There won’t be a ground-shaking upset in the NFL this week.
After recent stunners pulled off by the Jaguars over the Bills, the Dolphins over the Ravens, and the Texans over the Titans, no team is favored by more than a touchdown in Week 12, which begins with three games on Thanksgiving.
Why? Optimists will say it’s because the NFL has discovered parity. Pessimists will say it’s because there are no true championship-caliber teams this year.
Here are noti.group’s power rankings for Week 12, beginning with the re-installation of the season’s longest-tenured No. 1, and a No. 2 that no opponent wants to face right now.
1. Arizona Cardinals, 9-2 (3)
Any reasonable Cardinals fan would have signed for going 2-1 with Colt McCoy starting three straight games for an injured Kyler Murray. The most impressive part was coach Kliff Kingsbury didn’t water down his offense. McCoy threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns (both to Zach Ertz) on 44 passes to rout offensively inept Seattle.
2. Kansas City Chiefs, 7-4 (8)
You just know that the other AFC contenders are going to rue the day they let the Chiefs off the hook for their slow start. Home-field advantage throughout the playoffs is very much within reach. The much-criticized defense just held the high-scoring Cowboys to nine points. In this most-unpredictable season, the Chiefs are one of the only teams without a real head-scratching loss.
3. New England Patriots, 7-4 (6)
A familiar face sits atop the AFC East after handing the Falcons their first home shutout since … 1988! Much is rightfully made of rookie quarterback Mac Jones’ winning play, but don’t sleep on maybe the best defense in the NFL. The Patriots have allowed 13 points in the last three games, with stalwarts Kyle Van Noy and Devin McCourty stepping up.
4. Green Bay Packers, 8-3 (2)
The Packers’ slow start — three points on the first four drives to fall behind 16-3 — proved costly when the Vikings withstood a comeback and won on a last-play field goal. Aaron Rodgers threw for a season-high 385 yards and four touchdowns but said he was in “a lot of pain” with a toe injury. So, his health is worth monitoring heading toward a showdown with the Rams.
5. Tennessee Titans, 8-3 (1)
It was easy to excuse a baffling loss to the Jets because the Titans are 7-0 against last year’s playoff teams. But losing Sunday to the Texans on top of the Jets is too much. It’s now obvious the Titans can beat anybody and lose to anybody. That’s not the formula to be ranked No. 1. Ryan Tannehill threw a career-high four interceptions.
6. Los Angeles Rams, 7-3 (5)
The Rams tried to acclimate former Pro Bowler and newcomers Odell Beckham Jr. and Von Miller during the bye. The biggest problem that arose in back-to-back losses — if coach Sean McVay can put his ego aside to fix it — is the offensive play-calling.
7. Dallas Cowboys, 7-3 (4)
Amari Cooper missed the first of at least two games with a COVID-19 positive test result, CeeDee Lamb went out with a first-half concussion, and the offensive line couldn’t block Chris Jones (3.5 sacks). Suddenly, the Cowboys’ passing offense wasn’t so difficult for the Chiefs to contain. The rest of the NFC East is waking up, but probably too late.
8. Baltimore Ravens, 7-3 (9)
It’s hard to diagnose the Ravens. Coach John Harbaugh knows how to win, so they keep winning. But they haven’t impressed against underdogs. At least this latest ugly win against the Bears was easy to explain. In his first career start filling in for Lamar Jackson, Tyler Huntley led the game-winning, 72-yard touchdown drive in the two-minute drill.
9. Indianapolis Colts, 6-5 (13)
Jonathan Taylor leads the NFL in rushing yards (1,122) and touchdowns (15) after his five-score game in a 41-15 destruction of the Bills. After preseason injuries to Carson Wentz and Quenton Nelson, predictions called for a slow start before the easy schedule kicked in. The Colts are 5-1 in the last six games, with wins at Buffalo and at San Francisco.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 7-3 (10)
Tom Brady halted what could have been his second career three-game losing streak and his first since his first full season as a starter (2002) by beating his favorite opponent to defeat (the Giants). He leads the NFL in touchdown passes despite playing most of the season without Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski. The Bucs need more from the pass rush while the secondary is short-handed.
11. Minnesota Vikings, 5-5 (14)
12. Buffalo Bills, 6-4 (7)
13. Los Angeles Chargers, 6-4 (15)
14. Pittsburgh Steelers, 5-4-1 (11)
15. San Francisco 49ers, 5-5 (16)
16. Cincinnati Bengals, 6-4 (20)
17. Philadelphia Eagles, 5-6 (21)
18. New Orleans Saints, 5-5 (12)
19. Cleveland Browns, 6-5 (19)
20. Las Vegas Raiders, 5-5 (17)
21. Denver Broncos, 5-5 (22)
22. Washington Football Team, 4-6 (25)
23. Carolina Panthers, 5-6 (18)
24. Seattle Seahawks, 3-7 (24)
25. Atlanta Falcons, 4-6 (26)
26. New York Giants, 3-7 (23)
Eli Manning looked comfortable at home analyzing his former team on ESPN2. He’s not Brady’s nemesis anymore. Daniel Jones dropped to 0-8 in prime time in his career, including three head-to-head losses to Brady. The schedule gets easy again now, but the Giants have no margin for error and are too reliant on their defense.
27. Miami Dolphins, 4-7 (28)
28. Houston Texans, 2-8 (31)
29. Chicago Bears, 3-6 (27)
30. Jacksonville Jaguars, 2-8 (29)
31. New York Jets, 2-7 (30)
Matt Ammendola missed two field goals and John Franklin-Myers committed a costly roughing the passer penalty in the red zone, so the Jets squandered a winnable game against the Dolphins. Over the last three years, the Jets have had eight different quarterbacks play and six start. And defense is the bigger problem! What a mess.
32. Detroit Lions, 0-9-1 (32)
Credit: Notigroup Newsroom.
[This article may have been written with information from various sources]