Week 13 NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys Join Elite Tier, Broncos Flounder, and Carolina Keeps Playoff Hopes Alive

The NFL Power Rankings have a new face at the top for the first time since very early in the season. The Cowboys also start to make serious noise.

The NFL was an incredibly unpredictable product early this season. However, the NFL Power Rankings have taken shape. It’s becoming more difficult to make massive moves up and down the ranks on a weekly basis, but there is still plenty of time to make or break many teams’ seasons.

Week 13 NFL Power Rankings: Tier 6 | Unadulterated Awfulness

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32. Houston Texans

What is there to say about the Houston Texans at this point? We knew that the matchup against Miami could be an ugly one, given the Dolphins’ offensive prowess and the lack of offensive weaponry in Houston.

But 30-0 at halftime is embarrassing for any team against any opponent. The only thing that brought the game closer was Miami simply trying to end the game as quickly as possible and as healthy as possible.

Benching Davis Mills isn’t a horrible decision based on performance, but his backup isn’t an unknown youngster. Kyle Allen is relatively young, but we’ve seen him play quite a bit of football in his five-year career, and it’s never been pretty.

31. Los Angeles Rams

Without Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp, there is only one team in the league worse than the Los Angeles Rams. LA’s offensive line has been underwhelming all season, and their lack of depth has shown up, even when Kupp was healthy.

A defense that started off hovering around the top 10 has fallen into the middle of the pack, and there’s just no way for the offense to consistently move the ball downfield at this point. The one positive for Los Angeles is the emergence of Tutu Atwell over the past two weeks.

30. Denver Broncos

At this point, it’s just sad to see how things are going down in Denver. It’s unclear whether Russell Wilson started the… discussion… with Mike Purcell on the sideline. What was clear was Purcell’s body language, which read, “do your job and score some points.”

But the Denver Broncos didn’t because they can’t. They’ve scored more than 17 points in a game just twice this season, and they’re dead last in points per game.

With Wilson’s massive extension this past offseason, there is no choice but to do everything in their power to make this work somehow.

Week 13 NFL Power Rankings: Tier 5 | Ugly, But There Are Positives

The NFL is a funny place. Despite a few teams’ Tier 5 status, they still have a shot to make the playoff in 2022 because their division is that horrific.

29. Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers looked like a team with life against the Broncos. Denver’s defense has been one of the best in the NFL this season, but even Patrick Surtain II had a lapse downfield in coverage today against DJ Moore.

MORE: NFL Playoff Picture and Standings Week 12

Sam Darnold is probably the Panthers’ best option. Carolina was hilariously run-heavy against Denver, but Darnold looked in control of the situation, which we haven’t seen from Baker Mayfield. It will be interesting to see what Carolina decides to do when PJ Walker returns from injury.

Despite being one of the more underwhelming teams in the NFL, Carolina is clawing their way back into playoff contention. They’re only one win behind the NFC South division leaders.

28. Chicago Bears

Things certainly were interesting for Chicago on Sunday. Trevor Siemian was supposed to start, but he injured himself during warmups. It then looked like Nathan Peterman would get the start for the Bears, but Siemian somehow made it out to the field of play.

And then he (somehow) went on to have an outstanding first half of football against the New York Jets’ vaunted defense. Then, the Bears’ offense crashed back down to earth, going punt, punt, punt, turnover on downs, and an interception in the second half.

With so many defensive pieces traded away, it was going to be hard to keep the Jets off the scoreboard if Mike White played halfway decent football. Then, Eddie Jackson went down on a Garrett Wilson touchdown catch, and the defense’s disintegration commenced.

27. Indianapolis Colts

Many expected the Colts to be an NFL laughing stock after firing Frank Reich and subsequently hiring Jeff Saturday, a man with no NFL coaching experience.

Things haven’t been perfect with Saturday, but the Colts beat Las Vegas and narrowly lost to Philadelphia the next week. However, they were unable to get past Pittsburgh, which isn’t necessarily a powerhouse, although they did make things interesting.

Saturday may or may not be the long-term answer, but we know one thing for sure; Matt Ryan will not be the Colts QB in 2023. And that begs a question. Exactly how many times can Chris Ballard fail to find a QB while also hardly addressing OL and WR issues?

26. Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh got a great look at Kenny Pickett on Monday Night Football against the Indianapolis Colts, whose defense has played well under Gus Bradley in 2022. Learning what Pittsburgh has in their rookie quarterback is all that matters for the rest of their season.

For the most part, Pickett looked sharp against the Colts’ defense. Matt Canada won’t win any awards for his abilities as an offensive coordinator, but he tried helping his young QB by forcing the Colts coverage hand prior to the snap by using motion.

The Steelers offensive line deserves a lot of credit, too. Many, including myself, have chastised the Steelers’ front office for not addressing the lack of star power on the line. However, like Washington a season ago, they have outplayed their reputation.

25. Las Vegas Raiders

Football is weird. The Raiders team we saw against the Seahawks was the Raiders team we thought we were going to see all season. Sure, we thought the offensive line would be bad, but they had the weapons, and the offensive mind, to overcome that. Unfortunately, the offense has struggled way more than it should, and their defense has been atrocious this season.

Well, on Sunday against Seattle, the offense was good enough for both offense and defense. Las Vegas amassed nearly 600 net yards of offense and did so by having over 280 yards passing and rushing.

They scored 40 points and scored practically whenever Derek Carr wasn’t throwing interceptions or Josh McDaniels wasn’t calling tosses to Josh Jacobs on 4th-and-short.
Hopefully, this is the Raiders team we see the rest of the way. Hopefully, they remain an entertaining team that can build on an offensive foundation for 2023.

24. New Orleans Saints

The Saints’ offense wasn’t as bad as the shutout would suggest, but any time an NFL team comes away from a game with zero points, it leaves a bad taste. New Orleans finished the game with two red-zone turnovers, and if those two possessions go a bit differently, the Saints are 5-7 and very much still in the NFC South playoff hunt.

They still are, somehow, but the Saints have lacked offensive and defensive consistency all season. Nevertheless, Chris Olave looks like a potential star among a group of incredibly talented rookie receivers. Once again, he was the Saints’ leading receiver.

MORE: Week 12 Highlighted the 2022 Rookie Receiver Class

New Orleans still has an outside shot to win their division. They’ll face each divisional opponent once, but they need to play better complementary football between offense and defense if they’re to pull off the improbable.

23. Detroit Lions

After losing the plot and winning three straight games in November, the Lions finally remembered that they’re a rebuilding team that’s supposed to compete in games, not win them.

Detroit hung with Buffalo for four quarters, and the consistent battles they find themselves in despite their roster inadequacies should give fans hope for the future – one hopefully with a QB who can elevate those around him.

Jared Goff is playing some of the best football he has in years, and it should come as no surprise Detroit has one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. He’s still a lost puppy when pressured, but the Lions’ pass protection isn’t allowing pressure as often.

22. Jacksonville Jaguars

Things were ugly in Jacksonville for 45 minutes. Luckily for them, the game is 60 minutes long, and Trevor Lawrence made his first statement as a professional QB against the Ravens.

We’ve seen this story before with Baltimore in 2022. Three of their losses have come with blown fourth-quarter leads, and they led this one 20-10 at halftime.

Zay Jones and Lawrence were unbelievable today. Jacksonville’s 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to take the lead was beautiful. Baltimore had the Jaguars in a 3rd-and-21, which the Jaguars converted on fourth down. They also converted on a 3rd-and-6 later in the drive.

Jacksonville has played well and come up short too often this season. They turned that around in their first week out of the bye.

21. Cleveland Browns

Jacoby Brissett deserves a standing ovation for his performance as the Cleveland Browns’ starting quarterback to start the season. While the team ended their run with him 4-7, the offense was certainly not the team’s biggest issue. In fact, heading into Week 12, the Browns’ offense ranked fourth in DVOA.

Today, Cleveland’s secondary played to their potential, particularly against Mike Evans. But it was Nick Chubb’s outrageous ability and Amari Cooper’s playmaking timing that made the difference for Cleveland offensively against a strong Tampa Bay defense.

Week 13 NFL Power Rankings: Tier 4 | Outside Shot at the Playoffs

It’s certainly not probable, but it’s possible. However, these three teams in Tier 4 are in big trouble.

20. Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals did everything but win the football game. They took the lead with a fourth-quarter touchdown and didn’t concede it until there were only 18 seconds left on the clock.

