Another week of football brings another week of The Intermission’s NFL Power Rankings. The Chiefs, Steelers and Saints maintain authority over the top three spots while the Ravens continue to fall after another loss. Come see where your favourite team ranks on the Week 12 edition of the NFL Power Rankings.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-1)
Previous Rank: 1
It’s late in the fourth quarter. Derek Carr had just thrown a touchdown with 1:43 left in play to put Vegas up. Fortunately for the Chiefs, they have Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes took over and marched down the field for 75 yards on just seven plays. The game winning play came from a touchdown strike to an uncovered Travis Kelce to break the Raiders’ hearts and get revenge for Kansas City’s only defeat this season which was at the hand of the Raiders. This win pretty much solidifies another AFC West title for the Chiefs, who are now looking to catch up to the undefeated Steelers for the No. 1 seed.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-0)
Previous Rank: 2
The Steelers remain undefeated after dismantling the outclassed Jaguars in a 27-3 win. The defense made rookie Jake Luton’s life a living hell, as he was constantly facing pressure and threw for four interceptions on the night (two apiece for Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds). Ben Roethlisberger showed up, and did his same ol’ Big Ben routine, causally dismantling the Jaguars defence. But the biggest story to come out of this game is Mapletron (aka Chase Claypool). Claypool scored his tenth touchdown of his rookie season, which is the most touchdowns for a rookie receiver through their first ten games. If the offence can keep up this pace for the rest of the year, this might be the best team in the NFL.
3. New Orleans Saints (8-2)
Previous Rank: 3
The Saints appeared to put aside any issues the team had at the beginning of the season with a 24-9 win over the Falcons. The offence (with Drew Brees) is one of the best in the league, and the defence has slowly upped its play over the past few weeks. Matt Ryan was sacked eight times and was intercepted twice, and have been a big reason why the Saints are now on a seven-game winning streak. The defence after allowing 30 points per game in the first five weeks, have now allowed just 14.4 points per game in the past five weeks. Taysom Hill looked fine running the offence, contributing a passing touchdown and two rushing touchdowns in the win. The Saints are no doubt one of the best teams in the league.
4. Los Angeles Rams (7-3)
Previous Rank: 14
The Rams made one of the biggest jumps ever in our power rankings this week (moving up 10 spots), and there’s a reason why. It seems the Rams have moved on from the team that’s just known as a team that only feasts on the have-nots of the league. Back-to-back wins against the Seahawks and Buccaneers show the Rams can be serious contenders in the league. The defence has been leading the way, as the Rams have made two elite quarterbacks (Russell Wilson and Tom Brady) not look too comfortable in the pocket. This has resulted in turnovers. Jordan Fuller picked off Brady twice, including the game-clincher with less than two minutes to play, and Jared Goff was locked in with his top wideouts: Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, as they combined for 23 catches in the win. The battle of the NFC West looks crazier every week.
5. Buffalo Bills (7-3)
Previous Rank: 6
The Bills running game has been an issue so far this year. The team ranks 27th in the league in rushing yards, averaging only 97 yards a game. This is partially because of the heavy reliance Sean McDermott places on Josh Allen. The Bills pass the ball over 62 per cent of the time, and rank eighth in the league for passing play percentage. Sean McDermott did say to reporters at the beginning of the Week 11 bye that he wants to find more ways to improve the ground game. Devin Singletary hasn’t done much this season, which might mean more opportunities for Zack Moss, as he’s leading the running back core in touchdowns so far and is much more of a red zone and late down threat than Singletary. Moss deserves a shot to show what he can do in early-down situations, but who knows what McDermott has planned for this offence. We’ll get to see this Sunday when the Bills take on the Chargers.
6. Green Bay Packers (7-3)
Previous Rank: 5
While every Packers fan might want Marquez Valdes-Scantling dead after his fumble in overtime to seal the loss for the Packers, shown by the numerous death threats sent his way, that’s not the biggest issue for the Packers. The issue is how Green Bay held a 14-point lead going into halftime against the Colts, but still managed to lose. The offence went cold after a strong first-half, only totalling three points in the second-half after putting up 28 points in the first-half, and the defense couldn’t make simple tackles. The Packers have yet to beat a team that has entered the game with a winning record, which makes you wonder if Green Bay is really up there with the top teams in the league.
