Hark! The Eagles soar on golden wings back to the top of the NFL Power Rankings.
A dominant offensive performance against the Packers on Sunday Night Football was enough to bump the Chiefs from the top spot in what’s shaping up as an epic back-and-forth battle between superpowers down the home stretch of the regular season.
That is, of course, unless the 49ers crash the party and take the big chair for themselves. No team appears to have a higher ceiling than Kyle Shanahan’s bunch right now.
Meanwhile, the AFC East and NFC East account for half the teams in the top 16 of the rankings this week. East Coast bias? Nah, just two damn solid divisions.
Don’t forget to check out the NFL Power Rankings Podcast with Dan Hanzus and Colleen Wolfe. New episodes every Tuesday all season long.
NOTE: Up/down arrows below reflect team movement from the Week 12 Power Rankings.
Previous rank: No. 2
Monster performances in prime-time games can serve as ultra fuel in an MVP race. Jalen Hurts showed a huge audience what a difference-maker he can be on Sunday Night Football, breaking Michael Vick’s franchise record for quarterbacks with 157 rushing yards in a 40-33 win over the Packers. Hurts also became the first NFL QB since at least 1950 with 150 rush yards, 150 passing yards and at least two passing scores in a single game. The Eagles nearly made team history, as well: Philly rushed for a whopping 363 yards, falling just 13 yards shy of the franchise record, set way back in 1948. Said RB Miles Sanders: “It’s chasing greatness every week.”
Previous rank: No. 1
The Chiefs weren’t quite themselves on Sunday, but their margin of error was significant against the fallen Rams and backup QB Bryce Perkins at Arrowhead. The 26-10 win was decisive despite special teams issues, red-zone flubs and a general air of “meh” that left Patrick Mahomes unimpressed after it was over. “You like the win, but we have a lot to get better at,” Mahomes said, “especially me.” Mahomes threw an end-zone interception in the fourth quarter, but he also found Travis Kelce for yet another touchdown. Kelce has set a new career high with 12 receiving touchdowns, and there are six games yet to be played.
Previous rank: No. 5
The 49ers are an NFL superpower because they can thump you in different ways. Two Mondays ago in Mexico City, we saw what the offense can do when it’s in a groove. On Sunday against the Saints, it was the defense’s turn to flex its muscles in a 13-0 win. The Niners have not allowed a second-half point during their four-game winning streak, with opponents averaging a meager 10 points per game in that span. DeMeco Ryans’ group will enter December as the No. 1 defense in the NFL in both yards and points allowed. The Niners have never finished a season atop both categories simultaneously in their rich history. There’s something special cooking in Santa Clara.
Previous rank: No. 4
Two games at Ford Field in five days and a pair of victories for the Bills, who look like a team finding its footing after some midseason turbulence. The 28-25 win on Thanksgiving was decided by Tyler Bass‘ 45-yard field goal in the final seconds, but we’ll remember the winning drive for the 36-yard missile from Josh Allen to Stefon Diggs that put Buffalo in scoring position in instantaneous fashion. Very few quarterbacks can hang a throw on a clothesline from that distance, and Allen managed it with a balky elbow that continues to give him issues. In other injury news, Von Miller exited the win with a knee issue that will put him on the shelf for an unknown duration. Buffalo’s defense will not be the same without its closer.
Previous rank: No. 7
The Dolphins took care of business against the league-worst Texans on Sunday — jumping out to a 30-point halftime lead before coasting to a fifth consecutive victory — and now here’s where things get really interesting for Mike McDaniel and the AFC East leaders. Up next is a Week 13 road trip to face the red-hot 49ers, with more challenges to follow against the Chargers, Bills, Patriots and Jets, all teams in the AFC playoff race. Miami decimated the competition during the soft portion of its schedule; by the end of December, we’ll have a much better handle on how seriously we should take this team in the conversation of Super Bowl contenders.
Previous rank: No. 9
The Thanksgiving night win over the Patriots was a crucial one for the Vikings, who were in dire need of a change to the conversation after the embarrassing blowout loss to the Cowboys four days earlier. Justin Jefferson was once again the driver of almost everything good in the Minnesota offense: The Pro Bowl wideout finished the game with nine catches for 139 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets. Jefferson’s greatness makes life so much easier for Kirk Cousins, who quieted chatter about his failures in prime-time games until, well, the next time the Vikings play in prime time. Minnesota can clinch the NFC North with a win over the upstart Jets (and a Lions loss to the Jaguars) on Sunday.
