Week 12 in the NFL gave us some really fun games from some really fun teams. To the power rankings!
1 Cowboys (last week: 1)
The Cowboys offense deservedly gets all the headlines, but the defense gave up 449 yards to Kirk Cousins and didn’t sack him on 53 attempts. They say defense wins championships.
2 Patriots (last week: 3)
Nice of Belichick to spot the Jets a 10 point lead.
3 Raiders (last week: 4)
If and when the clock strikes midnight on Oakland, who are 7-1 in one score games, it’s going to be painful for Raiders fans. But until then it’s fun as hell for everyone.
4 Falcons (last week: 6)
Also fun as hell: the Falcons offense, which is scoring 34.6 points per home game.
5 Chiefs (last week: 7)
And then there’s the Chiefs, who without OT would only crack 30 points scored just once this season.
6 Seahawks (last week: 2)
We thought the old Seahawks were back, but the Jekyl and Hyde version returned.
7 Broncos (last week: 5)
Letting Alex Smith gain 75 yards to tie the game is just embarrassing.
8 Giants (last week: 8)
As Ezekiel Elliot runs the Cowboys to a division title, the Giants have not had a 100 yard rusher all year. Or even a 90 yard rusher.
9 Steelers (last week: 10)
Pittsburgh was 8-3 in the last two years after Thanksgiving. They’re going to need another run like that to separate themselves from the Ravens.
10 Lions (last week: 11)
Another week, another Lions game decided by a touchdown or less, as all their games have been. Can we get a Lions-Raiders Super Bowl?
11 Dolphins (last week: 15)
4th best record in the AFC. 10th best point differential. Don’t think the former is going to last, but so far so good.
12 Chargers (last week: 16)
The Chargers hardball with Joey Bosa over his contract looks really, really dumb now. They are 4-3 with Bosa in the lineup, with one of those losses was by three points in his first game, when he played less than half the game.
13 Bills (last week: 17)
Want a colorful rooting interest in the AFC? There’s a scenario where the Bills get the 6 seed, beat a beatable North or South division winner, and then play... the Patriots. Rex Ryan dreams of this.
14 Redskins (last week: 9)
Kirk Cousins has 8 TDs and 0 INTs in the three games since the Redskins Week 9 bye. Are we seeing a repeat of 2015?
15 Saints (last week: 19)
Drew Brees, Jared Goff and Willie Snead combined for eight touchdown passes.
16 Buccaneers (last week: 21)
The suddenly surging Buccaneers get to play the Chargers, Saints twice, and Panthers. Dirk Koetter might get himself a playoff trip in his first year.
17 Eagles (last week: 12)
Team with a rookie QB with a rookie HC and nobody to throw to has five wins. The horror.
18 Vikings (last week: 13)
The Sam Bradford trade keeps getting better and better. For Eagles fans.
19 Cardinals (last week: 14)
In August, the Cardinals gave 36 year old Carson Palmer a contract extension even though he wasn’t going to be a free agent at year’s end. He’s having his worst season in Arizona.
20 Ravens (last week: 23)
Joe Flacco’s 234 yard, 1 TD 1 INT game against the Bengals was one of his best of the season. Yuck.
21 Packers (last week: 27)
Green Bay, desperate to turn their season around, finally looked like the team that we thought they would be this year. It probably won’t last, but if it does, watch out.
22 Panthers (last week: 22)
Cam Newton fell to 18-7-1 when he scores three or more TDs. Can’t do it all by himself.
23 Titans (last week: 25)
24 Texans (last week: 18)
I’m going to lump these two together, as one of them is going to win the division, either with the defense that has the fewest turnovers (Titans) or the QB with more turnovers than touchdowns (Texans). Just give their playoff spot to the 3rd place AFC West team.
25 Colts (last week: 20)
The only scoring drive the Andrew Luck-less Colts managed needed a 35 yard pass from their punter.
26 Bengals (last week: 24)
Cincinnati is 0-3 since their bye. Ouch.
27 Bears (last week: 28)
They almost won with Matt Barkley! That’s so impressive I’m moving them up a spot.
28 Rams (last week: 26)
Jeff Fisher is 3 losses away from eclipsing Dan Reeve’s record setting 165 losses. Reeves was 25 games above .500 in his career, Fisher is at 10 and dropping.
29 Jets (last week: 29)
Todd Bowles has announced that Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the starter for the rest of the season, presumably to punish him for the prolonged contract negotiations in the offseason.
30 Jaguars (last week: 30)
Of the 171 coaches who have coached 50 games, Gus Bradley has the 2nd worst winning percentage, behind 1930s Eagles owner/coach Bert Bell, who later became commissioner. So watch out Roger Goodell.
31 49ers (last week: 31)
San Francisco has back to back games against the Bears and Jets, so maybe they’ll get that elusive second win.
32 Browns (last week: 32)
Normally you don’t see a team fire a coach after one year, but the Browns are on their third coach in four years and already fired one after a 4-12 season, so Hue Jackson, keep your eyes peeled.