Before we tuck into some turkey, here are the Week 12 power rankings. It was another wild weekend in the NFL which made it more difficult than ever. This week of play will certainly separate the has from the has no chance at the playoffs.
1. Philadelphia (9-1)
Things did not look great at halftime on Monday night, but the defense clamped down in the second half, Jalen Hurts found a way to move the ball despite A.J. Brown being blanketed, and the Eagles came out on top in a game that lived up to the hype. The Philadelphia Eagles not only exacted a measure of revenge against Kansas City, but they remained on top of the NFC. Philadelphia has one of the best rosters in the league with few vulnerabilities.The Eagles made huge plays when they needed it most. Especially DeVonta Smith. He showed up…..big time! The Eagles next face desperate Buffalo with games against the 49ers and Cowboys on the horizon. If anyone is going to catch Philadelphia in the NFC, it will happen over the next few weeks.
2. San Francisco (7-3)
After a three-game skid, the San Francisco 49ers have decisively won their past two games. Offensively, QB Brock Purdy has reinserted himself into the MVP conversation after two stellar weeks. Blame the bots for all this "Brock Purdy isn't good" talk. That just ain't real. However, Brock Purdy had a perfect passer rating in that game, throwing for 333 yards and three touchdowns on just 25 attempts. Over the last five games, a span that includes two of their losses, Purdy has averaged a respectable 10 yards per attempt. Defensively, the addition of DE Chase Young has improved San Francisco’s already dangerous pass rush. When they are firing on all cylinders, the 49ers are the league’s most complete team.
3. Baltimore (8-3)
The Baltimore Ravens are always good, which makes their current level of success a near expectation. Their defense is among the league’s best, and QB Lamar Jackson is an MVP contender. The story of the game last week was Joe Burrow’s season-ending injury, but the Ravens lost Mark Andrews to what could also be a season-ending blow earlier in the game. The Ravens win, but Mark Andrews gets hurt. The Ravens have persevered though so many injuries. What's one more? Unfortunately, the loss of TE Mark Andrews will reduce the reliability and ceiling of Jackson’s passing attack. That’s why they’ve fallen below the 49ers in our rankings. Baltimore begins its toughest schedule stretch in Week 15 in Jacksonville.
4. Dallas (7-3)
The Dallas Cowboys have been favored by a combined 27.5 points in these last two games, and they have won them by a combined 55 points. That's all you can ask for. The Cowboys have won four of their last five games while Dak Prescott has inserted himself into the MVP conversation. Prescott’s passing attack and the Cowboys’ premium pass rush are the team’s two biggest strengths. Those are the primary reasons why Dallas has won six games by at least three scores. Up next, one last game as a heavy favorite on Thursday before the schedule picks back up in a big way. Prescott gets a showcase game against Washington’s secondary before Dallas’ schedule stiffens up. From Week 13 to Week 17, they play the Seahawks, Eagles, Bills, Dolphins, and Lions. Dallas will need Dak Prescott to keep up his recent excellent form during that run.
5. Kansas City (7-3)
The offensive concerns that have plagued this team since their blowout of the Bears were on full display in the second half against the Eagles. The offense went punt, punt, fumble, punt, punt, turnover on downs on their second-half possessions. They have not scored in the second half of a game since their fourth-quarter touchdown against the Chargers back in Week 7. Similar to their loss to the Lions on opening night, poorly timed drops cost the Kansas City Chiefs a win over the Eagles. Kansas City’s defense continues to perform at an elite level. Patrick Mahomes is still the best that there is. Receiver drops were a killer down the stretch vs. Philly. This defense is good, Patrick Mahomes is amazing, and betting on Andy Reid turning this offense around seems safe. Still, this loss highlights the issues Kansas City will have against good teams this year and how important it is for them to add quality receivers. However, his supporting cast of pass catchers continues to cost Kansas City against premium opponents. That’s why the Chiefs have fallen behind the 49ers and Ravens in our rankings. Kansas City faces two beatable opponents before it hosts Buffalo in Week 14.
6. Miami (7-3)
So much talk about the Dolphins offense, you almost forget they have Jalen Ramsey. The elite CB made folks remember Sunday. The Miami Dolphins’ defense is better today than it was on opening day. That group, led by Jalen Ramsey, spearheaded their win against the Raiders. The Dolphins’ high-powered offense has back-to-back mediocre showings. If Miami is going to make any noise this season, its offense will drive that outcome. The offense’s mediocre play in the past two weeks is why the Dolphins have slid in our rankings. The Dolphins have a nice run of winnable games to sharpen up before they get the Cowboys, Ravens, and Bills to close out the season.
7. Detroit (8-2)
The Lions did everything they could to lose to the Bears, but they managed to score 17 points in the final three minutes to come away with a 31-26 victory. The Detroit Lions escaped with the win after being borderline dominated by Chicago for 57 minutes. To his credit, Jared Goff’s passing attack stormed back late in an otherwise subpar showing. On the positive side, the Lions are top-five in passing yards and rushing yards per game, making their offense one of the league’s most balanced. There's something fun about Aidan Hutchinson, a Michigan man and Michigan native, helping the Lions become elite. On the negative side, Detroit’s defense has given up 64 points in its past two games. What’s more concerning is the Lions’ defense hasn’t played well against an average or better opponent since Week 1. Similarly, the Lions haven’t beaten a .500 or better team since their one-point win in Kansas City on opening night. Detroit is a good football team, but its record is inflated by a soft schedule.
8. Houston (6-4)
On the day when C.J. Stroud finally made some mistakes, his defense was there to pick him up. The Texans survived a tough, three-interception game from QB C.J. Stroud to log a win against a Cardinals team. Stroud’s offense was productive in the air and on the ground last week against the Cardinals. Turnovers kept Arizona within striking distance, but they also forced the Houston Texans’ defense to win a game. We talk a ton about C.J. Stroud in this space, but how 'bout the job DeMeco Ryans has done as Ryans' defense stood tall every time. The Texans are young, but they have become a more well-rounded team as the season has progressed. Houston will host the Jaguars this week in a matchup with massive AFC South ramifications.
9. Jacksonville (7-3)
We expected a spike week out of QB Trevor Lawrence last week, and that’s what we got against the Titans. Trevor Lawrence looked as good as he has all season. That’s good because the Texans are breathing down their neck in the division, and the Jaguars have to go to Houston this week. With one loss already to the Texans, the Jaguars need that game. When Slide Rid plays like that, the Jags are tough to stop. Overall, the Jacksonville Jaguars have won six of their past seven games, but Houston blew them out 37-17 in Week 3. Whoever wins this upcoming game will be in the driver’s seat for the AFC South crown. After a tough four-game stretch, the Jaguars finish the year against three sub-.500 teams.
10. Cleveland (7-3)
The Cleveland Browns are a solid quarterback away from being a contender. That’s been their reality all season. Unfortunately, Deshaun Watson is out for the rest of the season, leaving them with options like rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson and 38-year-old Joe Flacco. The Browns signed Joe Flacco to the practice squad. He was rough last season with the Jets, but Cleveland has to try something. Cleveland’s defense is good enough to get it into the playoffs, but the quarterback situation caps its upside. Dorian Thompson-Robinson gets his first professional win so he remains the starter.