2020 Week 12 Power Rankings

As the weeks go by the Power Rankings get harder and harder. The top ten changes daily as teams fight and jostle for league supremacy. You could really split the top ten into a top three of dominant teams and then the seven that are chasing them. From four to fifteen could all be changed about and as the weeks roll by I’m sure they will all be mixed up again. Nothing is set in stone outside of maybe the top two and the last spot, but in a year where everything is different who knows what might happen.

Anyway the rankings await and in true Thanksgiving fashion it’s time to feast.

32. New York Jets – 0-10

Previously 32

Another decent display on offense from the New York Jets for the second week in a row but it still wasn’t enough. The Jets are racing towards that number one pick in the draft and they don’t look like stopping anytime soon. Since 1944 there have only been five teams to go winless, the 1960 Dallas Cowboys (0-11-1), the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-14), the 1982 Baltimore Colts (0-8-1), the 2008 Detroit Lions (0-16) and the 2017 Cleveland Browns (0-16). This list looks destined to claim another unless Sam Darnold can turn things around down the stretch. Not only for the sake of the Jets season but also for his own, if he wants to remain a starter in this league.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars – 1-9

Previously 31

A top ranked pass rush going up against a rookie QB was never going to end well was it? Correct. Jake Luton saw four of his attempted passes end up coming back towards him in the hands of the black and gold secondary. Neither Gardner Minshew nor Jake Luton look like the heir apparent to the Jaguars franchise and after their ninth straight loss maybe it is time to throw in the towel and lose out. Trevor Lawrence could be exactly what this franchise needs to come back stronger in 2021.

30. Cincinnati Bengals – 2-7-1

Previously 28

It’s never good when anyone gets injured, especially when a new young rookie quarterback who has provided masses of hope to a franchise goes down. It looked terrible live and the diagnosis in the following days confirmed the bad news. A torn MCL and ACL and other structural issues looks to keep Joe Burrow out until September 2021. A devastating blow to a young man who has excelled so far and to a franchise who finally thought they had turned a corner. Another offseason to add more weapons and then try again on Burrows return. Speedy recovery young man.

29. Washington Football Team – 3-7

Week 12 Power Rankings

Previously 29

Alex Smith’s story just continues to get better and better. After having a career day in Week 10 he followed that up in Week 11 by getting his first win since his horrific injury. Getting that monkey off his back will be huge in the following weeks as he now finds himself with the same number of wins as every other team in the NFC East. There is no one more deserving of a playoff spot than Alex Smith and who knows, he might be just the man to lead his team there. First up is a Thanksgiving Day showdown with the Dallas Cowboys. A must win for both teams in a tightly contested division.

28. Detroit Lions – 4-6

Previously 20

There is nothing to really put your job in jeopardy than getting blown away by a team missing both their starting quarterback and running back. Detroit couldn’t even muster a single point against the 29th ranked Carolina defense. Detroit are destined for another season without playoff football and Matt Patricia has failed once again. They face the Houston Texans on Thanksgiving in what is a must win for Detroit if they have any thoughts of the playoffs. Perhaps it’s time to move on from Matt Patricia and look at the highly qualified assistant coaches that are out there just now, before the offseason comes and they get snapped up quickly.

27. Chicago Bears – 5-5

Previously 25

Nick Foles is injured, Mitch Trubisky is injured and the Bears have no idea who is going to be starting their next game against divisional rivals the Green Bay Packers. Whoever gets fit enough to make the start likely has six games left as the starting quarterback in Chicago before they are moved on. One of the best defences in the league is being wasted by the sheer lack of production from this offensive unit. A complete overhaul from top to bottom on that side of the ball is needed. Good luck Bears fans.

26. Philadelphia Eagles – 3-6-1

Previously 23

Carson Wentz and interceptions is almost as common as Jameis Winston and interceptions at this point. Another game with multiple turnovers for the starting QB and the eagles will be starting to look at every dollar from that 166 million they offered him in June 2019. Another team with very little output on offense and another team who can blame it all on the quarterback. I know they have had injuries but Wentz is making bad reads, holding onto the ball for far too long and not picking up the pressure. He leads the league in interceptions and getting sacked and it might be time to move on. Jalen Hurts is ready and waiting and could he really be any worse??

