NFL power rankings: Week 12 update
Last week went mostly according to plan in the NFL. While the AFC powerhouses flexed their muscles a little more, a few of the better NFC teams had to dig deep to pull out games they desperately needed ahead of the stretch run.
Still, there was enough good and bad to create some more shakeup in the league's power struggle heading into Week 12, from the top to near the bottom. While there are seven teams that have eight or more wins, there are now 14 teams that have between four and six wins.
From 1-32, here's how all of the league's teams stack up against each other with only six weeks left in the 2019 regular season.
1 Baltimore Ravens, 8-2 (previous ranking: 3)
The Ravens' winning resume and high level of play offensively and defensively, led by Lamar Jackson and their deep secondary, no longer can be ignored. They are the best team in the NFL now after their beatdown of the Texans adds to a November to remember.
2 New England Patriots 9-1 (1)
The Patriots beat the Eagles with more of the dominant defense we saw before they ran into the Ravens in Week 9. But their offense keeps leaving much to be desired, and Tom Brady is the first one to keep pointing that out. They need to be on point in that area against the Cowboys.
3 San Francisco 49ers, 9-1 (2)
The 49ers came out a little gassed after playing 70 minutes of football during their first defeat Monday night, but despite all their small lapses and bigger mistakes, they fought to overcome them and knock off the Cardinals while dealing with more key injuries. Now they need to rev up for the Packers, Ravens and Saints in their next three games.
4 New Orleans Saints, 8-2 (6)
The Saints' offense had a much-needed get well game at the Buccaneers because their principals, Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, had monstrous games to open up everything else, per usual. The pass defense was impressive without Marshon Lattimore, too.
5 Seattle Seahawks, 8-2 (4)
The Seahawks got a well-deserved bye after last week's Monday night marathon victory. They will go back to work with Russell Wilson trying to clip the Eagles' wings while the 49ers and Packers have to play each other.
6 Green Bay Packers, 8-2 (5)
The Packers have had two weeks to prepare for the 49ers, and a win coming out of the bye would give them control of the NFC's top seed. Aaron Rodgers has a path back to the Super Bowl right in front of him, with plenty of help from Aaron Jones and Matt LaFleur.
7 Minnesota Vikings, 8-3 (7)
The Vikings would have blown that Broncos game last season. But this season, their offensive execution with Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook has been terrific, whether they're rolling out to leads or mounting comebacks. Mike Zimmer has done a solid coaching job, and Cousins has lived up to his contract.
8 Kansas City Chiefs, 7-4 (9)
Patrick Mahomes, evident by his key running against the Chargers, was a little healthier Monday night than he was when he picked apart the Titans in a losing effort last week. He got a big hand from the defense just when he needed it without Tyreek Hill going into the bye.
9 Dallas Cowboys, 6-4 (10)
The Cowboys are at their best when they give Dak Prescott complete control of the offense and make Ezekiel Elliott more of a dangerous complementary piece — not the other way around. They should keep trusting in Prescott's passing with a season-defining matchup against the Patriots next.
10 Houston Texans, 6-4 (8)
The Texans had their shot against the Ravens, but their pass defense woes showed up big-time, and Deshaun Watson couldn't do much about changing their fortunes. Now they're in a fight to either win the AFC South or fall back on a wild card.
11 Oakland Raiders, 6-4 (12)
The Raiders have their running game and defense going to support Derek Carr's combination of gutsy and efficient play. Jon Gruden remains in the coach of the year conversation with Kyle Shanahan and LaFleur.
12 Indianapolis Colts, 6-4 (17)
The Colts took back first place in the AFC South with the dominant defensive performance they needed at home against the Jaguars. Jacoby Brissett being healthy made a huge difference, as well, but now they have to keep enduring without Marlon Mack in the power running game.
13 Los Angeles Rams, 6-4 (14)
The Rams took care of the Bears by re-dedicating themselves to the running game out of necessity to boost their young offensive line and overcome their wide receiver limitations. Sean McVay's reinvention has kept them alive in the playoff race despite the way the 49ers and Seahawks are playing.
14 Buffalo Bills, 7-3 (15)
The Bills are good at ripping through bad teams, and they did just that in whipping the Dolphins to stay ahead of surging group of AFC wild-card contenders. They need to beat up on the Broncos next with the Cowboys, Ravens and Patriots around the corner.
15 Philadelphia Eagles, 5-5 (11)
The Eagles' offense was without both Alshon Jeffery and Jordan Howard against the Patriots, leaving the tight ends as the only real help for Carson Wentz. The defense has done well to tighten the screws, but they simply aren't capable of scoring enough anymore.