7. Indianapolis Colts (7-3)
Previous Rank: 11
What other way to get off to your best franchise start since 2013 than with an overtime win against the Packers. The defence completely shut down Aaron Rodgers and co. after allowing 28 points in the first half, and forced four turnovers on the day (with the biggest one coming from Julian Blackmon’s strip of Marquez Valdes-Scantling that set up the game winning field goal). Back-to-back wins against the Titans and Packers have set up the Colts well to take their first division title since 2014.
8. Seattle Seahawks (7-3)
Previous Rank: 9
Who would’ve thought that Seattle’s defence, which has been historically bad this season, would end up sealing the win for the Seahawks in a close 28-21 game against the red-hot Cardinals offence. Carlos Dunlap secured the win for the Seahawks with the game-sealing sack on fourth-and-10 for his second sack on the night. Dunlap now has 3.5 sacks, seven QB hits and five tackles for loss in three games for Seattle. The real question is has Seattle’s defence finally turned it around after a horrible start? With their next four opponents teams that are currently under .500, what better time to assert your dominance defensively.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4)
Previous Rank: 4
After a 31-28 loss to the Rams in prime time, the Bucs are now 1-3 under the lights this season. While they did put up a fight, not looking like the team that got dismantled by the Saints earlier this month, they still couldn’t get it done against the Rams. Tom Brady has been hot and cold this season. We’ve seen he can look like vintage Brady with great performances, but he’s also had some bad performances, throwing for two bad interceptions on the night. While the Rams front seven did pressure Brady through the night, it makes you wonder if the 43 year-old can really get it done for the Bucs this season.
10. Las Vegas Raiders (6-4)
Previous Rank: 13
The Raiders may honestly be one of the most underrated teams in the league. With one of the toughest schedules in the league (including playing the Chiefs twice), the Raiders have exceeded expectations set for them at the beginning of the year. Derek Carr has quietly become a top ten quarterback in the league, throwing for three touchdowns and leading his offence with excellent precision against the Chiefs. Vegas only punted the ball twice on the night. Carr even helped Vegas move ahead of the Chiefs, connecting with Jason Witton for a touchdown with less than two minutes to play, but it still wasn’t enough to overcome Mahomes and co.. The Raiders are the only team to defeat the Chiefs so far this season, and might be able to make a playoff push if they can secure a spot in a crowded AFC.
11. Tennessee Titans (7-3)
Previous Rank: 12
While the Ravens did manage to contain Henry in the first-half, they couldn’t stop him after halftime. Henry rushed for 96 of his 133 yards after halftime, and scored the game-winning 29-yard touchdown dash in overtime to lift the Titans to a huge 30-24 win over the Ravens. The Titans are now tied with the Colts for the lead in the AFC South, but a loss to the Colts so far this season gives the advantage to the Colts. A matchup for the lead of the AFC South against the Colts commences this Sunday.
12. Arizona Cardinals (6-4)
Previous Rank: 8
Kyler Murray just couldn’t find his groove on Thursday’s 28-21 loss to the Seahawks. Murray could only total 270 passing yards and two touchdown passes against a Seattle defence that has been historically bad so far this season. On the final drive of the game on fourth-and-10, Murray couldn’t evade pressure like he normally does, and was sacked by Carlos Dunlap to seal the loss for the Cardinals. Even worse is that Murray suffered an injury to his throwing shoulder in the game. While it’s not expected to keep him out of action, shoulder injuries and quarterbacks are usually never a good combination.
13. Baltimore Ravens (6-4)
Previous Rank: 7
Things aren’t looking good in Baltimore right now. After starting the season off at a strong 5-1 record, the team has now lost their last three out of five games and have fallen below the Browns to third in the AFC North. Baltimore couldn’t stop Derrick Henry in the second-half after containing him in the first-half, as he ran over the defence for 98 yards and the game-winning overtime touchdown. Even worse news is the COVID-19 breakout in the Ravens organization. It’s been confirmed that Lamar Jackson has been diagnosed with COVID-19, and the Ravens/Steelers matchup has been delayed from Thursday night to now be scheduled for Tuesday. Lamar Jackson’s availability for the matchup could determine Baltimore’s position for a playoff spot in a tightly packed AFC.
14. Miami Dolphins (6-4)
Previous Rank: 10
After Tua Tagovailoa was yanked after playing very ineffective in Sunday’s game versus the Broncos, it does make you wonder if he does truly have the trust of the coaching staff. While head coach Brian Flores did say that Tua does have the “full support” of the coaching staff, would that be the case later in the season if Tua were to continue with his rookie struggles. It’s a tough decision for Brian Flores if the Dolphins do find themselves in an important game to earn a playoff spot.