25. Dallas Cowboys – 3-7

Previously 30

Turns out Andy Dalton can lead this offence. 203 yards and three touchdown passes got the Cowboys on the way to an impressive win over the resurgent Minnesota Vikings. It is also a big help when your star running back has his first game of the year rushing for over 100 yards. Ezekiel Elliott finally had a big game and he topped it off with a score as well. This division is hotly contested (in a weird way everyone’s still losing kind of way) and Thanksgiving against the Washington Football Team could prove vital come the end of the season.

24. Denver Broncos – 4-6

Week 12 Power Rankings

Previously 26

Denver battered Tua Tagovailoa all over the field and then off the field. The game plan was executed perfectly by the Denver defense as they forced the Dolphins to revert back to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Drew Lock had yet another interception and he couldn’t find the end zone in this one. He did however put his team in position and allowed Melvin Gordon to put up two rushing touchdowns. This turned out to be enough as Denver got the game winning interception late in the fourth. Denver is still capable of causing teams problems but as for their playoff chances, mathematically they still have a shot but logistically they are done for the year.

23. Atlanta Falcons 3-7

Previously 21

It’s never good if your star receiver misses the majority of a game and unfortunately for the Falcons this is exactly what happened. Julio Jones was again hampered by his hamstring as he sat out most of the action. Matt Ryan was sacked a total of eight times which isn’t ideal for a young quarterback let alone one nearing the end of his career. Atlanta’s receivers got no time at all as they were crowded out by a dominant Saints secondary. A tough loss to a divisional rival but was anything else really expected?

22. New York Giants – 3-7

Previously 22

Up next for the Giants is the Cincinnati Bengals who will be led by Ryan Finley. A great chance for Big Blue to win three in a row and really throw their name in the hat for the division title. A few short weeks ago the phrase “Tank for Trevor” was getting branded about the blue side of New York and look at them now. Three wins and tied at the top of the division with, you guessed it three wins.  The Giants just need to keep their attention on the field and not on any drama with the management. Focus up New York and you could be the worst team in football who make it to the playoffs.

21. Carolina Panthers – 4-7

Previously 24

It’s always good to hold a team to zero points, but when you do it with the 29th ranked defense it’s even better. All credit to Matt Rhule for this one who managed to get his troops ready despite having to deal with the loss of Teddy Bridgewater and the loss of Christian McCaffrey again. Finally their losing streak came to an end but it may be too little too late in a division where the Saints and Buccaneers are battling for the number one spot.

20. San Francisco 49ers – 4-6

Previously 19

The season started with a bit of a Super Bowl hangover and then was ruined by the injury bug. Despite that Kyle Shanahan still finds himself with four wins this season. Unlikely to make the playoffs due to a tough schedule, highly competitive division and as previously mentioned the injuries but with Shanahan you just never know. The head coach came out and said that he expects Jimmy Garoppolo to play again this year and if that happens then who knows what the two of them can conjure up to close out the season.

19. Houston Texans – 3-7

Previously 27

A big jump here for Houston and it is all down to just how good Deshaun Watson is. Watson finished with 344 yards and two scores as his team put up 21 points in the first half to give them a 21-10 lead against the New England Patriots. A big defensive display in the second two quarters held the Patriots to another ten points and assured the Texans their third victory of the season. In all the poor displays this season one thing has remained a constant, Deshaun Watson is one of the best quarterbacks in the league. With him at the helm the Texans can beat anyone, here’s hoping he gets some help for 2021.

18. New England Patriots – 4-6

Week 12 Power Rankings

Previously 16

After beating the Baltimore Ravens, the New England Patriots began to turn a few heads and make people believe in their chances once again. The loss against the Texans that followed has undone all that hard work. Super Bowls and the New England Patriots have been a match made in heaven for the last 20 years but you can kiss goodbye to that this year and maybe even kiss goodbye to the playoffs. Up next is the Arizona Cardinals and the Patriots have to find a way to stop Kyler Murray if they want to keep their hopes alive.

17. Minnesota Vikings – 4-6

Previously 17

Minnesota’s offense is not to blame for this one. This is all on the defense. Dalvin Cook ran for over 100 yards, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen both had big games and Kirk Cousins ended with over 300 yards and only eight missed passes. On the other side of the ball however the Vikings defense gave up 180 yards rushing and allowed Andy Dalton to find his receivers with relative ease. Now two games back from the wildcard spots the Vikings may need to win out to have any hope of playing in January.

