San Francisco 49ers (5-6) [Last Week: 16]
- A win over the Rams helped to keep San Francisco’s season alive. While the 49ers sit in fourth place in the NFC West, they’ll have a chance to make more noise over their final five games.
- Las Vegas Raiders (6-5) [Last Week: 13]
- The Raiders maintained positioning in the #12-#14 range for weeks, due to their winning record and defeats of the Chiefs and Saints. While they still hold a winning record (for now) their consistency has been called in to question in a major way after a shocking 43-6 loss to the Falcons.
- Minnesota Vikings (5-6) [Last Week: 20]
- Minnesota was on the rise prior to their loss to the Cowboys last week. With a one-point win over the Panthers in Week 12, Minnesota is now 5-3 since Week 4 and 4-1 in their last five games.
- Carolina Panthers (4-8) [Last Week: 18]
- With or without Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers have played some good, clos games. They did lose 28-27 to the Vikings this week, but Carolina is a threat most of the time when they take the field. A better defense and the Panthers would be a borderline playoff team.
- Los Angeles Chargers (3-8) [Last Week: 19]
- Atlanta Falcons (4-7) [Last Week: 22]
- Atlanta erupted for a 43-6 win over the Raiders. The Dirty Birds have won four of their last six games after an 0-5 start.
- New York Giants (4-7) [Last Week: 23]
- It wasn’t pretty, and Daniel Jones may have been lost for a couple weeks, but the Giants claimed first place in the NFC East with a 19-17 win over the Joe Burrow-less Bengals.
- New England Patriots (5-6) [Last Week: 24]
- I still don’t know what to make of this Patriots team, but New England was won three of four after a four-game losing streak. They would likely have to run the table to make the playoffs though, currently sitting in third in the AFC East.
- Chicago Bears (5-6) [Last Week: 17]
- Biggest Loser of Week 12: From 5-1 to 5-6, the Bears season is falling apart. After switching to Nick Foles so early in the season, Chicago is running out of options to turn their fortunes around.
- Washington Football Team (4-7) [Last Week: 27]
- Alex Smith in Washington looks like a much better formula than any quarterback the franchise has employed this year or in the last five years for that matter. Washington dismantled Dallas 41-16 on Thanksgiving.
- Denver Broncos (4-7) [Last Week: 21]
- What the NFL did to Denver, forcing them to play the Saints without a healthy quarterback, was a bad look for the league. I hardly count the outcome against Denver, but New England, New York, and Washington all needed to move up.
- Houston Texans (4-7) [Last Week: 26]
- Philadelphia Eagles (3-7-1) [Last Week: 25]
- The Eagles weren’t horrible in Week 12, losing 23-17 to the Seahawks on Monday night. But after a certain point, when losing becomes consistent, there’s a problem. Philadelphia has scored exactly 17 points in three straight games.
- Dallas Cowboys (3-8) [Last Week: 29]
- After beating the Vikings in Week 11, I thought Dallas was ready for a second half run under Andy Dalton. But those expectations were quickly tempered by a Thanksgiving Day beatdown at the hands of Alex Smith and the Washington Football Team.
- Detroit Lions (4-7) [Last Week: 28]
- Jacksonville Jaguars (1-10) [Last Week: 31]
- Cincinnati Bengals (2-8-1) [Last Week: 30]
- Without Joe Burrow, the Bengals are back to being one of the worst teams in the league. Though the 19-17 score was close against the Giants, without a kickoff return touchdown the Bengals didn’t really do much offensively.
- New York Jets (0-11) [Last Week: 32]
- Ten Straight Weeks at the Bottom: After a string of close games (three losses by one score or less in a stretch of four games), the Jets got back to more routine losing in Week 12, falling 20-3 to former Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatick and the Dolphins
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Header Photo Credit: Mark LoMoglio/AP