Kyler Murray’s legs are always a weapon, and that held true against Los Angeles. Despite being pressured somewhat regularly against the Chargers, Murray’s impressive footwork kept him out of the defense’s grasp.

The Cardinals ran for 180 yards against the Chargers’ underwhelming run defense, but it wasn’t quite enough in what was one of the more evenly-matched games of the weekend.

19. Green Bay Packers

With the news that Aaron Rodgers has been dealing with an avulsion fracture in his throwing thumb, it feels like only a matter of time before the Packers get eyes on what they could possibly have with Jordan Love moving forward, especially if Rodgers’ oblique injury is one that will linger for several weeks.

MORE: Jordan Love Should’ve Started Long Ago

Losing to Philadelphia should have been the expected outcome for Green Bay. However, their 4-8 record now probably officially closes the door on any playoff hopes diehard fans could have. The Packers have some important decisions to make regarding Love, and it would behoove them to get him live reps while they have the chance in a lost season.

18. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the lifeless NFC South, but they weren’t able to do enough against Washington’s defense.

Each team only got nine offensive possessions, so it was unlikely this game would be high scoring. However, Atlanta had a few opportunities they squandered, including their final offensive drive. A tipped pass in the red zone led to a Kendall Fuller interception, icing the game for Washington.

The Falcons are still in control of their own fate with games against the Saints and Buccaneers in the division.

Week 13 NFL Power Rankings: Tier 3 | The Playoff Contenders

Aside from the Buccaneers, every team in Tier 3 has a winning record and is deserving of a playoff spot, even if only 14 teams will get one at the end of the season.

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The decision to take the delay of game penalty and punt from Cleveland territory may have been what lost Tampa Bay the game. They made a 4th-and-2 from the Browns’ 37-yard line a 4th-and-7, and then proceeded to punt the ball into the end zone for a net of just 22 yards.

Cleveland didn’t score on the ensuing possession, but the lack of faith in Tom Brady and the Buccaneers’ offense was frustrating to watch.

The flip side of that argument is that Tampa’s defense is talented and was playing well, so why not play the field position game while up seven points? Well, Chris Godwin caught 12 of 13 targets for 110 yards. I think I’d rather trust the greatest QB ever with an outstanding rapport with a top receiver in that situation, personally.

16. New York Giants

The Giants will probably continue to slowly concede spots on the NFL Power Rankings, but New York fans shouldn’t be too upset about a late-season slide. They play two games against Washington and Philadelphia each, then also play Minnesota and Indianapolis.

The Giants have overachieved relative to their roster in 2022, which should give fans hope for Mike Kafka, Brian Daboll, and Wink Martindale. While New York’s defense hasn’t necessarily been a strength for them, they’re overachieving compared to the current depth chart, which has been ravaged by injuries.

Give Martindale a year or two to help mold a defensive depth chart that suits his uber-aggressive nature, and New York’s defense could be one of the dominant units in the NFL.

15. Washington Commanders

Washington’s win against the Philadelphia Eagles was impressive. It was closer than the final score suggests, but impressive nonetheless. Other than that, they’ve played in a ton of slugfests, and their defense is helping make that a sustainable course of action.

After struggling early in the season, Washington’s defense continues creeping closer to the top 10 in efficiency. The Commanders’ offense isn’t great, but it seems to consistently do just enough to get the job done.

With consecutive games coming up against the Giants, the Commanders have a huge opportunity to take a chunk out of New York’s playoff contention while practically guaranteeing their own.

14. Los Angeles Chargers

Boy, the Chargers really made that one interesting, didn’t they? It’s amazing that Brandon Staley hadn’t gone for two all season up to this point, but what a time to make that call!

Justin Herbert was outstanding against Arizona. The Chargers ran 64 offensive plays, and Herbert had 47 attempts and four rushes. He was the team’s leading rusher with 38 yards.

The Chargers have six games left, and only the Dolphins and Titans games are against winning teams. Still, it won’t be easy to make the playoffs in a highly contested AFC.

13. New York Jets

It’s difficult to get a great feel for whether the Jets’ offense is actually better, or if the offensive explosion was a product of a defunded Bears defense. However, Mike White was outstanding against the opponent offered him in his first start of the season.