16. Los Angeles Chargers – 3-7

Previously 18

Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen. What a duo this pair are becoming and Chargers fans should be licking their lips at the future. Herbert cemented his chances at winning offensive rookie of the year as he piled up 366 yards and three scores. 145 of those yards and one of the scores went to his star receiver Allen, who had a career day with 16 receptions. In typical Chargers fashion they decided to make a game out of it and allowed the New York Jets to get within touching distance. It wouldn’t be a true Chargers game without it being close.

15. Miami Dolphins – 6-4

Previously 9

Not a good week for Tua Tagovailoa to come out and say that he though the NFL would be harder. Benched after failing to dominate a weakened Denver Broncos team and the run of wins came to an end. He was eventually going to slip up but the timing couldn’t be worse for him. Up next is the winless New York Jets and a chance to get back to winning ways. Miami has a chance to win the division but Tua will need to step up if hopes to challenge Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills.

14. Tennessee Titans -7-3

Previously 15

A big win in the playoff race for the Titans as they beat the Ravens in overtime. Derrick Henry ran all over the Ravens in the second half as he amassed 133 rushing yards. None more important than the 29 that came on the final play of overtime as he stomped into the end zone to secure the win. Tennessee seems to have Baltimore’s number and John Harbaugh confirmed that by refusing to shake Mike Vrabel’s hand. Derrick Henry gets stronger as the season goes on and that bodes well for a Titans team that are chasing the division and the playoffs.

13. Arizona Cardinals – 6-4

Previously 8

Kyler Murray was held to just five rushing attempts for a measly 15 yards against the Seattle Seahawks. Instead Murray had to rely on his arm, and as good as it is it wasn’t good enough. Arizona seemed to beat themselves in this one with 115 penalty yards against them. Every team will struggle to win if they are making costly mistakes like that. DeAndre Hopkins surpassed teammate Larry Fitzgerald as the youngest player in NFL history to surpass 700 career receptions. Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins continue to shine and this pairing could light up the league for years.

12. Las Vegas Raiders - 6-4

Week 12 Power Rankings

Previously 12

A chance to sweep the reigning super Bowl champions doesn’t come up often and should be grabbed with both hands. Derek Carr did exactly that as he went toe to toe with Patrick Mahomes again and had his team ahead with under two minutes to play. Unfortunately that is just too much time to give this Chiefs team and Carr had to watch as his defense could do nothing to stop Mahomes and company. Nevertheless the raiders have shown that this team is human and can be challenged. 

Las Vegas finds themselves in the middle of a dogfight for the playoffs and if they continue to play like this they should make it.

11. Cleveland Browns – 7-3

Previously 11

Cleveland got another win off the back of their defense. A pick six opened the scoring and then a safety later in the game added to Carson Wentz woes. In the past three games however, the Browns have only managed three offensive touchdowns. Not what the Browns need as they battle for a playoff spot. Still, it doesn’t matter how they do it as long as they keep getting wins. A winning record after ten games is unheard of in Cleveland and a win this week will prevent them from having a losing season for the first time in a long time. 

Playoff football is a real possibility for this Cleveland team and there are no fans that deserve it more.

10. Baltimore Ravens – 6-4

Previously 6

When you have four players in position to tackle a player on third and ten and instead he drags all of them into the end zone for a touchdown you must expect questions about how much you want the win. That’s exactly what happened as AJ Brown bullied the entire Ravens secondary on his way to the house. Baltimore have now slipped four games behind the Pittsburgh Steelers and a game behind the Cleveland Browns. The AFC North title looks lost and if they don’t watch out they might miss out on the playoffs.

A huge game awaits in Pittsburgh and just to make matters worse COVID has hit the Ravens as they prepare for a game that could officially end their hopes at the division.

9. Indianapolis Colts – 7-3

Previously 14

Another strong defensive display from the Colts (well in the second half anyway) where they forced four turnovers from the Green Bay Packers. After finding themselves down by 14 at the half the Colts fought back and almost won in regulation. In the end they had to settle for a game winning field goal from Rodrigo Blankenship that came from a forced fumble. On Sunday the Colts have the chance to sweep the Titans and take a big lunge towards the division title.

