1. Kansas City Chiefs (10-1)
Previous Rank: 1
Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill together are just cheat codes. They’re playing games like it’s rookie mode on Madden. When going up against a very respectable defence in the Buccaneers, they were absolutely embarrassed by the dynamic duo in a 27-24 Chiefs win. Hill went off for over 200 yards by the end of the first quarter and finished off his day with 13 catches for 269 yards for three touchdowns. Mahomes accounted for almost 500 yards of offence, and managed to ice the game with a clock-killing drive after the Bucs managed to bring the contest to only a field goal apart. Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL, and Hill is the best receiver in the NFL right now.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-0)
Previous Rank: 2
A chaotic week of rescheduling and COVID-19 breakouts postponed this matchup three times. Still, they got the game in, and it wasn’t pretty. While the defence performed as expected against a depleted Ravens offence, the Steelers offence was far from good. Pittsburgh could not establish the run, and their receivers dropped numerous passes throughout the game. If the Steelers performed like this against a contender that’s at full strength, they would definitely cough up their first loss of the season right there.
3. New Orleans Saints (9-2)
Previous Rank: 3
I mean, the Saints played an injury/COVID-19 depleted squad that was playing without a quarterback... what else could possibly happen? It was utter domination for the Saints in a 31-3 win. The Saints only allowed one pass completion the entire game. The dominating win hid the mediocre performance from Taysom Hill, as he didn’t do much in his second career start. He scored twice on the ground but didn’t contribute anything in the air, only throwing for 78 yards with an interception. Is Hill still a viable long-term option for the Saints behind centre?
4. Green Bay Packers (8-3)
Previous Rank: 6
The Bears had the courtesy of playing pissed off Aaron Rodgers this game, and it wasn’t pretty. Rodgers absolutely dominated the Bears in a 41-25 win, carving up a respectable Bears defence throwing 21 of 29 passes for 211 yards and four touchdowns with no turnovers. The Packers only trail the Saints by one game in the race for the NFC No. 1 seed and have a head-to-head on their side. Get ready for some craziness.
5. Seattle Seahawks (8-3)
Previous Rank: 8
A Seattle defence that was historically terrible through the first-half of the season has finally started to make significant strides. The pass rush has evolved and a big credit to that goes to October’s trade acquisition of Carlos Dunlap. Dunlap has four sacks in four games and has made big plays for this defence. Jamal Adams (aka Blitz Boy) has also provided a huge lift at the line of scrimmage with his blitzing technique. While it did cost the Seahawks two first-round picks to acquire the safety, he’s undeniably a valuable playmaker with a unique skill set that adds more depth to Seattle’s defence.
6. Buffalo Bills (8-3)
Previous Rank: 5
The Bills managed to turn the ball over three times in seven offensive plays and somehow still won the game. This could be the side-effect of recovering from the infamous Hail Murray two weeks ago. But the Buffalo defence deserves credit; they only allowed three points in the three Chargers possessions that followed those turnovers. The Bills also finally got their run game going. Devin Singletary (82) and Zack Moss (59) combined for over 100 yards on the ground. The Bills are now in uncharted territory as they’re 8-3 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1995-96.
7. Tennessee Titans (8-3)
Previous Rank: 11
All hail King Henry, the true king of the AFC South. In a dominating 45-26 win over the Colts, it was King Henry who led the way, rushing for 140 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, and finished off the day with 178 yards on 27 carries. King Henry is the only rusher this season to surpass 100 yards against the Colts since the start of last season (and he’s done it in his past three games against the Colts too). Now bow down to your king, Colts.
8. Los Angeles Rams (7-4)
Previous Rank: 4
The 49ers just might have the Rams number. Before this game, the Rams hadn’t defeated their Rivals since their infamous 2018 season, and this didn’t change against an injury-riddled 49ers squad. Los Angeles had four turnovers in the 23-20 loss, and Jared Goff accounted for three of them (two interceptions including a pick-six and a fumble). Goff has now thrown 10 interceptions and lost four fumbles and is tied for the second-highest number of giveaways this season. The Rams must have some doubt after signing Goff to a big contract extension last fall.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5)
Previous Rank: 9
The Bucs defence was torched on a historic level by Tyreek Hill and co. in the first quarter, as Hill had surpassed 200 yards receiving with two touchdowns by the end of the first quarter against Carlton Davis. While the Bucs did almost mount a fourth-quarter comeback, it ultimately wasn’t enough for a win in a 27-24 loss. Back-to-back close losses to the Rams and Chiefs make you wonder where the Bucs truly stand among the league’s elite teams. On paper, they should be a top team in the league, but their record just doesn’t reflect that.
