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NFL Week 12 Power Rankings

  1. Kansas City Chiefs 9-1  

So, we can safely say that Mahomes is leading the MVP race, right? After trailing most of the contest, and having Derek Carr outperform him on the stat sheet, Mahomes calmly used 7 passes to orchestrate a majestic perfect two-minute drill to win the game. The Chiefs still trail Pittsburgh by a game for the one seed and have a tough test at Tampa in week 12.

Next: @ TB

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers 10-0   

The Steelers have all but locked up the AFC North: the Ravens fell to 6-4, the Browns are 7-3, but it’s highly unlikely the Steelers lose four and the Browns win out between now and playoff time. What we need to talk about is the Steelers chances at perfection, “It wasn’t perfect but nothing’s perfect about us except our record,” said Mike Tomlin. The Steelers haven’t played the prettiest brand of football but they’re the only team still perfect. Pressure will certainly start to build internally while getting every team’s best shot. Next up: Baltimore on Thanksgiving night.

Next: vs. BAL

  1. New Orleans Saints 8-2 +2

Well, it was a promising beginning to the Taysom Hill experiment. Sean Payton received a lot of scrutiny for going with the 30 year-old “gadget” quarterback who only had 10 career completions before making his first start. What was interesting about Hill’s first start was his usage: in 62 offensive plays, he dropped back 30 times. They didn’t use Hill as a “read option” QB, or as a game manager. Hill ended up completing 78% of his 23 passes and he burned the Falcons with his legs with 2 TDs on the ground. Sean Payton has had to design within the confines of a pocket passer like for a Brees or a Bridgewater; Hill allows Payton to open up the playbook and open up another dimension in this offense.

Next: @ DEN

  1. Green Bay Packers 7-3 -1

The Packers had a chance to solidify themselves as the clear alpha in the NFC. Coming into this one as the 1-seed in the tightly-packed NFC, the Packers were underdogs at Lucas Oil Stadium. Rodgers looked all business as he made the Colts look just like any other defense putting up 28 points in the first half. However, as Matt LaFleur team’s have done early on in his tenure, they crumbled against another stout, physical team. Up by 14 at the half, the Packers only managed to score 3 in the second half and OT, while the Colts pounced on MVS’s first career fumble enroute to a game-winning kick. The Packers will need to be careful against Chicago who can pull within a game of the NFC North next week.

Next: vs. CHI

  1. Buffalo Bills 7-3 -1  

The Bills suffered a heartbreaker right before their bye after being on the wrong end of the infamous “Hail Murray.” The Bills are still in first place in the AFC East thanks to their week 2 win over Miami but now the Dolphins are right on their heels.

Next: vs. LAC

  1. Seattle Seahawks 7-3  

For the first time this season, the Seattle defense came through in a huge way in a tightly contested game. Carlos Dunlap sealed the game with a sack on 4th & 10 on Kyler Murray. Dunlap has been a huge boost to the Seattle defensive line with 3 sacks through 3 games. If Pete Carroll’s defense can continue with that effort and intensity, they are a serious contender in the NFC.

Next: @ PHI

  1. Los Angeles Rams 7-3 +3

Uncharacteristically, Sean McVay abandoned the run and put the game on the weight of Jared Goff’s shoulders. Despite how close it was, the Rams RBs only combined for 15 carries while Goff dropped back 51 times. Goff was brilliant against the blitz as the OL held up brilliantly against this fierce Tampa Bay front. Because of their win over Seattle two weeks ago, the Rams moved into first place in the NFC West.

Next: vs. SF

  1. Indianapolis Colts 7-3 +1 

The Colts picked up by far their best win of the season over Green Bay this past Sunday. The Colts had started 5-2, but it was with the league’s easiest strength of schedule. Through their toughest stretch, the Colts are now 2-1 with wins over Tennessee and Green Bay outscoring them 41-3 combined in the second half. Philip Rivers went toe-to-toe with an MVP candidate in Aaron Rodgers going 24/36 for 288 yards and 3 TDs. If the Colts can complete a season sweep of the Titans next week, they will create some separation in the AFC South and have a very realistic track to the 3-seed in the AFC.

Next: vs. TENN

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7-4 -2 

In a tight Monday Night showdown, the Bucs came up just short. Brady did not play his best football throwing two interceptions and missing guys throughout the night. The Bucs were unable to run the football like they’ve been able to as Rojo and Fournette combined for a measly 41 yards on 17 carries. After the loss of Vita Vea, this defense has not looked nearly as stout and effective up front. If the Bucs aren’t careful, they could easily find themselves at 7-5 heading in their bye. 

