1. Baltimore Ravens (9-2; Won 45-6 vs LAR) (+1)
Lamar Jackson was incredible and has possibly taken over the MVP race after an incredible five-touchdown performance on “Monday Night Football.” The Ravens have now destroyed good teams in four of their last five game (the other was the Bengals) and look like the best team in football.
2. San Francisco 49ers (10-1; Won 37-8 vs GB) (+3)
Everyone, from Jimmy Garoppolo to the receivers to the defensive line looked like absolute stars as the 49ers bludgeoned the Packers on “Sunday Night Football.” San Francisco has a tough stretch ahead of them, but they opened it up by clowning a team that looked like Super Bowl contenders up to this point.
*Note: The Ravens and 49ers meet this week in the first #1 vs #2 matchup since I started these Power Rankings last year
3. New England Patriots (10-1; Won 13-9 vs DAL) (-2)
Matt Slater proved to be the star for New England this week as his blocked punt in the first quarter set up the game’s lone touchdown. The Patriots defense, and the rain, helped shut down MVP candidate Dak Prescott as they got a statement win to stay atop the AFC.
4. New Orleans Saints (9-2; Won 34-31 vs CAR) (+2)
Big days from future Hall of Famer Drew Brees and dark horse MVP contender Mike Thomas kept the Saints afloat against the Panthers, as they avoided suffering a huge upset in the dome and stayed on pace in a heated race for the NFC’s top seed.
5. Seattle Seahawks (9-2; Won 17-9 vs PHI) (-2)
A big day from 2018 first rounder Rashaad Penny carried the Seahawks to a victory on a day where there offense struggled to get going. The sophomore running back had 129 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries as the Seahawks kept pressure on the 49ers in the NFC West.
6. Minnesota Vikings (8-3; BYE) (+1)
Minnesota got a week off ahead of a huge Monday night showdown against the Seahawks. They notably were shut out by Seattle in a key game late last season on prime time.
7. Green Bay Packers (8-3; Lost 37-8 vs SF) (-3)
Aaron Rodgers had the worst game of his career as the Packers were obliterated by the 49ers in what was touted as a battle of NFC heavyweights. Green Bay just could not hang with the big boys, and their Super Bowl credentials are looking pretty shaky.
8. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4; BYE) (+1)
Kansas City got a week off ahead of a huge AFC West matchup against the Raiders that could make or break their season.
9. Houston Texans (7-4; Won 20-17 vs IND) (+1)
The Texans passing defense came up huge in Houston’s crucial Thursday night matchup. They held Jacoby Brissett to 5 yards per attempt, and held the Colts offense in check despite their failures to stop the run. Houston controls their destiny in the AFC South and have an inside track to the postseason.
10. Dallas Cowboys (6-5; Lost 13-9 vs NE)
Dak Prescott had his worst game of the season and a few horrible coaching decisions down the stretch cost the Cowboys their chance to earn a rare road victory in Foxborough. Amari Cooper was also held without a single catch.
11. Tennessee Titans (6-5; Won 42-20 vs JAX) (+4)
Derrick Henry continued his quietly incredible season as the running back added another 159 yards and two touchdowns on the way to a dominant win over their AFC South rivals. The Titans may manage to sneak into the playoffs this season, especially as the Raiders and Steelers seem to be faltering.
12. Indianapolis Colts (6-5; Lost 20-17 vs HOU) (+1)
Jacoby Brissett failed to get going against Houston, and the Colts lost what could prove to be a back-breaking game in the AFC South race. Running back Jonathan Williams left the game with something to personally hang his hat on, eclipsing the 100-yard mark in relief of Marlon Mack.
13. Los Angeles Rams (6-4; Lost vs BAL) (-2)
The Rams offense was stuck in quicksand while their defense could not handle Lamar Jackson as the team was embarrassed on “Monday Night Football.” Their playoff hopes seem to be on life support and a once promising season looks all but dead.
14. Buffalo Bills (8-3; Won 20-3 vs DEN) (+2)
This team is not good. I don’t care about their record.
15. Carolina Panthers (5-6; Lost 34-31 vs NO) (+2)
Carolina took the Saints the distance in a tough road environment, but came up just short to fall back below .500 on the year. Kyle Allen had 256 yards and three touchdowns on 36 attempts to make up for a relatively quiet day from MVP contender Christian McCaffrey. The Panthers are good, but their playoff hopes are on life support.
