NFL Power Rankings Week 12: Eagles survive, Lions fall, Ravens hold strong
Our Week 12 Power Rankings are here after a long Thanksgiving weekend that was full of food, festivities and most importantly football.
Hopefully by now you have slept off the holiday hangover and your pants are fitting a little looser after a five day frenzy of food and football. In the aftermath of Thanksgiving, the Eagles are still holders of the top spot, the Cowboys have once again cracked the top 5, and the Broncos have made a mid season push up into the top 10 after looking like one of the worst teams in the league over the first month of the season.
Without further ado, here are our Week 12 Power Rankings:
1. Philadelphia Eagles 10-1, last week 1
The calmness that the Eagles have being in the hole is unnerving. Not for their rabid fans, or confident coach, or unflappable quarterback. The calmness is unnerving for opponents, who should recognize by now that no lead is safe when you have a statuesque Jalen Hurts stoically calculating his battle plan on the sideline. Hurts is putting up numbers we are used to seeing from Heisman Trophy candidates. Five total TDs? Who does that? Their comeback win over Buffalo marks the fourth straight game they have entered the second half trailing, but this team is showing that they can overcome anything so long as their general is under center.
2. Kansas City Chiefs 8-3, last week 2
Was anyone really worried in Kansas City after the Chiefs went down two touchdowns early in the first half from Las Vegas? KC didn’t seem to panic, knowing they had plenty of time to turn things around and that’s exactly what Patrick Mahomes and the offense did. They would score TDs on four of their next five drives and once they had the lead, they let their defense carry them the rest of the way. When there is a sense of urgency, the Chiefs offense steps to the plate. We saw that against the Eagles in their loss last week. The only problem was Valdes-Scantling took a swing and missed on that late fourth quarter bomb to the end zone.
3. San Francisco 49ers 8-3, last week 3
If the Niners lost their game in Seattle on Thursday night, I could have rattled off a list of excuses for why they might have lost. But It didn’t matter that it was Thanksgiving. It didn’t matter that they were on the road. It didn’t matter that it was a divisional game on prime time TV. Ever since their three game slide, San Fran has gone out and beat the bricks off their opponents. They might not be on the top of these Power Rankings, but this is the most complete team in the NFL, and I can’t wait until next Sunday afternoon when the Niners and Eagles go toe-to-toe in Philly.
4. Baltimore Ravens 9-3, last week 4
It wasn’t flashy, it wasn’t fantastic, it was far from a blow out but the Ravens went west on a Sunday night game during a holiday week and let their defense do the talking. LA was essentially playing for their lives in a game that didn’t mathematically count them out of a playoff spot, but ultimately will be the death blow to their post season chances. Baltimore currently has the top spot in the AFC, and if they can hold on to that for the rest of the season they are going to be tough to beat at home.
5. Dallas Cowboys 8-3, last week 6
Before I get into Dallas’ blowout win on Thanksgiving, can I just ask one thing? Who made the Cowboys schedule? Jerry Jones? They have played the worst teams in the league 9 of their 11 games. If there is one thing these blow outs should be doing, it’s building up Dak Prescott’s belief in himself. A Cowboys QB is always going to be under the spotlight. You play well, you’re the king of the world. You play poorly for one game, and everything you have accomplished is forgotten in the snap of a finger. But for now Cowboys nation should enjoy being in the top five of our Power Rankings while knowing they have the Pick Six King in their secondary.
6. Detroit Lions 8-3, last week 5
The Lions were the Turkeys of this Thanksgiving weekend. After barley squeaking by the Bears last week, they laid a dud against the Packers in front of their home fans on Thursday. Three first quarter TDs allowed, three fumbles, three turnover on downs, and a partridge in a pear tree. Hard to win games with those kind of numbers. The Lions bounced back after their blowout loss to the Ravens earlier this season, lets see how they respond after a holiday heartbreak.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars 8-3, last week 7
A division win is worth it’s weight in gold, especially when it could determine a tiebreak come the end of the season. Jacksonville avenged their early season loss to the Texans, and that means they are likely to hold the advantage over the Texans and Colts should those two teams catch up to them. It was a little tougher than it should have been in Houston after a missed field goal late in the fourth quarter breathed new life into the Texans, but they went on the road and got a big win that could be the deciding factor in the AFC South race.