10. Indianapolis Colts (7-4)
Previous Rank: 7
The Colts bowed down to King Henry in Sunday’s 45-26 loss against the Titans. Playing without DeForest Buckner (COVID-19), the Colts front seven was absolutely dominated by the Titans running game. After giving up 28 points in the first two quarters against the Packers in their previous game, the Titans surrendered 35 points in the first half against the Titans. King Henry had already piled up 140 yards and three touchdowns by halftime. The Colts are in a must-win scenario for the rest of the season if they want to take back the AFC South from King Henry and his Titans.
11. Baltimore Ravens (6-5)
Previous Rank: 13
No other team in professional sports has been decimated by a COVID-19 outbreak more than the Ravens in 2020. The Ravens at one point had over 20 people on their COVID-19/reserve list, including former MVP Lamar Jackson. That isn’t so promising when going up against the only undefeated team left in the NFL; the Pittsburgh Steelers. But the Ravens delivered a commendable effort despite having barely any of their important players. Still, the playoff dreams for the Ravens aren’t dead yet. The team ends off the year playing 4 teams who are under .500 currently, and the Cleveland Browns. Don’t count these birds out yet.
12. Las Vegas Raiders (6-5)
Previous Rank: 10
The Raiders were dismantled against the Falcons on Sunday in an embarrassing 43-6 loss. Derek Carr played horrible, throwing a pick-six and losing multiple fumbles from sacks. Josh Jacobs looked slow on an injured hip before leaving the game with a sprained ankle, and the defence got dismantled by a Falcons squad that didn’t even have Julio Jones. Las Vegas also gave up a season-high 11 penalties for 141 yards. A disaster from every angle. Fortunately, the Raiders have a Week 13 matchup against the winless Jets to try to revive their playoff hopes once again.
13. Miami Dolphins (7-4)
Previous Rank: 14
The Dolphins are lucky to have the best backup in the NFL right now. With Tua Tagovailoa potentially missing multiple weeks with his thumb injury, Miami playoff dreams may not crumble due to the presence of Ryan Fitzpatrick. The 38-year-old threw two touchdowns without committing a turnover in the Dolphins’ 20-3 win over the Jets on Sunday. The defence mainly did the heavy lifting though, forcing Sam Darnold to throw two interceptions and has now come up with at least one takeaway in 17 consecutive games. The defence is legit, but would it be enough for a playoff push for these Fins?
14, Arizona Cardinals (6-5)
Previous Rank: 12
With Cam Newton throwing for double-digit yards and two interceptions on the day and the Patriots offence being held to only 179 total yards of offence, the Cardinals still managed to lose this game. While Kyler Murray did have another quiet game, this could’ve been the product of playing with an injured shoulder. But the downfall of this game was unforced errors by Arizona. A wide-right 45-yard field goal attempt with a minute to play gave New England a chance to win this game, and Isaiah Simmons' late hit on Cam Newton allowed the Patriots to get into field goal range to hit the 50-yard game-winning field goal. A disappointing loss for the Cardinals, who could easily be 5-6 right now if not for the infamous Hail Murray two weeks ago against the Bills.
15. Cleveland Browns (8-3)
Previous Rank: 15
It’s official, the Browns will not have a losing record for the first time since 2007 with a 27-25 win over the Jaguars. Nick Chubb continues to show why he’s the best player on the team. With the Browns up by two with 1:37 left to play, Baker Mayfield threw a screen pass to Nick Chubb who managed to secure the first down and the win for the Browns. Still, this Browns team is very interesting. They have the tools to be a contender in the league, but sometimes they just don’t play like it. Still, the Browns are poised to snap their endless postseason dry spell.