15. Cleveland Browns (7-3)
Previous Rank: 15
Don’t look now, but the Browns have leaped over the Ravens in the AFC North standings. Does that mean they’re the better team? Probably not. But Browns fans still have to be happy with the franchise’s best start since 1994. Even without Myles Garrett, the defence still made life miserable for Carson Wentz. While Baker Mayfield hasn’t thrown a touchdown in each of his last three games, a large part of that is due to the hellish weather conditions the Browns have had to endure. Will Mayfield be able to find his form again against the 1-9 Jaguars? We can only hope so.
16. Minnesota Vikings (4-6)
Previous Rank: 16
The Vikings put together their best collective offensive effort in a win against the Cowboys on Sunday. Kirk Cousins threw for three touchdowns in what was his best game of the season, Dalvin Cook ran for 100 yards, and Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen combined for three touchdowns on the day. The defence was concerning though. The Cowboys were one of the most dysfunctional offences heading into Sunday’s game against the Vikings, but they were able to put up points. Dalton had no problem finding open receivers, and the run defence allowed over 180 yards on the ground. The Vikings may need to win out to extend their season, but will they be able to?
17. Carolina Panthers (4-7)
Previous Rank: 23
Nothing like asserting your dominance without Christian McCaffrey or Teddy Bridgewater than by winning 20-0 against the Lions. XFL legend P.J. Walker had a respectable game, and the defence came to play. While the Panthers may have played themselves out of the playoff hunt, watch out for Matt Rhule and his Panthers next season… they might be coming for a playoff spot.
18. Los Angeles Chargers (3-7)
Previous Rank: 19
While the Chargers playoff hopes are done, they have to be optimistic about the future. Justin Herbert has shown that he can be the man to help bring Los Angeles to the promised land, and it showed with his fantastic performance against the measly Jets. Herbert picked apart the Jets secondary for 366 yards and three touchdowns, and now is the first rookie in NFL history to have at least five games with at least three scoring passes. His main recipient of the day was Keenan Allen, who set a franchise record with 16 catches for 145 yards and a score. The future's looking bright in Chargertown.
19. Denver Broncos (4-6)
Previous Rank: 25
Somehow, the Broncos came out on top against a streaking Miami Dolphins team. The team effectively shut down Tua Tagovailoa, as Brian Flores favoured to replace him with Ryan Fitzpatrick late in the game. Fitzpatrick managed to drive his team down the field, but was picked off by All-Pro safety Justin Simmons to effectively seal the win for the Broncos. Drew Lock continues to underperform this season, totalling 270 yards with no touchdowns and an interception on the night. Will John Elway and the Broncos management have the patience to deal with their rookie quarterback’s growing pains?
20. Atlanta Falcons (3-7)
Previous Rank: 18
After Matt Ryan was sacked eight times in Sunday’s loss to the Saints, it’s clear that the Falcons pass protection continues to be a problem. Last year, Ryan was sacked a career-high 48 times, and he’s somewhat on pace to reach that again as he’s on pace to be sacked 43 times this season. With an offensive line made up of five former first-round picks, you’d probably expect better.
21. San Francisco 49ers (4-6)
Previous Rank: 20
After rumours that the 49ers may want to move away from Jimmy Garoppolo this coming offseason, Kyle Shanahan shed some light on the situation, saying how he expects Jimmy to be they’re starter next year. With Jimmy G still nursing an ankle injury, it’s unclear if he’s already played his last snap of the season. With Mike Glennen taking the reigns of QB against the streaking Rams, things aren’t looking good for the team who nearly won a Super Bowl in February.
22. Houston Texans (3-7)
Previous Rank: 28
If one thing is for certain, it’s that Deshuan Watson is still a superstar that’s desperately in need of structure around him. He’s been amazing this season, only totalling a QB rating lower than 100 in three games this season. On Sunday, he finally got some support from his defence in a 27-20 win over the Patriots. J.J. Watt led the way with a career high four batted passes which all came in big times during the game. The Texans should enjoy Watt while they can.
23. New York Giants (3-7)
Previous Rank: 24
Don’t look now, but the Giants might be the best team in the dreadful NFC East. The team has been playing pretty well over their last six games, and could easily be on a six game win streak instead of the current two-game winning streak they’re riding right now. But will this hot streak be enough to help carry them to a playoff spot. After they play the Burrow-less Bengals, they will not be playing a team that’s currently under .500 for a month. Will Joe Judge and his Giants be up for the challenge.