Previous rank: No. 6
The Titans win games by imposing their will on the opponent. On Sunday, the Bengals came to Nissan Stadium and were the more physical team on both sides of the ball in a 20-16 Tennessee loss that served as a rematch of January’s memorable playoff showdown. An unnecessary roughness penalty by lineman Kevin Strong concluded the game in an anticlimactic manner, but the Titans’ focus should be on how to get Derrick Henry going against an AFC rival they could see again come playoff time. Henry managed just 38 yards on 17 carries on Sunday and has averaged just 2.7 yards per rush in his last two meetings with Cincinnati. The Bengals have the Big Dog on a leash.
Previous rank: No. 14
For the second time in as many years, chants of “Mike White!” echoed from the rafters of the Meadowlands after a joyous Jets victory. The 27-year-old quarterback — thrust into the starting lineup after last week’s stunning benching of Zach Wilson — completed 22 of 28 passes for 315 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions in a 31-10 win over the Bears at soggy MetLife Stadium. White completed passes to 10 different receivers and fed the ball to talented New York playmakers who have been starved for attention. Garrett Wilson put up 95 yards and scored twice one week after an emotional postgame outburst; even Elijah Moore busted out of witness protection with two big catches, including his first score of the year. The 2022 Jets are a roller coaster.
Previous rank: No. 8
The Ravens’ inability to close out their opponents is increasingly looking like it could be a fatal flaw in the DNA of John Harbaugh’s team. Baltimore is up to four losses on the season despite having a lead of at least nine points in the second half of all four of those games. The latest setback might have been the most brutal, as the defense was shredded by Trevor Lawrence on a last-minute touchdown drive before surrendering a two-point conversion to cap a 28-27 loss. Throw in a vulgar tweet from Lamar Jackson after the game (Harbaugh called it “out of character“), and the Ravens didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory in Week 12.
Previous rank: No. 16
The qualifications for the Comeback Player of the Year are nebulous to start with, so let’s dispense with any overthinking and give the damn award to Brian Robinson Jr. The rookie running back was shot twice in the leg during an attempted robbery in August, made it back to the field in October, and, at the end of November, looks like the physical difference-maker the Commanders thought they were getting when they made him a third-round pick last April. On Sunday, Robinson registered his first 100-yard rushing performance and added a truck-stick receiving touchdown in a dramatic win over the Falcons. Pairing this version of Robinson with a bruising Washington defense constitutes a roadmap to more wins for the surging Commanders.
Previous rank: No. 12
It appears that the Seahawks have lost whatever they previously had found on defense. Seattle struggled to get off the field against Tom Brady and the Bucs in Munich before the Week 11 bye, and the ‘Hawks came out of the off week with a disheartening 40-34 loss to a sub-.500 Raiders team that rolled up an absurd 576 total yards, capped by Josh Jacobs‘ 86-yard touchdown run in overtime. (We’re still trying to make sense of the angle taken by safety Josh Jones on Jacobs’ game-winner.) The loss drops the Seahawks a game behind the 49ers in the NFC West and invites questions about whether Seattle has the balance to seriously contend down the stretch.
Previous rank: No. 13
Hunter Henry caught it. We try not to dwell on these things, but wow, the decision to overturn the tight end’s apparent touchdown against the Vikings was an understandable source of major frustration for the Pats and their fan base in the aftermath of a 33-26 loss on Thanksgiving night. That’s not the reason New England finds itself back in last place in the uber-competitive AFC East, however. Self-inflicted errors were crucial: The Pats went 0 for 3 in the red zone, surrendered a kickoff return for a touchdown and committed five penalties that created first downs for the Vikings, including a critical running-into-the-kicker call that set up Minnesota’s final touchdown. The Pats aren’t good enough to cover up for sloppy execution.
Previous rank: No. 15
Are the Giants in a simple slump … or is this an overachieving team coming back to Earth? It’s a fair question after a 28-20 Thanksgiving loss to the Cowboys at Jerrah World, New York’s second consecutive defeat. The 7-2 start to the season afforded Brian Daboll’s team wiggle room, but the pressure will be on with a pair of matchups with the surging Commanders in the next three weeks. Injuries have thinned a roster that wasn’t deep to begin with, and Saquon Barkley has cooled off after an MVP-level beginning to the year. We’re about to enter gut-check time for Big Blue.
Previous rank: No. 26
We’re starting to get the feeling the Raiders should have picked up the fifth-year option on Josh Jacobs‘ rookie contract. Jacobs was a man possessed on Sunday in Seattle, setting a franchise record with 303 yards from scrimmage, including the 86-yard touchdown run in overtime that delivered a dramatic 40-34 win. That’s two straight overtime conquests for the Raiders, who continue to play heart-attack football under Josh McDaniels. With a manageable schedule ahead (Vegas’ next four opponents are a combined 19-25), it’s not unreasonable to imagine the Silver & Black working their way back into the playoff picture. Of course, assuming anything when it comes to this team is asking to be made a fool.