16. Minnesota Vikings (5-6)
Previous Rank: 16
Kirk Cousins looked like prime John Elway in Sunday’s final drive against the Panthers. With a muffed punt that left Carolina deep in Minnesota territory with 2:10 left in play, the defence managed to limit the Panthers to only a field goal. Cousins proceeded to march his team down the field without his favourite target Adam Thielen for 75 yards on seven plays with no timeouts. A 10-yard touchdown strike to Chad Beebe effectively sealed the game and kept playoff hopes alive in Minnesota. After a lackluster start to his season, Captain Kirk has been one of the most productive quarterbacks in football.
17. Atlanta Falcons (4-7)
Previous Rank: 20
The Falcons improved to 4-2 with interim coach Raheem Morris after a 43-6 blowout of the Raiders. Playing without Todd Gurley or Julio Jones, the offence still managed to produce 43 points on just 304 yards of total offence which mainly comes from their defence’s best game of the season. Atlanta was able to sack Carr five times and produced five turnovers on the day. It’s these types of wins that make you think why can’t the Falcons always play at this level.
18. San Francisco 49ers (5-6)
Previous Rank: 21
After being decimated by injuries this season, everyone left the 49ers for dead. But the 49ers still manage to win games despite the plethora of injuries. The defence is still good, as it managed to produce four turnovers on the day (including a pick-six), and Deebo Samuel continues to be the best offensive player on the team, securing a career-high 11 catches and a season-high 133 receiving yards in the win. The Niners have now swept the Rams in back-to-back years.
19. Houston Texans (4-7)
Previous Rank: 22
After a blowout win against the Lions on Thanksgiving where Deshaun Watson threw for four touchdowns, the Texans were feeling good. But that all changed after Watson’s No. 1 receiver Will Fuller’s season was ended after it was announced that he tested positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance. Bad news for Fuller, as he was having a career year before the announcement. Fuller has been suspended for six games and it will carry over into next year's season opener. With Watson in prime form right now, expect a drop-off in production with his favourite receiver gone for the rest of the season.
20. Los Angeles Chargers (3-8)
Previous Rank: 18
With Justin Herbert setting rookie quarterback records and arguably being a top-10 quarterback in the league, it’s hard to believe the Chargers moved to 3-8 after a 27-17 loss against the Bills. Los Angeles couldn’t take advantage of the infamous three Bills turnovers in seven plays, only managing to produce a field goal in those three possessions. Anthony Lynn also faced heavy criticism after his clock mismanagement near the end of the game after Justin Herbert connected on the Hail Mary pass that put the Chargers at the Bills’ goal line with no timeouts. Maybe coaching is why this talented Chargers roster can’t succeed?
21. Carolina Panthers (4-8)
Previous Rank: 17
Jeremy Chinn had a day scoring fumble returns on consecutive plays, Dalvin Cook was held to just 3.4 yards per carry, and Carolina had the lead with the ball inside the Vikings’ 10-yard line with less than two minutes to play. Yet, the Panthers still managed to lose this game in a dramatic 28-27 loss that pretty much eliminated Carolina from playoff contention. While Teddy Bridgewater didn’t exactly play amazing in his Minnesota homecoming game, the blame can’t be pinned on him. Blame goes toward the defence, as they allowed 18 points in the fourth quarter and allowed Kirk Cousins to march down the field for 75 yards in just 65 seconds for the game-winning touchdown.
22. New England Patriots (5-6)
Previous Rank: 25
“I’m not going to apologize for winning.” Those were Cam Newton’s words after a last-second 20-17 win over the Cardinals. Newton didn’t have a pretty day, throwing for double digit passing yards and two interceptions on the day. His highlight of the night was being hit late by Isaiah Simmons when scrambling to set up the game-winning 50-yard field goal. After their setback loss against Houston, the Pats might have to win out to keep their postseason streak alive. A matchup against the 3-8 Chargers ensues.
23. Washington Football Team (4-7)
Previous Rank: 26
How poetic would it be if Alex Smith led the Washington Football Team to the playoffs in his return to the NFL from his gruesome injuries. It seems like it could be possible after Washington blew out the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. The Football team has had the Cowboys number this season, dominating the Cowboys with a combined 66-19 score difference over their two games this season. Rookie Antonio Gibson is turning into an impact player in the backfield, and the defence has quietly become a decent defence in the NFL. The division is there for Washington, they just got to seize it.
