Our Week 12 NFL Power Rankings sees a shakeup in the top five along with plenty of other movements throughout the ranks. In Week 11, we saw the Pittsburgh Steelers remain undefeated, the Green Bay Packers lose a thriller in overtime to the Indianapolis Colts, and the Kansas City Chiefs defeat the Las Vegas Raiders in equally thrilling fashion.
As you read through these NFL Power Rankings, remember that they are not predictions. If a team projects to have an easy or difficult schedule ahead of them, that matters not for this exercise. These are very simply a list of how good each team is right this minute. Here’s how all 32 teams rank in my Week 12 NFL Power Rankings with just a few more weeks remaining in the 2020 NFL regular season.
NFL Power Rankings: Week 12
32) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9)
The Jaguars got an opening drive field goal, then never scored again. Pittsburgh held the ball about 13 minutes longer than the Jaguars, who lost the battle on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Jacksonville’s secondary was completely overmatched against the Steelers receivers, and this unit greatly contributed to the over 100 yards of penalties. Jacksonville also has a really tough slate to finish out the season, but fans may be rewarded with Trevor Lawrence in 2021.
31) New York Jets (0-10)
The New York Jets move up one spot in these Week 12 NFL Power Rankings after they hung around against the Chargers and made it rather interesting late in the game. They are still winless but say what you want about the Jets: this team is getting better, at least. Joe Flacco is showing he still has a little football left in him, and the Jets averaged 5.3 yards per play. That’s pretty good for them.
30) Cincinnati Bengals (2-7-1)
Cincinnati falls to 2-7-1 and has lost five of their last six games. But more than anything, Joe Burrow’s knee injury was the story of this game and a terrible turn of events. Will the Bengals win another game this year without Burrow the rest of the way?
29) Houston Texans (3-7)
Houston got their first non-Jaguars win of the year as Deshaun Watson was outstanding against the Patriots. The Texans’ defense was far from great, but Watson outdueled Cam Newton in a pretty evenly played game. This is certainly a step in the right direction in what has been a miserable year for the 29th ranked team in these Week 12 NFL Power Rankings.
28) Denver Broncos (4-6)
Drew Lock did some fine work against a very complex and challenging Miami defense. That, matched with the Broncos ground game that rushed for 189 yards, allowed Denver to average 7.3 yards per play in a very impressive fashion. Denver’s defense created a lot of pressure and forced Tua Tagovailoa from this game. They walk away with their third win of the year.
27) Washington Football Team (3-7)
Washington got their third win of the year, which is tied for the highest win total in the NFC East. Washington probably benefited from Joe Burrow leaving this game, but overall, this is a somewhat improving football team. In Week 11, they featured Antonio Gibson, had 164 combined rushing yards, and played with the lead for much of the game.
26) Philadelphia Eagles (3-6-1)
This was another terrible day for Carson Wentz, and clearly, it is time to worry about the Eagles quarterback. The Eagles’ turnovers were the difference in what otherwise was an evenly played game in a Cleveland rainstorm. But, as we say every week, Philadelphia – ranked 26th in my Week 12 NFL Power Rankings – is still right in the thick (or crawl) of the NFC East playoff race.
25) Detroit Lions (4-6)
The Lions were missing D’Andre Swift and Kenny Golladay. Matthew Stafford was playing with an injured throwing hand. Because of this (and more), the Lions didn’t score a point against Carolina. Stafford threw for 145 yards and Detroit ran for 40 yards. That (3.4 yards per play) isn’t getting it done no matter what the circumstances are. You have to think Matt Patricia’s seat is getting hotter and hotter.
24) Chicago Bears (5-5)
The Bears had their bye in Week 11. Maybe this coaching staff can figure out some way of manufacturing offense. Chicago has lost four games in a row but is still in second place in the NFC North. The Bears – ranked 24th in these NFL Week 12 Power Rankings – have faced a very tough slate of games thus far.
23) Dallas Cowboys (3-7)
Going back to their near-win against the Steelers, Dallas has played far better than early in the year and we know this roster has talent. In fact, they might be the best team in their terrible division now. It was great to see Ezekiel Elliott back as a force running the ball. Dallas hosts Washington on Thanksgiving in what is all of a sudden a very important game.
22) New York Giants (3-7)
Daniel Jones and the Giants had been playing much better heading into their Week 11 bye, winning their previous two games. New York – ranked 22nd in my Week 12 NFL Power Rankings – amazingly has a legitimate shot of winning the NFC East. But more importantly, maybe this franchise can build on their pre-bye momentum and create a foundation to build upon.