Next: vs. KC

  1. Baltimore Ravens 6-4 -2

In 2020, the Ravens just don’t look right. Last year, they imposed their will on teams physically and wore them out. It looked like the 2019 Ravens through 3 quarters as Derrick Henry had accumulated 44 yards on 18 carries. In the fourth quarter and OT, Henry amassed 89 yards on 10 carries including the game-winning score (LINK). The bigger back-breaker? The Ravens had a chance to put the Ravens away with 2:27 left:

This should be a 5-yard gain where the Titans have to convert a tough 4th & 5. Instead, Brown rolls through more than a third of the Ravens defenders for 6. The Ravens have a quick turnaround against Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving this Thursday.

Next: @ PITT

  1. Tennessee Titans 7-3 +4 

This was a monumental game for the wild card and the Titans pulled through. Going into this one, the Ravens were at the 5-seed and the Titans holding onto the 7-seed. After this one, Tennessee is holding strong at the 5 while the Ravens are on the outside looking in. Each game from here on out is crucial; Tennessee has an opportunity to take a hold of the division lead once again at Indianapolis next week. They still seem to be in a rut offensively having only scored 10 points through 3 quarters; no Taylor Lewan or Roger Saffold has crippled this offense in a big way. But they came through when it mattered most; the Titans scored on their last four drives overtaking the Ravens in OT 30-24.

Next: @ IND

  1. Las Vegas Raiders 6-4 +1     

Derek Carr went toe-to-toe with Mahomes through 8 quarters of play in 2020. He fell just short in their second matchup but it wasn’t because of his play. In 2020, Carr has sneakily had his best season of his career; he is on pace to finish with 3,889 yards with 30 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions. His biggest critique going into the season was his inability to air it out, but with Ruggs and Agholor, Carr hasn’t had any issues. Additionally, he’s also played with a banged-up offensive line missing multiple starters for the past month. The defense has always been the achilles heal of this team, and on Sunday night, it still was. The Raiders were without three starters who were on the COVID-19 reserve list: Cory Littleton, Clelin Ferrell, and Lamarcus Joyner. The defense gave up touchdowns on five of Kansas City’s eight possessions. It’s entirely possible we see these teams rematch in a 2/7 wildcard matchup but the Raiders need to tighten up their defense if they want to get there.

Next: @ ATL

  1. Cleveland Browns 7-3 +2

After taking care of business versus Philadelphia, the Browns have a clear avenue to 10 wins: @ JAX, @ TENN, vs. BAL, @ NYG, @ NYJ, vs. PITT. All of these games are very winnable: Tennessee has not looked the same since their 5-0 start, Baltimore has seemingly fallen off a cliff losing three of their last four, and Pittsburgh very well may be benching starters in week 17. The Browns played in another hazardous, weather-game; it was a struggle for most of the game. Nevertheless, even without Myles Garrett, the defense dominated and the ground game wore out Philly in the 4th quarter. The Browns definitely aren’t the most convincing 7-3 team ranking 21st in team DVOA. But they’ll take it anyway they can get it as they’re on pace for their first postseason appearance since 2002.

Next: @ JAX

  1. Arizona Cardinals 6-4 -2

The Cardinals just looked off on Thursday Night. Kyler Murray seemed to be nursing a shoulder/arm injury for most of the game. As a result, he was pretty inaccurate all night and wasn’t as big of a factor on his legs. Despite this, the Cardinals still had a chance to win; however, they were ultimately stopped with a minute to go from the Seahawks 27. The Cardinals are back to a wildcard berth for the time being.

Next: @ NE

  1. Miami Dolphins 6-4 -4

In one of the more curious moves on Sunday, Brian Flores elected to bench first round pick Tua Tagovailoa after having his toughest start to date. Tagovailoa appeared to be hurt after his sixth sack, and Fitzpatrick stepped in the very next drive. We learned after the game that Tua was never hurt and Flores wanted a spark from the wily vet, “We just felt it was the best move at that point in the game. We felt (Fitzpatrick) gave us the best chance to win the game.” However, Flores ended any speculation saying they’ll go back to Tua against New York next week. Is it good for Tua’s long term confidence if he’s having to look over his shoulder anytime anything is going wrong? Flores obviously wants to make the playoffs, but through good or bad, he elected to go with his top 5 pick for experience. Pulling him out of tight games this early on in his career is very dicey to say the least.

Next: @ NYJ

  1. Minnesota Vikings 4-6

The Vikings spoiled a perfectly good chance to get within a game of the NFC’s last wildcard spot. With a win, they would’ve been .500 for the first time all season, but instead, lost to a team with one of the worst defenses in the NFL that has only averaged 10 points per game since Dak Prescott’s season-ending injury. Three first half fumbles and their defensive struggles were paramount in the loss here but they wasted one of Kirk Cousins’ best performances of 2020:

The OL wasn’t particularly as dominant as you’d think like to see against this Cowboys front but Cousins bailed them out throughout the second half. It wasn’t enough and now the Vikings have to be perfect or 5-1 to even have consideration for a wildcard berth. The lesson here: don’t start 1-5, it’s way too much to overcome.

