NFL Power Rankings Week 11: Bengals drop out of top 10, Eagles win clash of Titans, Niners keep rolling
We head into Thanksgiving with the playoff picture starting to take shape after a Week 11 full of injuries, last minute winners and a Super Bowl rematch.
The Ravens started the week retaking a stranglehold on the AFC North after another star quarterback went down for the season. The Browns continue to squeak out wins thanks to their dominant defense, the Broncos are back in the Mile High City and Philadelphia made it clear who the best team in the league is on Monday night.
Here are our Power Rankings after Week 11:
1. Philadelphia Eagles 8-1, last week 1
If there were any doubts about who the best team in the league is, Monday’s night’s game in Kansas City puts that argument to rest. The Eagles stormed Arrowhead, shut out Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in the second half, forcing two red zone turnovers while Jalen Hurts carried the Eagles to victory against the best team in the AFC. The conversation may be very different if Marquez Valdes-Scantling makes the TD catch with under 2:00 to go but those are plays that make the difference in tight games between two great teams. D’Vonte Smith made the 41 yard catch to set up the go ahead TD for the Eagles, MVS didn’t.
2. Kansas City Chiefs last week 2
The question will be raised, and you will hear it over and over again on Tuesday. Did the Eagles win the game, or did the Chiefs lose it? KC was in control going into halftime and there was a point in the second half where you had to think to yourself, the Eagles are lucky to even be in this game. The Chiefs defense kept Philly in check for most of the game, but when the offense commits two red zone turnovers and gets shutout in the second half someone has to start pointing the finger. Here’s our wild stat of the week: KC haven’t scored a point in the second half in their last three games. Give credit to Mahomes, who made just one mistake on his first half interception, and put himself at the forefront of the blame for the loss instead of Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
3. San Francisco 49ers 7-3, last week 3
The Niners are back. The three game losing streak is long in the rear view and Brock Purdy has returned to looking like Mr. Invincible, not Mr. Irrelevant. He had a perfect passer rating against one of the league’s top defensive sides, and the defense seems to get better by the week. They got Chase Young in the trade deadline, but the revelation of Week 11 was Ji’Ayir Brown.
4. Baltimore Ravens 8-3, last week 4
Addition, but subtraction for the Ravens who won their game against the Bengals, but lost Mark Andrews for what could be the rest of the season. It shouldn’t be understated just how important he is to this Ravens offense. Since coming out of the same draft class with Lamar Jackson, he has caught 381 catches and become his QB’s safety valve. You could see how shook Lamar was after Andrews injury, throwing his helmet on the ground, knowing a big piece of the puzzle will miss a a big chunk of the season, if not all of it.
5. Detroit Lions 8-2, last week 5
There is no let up to this Lions team. They had no business beating the Bears on Sunday in Ford Field, but somehow they squeaked away with a win and Detroit is 8-2 for the first time since five years prior to the Super Bowl I. We have talked about it before. This team can beat you in a number of different ways, which makes them so hard to match up with. Goff nearly gifted Chicago the game, but the defense wouldn’t allow it. Two TDs and a safety with under five minutes in the fourth quarter added another unseen dimension to this multilayered Lions attack.
6. Dallas Cowboys 7-3, last week 6
Before we get into the Cowboys blowout wins in three of their last four games, let’s give it up for DaRon Bland tied an NFL record with his fourth pick six of the season. He would be right out side of the Top 20 for most TDs for a WR if he qualified for the list, and he has got into the end zone as many times as Deandre Hopkins and DaVante Adams. Now for the Cowboys. They have been zooming past teams like the Giants, the and the Rams and the Panthers, but they have yet to beat a team with a winning record. If we can ask who have the Dolphins beat, shouldn’t we be able to ask the same of the Cowboys?
7. Jacksonville Jaguars 7-3, last week 8
A game against the Titans was just what the doctor ordered for a Jaguars team that was still licking their wounds after the loss to the Niners. They did everything that they didn’t do last week against San Fran. They held on to the ball, they forced fumbles, they got up early and had a balanced running attack to help protect their lead and cruise to a win over the lowly Titans.
8. Cleveland Browns 7-3, last week 9
For the second straight week a Dustin Hopkins walkoff field goal seals a win for the Browns. He is starting to become just as important as the defense is for this overachieving Cleveland side. I do actually think that rookie QB DTR will be good in the near future, but he’s not there just yet. The Browns should be studying the 2000 Ravens that went five games without an offensive TD in their Super Bowl winning season. We keep questioning how long the Browns can keep this up, but this is no fluke.