21) Los Angeles Chargers (3-7)
As you would hope, Los Angeles beat up on the winless Jets…well, at least for most of the game before allowing New York to make it interesting. Joe Burrow’s injury is extremely unfortunate, but it pretty much paves the way for Justin Herbert as the Offensive Rookie of the Year… not that he needed much help after throwing for 366 yards and three touchdowns with 16 receptions going to Keenan Allen.
NFL Power Rankings, Week 12: Teams ranked 20-11
20) New England Patriots (4-6)
Our top 20 of these Week 12 NFL Power Rankings begins with the New England Patriots. Cam Newton tore Houston’s defense up through the air, but he couldn’t quite keep up with Deshaun Watson as the Texans’ offense averaged 7.1 yards per play. Considering the state of the AFC Wild Card race, this is a huge loss for New England.
19) Atlanta Falcons (3-7)
The Falcons fell to 3-7 against a Drew Brees-less New Orleans team. Atlanta could never lean on their running game, and overall, the Saints defense was the better unit without question. The Falcons averaged a paltry 4.2 yards per play on offense. Atlanta has a brutal remaining schedule.
18) Minnesota Vikings (4-6)
Dalvin Cook had a fine game as usual, but Kirk Cousins’ ability to find his top two receivers ended up with a 314-yard passing day. Adam Thielen, in particular, shined in Dallas. The Vikings led the league in average yards per offensive play coming into this game and kept that up by averaging 7.0 on Sunday. This looks like a terrible loss against the Cowboys, but Dallas played a very good game.
17) San Francisco 49ers (4-6)
The battered Niners – ranked 17th in my NFL Week 12 Power Rankings – could sure use this Week 11 bye and hopefully can get some important players healthy for the NFL’s stretch run. Obviously, their division is tough, but this is a high-quality franchise that could make more noise than many expect the rest of the year.
16) Miami Dolphins (6-4)
Tua Tagovailoa had a really tough time in Denver and was benched in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter. Tagovailoa was sacked six times before leaving the game. Fitzpatrick gave the Dolphins a spark but threw an interception in the end zone to end Miami’s chances of winning the game and their five game winning streak.
The Dolphins averaged a dreadful 3.7 yards per play in Denver. That said, Miami does have an extremely favorable schedule remaining, and Tagovailoa will start next week.
15) Carolina Panthers (4-7)
PJ Walker got the start with Teddy Bridgewater unable to go. He threw two red zone interceptions, but it really didn’t matter as Detroit’s offense was utterly inept. Obviously, this also reflects well on Carolina’s young defense, and it was great to see DJ Moore once again being the focal point of the Panthers’ passing game.
The Panthers really controlled this game. Don’t forget that Carolina – ranked 15th in these Week 12 NFL Power Rankings – has played a challenging schedule this year thus far. This has been an extremely successful year for this franchise and maybe the beginning of something great.
14) Cleveland Browns (7-3)
The Browns played yet another bad weather game, this time in a rainstorm against Philadelphia. But Cleveland is built to play in their surroundings, and as you would expect, their offense ran through Nick Chubb, who finished the day with over 100 yards on the ground.
A pick-six put the Browns up early and was clearly the biggest play of this game. Cleveland won the turnover battle 3-1, and they now sit pretty in the AFC North at 7-3. Kevin Stefanski is rising up the Coach of the Year rankings.
13) Arizona Cardinals (6-4)
The Cardinals produced just 23 yards from scrimmage in the first quarter in Seattle on Thursday, and it was a bit of an uphill struggle all night. Arizona was heavily penalized, including a holding call in the end zone that resulted in a safety.
Kyler Murray was clearly battling a throwing shoulder injury that occurred early in this game, and the long week of rest could really come in handy. On a positive note, Isaiah Simmons really stood out in this game. The Cardinals rank 13th in my NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 12.
12) Green Bay Packers (7-3)
With under two minutes on the clock and pinned deep in their own end zone, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers drove the field to send it to overtime in Indianapolis. But to start overtime, Marquez Valdes-Scantling fumbled (the Packers fourth turnover of the game) and handed the Colts this game on a silver platter. Green Bay is still in control of the NFC North, though, at 7-3.
11) Baltimore Ravens (6-4)
In this week’s AFC North vs. AFC South matchup, the Ravens fell to Tennessee in overtime. Baltimore’s passing game sputtered, but the Ravens ground game led by Lamar Jackson and JK Dobbins was somewhat encouraging. However, Tennessee averaged almost a yard and a half more per play and produced 118 more yards of offense.
After this hard-fought overtime game, the Ravens have to travel to Pittsburgh on an extra short week for a huge Thanksgiving battle. Baltimore could miss the playoffs, although the rest of the way doesn’t look too tough for the Ravens, my 11th ranked team in these Week 12 NFL Power Rankings.