8. Seattle Seahawks – 7-3

Previously 10

After losing to the Rams the Seahawks had another divisional game against the Arizona Cardinals to deal with. Up stepped a big display from the defense as they sacked Kyler Murray on a crucial play late in the fourth to seal the win. The defense is finally playing well and taking some of the pressure away from the offense. Russell Wilson was back to his usual best as he completed 23 of 28 passes for two scores. In the next four weeks the Seahawks play the Eagles, Giants, Jets, and Washington who are all below .500 and have a combined 9 wins and 30 losses. 

The easiest schedule in the NFC West and a chance for the Seahawks to take a commanding lead in the division.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 7-4

Previously 5

Tom Brady is making it pretty clear that Antonio Brown is his preferred option. Brown led the team on targets, receptions and yards but it wasn’t enough for the Buccaneers. Tom Brady did what he does best as he targeted 7 different players on a night where he felt pressure from everywhere. The pressure forced Brady into making numerous bad throws and two costly interceptions. On both interceptions Brady massively missed his receivers and Tampa Bay’s fans were having flashbacks of the Jameis Winston days. His defense managed two interceptions but couldn’t get pressure on Goff enough as he picked their defense apart. 

Tom Brady needs to step his game up if he has any shot at that seventh Super Bowl ring.

6. Buffalo Bills – 7-3

Previously 7

The bye week went pretty much perfectly for the Bills. New England and Miami both lost and the Bills now find themselves firmly in control of the AFC East. It’s difficult to see anyone but the Bills taking the division this year and they now need to focus on closing the season out. Winter football in Buffalo is always fun and not a place teams want to travel to. Buffalo has to use this to their advantage and lock up the division and make their way back to the playoffs.

5. Los Angeles Rams – 7-3

Previously 13

Another big win for the second time in two weeks. Sean McVay and Jared Goff have now taken down Russell Wilson and Tom Brady in successive weeks and are firmly in the race for the NFC. Jared Goff seemed to find Cooper Kupp on every play in the first half as the wide-out racked up over 100 yards in the first two quarters. Coupled with that Robert Woods burst the 100 yard mark and added a score as well.  On top of that the defense pressured Tom Brady all night and forced him into making numerous bad throws, two of which ended up in the hands of Jordan Fuller and the Rams defense. 

Los Angeles are hitting their stride at the right moment and can now control their own destiny in the race for the NFC West.

4. Green Bay Packers – 7-3

Previously 3

Another defeat for the Packers and it was a game of two halves for their offense. A first half where they racked up 28 points and had a 14 point lead was negated by a second half where they could only muster a field goal in the dying moments to force overtime. Green Bay were held to two punts, a turnover on downs, a fumble and a field goal in the second half as they allowed the Colts to complete their comeback. Another fumble in overtime ended this one for the Packers as they slipped behind the Saints in the number one seed for the NFC. 

A must win game at home to the Chicago Bears awaits and the Packers will be hoping to get back to winning ways.

3. New Orleans Saints – 8-2

Previously 4

With Drew Brees out after breaking every single one of his ribs surely the reigns will be handed to Jameis Winston? Nope, up-steps Taysom hill in his first start as a fully-fledged NFL quarterback. Taysom did exactly what he was meant to do and that was get the win but he owes a lot of that to his defense. A dominant display led to eight sacks and two interceptions and the Saints defense have really turned things around since the first five games. Defense wins championships and the Saints have one of the best in the NFC.

If they can continue to get pressure and force opposing Quarterbacks into making mistakes then Taysom Hill could lead this team all the way to the Super Bowl.

2. Kansas City Chiefs – 9-1

Previously 2

Revenge tastes good, especially against a divisional rival. 1:43 left to play and the Chiefs needed a touchdown to win the game and prevent being swept. Did anyone actually doubt Patrick Mahomes? He moved down the field calmly and then found his favourite option in Travis Kelce for the game winning score. Another AFC West title is destined for the Chiefs and they now need to find a way to catch the Steelers and get that number one spot.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers – 10-0

Previously 1

Another “trap game” for the Steelers was batted away without any trouble. Other than allowing Jacksonville to march down the field on their opening drive for a field goal, Pittsburgh then held them to punt, punt, punt, interception, interception, punt, punt, punt, interception, interception and turnover on downs. This defense is doing incredible things yet again and has the Steelers destined to take back the AFC North crown and who knows what else. Finally the running game was going again for the Steelers as they racked up 106 yards on the ground and a score. 

A dominant defense, an offense with weapons everywhere and a head coach who knows how to win, what/who is supposed to stop this team?

MArk Ross

NFL Analyst