9. Miami Dolphins 7-3, last week 10
We know the Dolphins struggle against good teams. It’s a good thing the Raiders aren’t a good team just yet. Every week it seems like the Dolphins case to be a real contender gets thinner and thinner. They might win their division, they might even have an outside shot at winning the conference, but until they prove they can beat a quality team no one in the post season will be intimidated by Miami. Luckily for them they have the Jets, Commanders, Titans and the Jets again over the next month.
10. Houston Texans 6-4, last week 13
The Texans left it late for the third straight week, and this time it was their defense that made the difference. CJ Stroud wasn’t perfect, although he had a monster first half going for over 250 yards. The rookie threw a couple uncharacteristic interceptions, but the defense had his back and doubled their win total from last year. If the season ended today the Texans would be in the playoffs after finishing last year with the second pick in the draft.
11. Buffalo Bills 6-5, last week 15
Was this the game the Bills needed to get back to playing the way we expect them to play? Josh Allen was nearly perfect, throwing just one pick on a Hail Mary at the end of the first half. The defense looked good, but that’s not saying much against the Jets. Maybe the most important thing coming out of the game against the Jets was the run game proving they can be an help as opposed to a hindrance for Allen and the offense.
12. Denver Broncos 5-5, last week 17
Forgive me for having fallen asleep during the Broncos-Vikings game, but Denver has a way of lulling spectators, and other teams to sleep until they hit you with the death blow late in the game. They have done it against the Bills and the Vikings in the last two games. Somehow, someway things have turned around in the Mile High City, and the same team that lost four of their first five are now knocking on the door of a Wild Card spot.
13. Minnesota Vikings 6-5, last week 12
It was unrealistic to think that Josh Dobbs was going to join the Minnesota Vikings and lead them to victory the rest of the way. The VIkes will be alright, despite their loss to the Broncos on Sunday night. They play the Bears on Monday night (a very winnable game) and then have their BYE which will give Josh Dobbs another week to let his rocket scientist mind study Kevin O’Connell’s playbook. Think about this, everything that Dobbs has done up to this point has been without Justin Jefferson, who is on the road to recovery. If he doesn’t come back next week, he’ll be back after the BYE and ready for the final stretch of the season.
14. Seattle Seahawks 6-4, last week 11
Mental mistakes will cost you games in the present and playoff spots in the future. The Seahawks committed 12 penalties for a total 130 yards in penalties and blew their eighth lead of the season. Despite their mistakes, and Geno Smith getting injured at the end of the third quarter the Seahawks almost held on. They gave up the lead late in the game, and Smith gutted out one last drive in which he put Jason Meyers in FG range, but he missed the 55 yarder at the buzzer.
15. Cincinnati Bengals 5-5, last week 7
Disaster for the Bengals on Thursday night in Pittsburgh. The season isn’t over, but it might as well be in Cincy. Joe Burrow’s torn ligament in the wrist of his throwing hand has brought a gray cloud over Paycor Stadium, and has almost guaranteed the Bengals won’t make the playoffs. A depressing reality for a team who came into this season with Super Bowl dreams.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers 6-4, last week 14
The Pittsburgh defense did everything they could to win the game, but the Browns out Steelered the Steelers on Sunday. The run game has come to life in the last few weeks, but it’s hard to win games when your team accounts for just 77 passing yards, and Najee Harris voiced his frustration after the game. When referring to the Steelers 6-4 record, he said, “Playing like this, how long s**t going to last?” And he’s right. The Steelers are the only “healthy” team in the AFC North, but their passing game needs to start acting like it.
17. New Orleans Saints 5-5, last week 18
18. Las Vegas Raiders 5-6, last week 20
If you need a test on whether or not your team is good or not, just play the Dolphins. We know the Dolphins beat bad teams, and lose to good teams. The Raiders seven point loss to Miami shows us they aren’t a good team yet, but they are much better than they were three weeks ago. Maxx Crosby and the defense held Miami’s offense to 20 points, forcing three TOs while DaVante Adams had 82 yards and the only TD of the Raiders day. It’s hard to imagine the Josh McDaniels team taking the Dolphins to the finish line on the road, but the Antonio Pierce Raiders are a different story.
19, Indianapolis Colts 5-5, last week 19
20. Los Angeles Chargers 4-6, last week 16
Chargers have a problem. It’s not injuries. It’s not their inconsistency. It’s the fact that this team doesn’t know how to win. Players can put up statistics, they can even score points. But winning games, and instilling a winning mentality comes from the top. Brandon Staley has shown he doesn’t know how to do that. For as much as so many want and expect the Chargers to be good, it will never happen under this regime.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-6, last week 21
The Bucs were going to have a tough time hanging with the Niners in the Bay. They did their best for the first two quarters, but that was short lived once Purdy and San Fran opened up the offense with Brandon Aiyuk’s 76 yard TD in the third quarter. They made a late charge, but the same thing that’s been plaguing them all year came back to bite them again at Levi Stadium. They had two late drives end inside the 15 yard line, one on a turnover on downs, and one on an interception in the end zone. The Bucs don’t depend on winning games against teams like the Niners. Their path to the playoffs depends on them winning division games and trying to get back to .500 which should be enough to win the NFC South.