Teams ranked 10-6
10) Las Vegas Raiders (6-4)
Although it was in a losing effort, Derek Carr and the Raiders’ offense is really humming. In Jon Gruden’s image, it is sharp and precise with some serious physicality from the offensive line and running game. The Raiders aren’t nearly as talented on defense, but that side of the ball is improving. Falling to 6-4 hurts Las Vegas’ chances at the postseason, but this was an impressive performance. The Raiders can play with anyone.
9) Buffalo Bills (7-3)
After a heartbreaking loss in Arizona, the Bills rested their bones at home in Week 11. Even though Buffalo is 7-3, they have only outscored their opponents by seven points this year. That being said, this team can hang with anyone. That’s a big reason why they are ranked in the top 10 of my NFL Week 12 Power Rankings.
8) Tennessee Titans (7-3)
The Titans got a massive overtime win in Baltimore to advance to 7-3 and really stake a claim to an AFC playoff spot. As usual, Derrick Henry kept pounding after only having 36 yards in the first half, finishing his afternoon with 133 yards on 28 bruising carries. The Titans rematch with Indianapolis in Week 12 – an AFC South showdown – will be critical.
7) Indianapolis Colts (7-3)
The Colts imploded with holding penalties on their last drive of regulation to allow the Packers to take the game to overtime. An encouraging sign for the Colts was that they leaned on Jonathan Taylor as their feature back, and the rookie didn’t disappoint.
Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers’ numbers were nearly identical, but the Colts got much more out of their run game as Indianapolis’ defense was stifling against the rush. The Colts held the ball for about eight minutes longer than Green Bay.
6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4)
Tom Brady threw a couple of bad interceptions and showed his age throughout this game. Brady threw the ball 48 times, but just 216 yards. Plus, the Bucs running game was nonexistent. The Buccaneers’ 3.7 yards per offensive play is alarmingly poor. Tampa Bay hosts the Chiefs next week and could easily fall to 7-5.
The top 5 NFL teams
5) Seattle Seahawks (7-3)
The top five of my NFL Week 12 Power Rankings begins with the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle really needed a win on Thursday night and got it. The Seahawks missed having a true NFL running back like Carlos Hyde these past few weeks, and Seattle outrushed the Cardinals by over 100 yards, controlling the clock for over 10 minutes more than Arizona.
The Seahawks’ much-maligned defense also really stepped up against the Cardinals’ wide receivers and Kyler Murray, who only ran for 15 yards. New addition Carlos Dunlap’s two sacks could be a sign of things to come. The rest of Seattle’s schedule looks pretty favorable.
4) Los Angeles Rams (7-3)
The Rams simply ignored their running game in the first half but went into halftime with a 17-14 lead in Tampa Bay. Jared Goff was the best quarterback in the game on Monday Night Football. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods had huge games, combining for 23 catches and 275 receiving yards. With Aaron Donald attracting constant double teams, Los Angeles still affected Tom Brady with their pass-rush throughout the night. This is a very good football team that is extremely well-coached on both sides of the ball, and a big reason why they’ve moved into the top five of my Week 12 NFL Power Rankings.
3) New Orleans Saints (8-2)
With Drew Brees out, Sean Payton turned to Taysom Hill and kept their winning streak alive over the Falcons. It was great to see Michael Thomas getting back to his old self in the box score, and New Orleans’ defense completely smothered the Falcons ground game. But can this keep up with Hill at quarterback?
2) Pittsburgh Steelers (10-0)
The undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers took a little time to get going, but this game in Jacksonville was never really in doubt as Pittsburgh advanced to 10-0. Ben Roethlisberger had an ill-advised interception at the end of the first half.
Otherwise, he played a highly efficient game, often going in the direction of Diontae Johnson, who caught a dozen passes on Sunday. And don’t forget about rookie sensation Chase Claypool. Both Steelers’ starting safeties intercepted Jake Luton twice as Pittsburgh’s defense held the Jaguars to just 3.7 yards per play.
1) Kansas City Chiefs (9-1)
Once again, the Kansas City Chiefs come in number one in my NFL Week 12 Power Rankings. It took some late-game heroics on Sunday night, but the Chiefs knocked off Las Vegas and moved to 9-1. Kansas City had wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce eclipse the 100-yard mark. In achieving a Week 11 victory, Patrick Mahomes threw for 348 yards.
All in all, this was a very evenly played game as these division rivals split for the season…and could meet again on the path to the Super Bowl when even more is on the line.
Matt Williamson is a Senior NFL Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter: @WilliamsonNFL.