Next: vs. CAR

  1. Chicago Bears 5-5  

The Bears have now lost 4 straight and have to play at Lambeau off the bye. Their quarterback carousel has been one of the funnier storylines in the NFL, but they realistically may have to turn to Tyler Bray after the bye

Next: @ GB

  1. San Francisco 49ers 4-6 +1 

I’m not sure there is any team that needed the bye as much as the San Francisco 49ers. At the moment, the 49ers have 27 players injured but a league-leading 18 of them are on the IR. 

Next: @ LAR

  1. Los Angeles Chargers 3-7 +1 

The Chargers got just their third win of the season and it was against the Jets nonetheless. Regardless, they’ll take it; but the Chargers have left us wanting more in 2020. Herbert has been absolutely ridiculous:

He is quite possibly having the greatest rookie season in NFL history and the Chargers only have three wins to show for it. All 7 of their losses have been by just one score; they still have glaring holes that they haven’t addressed. They were up 24-6 at halftime and still only won by a possession over the Jets. Make no mistake about it, their losses have come down to defense and coaching. They’ve struggled more than any team to protect leads and have crumbled in close situations: they just won on Sunday because it was the Jets. Their three wins are now over Cincy, Jacksonville, and the Jets.

Next: @ BUF

  1. New England Patriots 4-6 -2

After falling to Houston, the Patriots are on pace to miss the playoffs just their third time under Belichick’s twenty seasons in Foxborough. It’s really hard to believe that Belichick’s team may be out of playoff contention before Thanksgiving. They’re still two games out of a wildcard spot but between now and the end of the regular season, the Patriots will have to leapfrog four teams in the standings to take over the 7 seed. Even though he showed a lot of heart and desire, Cam Newton fell just short on Sunday. Newton has shown promise but also been very inconsistent throwing the football. It’ll be interesting to see how New England evaluates their quarterback situation moving forward.

Next: vs. ARI

  1. Denver Broncos 4-6 +4

Vic Fangio threw a lot at rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa. Tua, 3-0 to start his young career, struggled immensely with all the different fronts and disguises Fangio implemented in his defense leading to being benched in the second half. The Broncos beat Miami in their own game; after winning five straight, Miami won with clock management, and creating “X” plays on defense and special teams. Not on Sunday, it was Denver that ran with efficiency, kept Lock clean, and played ferocious defense and special teams. The Broncos will have a huge test against New Orleans next Sunday; they need to show they can play their brand of football in back-to-back games.

Next: vs. NO

  1. New York Giants 3-7 +1

After the Giants swept the Football Team, there was a lot of talk about Daniel Jones’ record as a starter against teams not from Washington (1-15). Jones put that narrative to rest for the time being; the Giants are on their first winning streak of the season after handling Philadelphia for the entirety of the game. Daniel Jones has taken much better care of the football and has another very winnable game on their hands at Cincinnati this upcoming week.

Next: @ CIN

  1. Carolina Panthers 4-7 +1 

Just one week after Tom Brady and Tampa torched Carolina for 46 points, the Panthers followed it up with their first shutout since their Super Bowl season in 2015. Detroit only converted on 3/14 on 3rd downs as the Lions failed to even gain 200 total yards. The Panthers only had 11 sacks on the year going into this one but continuously pressured Stafford all day and finished with 5 sacks on the day.

Next: @ MINN

  1. Atlanta Falcons 3-7 -3

For the past few years, since Atlanta lost their heartbreaker in Super Bowl 51 to New England, their defense has been the brunt of the blame for this franchise. However, on Sunday, the offense fell flat against New Orleans. The defense played admirably with a season-high 3 sacks and held the Saints to 24 points with dual-threat Taysom Hill making his first career start. The Falcons were just 2/14 on third down, gave up 8 sacks, while Matt Ryan barely completed over 50% of his passes. Coming off the bye, this was a real disappointing effort for a unit that has produced for the most part this season. Raheem Morris did not help his case for a permanent head coaching position with Atlanta after laying an egg post bye week. 

Next: vs. LV

  1. Detroit Lions 4-6 -3 

For the first time in Matthew Stafford’s illustrious 11-year career, he was shut out. The Lions were without Kenny Golladay and D’Andre Swift, but there is no excuse for being shut out by one of the youngest defenses in all of football that allowed over 500 total yards last week. The Lions ownership needs to have a plan moving forward because Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn have hindered the progress of this franchise in their short tenures. It’s a quick turnaround and if the Lions lose to the Texans, it’s an easy window to fire Patricia giving the interim ten days to prepare for their next game.