24. Chicago Bears (5-5)
Previous Rank: 21
The Chicago offense is the definition of pathetic. Nick Foles has not contributed anything to an offence that ranks dead last in the league, which means it’s Mitch Trubisky time once again in Chicago. While Trubisky may be playing for his future over these upcoming weeks, it’s better than having a washed up, less athletic Nick Foles at the reigns instead.
25. New England Patriots (4-6)
Previous Rank: 17
The Patriots have not missed the postseason since 2008, but that streak is in serious jeopardy after a disappointing 27-20 loss to the Texans. At 4-6, the Patriots are in a position where they might need to win out to keep their postseason dreams alive. The problem is, there isn’t enough talent on this roster. Cam Newton hasn’t provided that spark the Patriots desperately needed after the departure of Tom Brady, and the team has too many holes to try to contend for a playoff spot. Sorry Pats fans, looks like this isn’t your year.
26. Washington Football Team (3-7)
Previous Rank: 29
The biggest story for the Football Team has been the return of Alex Smith. He survived the injury, got endless rehab, got cleared, earned his spot on the roster, worked his way up the depth chart until he got the opportunity to start again. He was on point in Sunday’s 20-9 win over the Bengals, throwing an efficient 17 for 25 for 166 yards and a touchdown. His amazing comeback story continues on Thanksgiving Day against the Cowboys.
27. Detroit Lions (4-6)
Previous Rank: 22
The Lions finally did it. They fired head coach Matt Patricia which signaled the end of the horrid Matt Patricia era of Lions football. This firing mainly happened because of a horrid loss to the Panthers in an embarrassing 20-0 loss. Matt Stafford was playing by himself on the field with rookie De’Andre Swift and Kenny Golloday missing the field due to injuries, which makes you feel sorry for the guy. With this loss, the Lions are officially out of the playoff race. Better luck next year boys.
28. Philadelphia Eagles (3-6-1)
Previous Rank: 27
The Eagles offence continues to look lost on the field. It truly makes you wonder if the Eagles management signing Wentz to a four-year extension worth up to $166 million was a bad decision. Wentz is on pace to lead the league in interceptions and fumbles this season. Who was the last quarterback to do that? 2015 Blake Bortles. Maybe the Eagles should give second-round pick Jalen Hurts a chance on offense. It wouldn’t make sense for the Eagles to waste a second-rounder on a quarterback if they had no intention of giving him a chance to help the team. Things are looking messy in Philly right now.
29. Dallas Cowboys (3-7)
Previous Rank: 30
For the first time since Dak Prescott’s injury, the Cowboys looked like a functional offence. Andy Dalton returned from his two-game absence to throw three touchdowns, and Ezekiel Elliott finally delivered his first 100-yard game on the ground this season in the 31-28 win over the Vikings. With a win against Washington on Thanksgiving, the Cowboys could find themselves atop the NFC East. In Week 12.
30. Cincinnati Bengals (2-7-1)
Previous Rank: 26
A devastating loss for the Bengals as rookie sensation Joe Burrow was carted to the locker room on Sunday. He ended up suffering a torn ACL and MCL and will require reconstructive knee surgery and extensive rehab. With Burrow being the only light in a grim season, this is a huge loss. Get well soon Burrow. We all love you.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9)
Previous Rank: 31
With a rookie quarterback playing a top-ranked pass rush, things pretty much played out as expected. Jake Luton threw for four interceptions on the night and was facing relentless pressure the whole night. Luton hasn’t provided a spark to the offence in his three starts, which makes you wonder if it’s time for Minshew-magic to take back the reins of starting quarterback. For Jacksonville’s long-term future, this doesn’t matter much though. The team is in the optimal position to draft a quarterback, and it looks like Justin Fields might be the man. Don’t screw up your tank aspirations and start winning Jacksonville!
32. New York Jets (0-10)
Previous Rank: 32
Who else but the Jets to place dead last in our Power Rankings. The team is 0-10 and looks like they’re on pace to finish 0-16. While this does secure the No. 1 pick, you gotta feel bad for Frank Gore. The veteran running back may be in the last year of his Hall of Fame career, and his team is about to go 0-16. Some rough stuff. #FreeFrankGore.