Previous rank: No. 11
The calendar is about to flip to December, and the Buccaneers still can’t get their offense on track. Tom Brady and Co. labored through another difficult Sunday, managing just 17 points in an overtime loss to the Browns. Tampa Bay had six three-and-outs, including a 14-second possession that preceded Cleveland’s game-tying touchdown drive in the final minutes of regulation. Fixing what ails these Bucs will be a more difficult task without left tackle Tristan Wirfs, out multiple weeks after suffering a nasty-looking high ankle sprain during the overtime period. Said Brady of his blind-side protector: “It’s awful. It’s awful for us, it’s awful for him.”
Previous rank: No. 24
The Jacoby Brissett portion of the schedule is over, ending on a high note with an overtime win over the Bucs. Brissett, as he did throughout his 11-game tenure as starter, delivered a workmanlike effort that put Cleveland in a good position to win. “I mean this in no disrespect,” Brissett said of the comeback against his old teammate in New England. “But in the words of Tom Brady, that was (expletive) awesome. That was (expletive) awesome.” Brissett now steps aside for Deshaun Watson, who will make his debut against the Texans in what signals a polarizing new era for the organization. When Watson takes his first snap against his former team, it will represent the QB’s first true game action in 700 days.
Previous rank: No. 18
The Lions continue to show they can hang with just about any team in the league. The next step is finding ways to beat the best. The Bills escaped Ford Field with a 28-25 win thanks to a Tyler Bass field goal with two seconds to play, and it was the Lions’ final drive minutes earlier that left fans playing the “What if?” game. Facing third-and-1 at the Buffalo 33-yard line with 32 ticks to play, Jared Goff spotted D.J. Chark with a step on his defender on a fade route, but the two were clearly not on the same page. Opportunity lost. “I told them this one should sting,” coach Dan Campbell said. “We had a chance to win and we didn’t make it, but I don’t think this was a step backward. I’m frustrated, but we’re getting better.”
Previous rank: No. 19
Beating the Eagles on the road in prime time always seemed like a tall task for this flawed Packers team, but there was still the hope that Aaron Rodgers could summon some magic like he did two weeks earlier in an upset of the Cowboys. Instead, Green Bay’s paper tiger defense was sliced to bits by Jalen Hurts, and Rodgers left the game with an ominous oblique injury. Jordan Love led the Packers to 10 points in two possessions in the fourth quarter, a promising performance that begs the question whether Green Bay would be better off getting an extended look at the former first-round pick in what’s become a lost season.
Previous rank: No. 22
Talk about a back-breaker. The Cardinals had a seven-point lead in the final minute of a game they absolutely had to have — and ended up losing on a touchdown and two-point conversion with 15 seconds to go. It’s just the latest chapter in a season of immense disappointment in the desert. “We had our chances,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “I think both teams played well enough to win. They made the plays at the end; unfortunately, we didn’t. Our offense got it back twice — went three-and-out — can’t do that against a good team.” It’s notable that Kingsbury, the team’s offensive play-caller, singled out that unit’s failure in the final quarter rather than a defense that couldn’t get a stop with the game — and perhaps, season — on the line.
Previous rank: No. 29
Jaguars fans will one day look back on Nov. 28, 2022, as the day Trevor Lawrence officially arrived as their franchise savior. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft had been making strides in recent weeks, but the QB took his game to another level in Sunday’s dramatic 28-27 win over the Ravens. Lawrence threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns, capped by a scoring toss to Marvin Jones with 14 seconds to play and a gutsy two-point conversion strike to Zay Jones that stole a win from Baltimore and sent the crowd at TIAA Bank Field into hysterics. “We’ve been on the wrong side of these a lot,” Lawrence said. “To win games like this, it’s awesome. Nothing like it.”
Previous rank: No. 25
The Steelers might not make the playoffs, but this season will still feel like a success if they come out of 2022 confident that Kenny Pickett is their quarterback of the future. The first-round pick is on track to do just that after a solid performance in Monday night’s 24-17 win over the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. After Indianapolis scored 14 unanswered points to take the lead in the third quarter, Pickett orchestrated an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive punctuated by a pretty two-point conversion pass to George Pickens to finish the scoring. Fun fact: The Steelers are 12-1 in their last 13 appearances on Monday Night Football.