8. Miami Dolphins 8-3, last week 9
The Dolphins really didn’t run away with their game against the Jets until the fourth quarter, despite the Hail Mary turned pick six of the century. Tua’s MVP form has dipped considerably, and the offense is well off the pace of the Greatest Show on Turf’s record setting numbers. Despite that they are still neck and neck with the other division leaders in the AFC, but their final three games against the Cowboys, Ravens and Bills are going to determine where they finish in the playoff standings.
9. Denver Broncos 6-5, last week 12
For once, the Broncos didn’t leave their opponents in the game until the final moments of the fourth quarter. Denver has figured out their formula to win games, and they have ridden that to a five game win streak. The turnaround has been monumental in the Mile High City, and this Broncos defense deserves their praise. They are giving up 16 points a game, which has proven to be enough for a Broncos offense that is still ironing out the kinks.
10. Houston Texans 6-5, last week 10
The Texans were on track to win another game in the final seconds of the fourth quarter. They have become specialists over the last few weeks, and CJ Stroud has Houston in position to tie up the game after a fourth quarter comeback on the Jags. I understand having to battle back against the Jags, but the Texans need to start getting up on teams early and staying up on teams if they are going to have any playoff hopes. They have some very winnable games over the next five weeks, and it all might come down to their season finale in Indianapolis.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers 7-4, last week 16
You had to know the Steelers offense was going to want to make a statement after the firing of Matt Canada. Their 16 points didn’t quite scream they are now an offensive juggernaut, but their 400+ total yards signaled a drastic turning of the tides for a team that had yet to reach that milestone this season. Najee Harris looked rejuvenated under the direction of Eddie Faulkner, having his best rushing game of the season. Pickett was meticulous, and error free which allowed thier defense to do their job and lead the Steelers to victory. They are currently in the first Wild Card slot in the AFC and their next two games are against two of the bottom five teams in the league (ARI and NE).
12. Cleveland Browns 7-4, last week 8
It’s almost impossible to win games when you have an offense that not only can’t score, but makes their defense’s job even harder by fumbling three times. How long can the Browns hold on and stay in the playoff picture? They could be limited to their QB3 after seeing DTR get crushed on a late third quarter play, but honestly I think the Browns play better with P.J. Walker at the moment. They have a courteous calendar against teams that struggle on the offense end. If they can somehow win three of their next six they should get a Wild Card spot.
13. Buffalo Bills 6-6, last week 11
After a handful of weeks blowing games, the Bills did everything they could do to win the game in Philly on Sunday. We saw how good they can be when Josh Allen does nearly everything right. They stayed neck and neck with the best team in the league, but this loss now puts their playoff chances in serious jeopardy. Bills fans have suffered a lot of heartbreak over the years, and missing the playoffs would reopen wounds that have stuck around since the Jim Kelly team that went 0-4 in four straight Super Bowls.
14. Minnesota Vikings 6-5, last week 13
Is the Dobbs-ler effect starting to wear off in Minnesota? He threw four interceptions for the first time in his career (college or pro) and for as well as the Vikings D did keeping them in the game, the offense couldn’t make the plays to win the game for the second straight week. They had the lead despite Dobbs’ four INTs, and needed a defensive stop, but it’s hard to ask that of a unit who had played near perfect for four quarters.
15. Seattle Seahawks 6-5, last week 14
Seattle was limited to just 56 yards of total offense in the first 30 minutes of their Thanksgiving game against the Niners. By that time Chrisitan McCaffery and San Fran had already run away with the game, up 24-3 going into the halftime break. Geno Smith gutted it out with an injured elbow he sustained the week before against the Rams, and now he’s going to have to try to rebound and recover on a short week after getting knocked around by the Niners front four.