16 Pittsburgh Steelers, 5-5 (13)
The Steelers are doing their best to win with running game and defense, but Mason Rudolph remains a liability, and now there are offensive injuries piling up, too. They need to find a way to take the five winnable games ahead before facing the Ravens in Week 17 to get into the playoffs.
17 Carolina Panthers, 5-5 (16)
Kyle Allen has suddenly become a red-zone turnover machine, as the shaky pass protection is hurting him. He is forcing throws off poor decision-making, and it has cost his team chances at victories the past two weeks. All the good vibes about Allen before Weeks 10 and 11 are now replaced with bigger questions about the future at QB in Carolina.
18 Tennessee Titans, 5-5 (18)
The Titans went into their bye having won three of the past four games with Ryan Tannehill starting and the offense showing the life it should have with Derrick Henry as the foundation. A win over the Jaguars in Week 12 would vault them right back into the AFC South race.
19 Cleveland Browns, 4-6 (25)
Myles Garrett and that ugly finish against the Steelers aside, the Browns suddenly have a winning streak because Baker Mayfield is playing much better with the offense making some good adjustments with Kareem Hunt in the mix. The Dolphins give them beautiful bridge matchup before they face the Steelers in a heated rematch.
20 Chicago Bears, 4-6 (19)
The Bears' defense is doing its best to hold up with the offense remaining anemic, save for a few random big plays. A bad break-up seems more imminent for Matt Nagy and Mitchell Trubisky in one way or another.
21 Jacksonville Jaguars, 4-6 (20)
The Jaguars got Nick Foles back, and while he brought back some good downfield passing, the offense didn't have the same dynamic, explosive, balanced feel it did with Gardner Minshew. One more road loss in the division to the Titans with Foles making mistakes, and the heat will be on Doug Marrone to go back to his rookie.
22 Los Angeles Chargers, 4-7 (21)
The Chargers went into Monday night desperate for a win in Mexico City to keep alive their fading hopes of an AFC playoff return. So much for Philip Rivers playing better now that the running game and defense have come alive — seven interceptions in two weeks won't cut it.
23 Detroit Lions, 3-6-1 (22)
The Lions are showing plenty of offensive fight with Jeff Driskel filling in for Matthew Stafford, but their defense takes turns being destroyed by the run and the pass, much to the chagrin of Matt Patricia after the team's big offseason investments.
24 Atlanta Falcons, 3-7 (27)
Dan Quinn has seen his defense respond now that he has help with the scheming and play-calling. The Falcons have gone from ineffective to dominant after the bye. Unfortunately, it's too late for their playoff chances, but the development could save his job.
25 Denver Broncos, 3-7 (23)
Brandon Allen played valiantly on the road as their passing game put a real scare into the Vikings. But Vic Fangio's defense continues to disappoint in key parts of games.
26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 3-7 (24)
Jameis Winston can't seem to shake his turnover woes for one reason or another, and just as it looked like he was a surefire long-term keeper, he dropped a four-interception game against the Saints. The pass defense, however, remains the bigger problem.
27 Arizona Cardinals, 3-7-1 (26)
The Cardinals tried their best to win a shootout with the 49ers a second time but were denied again. Kyler Murray keeps growing to raise their offensive efficiency, but the defense is an absolute mess against the pass, even with Chandler Jones and Patrick Peterson as the headliners.
28 New York Jets, 3-7 (29)
The Jets are starting to respond offensively to Adam Gase, and it helps him that he knows he is not going anywhere as their head coach after this disappointing season. In Washington, they looked like a complete team for the first time under him.
29 New York Giants, 2-8 (30)
The Giants enjoyed a bye to help Daniel Jones evaluate his rookie season with a chance to finish strong. A little more help from Saqoun Barkley's running and the defense would be nice over the final month and a half.
30 Miami Dolphins, 2-8 (28)
The Dolphins cooled off against the Bills as their defense went back to crumbling. At least their offense and special teams continue to play rather inspired, as there sadly is no more "tank for Tua" for multiple reasons.
31 Washington Redskins, 1-9 (31)
Rookie Dwayne Haskins still looks overwhelmed, but at least the return of running back Derrius Guice was a nice spark to the offense. It also doesn't help when the defense is getting gashed in every which way.
32 Cincinnati Bengals, 0-10 (32)
The Bengals showed better effort in Oakland, but they still couldn't get enough defensive stops or offensive execution from rookie Ryan Finley. It might come down to Week 16 against the Dolphins to avoid a winless season.
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