24. New York Giants (4-7)
Previous Rank: 23
With Danny Dimes suffering an ankle injury that could keep him out for a few weeks during Sunday’s close 19-17 win over the Burrow-less Bengals, Colt McCoy is now at the reins of quarterback in New York. McCoy didn’t look sharp in his debut, completing six of his ten passes for only 31 yards. Danny Jones’ availability over the coming weeks could play a role in if the Giants win the division. With an upcoming matchup against Russell Wilson and the explosive Seattle offence, does McCoy have the ability to hang with them? Probably not.
25. Denver Broncos (4-7)
Previous Rank: 19
In a game where the Broncos where COVID-19 protocols left the Broncos with no available quarterbacks, things went pretty much as you expected. Kendall Hinton suited up as quarterback for the Broncos and he could only muster one pass completion in a 31-3 blowout loss to the Saints. Still, you have to commend Hinton for giving an admirable effort in a seemingly impossible situation. Hopefully, the Broncos will actually have a quarterback this time for Sunday’s matchup against the 10-1 Kansas City Chiefs.
26. Chicago Bears (5-6)
Previous Rank: 24
The Bears were blown out on Sunday Night Football by the Packers in an embarrassing 41-25 loss. While Mitch Trubisky didn’t play amazingly well in the game, the blame can’t be pinned on him. It was the defence, as they just weren’t competitive at all in the game. Aaron Rodgers torched the secondary for four touchdowns, and Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams blew through tackle attempts the whole night. Matt Nagy will probably be coaching for his job over the final five weeks.
27. Dallas Cowboys (3-8)
Previous Rank: 29
Mike McCarthy’s tenure with the Dallas Cowboys may be in jeopardy after Thanksgiving's 41-16 loss to the Washington Football Team. This is the second time of the season the Cowboys have been blown out by the Football Team, losing by a combined score of 66-19 over their two meetings this season. Still, with the Cowboys sitting at 3-8, they still have a shot in an NFC East division where the New York Giants and the Washington Football Team are tied for first with four wins apiece. 2020 man.
28. Detroit Lions (4-7)
Previous Rank: 27
Following the Lions embarrassing Thanksgiving blowout by the Texans, the team announced that they had fired head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as the Matt Patricia era in Detroit saw a team that regressed from the back-to-back 9-7 finishes to a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since the dismissal of Jim Caldwell. Lions offensive coordinator takes over as interim coach while the team looks for a new head coach and GM.
29. Philadelphia Eagles (3-7-1)
Previous Rank: 28
The Eagles faced the league’s worst-ranked pass defence on Monday and looked lost in Monday’s 23-17 loss to the Seahawks. Carson Wentz is an obvious problem on the team. He’s leading the league in interceptions and fumbles, and could be the first quarterback to do that since 2015 Blake Bortles. That’s right. Carson Wentz has been 2015 Blake Bortles bad in 2020.
30. Cincinnati Bengals (2-8-1)
Previous Rank: 30
The Bengals began life without rookie Joe Burrow with a decent effort, but they’ll need backup Brandon Allen to be better if they want to have a chance to win another game before the end of this season. Allen finished 17 of 29 for 136 yards with one touchdown and two turnovers in the 19-17 loss. The Bengals were able to score their first touchdown of the day on a 103-yard kickoff return by Brandon Wilson, and Allen didn’t find his way into the red zone until the final minutes of the game. With Burrow scheduled to undergo reconstructive surgery on his left knee this week, the Bengals can only hope Burrow returns for Week 1 of 2021.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-10)
Previous Rank: 31
With Mike Glennon making his first start since 2017, he gave the Jaguars an obvious boost offensively. While it wasn’t enough to defeat the Browns, it was enough for Glennon to earn another start on Sunday against the Vikings. With the Jags dismissing general manager Dave Caldwell, head coach Doug Marrone probably realizes he’s a dead man walking right now. Jacksonville’s tenth consecutive loss clinched a third straight season with double-digit defeats.
32. New York Jets (0-11)
Previous Rank: 32