16. Indianapolis Colts 6-5, last week 19
If the regular season ended today, the Colts would officially be in the playoffs. This is some job that Shane Steichen is doing in his first year in Indy. I don’t think anyone was giving them a chance to turn things around this soon, and even less so when their rookie QB went down with a season ending injury. They have bounced back from a three game losing streak with a three game winning streak. It doesn’t matter if those wins came against the Panthers, Patriots and Bucs. Of the six remaining games they have, only one team has a better record than they do, the 7-4 Pittsburgh Steelers.
17. Cincinnati Bengals 5-6, last week 15
I said it last week, and I’ll say it again. The Bengals season is over. They have lost three straight games, and don’t have a quarterback or a defense that is close to good enough to keep them in games and give fans a glimmer of hope. I know they have given up on the season, and no one in Cincinnati is reading these rankings, so I’ll spare myself the energy as well.
18. Green Bay Packers 5-6, last week 23
By now we have all seen the graphic. Jordan Love has almost the exact same stats as Aaron Rodgers through their first 11 games with the Packers. They both had 2,599 yards passing, 21 total TDs, and a 5-6 record. Love has 19 passing TDs, while Rodgers had 17 and Love has 10 INTs, one more than Rodgers had in 2008. There were some moments of tribulation with Love as the starter, but these numbers should be more than enough to convince Packers fans that Love is the right man for the job.
19. Las Vegas Raiders 5-7, last week 18
Mark Davis was wise in his timing of letting go Josh McDaniels and swapping him out for Antonio Pierce. The interim head coach debuted against the Giants and the Jets which let Pierce come in and look like the savior in Sin City. Unfortunately the cup cake schedule came to an end with games against the Dolphins and the Chiefs. LV kept the Dolphins offense in check, and went up 14-0 on the Chiefs, but they would go on to lose those games and now will have to win out if they even want a chance at the postseason. I’m not sure if Pierce is the man for the job in Vegas, but he has five more games to make his case.
20. Los Angeles Rams 5-6, last week 24
Just when you thought they were out, they pull you back in. The Rams looked like roadkill just a few weeks ago after getting flattened by the Cowboys, and barley showing up in Lambeau when they scored three points against the Packers. That was of course before Matthew Stafford made his return, and since then they got a big break against the Seahawks when Jason Meyers missed the game winning FG, and on Sunday in Arizona they made you think they might still have some life in them.
21. Atlanta Falcons 5-6, last week 22
In games between to below average teams it often comes down to one big play, one mistake or one moment of brilliance. It the Falcons who came up with the big play on a mistake by the Saints and a moment of brilliance from Jessie Bates III who took a pick six 92 yards to single handily out score the New Orleans offense.
22. New Orleans Saints 5-6, last week 17
The Saints old ghosts are coming back to haunt them in the most important stretch of the season. At the beginning of the year they struggled to score TDs in the red zone, and in a massive matchup against what will most likely be the team they are competing with for he division title, they choked against inside the 20. Forget about the 92 yard pick six, this game was lost in the redone where the Saints went 0-5 on their five trips deep in to ATL territory.
23. Los Angeles Chargers 4-7, last week 20
It’s time to close the book on the Chargers. If Brandon Staley can’t get his guys fired up for a must win home game on Sunday Night football, then what will it take? This looks like a team that has lost faith in the staff on the sideline, and instead of playing for their coach, they are playing to get rid of him.
24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-7, last week 21
The Bucs had a chance to tie the game up late in the fourth quarter from Indy, but a strip sack on Baker Mayfield ended their chances of a fourth quarter comeback. They are lucky they are in the weakest division in football, because if not their playoff chances would be sinking to the bottom of the Bay.