MORE: Mike White Shows He Belongs

White went 22 of 28 for 315 yards and three touchdowns on the day. He generated 0.56 EPA per play and had a CPOE of 8.6%. In other words, his statistical performance was otherworldly. He’ll play another underwhelming secondary next week when the Jets face Minnesota, but the bandwagon will steamroll down the street if White plays well again.

12. New England Patriots

One could say that the Patriots outplayed the Minnesota Vikings on Thanksgiving, but a series of unfortunate events kept them from adding another win to their record in arguably the best division in football.

The Hunter Henry no-catch hurt, but the Patriots went zero for three in the red zone for the night, which was their ultimate demise. The Vikings scored four touchdowns, while the Patriots could only manage two.

With the Bills (x2), Bengals, Dolphins, Cardinals, and Raiders left on their schedule, New England has a lot of hard work ahead of them if they want to make the playoffs in an incredibly contested AFC.

11. Seattle Seahawks

Seattle’s defense hasn’t been a world-beating unit this season, but they certainly weren’t supposed to give up nearly 300 yards through FedEx air and ground against the Raiders. They allowed seven yards per play on handoffs and passing attempts. The only thing that could stop the Raiders’ offense on Sunday was intercepting Carr.

The Seahawks, Chargers, and Falcons are the same team on different timelines. Each week they do whatever they can to give us all a heart attack. They play in strictly abnormal games, and it’s always difficult to nail down just how good they are. Geno Smith is still playing really well, but the Seahawks’ run game has not been good this season, and that lack of balance could cost them down the stretch.

10. San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers’ defense was dominant when it mattered most against the Saints. New Orleans worked down to the red zone on two straight offensive drives in the fourth quarter of a 13-0 game, and both times came away with no points.

On the first, Talanoa Hufanga made an impressive play to dislodge the ball from Alvin Kamara’s arms, and on the next, Nick Bosa sacked Andy Dalton on fourth down.

The 49ers struggled to run the ball against New Orleans, but Jimmy Garoppolo continues to play well this season. If their defense can stay relatively healthy heading into January, San Francisco will prove a difficult matchup for other contending NFC playoff teams, and could very well go on another playoff run in 2022.

But with games against the Dolphins, Buccaneers, and Seahawks over the next three weeks, they need to continue playing well now to ensure themselves a playoff spot.

9. Tennessee Titans

The Titans simply couldn’t get the ball into the end zone against Cincinnati. They went zero for three in the red zone, and aside from a few explosive passing plays, Tennessee couldn’t sustain drives.

They only had two drives of more than two first downs. Ryan Tannehill played relatively well, but aside from Treylon Burks’ unbelievable catch downfield over the middle, Tannehill didn’t get a ton of help.

Tennessee might not manage the top seed in the AFC this season, but they don’t have a real contender in the AFC South, and they have plenty of opportunities to figure out some offensive efficiency against some great defenses down the stretch.

8. Baltimore Ravens

It’s becoming increasingly hard to defend this defense. They’ve continuously collapsed in the fourth quarter of games in 2022, and three of the Ravens’ four losses have come from those collapses. They’ve all been double-digit leads, too.

Against Jacksonville, Baltimore blew a double-digit lead, then blew another lead when Lamar Jackson and the offense went down to score.

But now it’s time for Baltimore’s offense. Their passing attack is a massive struggle right now. There have been a comedy of errors weekly at this point. Either Jackson is missing downfield throws, balls are being tipped, or receivers are dropping passes. Even Mark Andrews played volleyball instead of football in the end zone today.

Even with injuries, this is a very talented team being let down by their secondary, the one position group that should not be struggling.

7. Minnesota Vikings

A week after being completely embarrassed by the Dallas Cowboys’ defense, the Minnesota Vikings’ offense had themselves a decent day against a similarly talented defense, at least by most analytical measures.

As PFN’s Arif Hasan wrote, the Vikings followed a similar script in their win against New England.

Minnesota has the best opening drive offense in the NFL, but they go through lulls throughout games that are difficult to explain, given the talent on their offensive depth chart.

The Vikings’ defense has struggled against the pass all season, but they really struggled against New England on Thursday, a passing attack that’s ranked just 26th in DVOA.

6. Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals might be a problem. Tennessee has arguably the most well-coached secondary in the NFL. Unlike most of the league, the Titans play a lot of aggressive match-zone coverages, and they do it at an incredibly high level.