16. Philadelphia Eagles (5-6; Lost 17-9 vs SEA) (-3)
Carson Wentz’s rough season continued as he was a disaster against the Seahawks in Week 12. The young quarterback did not get much help from his offense, though, as the group of backups surrounding him were also a huge mess. The Eagles entered the year as Super Bowl favorites but right now, making the playoffs would seem like a miracle.
17. Oakland Raiders (6-5; Lost 34-3 vs NYJ) (-2)
Oakland came into this week hoping to earn an easy victory against an inferior team in order to keep pace in the AFC West. They were absolutely obliterated in a confusingly bad performance, and this late slip up could cost them their chance at a surprise AFC West title.
18. Cleveland Browns (5-6; Won 41-24 vs MIA) (-)
Cleveland beat up a half-dead Dolphins team to stay alive in the AFC playoff race. They still need a lot to go their way to sneak into the postseason, but this was a great start.
19. Chicago Bears (5-6; Won 19-14 vs NYG) (-)
Mitch Trubisky reclaimed his starting role after being benched late last week against the Rams (due to injury?) and did just enough to avoid disaster against an inferior Giants team. The quarterback had 278 yards and a touchdown through the air, along with two interceptions.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5; Won 16-10 vs CIN) (-)
A mid-game quarterback switch from Mason Rudolph to Devlin Hodges saved the Steelers from an embarrassing loss to the winless Bengals. Hodges was not perfect, only completing five of 11 passes for 118 yards, but his one touchdown pass to James Washington proved to be the difference.
21. Arizona Cardinals (3-7-1; BYE) (+1)
The Cardinals got a week off ahead of a divisional matchup with the Rams.
22. Los Angeles Chargers (4-7; BYE) (+1)
The Chargers got a week off ahead of a very winnable game against the Broncos.
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7; Won 35-22 vs ATL) (+4)
Jameis Winston went full-blown Winston in Week 12—throwing a few incredible passes, paired with awful misses. But his three-touchdown, two-interception day was enough to get the Bucs an in-division win on the road.
24. Atlanta Falcons (3-8; Lost 35-22 vs TB) (-3)
The defense’s surprising run of good form came to an end this week as they had trouble dealing with the Bucs’ dynamic group of skill position players. Matt Ryan had a horrible day as well, and the veteran quarterback got no help from the ground game.
25. New York Jets (4-7; Won 34-3 vs OAK) (+3)
Sam Darnold turned up a huge performance with 315 yards and two touchdown passes as the Jets pulled off a huge upset victory. New York, an objectively bad team, now has dominant victories over two potential playoff teams in the Raiders and Cowboys. Any given Sunday, am I right?
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7; Loss 42-20 vs TEN) (-2)
Jacksonville got blown up by the Titans in the third quarter—giving up 28 points in the 15 minutes—as they crashed out of the playoff race. Nick Foles had only 272 passing yards on 48 attempts, as his rough return from injury continues.
27. Denver Broncos (3-8; Lost 20-3 vs BUF) (-2)
Brandon Allen could only manage 82 passing yards on 25 passing attempts, as the Broncos offense was rendered useless by the Bills’ stout defense. This game was a snoozefest, as two ineffective offenses threw rocks at each other for 60 minutes.
28. Detroit Lions (3-7-1; Lost 19-16 vs WAS) (-2)
Feels like a lifetime ago when the Lions almost beat the Chiefs and people (myself included) believed that they had a chance to make noise this year. They suck, though, and suck more than we could have ever dreamed they could.
29. New York Giants (2-9; Lost 19-14 vs CHI) (-)
Daniel Jones was a disaster against the Bears as the New York Giants lost their seventh straight game this season. The rookie quarterback only threw for 150 yards on 36 attempts as the Giants saw an early lead evaporate. Saquon Barkley was held quiet as well.
30. Washington (2-9; Won 19-16 vs DET) (+1)
Washington knocked off Detroit in a game that will prove to be an affront to the sport of football. Dwayne Haskins looked awful, but the defense—and specifically the pass rushers—had huge performances to get Washington in the win column for the second time this season.
31. Miami Dolphins (2-9; Lost 41-24 vs CLE) (-1)
Miami has been officially eliminated from the playoffs after a loss to the Browns in Week 12. They now can look forward to what should be an exciting 2020 offseason. Who are we kidding? They’ve been looking towards the 2020 offseason since Week 1 of preseason.
32. Cincinnati Bengals (0-11; Lost 16-10 vs PIT) (-)
Ryan Finley was a bad quarterback at NC State and he has been ever worse in the NFL. So bad that the Bengals are turning back to Andy Dalton in their bid to avoid a winless season.