Previous rank: No. 20
Sometimes your season comes down to one play. It’s too soon to say if Marcus Mariota’s final pass near the goal line at FedExField on Sunday will qualify as such for the Falcons, but it certainly felt like it after the deflected attempt was picked off by Kendall Fuller to seal a damaging loss to the Commanders. Atlanta again ran the ball with efficiency — 167 yards on 29 carries — but Washington was even better on the ground in a 176-yard effort. A surprise loss by the Bucs keeps the Falcons on the fringes of the NFC South race, but Arthur Smith’s team profiles as your classic also-ran. A competitive, respectable also-ran … but an also-ran nonetheless.
Previous rank: No. 21
You can’t win if you can’t score, and the Saints saw their fading playoff hopes take another hit in a dispiriting shutout loss to the 49ers in Santa Clara. Alvin Kamara lost two fumbles and New Orleans came up empty on two trips into the red zone, wasting a game effort by a Saints defense that cooled off a Niners attack which had entered Sunday on a roll. Kamara has now matched a career high with four fumbles, and the New Orleans running attack remains completely missing in action. Sunday’s leading rusher? Andy Dalton, who churned out 21 yards worth of scrambles. This is not a very good or disciplined team, and it’s fair to wonder if Dennis Allen will pay for it with his job.
Previous rank: No. 27
The Colts shook off a slow start to make a game of it on Monday night, but subpar play from a pop-gun offense didn’t disappear when Frank Reich was served his walking papers. Matt Ryan‘s lack of mobility and arm strength are obvious impediments here, but the Colts also lack playmakers they can count on aside from Michael Pittman Jr. and Jonathan Taylor, who didn’t see many touches after a goal-line fumble on a failed exchange with Ryan in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Jeff Saturday absorbed his first real sideline criticism for some poor clock management on Indy’s final doomed drive. “I thought we had plenty of time,” Saturday said afterward. “I wasn’t too concerned.”
Previous rank: No. 31
We are very much here for Sam Darnold Redemption Szn (sorry, never again). The former first-round pick has had an unfulfilling NFL career to date, but he can solidify his future, make some money and even keep the Panthers in the NFC South race with a strong close to the season. Darnold threw a touchdown pass and accounted for another score with an end-zone recovery of his own fumble (listen, the man’s had a weird career) in a 23-10 win over the Broncos. The Panthers have seen all they’ve needed to see with Baker Mayfield, so this should be Darnold’s gig for the balance of the year, with P.J. Walker waiting in the wings if needed. Let’s see if Darnold can make the most of his opportunity.
Previous rank: No. 23
When you take Justin Fields out of the mix, there’s not much meat on the bone here. The Bears and their perpetually overmatched defense were carved up by Mike White and the Jets, who piled up 466 yards in a 31-10 wipeout at the Meadowlands. Trevor Siemian and the offense sputtered after a hot start, and it will be interesting to see how Chicago chooses to handle Fields moving forward. Fields — the unquestioned cornerstone in Chicago’s rebuild — has a shoulder injury that makes him vulnerable, and the 2022 Bears are going nowhere. The good news: Chicago currently holds the No. 2 overall pick in next April’s draft.
Previous rank: No. 28
Sunday’s game against the powerhouse Chiefs was supposed to be one of the showdowns of the year in the NFL, but the Rams’ rapid descent to the bottom of the NFC standings rendered the result — a 26-15 win by Kansas City — something of an afterthought. The Rams played without quarterback Matthew Stafford, who’s dealing with a neck strain that leaves his availability for the balance of the season in doubt. The big question is where Stafford fits into the future of a Rams team that suddenly finds itself in a very different place than when Stafford arrived as a “final piece” in 2021. Stay tuned.
Previous rank: No. 30
The Broncos have the NFL’s most disappointing offense, led by the league’s most disappointing quarterback, Russell Wilson. It was more of the same Sunday, a 23-10 loss to the Panthers in which Denver managed just 246 yards against a Carolina team in the running for a top-five pick in the upcoming draft. Wilson has struggled in numerous ways this season, but his failures in the red zone are borderline surreal. According to ESPN’s Bill Barnwell, Wilson’s red-zone QBR has dropped from 91.9 during his final season in Seattle to 6.3 through 10 games with the Broncos. He went from being one of football’s most efficient QBs inside the 20 for a decade, to the absolute worst. Wilson’s struggles are quite literally hard to believe.
Previous rank: No. 32
There’s always one team that drags to the finish line just a little more hopelessly than the rest of the field. That, unfortunately, appears to be the fate of the Texans in 2022. Houston was down 30-0 by halftime against the Dolphins on Sunday, just the latest indignity for a one-win team that is less and less competitive by the week. Kyle Allen didn’t do much in his first start in place of the benched Davis Mills, and the countdown is already on for which college hotshot QB Houston will select with the No. 1 overall pick in next April’s draft. Up next is the Browns and the return of some quarterback named Deshaun. Make it stop.