Next: vs. HOU

  1. Washington Football Team 3-7 +1 

Washington got the best of Cincinnati, 20-9. Their defensive line was very active with four sacks, allowing a stingy 4.1 yards per play. The Football Team has now won 2 of their last 4, having only lost by a combined 6 points in their two defeats. They’ll have a chance to overtake the division lead on Thanksgiving against Dallas. Alex Smith does not have to play another snap and absolutely has the Comeback Player of the Year locked down; he now has a chance to thrust Washington into the 4 seed on Thursday afternoon.

Next: @ DAL

  1. Houston Texans 3-7 +2

Deshaun Watson put out a nice audition for prospective GMs and HCs eyeing the Houston job. Watson was absolutely remarkable in their defeat over New England as he finished with 380 total yards and 3 total touchdowns. The Texans had practically nothing going on the ground game (Texans RBs had 19 yards on 13 attempts) besides Watson’s prowess to run. It was a one-man wrecking crew on offense and the defense surprisingly came up big in certain spots. JJ Watt had 4 pass breakups while the Texans held the Patriots potent rushing attack to under 4 yards per carry. The Texans are a lost cause but Deshaun Watson has been a lone bright spot; he could help them reel in some potential home run hits during this reconstruction at GM and HC.

Next: @ DET

  1. Dallas Cowboys 3-7 +2  

And just like that, the Cowboys are back in the NFC East hunt. Any given week, one win has the ability to alter the entire NFC East landscape. With their surprising win over Minnesota, Dallas has a chance to overtake first place in the NFC East with a win over Washington, even though they still currently hold the 4th pick:

Dallas scored a dire 41 points in their first 4 games after Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending injury. XFL addition Garrett Gilbert offered a glimmer of a hope, holding in strong against one of the more physically imposing units in Pittsburgh. McCarthy stuck to his guns and went back to Dalton and it paid off in a big way against Minnesota. Dallas still has plenty of ammunition in his offense and Dalton has seen it all throughout his career. It’ll be interesting to see if Dallas can build on this and get things steering in the right direction.

Next: vs. WAS

  1. Philadelphia Eagles 3-6-1 -3

The Eagles have become a sad sight for sore eyes. This past Sunday wasn’t anything different, but just about everything collectively plays into where they’re at as a franchise. It starts with the front office in GM Howie Roseman who has failed to field a competitive team. They’ve grossly overpaid the core that won them their Super Bowl in 2017 and have paid the ultimate price for it. Doug Pederson continues to regress and lose touch with the offense that found so much success early on in his tenure. And where do we start with Carson Wentz? He’s looked utterly lost and hasn’t shown any redeeming signs that this can be turned around. The Eagles will need to figure things out quickly because they have primetime Russ up next.

Next: vs. SEA

  1. Cincinnati Bengals 2-7-1 -2 

The Bengals were the biggest losers on Sunday not only having lost on the field but also losing first overall Joe Burrow to a torn ACL, MCL, and PCL. This seemed inevitable given how inadequate this offensive line is and how much the Bengals put on Joe Burrow’s plate. The offensive line issues have really gone back further than this season, and GM Duke Tobin has to do everything in his power to protect his highly-esteemed investment this offseason. Burrow did a lot to cover up their flaws with his scrambling and ability to create outside the structure of the play. The Bengals now turn to 2019 4th round pick, Ryan Finley who struggled immensely in his limited action last season.

Next: vs. NYG

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars 1-9  

Jake Luton came down to earth. He was completely exposed in their beatdown against Pittsburgh. His first two outputs were manageable and had some spurts, keeping the Jags at least competitive. But four interceptions later, the Jags were out of this one in a hurry. However, QB isn’t the only issue; their defense has relinquished the third most yards and have surrendered an offensive score on 50% of their drives, ranking 2nd worst in the league. The only piece of good news in this one was James Robinson became the first undrafted rookie in NFL history to accumulate over 1k+ scrimmage yards in his first 10 career games:

Next: vs. CLE

  1. New York Jets 0-10 —

The only team the Jets face that is under .500 from here on out is New England (4-6). 0-16 is very much in the realm of possibility: one has to wonder, if they were to complete this infamous feat, would they be considered the worst team ever? The only two games that were within one possession were their last two:

Nevertheless, there are silver linings for the Jets. It seems likely they’ll end up with the first overall pick and barring anything dramatic, will end up with a generational talent in Trevor Lawrence. They’ll have another first on their hands from Seattle, and could trade Sam Darnold for a late first or second (plus other picks). It is possible that the Jets end up with 3-4 picks in the top 33 with the third most cap space heading into 2021. Jets fans, stay patient.

Next: vs. MIA

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