It was another wild week in the NFL. The Bengals continue to stink while the rest of the bottom five, play musical chairs. There are changes at the top of this week’s Power Rankings and a few surprises. As the playoffs inch closer, teams are making their cases for a chance to win it all. Today we take a look at the best of the best this season. Today we take a look at our NFL Power Rankings.
32. Cincinnati Bengals
31. Washington Redskins
30. New York Giants
29. Miami Dolphins
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Los Angeles Rams (6-4; n/r), Oakland Raiders (6-4; +2), Houston Texans (6-4; -1)
Sean McVay’s bunch picked up a much-needed victory against the Bears at home. The Rams continue to look like a shell of their 2018 incarnation as the offense continues to struggle and the defense remains unstable. The Raiders are dangerously close to cracking the top-10 in the power rankings. Oakland benefitted from playing the winless Bengals and received a big game from Maxx Crosby. The rookie defensive end finished with four sacks. Lastly, the Texans need to get back to winning ways. A 34-point blowout loss to the Ravens highlighted the offensive line issues. They face the Colts on Thursday night football and remain in the battle for the AFC South crown.
No. 10 – Dallas Cowboys (6-4; +1)
The Cowboys crack the NFL Power Rankings ahead of Week 12. Dallas received another superb game from quarterback Dak Prescott, in a 35-27 victory against the Lions. Prescott threw for 444 yards and three touchdowns. Michael Gallup has quietly become a key figure in the Dallas offense as he surpassed 100 yards receiving for the third time this season. Gallup finished with 148 yards on nine receptions. The biggest question mark is the Dallas defense. They surrendered 27 points to the Jeff Driskel led Lions. Dallas travels to the northeast to face the Patriots on Sunday. A solid showing would do wonders to boost confidence for the season’s final stretch.
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No. 9 – Kansas City Chiefs (7-4; +1)
Kansas City doesn’t feel right. This could be a result of an offense suffering from numerous injuries, or it could be a sign that the Chiefs are no longer in the top tier of the league. Kansas City struggled against a listless Chargers squad, even with a bouquet of interceptions from the suddenly inept Philip Rivers. The Chiefs offense found success from the midway point of the second quarter, through the midway point of the third quarter, scoring all 24 points during that span. The flurry was bookended by six punts and an interception. Patrick Mahomes does not look like he is fully back from his knee injury as he had his struggles against a tough Los Angeles pass rush. The fact of the matter is the Chiefs hold the AFC West lead but travel to face a surging Oakland team before the trip to Foxborough to take on the Patriots.
No. 8 – Buffalo Bills (7-3; +1)
The Bills continue to beat bad teams. That is the mark of a team on the upswing. Buffalo rolled over the Dolphins by a score of 37-20. Josh Allen led the offense to scores on six of their first eight possessions. The sudden offensive success helped a defense that has been asked to carry the bag through most of the season. Buffalo finished with a season-high in total yards (424) and points. The offensive explosion took the mystery out of the game and made Miami one dimensional. As a result, the Buffalo defense allowed a paltry 23 yards on the ground. The Bills face a tough second half of the schedule with games against Cowboys, Ravens, Patriots, and Steelers.
No. 7 – Minnesota Vikings (8-3; +1)
Minnesota has won six of their last seven games. Over that time, they have averaged 409 yards of offense per game. At the same time, the defense has been surrendering an average of 353 yards per game but has forced 10 turnovers. It has been a recipe for success for the Vikings as they now sit a half-game back of the NFC North lead. The Vikings fought back on Sunday after falling behind the visiting Broncos by a score of 20-0. Minnesota’s passing game sliced through the Denver offense for a pair of scoring passes spanning more than 30-yards.
No. 6 – Green Bay Packers (8-2; n/r)
It can be forgiven if one failed to realize that the Packers have just two losses on the season. To be completely honest, the Packers have flown under the radar for much of the season. The defense has been better than the last few seasons and the offense features a much more balanced approach. Rookie head coach, Matt LaFleur, has crafted an offense that runs the football and attempts to relieve some of the pressure on Aaron Rodgers. After the bye week, Green Bay leads the division by a half-game. The Packers travel to California for a Sunday night clash against the 49ers. There will be a LaFleur on both sidelines. Mike LaFleur, the younger brother of the Green Bay head coach, is the passing game coordinator for the 49ers.
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No. 5 – New Orleans Saints (8-2; n/r)
The Saints are the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, at least according to the Las Vegas sportsbooks. New Orleans has the experienced coupling of head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees. The Saints have been outgained in each of their last two games, a loss against the Falcons and a win against Tampa Bay. Offensively, the Saints received a boost last week with the return of a healthy Alvin Kamara. However, New Orleans received the most help from four interceptions by the defense. The defense will need to continue to create turnovers if the Saints hope to secure a first-round bye.
No. 4 – Seattle Seahawks (8-2; n/r)
Seattle is the only team to defeat the 49ers. It took an overtime period and multiple drops by San Francisco receivers, but in the end, it was enough to get the victory. Seattle was rewarded with a bye week following the Monday night victory. On Sunday, the Seahawks travel east, facing off against the Eagles. Seattle begins and ends with quarterback Russell Wilson. Without the MVP candidate, Seattle would be struggling to remain in playoff contention. After the Eagles, Seattle faces off against the Rams, Vikings, Panthers, Cardinals, and 49ers. Wilson will need consistent help from running back Chris Carson and receivers Tyler Lockett and Josh Gordon. The road ahead is tough and will decide if the Seahawks are playing in January or sitting at home.
No. 3 – New England Patriots (9-1; -1)
This is more about how a team looks rather than who they beat on Sunday. New England drops a spot in the Power Rankings, despite a road victory. The Patriots went to Philadelphia and won an ugly game against the Eagles. New England finished with just 298 yards on offense. Tom Brady suffers from the lack of quality receiving options and a banged-up offensive line. What saved the Patriots was another suffocating performance by the defense. New England’s defense is averaging nearly three takeaways a game. This has been the catalyst for the 9-1 start. New England welcomes the Cowboys on Sunday. The Dallas offense has been explosive as of late and will challenge the Patriots’ defense. The question becomes, will the New England offense do enough to win?
No. 2 – San Francisco 49ers (9-1; +1)
Down 16-0, midway through the first half, the 49ers were in real danger of losing consecutive games for the first time in 2019. San Francisco staged a furious rally to remain in the top spot in the NFC. Most concerning for San Francisco is the absence of the ground game. The Cardinals held San Francisco to just 34 yards on the ground. It was the second consecutive game with under 100 yards rushing. Tight end George Kittle could be the missing link as he has missed the last two contests with knee and ankle injuries. Kittle is questionable for Sunday’s clash against the Packers but was able to practice for the first time in weeks. Jimmy Garoppolo put the 49ers on his back and carried the team to victory. The 49ers need more of the same if San Francisco is to navigate the next few weeks against the Packers, Ravens, and Saints.
No. 1 – Baltimore Ravens (8-2; n/r)
It is an odd sight, seeing a two-loss team, ahead of a pair of one-loss teams. However, this isn’t just your ordinary season. The Ravens have an explosive offense and a consistent defense. Second-year quarterback, Lamar Jackson, has established himself as a legitimate contender for league M.V.P. Jackson has been an exciting weapon who is a superb runner but can make the throws in the passing game. Defensively, the Ravens steamrolled the Texans last week. Houston tallied under 250 yards of offense. It was the third time the Ravens defense held an opponent under 250 yards. The Ravens are the hottest team in the NFL. As of the start of Week 12, Baltimore holds the top spot in the NFL Power Rankings.