25. Chicago Bears 4-8, last week 27
Do they or do they not want to win? Does Justin Fields want to continue as the QB1 in Chicago or not? Watching the Bears fail to get into the end zone and Fields fumble on two straight fourth quarter possessions would seem to point to no to both of those questions. Somehow the Bears won with four field goals, and Fields did just enough to put the Bears in FG range to take the late lead. We shouldn’t focus as much as on how poor the offense is, but rather how good this defense, that picked off Josh Dobbs, is. Eberflus may not be a good head coach, but he is a damn good defensive coordinator.
26. Tennessee Titans 4-7, last week 29
No, Derrick Henry did not get to 20 carries and the Titans still won. If you have been following these Power Rankings for most of the year, you know that I have been belligerently against the policy of running Henry for a handful of times and trying to let either Ryan Tannehill or Will Levis win the game. Henry didn’t get to 20 carries, but he was the focal point of the offense which lifted the burden off of their rookie quarterback. The Titans have won all of their games in Tennessee, but unfortunately two of their next six are on the road, and if they lose any one of those games it’s Bye Bye Baby Blues in the Music City.
27. Washington Commanders 4-8, last week 26
The Commanders surprisingly good start to the season must seem like it was a century ago for Sam Howell. The second year QB is the league leader in passing yards with 3,339, but he has taken a beating this year. You have to give it up to him. He’s a fighter, and he is earning the right to be the man in the nationss capital for the years to come. Now if they could just build a team around him, then the Commanders could actually be relevant in the next few years.
28. Arizona Cardinals 8-3, last week 25
The high from Kyler Murray’s return has faded, and now that the smoke has cleared they showed us who they really were on Sunday against the Rams. They are a team that is still missing a lot of pieces to the puzzle. The good news is they will most likely have a Top 5 draft pick to try to fill one of those pieces.
29. New York Giants 4-8, last week 31
The Tommy DeVito legend lives on in New York. Giants fans better be weary. It doesn’t take much for the NY front office start to salivating, and think about breaking the bank over midlevel quarterback. Just look at Daniel Jones’ contract. In his last three games he has six TDs and just one INT. In six games as the Giants starter, Jones had 2 TDs and 6 picks.
30. New York Jets 4-7, last week 28
Sorry Jets fans it’s all over. Aaron Rodgers might as well make a statement that he is going to trash plans of a late season comeback in order to ensure that his achilles heals fully. There is no point of rushing back, especially with such a vulnerable part of the body. What’s the best case scenario for Rodgers? Come back, win a couple games and let Jets fans spend the offseason day dreaming about what could have been? Worst case scenario? Tear that same achilles that hasn’t fully healed and never play a down of football again. The risk greatly outweighs the reward. Hopefully the four time MVP won’t be blinded by the New York City lights, and rev down the deuce until next season.
31. New England Patriots 2-9, last week 30
Mac Jones miraculously got the start against the Giants over the weekend. I don’t understand the rational from one of the best coaches the game has ever seen. Has Bill Belichick developed some sort of Stockholm syndrome? Because Mac Jones has Foxborough held hostage, and despite the emotional and physical pain, Belichick keeps going back to him. He did get yanked, but it’s unfair to ask Billy Zappe to come in at the start of the second half and clean up the mess Jones left. This might have been the most embarrassing of all of the Patriots losses this season, which is saying a lot.
32. Carolina Panthers 1-10, last week 32
Let me use this chunk of the article not to talk about the Panthers team, but rather their owner, David Tepper, who might be the most clueless person in professional sports. Over the years the hedge fund billionaire has used the Panthers as his personal puppet show, but you sir, are the muppet in Charlotte. He has the patience of a moth, having fired his fifth coach since Ron Rivera was let go in 2019. Is it Frank Reich’s fault that Christian McCaffery is now the best running back in the league after letting him go for pennies on the dollar? Is it Frank Reich’s fault that Bryce Young was picked No 1 overall, and now far from looking like the best rookie QB of the class? The Panthers are pathetic, and that should fall on no ones else’s shoulders but their owner. Even if you were trying, it would be hard to mismanage a franchise as much as Tepper is.