MORE: Joe Burrow and the Bengals Keep Finding New Ways To Win

Against Cincinnati early, that was clear as day. But as the game materialized, Joe Burrow and the Bengals’ receivers took over, winning in completely contested situations. Tee Higgins is one of the most underrated receivers in the league, mostly because he plays second fiddle to Ja’Marr Chase when he’s healthy. But Higgins is a No. 1 WR himself.

With Cincinnati’s run game as of late being incredibly efficient, they could be Kansas City’s kryptonite in the playoffs again if Buffalo can’t turn things around offensively.

Week 13 NFL Power Rankings: Tier 2 | Conference Championship Contenders

5. Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins won a 60-minute football game in 30 minutes. That’s an impressive feat in the NFL. After a scary sack at the end of the first half on Tua Tagovailoa, he probably didn’t have to play another snap. That’s mainly because the team had already scored 30 points, double what Houston could manage in four quarters.

MORE: Mike McDaniel Dishes on Brian Flores

This team has flaws, particularly in the secondary. But this offense is unbelievably efficient. Well, it would be if the Chiefs didn’t exist in the same realm. If they face one another in the playoffs, it might be the highest-scoring playoff game ever.

But what seemed impossible to start the season, an AFC East crown, is well within sight for Miami.

4. Buffalo Bills

The Bills continue to show some warts. Josh Allen’s elbow has to be bothering him more than the team is willing to let on about because he’s performed inconsistently now for multiple weeks.

Buffalo has three straight divisional games coming up before finishing the season out with the Bears, Bengals, and Patriots again. Allen’s gunslinger mentality as a passer and his endless need to dominate defenders on the ground is what makes him special, but it’s what also makes him inconsistent.

The red-zone issues he’s had recently are uncharacteristic throughout the entirety of his career, even before his massive progression. But even in Buffalo’s struggles, they’re one of the most well-rounded teams in the NFL, ranking inside the top 10 in offensive, defensive, and special-teams efficiency.

NFL Power Rankings Week 13: Tier 1 | The Elite Teams

The Cowboys join Kansas City and Philadelphia in the elite tier for the first time all season. Dallas’ offense has turned the corner since Dak Prescott’s return, and they have arguably the best defense in the NFL.

3. Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys only won by eight points on Thanksgiving, but it was a 15-point differential with under a minute left. Dallas pulled a Kansas City, playing poorly for a portion of the game, before running away and hiding after three straight possessions with offensive touchdowns.

MORE: Tony Pollard Is Worth the Price

The Cowboys’ offense is meticulous. They scored touchdowns on three 10+ play drives, and three of their four touchdown drives went for 80+ yards.

But Dallas’ well-rounded nature between offense, defense, and special teams is why Cowboys fans should sleep well at night. They have arguably the best pass rush in the NFL and are rumored to be the leader in the Odell Beckham Jr. clubhouse.

2. Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles haven’t played as well over the past few weeks, but they’re still an extremely talented roster. Howie Roseman remains aggressive with the Eagles’ roster, adding Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh to help bolster their run defense, which has been a weak point on the team.

Even though Philadelphia only has one blemish on their record, the Chiefs continued dominance, and the Eagles’ more recent offensive struggles allowed the Chiefs to hop over them in the Power Rankings. While Philadelphia’s overall roster has an edge over Kansas City, Patrick Mahomes is the great equalizer.

Jalen Hurts and the Eagles’ passing attack simply aren’t using the entire field the way it was early in the season with Dallas Goedert. The passing attack has devolved to its previous form, hanging out around the sidelines on the vertical plane, with dump-offs mixed in.

But their passing effectiveness matters less than most teams because they have a dominant offensive line and a quarterback who runs the ball incredibly well.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find any flaws with the Kansas City Chiefs. That is, flaws that would keep them from being considered the best team in the NFL.

They got a bit of a reprieve against the Los Angeles Rams, who were without all of their offensive firepower. But the Bengals’ game in Week 13 will be one of the best regular-season matchups of the season.

The Chiefs’ offense did what the Chiefs’ offense does. At some point, they’re going to go on a run.

After a punt on the first drive, they scored on their next four, going 100 yards (90 net) on their second offensive drive of the game. They picked up five or more first downs on the next four drives as well. Although they only scored touchdowns on two of the four, that was all the offense they needed in the game.

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