22. Atlanta Falcons 4-6, last week 23
23. Green Bay Packers 4-6, last week 25
Packers fans there might be hope still. No, probably not for this year, but looking towards the future Jordan Love might be ok. He has been playing his best football over the last three games and the Packers have won two of three as a result. Now the real test comes. Green Bay have the Lions in Detroit on Thanksgiving and the Chiefs next Sunday night. Let’s see how ready Love is for prime time games against prime time teams.
24. Los Angeles Rams 4-6, last week 26
If you are looking for a lesson on how to throw a game away look no further than the Rams handling of their goal to goal situation with under 2:00 to go. Sure the Rams made a comeback on a Geno Smith-less team for most of the second half, but the mismanagement of the clock tells you everything about this one time Super Bowl champion team. Down two points at the 7 yard line with 1:50 on the clock they run it on first down to make the Seahawks run take their second TO. On second down, they PASS it which in the end allowed Seattle to save a timeout which helped them get into scoring range after the Rams go ahead field goal. Luckily for LA, Jason Meyers missed the 55 yarder snapping the Rams three game losing streak.
25. Arizona Cardinals 2-9, last week 30
The good news is Kyler Murray looks like he did before his season ending injury last year. If you need proof just look at the fourth play of the game when he tossed a 48 yard dime to Rondale Moore for a 48 yard TD. He also had 51 yard rushing yards, and took a few big hits that shows you he’s not only ready to throw passes, but he’s not scared of a little contact. The bad news is the Cardinals lost, and at 2-9, the rest of the season is going to be a gear up for next year.
26. Washington Commanders 4-7, last week 22
Sam Howell league’s leading passer, but he is also the most sacked QB in the league. He gets no protection which explains his three INTs against New York. Losing to the Giants is inexcusable. It may not happen this week, but that might have just sealed Ron Rivera’s fate in Washington.
27. Chicago Bears 3-8, last week 28
Justin Fields is back, and he is making his case to be the QB of the future. He knows he has seven more game to impress, and did that for the most part in Detroit although the Bears lost the game. He looked unstoppable for the first three quarters of the game at Ford Field, and at halftime Lions coach Dan Campbell was worried about only one thing. Stopping Justin Fields. I’m still not sure how the Lions won that game, but the loss shouldn’t fall on their QB’s shoulders who made his return after missing the last four games. Best case scenario for Chicago is if Fields and the Bears continue to play well, while losing games so they can ensure two Top 5 picks in the upcoming draft.
28. New York Jets 4-6, last week 24
I’m not sure whether to congratulate New York on breaking their 40+ possession streak without of TD than lasted 13 quarters or apologize to Jets fans for finding it some what comical. Zach Wilson finally got yanked and Robert Saleh was not ready to make a decision regarding his future after the game. Since then he has dropped Wilson to the third string QB and named Tim Boyle the starter. The offense looked like they had given up, and what’s even more concerning is so did the defense which is the Jets only hope of hanging on until Aaron Rodgers’ possible return.
29. Tennessee Titans 3-7, last week 27
Another week, another loss for the Titans and another game in which Derrick Henry doesn’t get 20 carries. I don’t think it takes a Vince Lombardi to figure out when you have a struggling passing game and a rookie quarterback, and have one of the best running backs of the generation, you use that damn running back. For some reason the Titans seem uninterested in feeding him the ball, which makes it all the more curious why they didn’t trade him away. His days are numbered in Tennessee, and dark days may lay ahead in Nashville.
30. New England Patriots 2-8, last week 29
31. New York Giants 3-8, last week 32
Give it up for the Giants. They shut me up after I claimed they wouldn’t win a game for the rest of the season. Extra Chicken Cutlets from mom for Tommy DeVito who got his first win as a pro, although if mama DeVito is in the kitchen she should be whipping up cutlets for the defense that forced three picks and two fumbles a six turnover day for Washington.
32. Carolina Panthers 1-9, last week 31
Credit to the Panthers for keeping it close for a while against the Cowboys, but this team is a long way from being able to compete against the league’s best teams. It may have been delayed, but in the end the inevitable occurred and the Cowboys pulled away. They might have their best chance of a second win of the season next week against the Titans, who are inching closer to the bottom of this list.