NFL Power Rankings After Week 12

December 2, 2020

Week 12 of the NFL season was filled with unpredictability both on and off the field. With games being rescheduled to teams taking the field without a quarterback, it was certainly a week unlike any other. In this week’s edition of NFL power rankings, find out where each team stands after the wild week, as the playoff picture continues to come into focus.

32. New York Jets (Last Week: 32)

It was another week of impotent offense for the New York Jets in Week 12. They were downed 20-3 by the Miami Dolphins, who were without their starting quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa. This was the first time all season that Sam Darnold had all of his top receiving threats active, and the Jets could only manage three points. NFL betting odds now have the Jets at +144 to finish 0-16 for the 2020 season.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Week: 31)

Jacksonville joined the Jets as the only team in the NFL with a 10-game losing streak this year. Their Week 12 loss to the Cleveland Browns was closer than expected, but still not enough. Mike Glennon said before this game that he had nothing to lose, and he played reasonably well. But the Jaguars, even at their best, are unable to recreate the magic that they conjured in their Week 1 win over the Colts.

30. Cincinnati Bengals (Last Week: 30)

The Cincinnati Bengals held their own against the New York Giants in Week 12. But without Joe Burrow, the Bengals’ offense lacked any sort of threat late in their loss to New York. Cincinnati earned just 155 total yards of offense during the game, including a miserable 40 yards on the ground. Injuries may have killed the Bengals’ offense for the rest of this year, but it’s not like they were lighting it up before Burrow went down either.

29. Dallas Cowboys (Last Week: 27)

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day where the Dallas Cowboys dazzle the nation with their play at home. But that is the opposite of what happened in their turkey day loss to the Washington Football Team. Some truly baffling fourth down calls, including a failed fake punt, gave Washington all of the momentum. And with Andy Dalton unable to steal it back, the Cowboys suffered an embarrassing 41-16 defeat to fall into last place in the NFL’s worst division.

28. Detroit Lions (Last Week: 25)

The Lions also played at home on Thanksgiving, and were similarly embarrassed. Detroit lost 41-25 to the Houston Texans, and shortly after decided to fire head coach Matt Patricia. The offensive-minded Darrell Bevell will take over head coaching duties for the rest of the season. But can Bevell get anything out of a Lions team that has simply lacked an organizational culture for decades?

27. Atlanta Falcons (Last Week: 29)

One of the biggest surprises in Week 12 came from the Atlanta Falcons. Their win over the Las Vegas Raiders wasn’t the surprising part. But the fact that they managed to beat the Raiders by a score of 43-6 was the shocking facet to their triumph. Forcing five Las Vegas turnovers was the key for the Falcons, who now have a positive point differential on the season despite their 4-7 record.

26. Washington Football Team (Last Week: 28)

Washington briefly took the lead in the NFC East after their Thanksgiving day destruction of the Dallas Cowboys. In that game, Antonio Gibson became the first rookie to score three touchdowns on a Thanksgiving game since Randy Moss did so. Washington’s defense made Andy Dalton’s day miserable, just as they did in their first meeting in Washington. Now the Football Team sits at 4-7, with only the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Giants separating them from first place.

25. Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week: 24)

There is no shame in losing to the Seattle Seahawks. But the way that the Eagles lost to Pete Carroll’s team was somewhat shameful. They simply could not protect Carson Wentz, who looks nothing like the quarterback that played MVP-level football in the season the Eagles won the Super Bowl. A late Hail Mary and two-point conversion helped them cover the spread, but the Eagles look lost offensively and might need to change things up at quarterback.

24. Carolina Panthers (Last Week: 23)

The most inconsistent team in the NFL delivered another head-scratching performance in Week 12. Carolina held a 21-10 lead against the Minnesota Vikings on the road through three quarters. But the Panthers gave up 18 points in the fourth quarter and missed a game-tying field goal attempt as time expired. Even with two defensive touchdowns in consecutive plays, the Panthers failed to close the game out and find themselves in last place because of it.

23. Los Angeles Chargers (Last Week: 21)

You can’t fault the Los Angeles Chargers for losing on the road to the Buffalo Bills. What you can fault them for is the abysmal game management that head coach Anthony Lynn is responsible for. Down by two scores late, the Chargers completed a Hail Mary short of the goal line. They then proceeded to run the ball and run the clock out on themselves without so much as a chance to cut their deficit to one possession. As Justin Herbert continues to blossom, Lynn may have to go after this season to avoid stunting his growth.

22. Denver Broncos (Last Week: 22)

Another AFC West team you can’t fault for losing in Week 12 is the Denver Broncos. They had zero true quarterbacks available for their game against the Saints due to COVID-19 concerns. That led to them using practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton as their quarterback. He completed one pass, while throwing two interceptions. Fortunately, Denver should have their quarterbacks again for Week 13 against the Chiefs.

21. Chicago Bears (Last Week: 20)

The Chicago Bears did have their starting quarterback available, opting to start Mitchell Trubisky on the road against Green Bay. That decision did not go well for them, as Trubisky threw two interceptions in a game that the Packers won decisively in the first half. Trubisky showed some poor decision making on deep throws in the game, and the Bears look like they are stuck with two less-than-stellar quarterback options now.

20. New York Giants (Last Week: 26)

Somehow, the New York Giants find themselves in first place in the NFC East. They defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12, taking advantage of an offense that was without its starting quarterback. The Giants have won three straight games, though they have yet to beat a team with a winning record. They have a chance to change that on Sunday when they square off with the Seahawks.

19. Las Vegas Raiders (Last Week: 15)

Las Vegas was on the receiving end of one of the most embarrassing beatings of the NFL season in Week 12. Jon Gruden’s team lost 43-6 to the Atlanta Falcons thanks to five turnovers. That loss pushed the Raiders outside of the three wild card positions in the AFC. And with just five games to change that, Las Vegas can’t afford to make any more mistakes in winnable games.

18. Minnesota Vikings (Last Week: 18)

It was not pretty, but the Vikings managed to get the job done against the Carolina Panthers. They allowed defensive touchdowns on two straight plays, something that is nearly impossible to do. But a massive fourth quarter helped the Vikings get to 5-6 for the year. In the NFC, that puts them a game back of the Arizona Cardinals for the final wild card spot with five games to go.

17. San Francisco 49ers (Last Week: 19)

The San Francisco 49ers were expected to be beaten handily by the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. But Nick Mullens did just enough on offense to get the job done. The real star of this game for the Niners was their defense. That unit held Sean McVay’s explosive offense to just 20 points for the game, while kicker Robbie Gould kicked a game-winning field goal. Despite all of the injuries they have dealt with, the Niners are a game back of a potential wild card berth.

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16. New England Patriots (Last Week: 17)

In most years, the New England Patriots winning at home is no surprise. But this past week, the Patriots did pull off a surprising win when they took out the Cardinals at home. New England’s defense managed to slow down Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins and the rest of the weapons that Kliff Kingsbury has at his disposal. Their hopes of making the playoffs are slim, but the Patriots have played admirably given all of the COVID-19 opt-outs they saw this season.

15. Houston Texans (Last Week: 16)

Houston took advantage of the Detroit Lions being the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. Houston forced some key turnovers in their Week 12 turkey day victory, including a JJ Watt pick-six. After a slow start on offense, Deshaun Watson turned up the heat by going to Will Fuller often. Fuller had 171 receiving yards in the win, as Houston looks to salvage this season after a horrid start.

14. Miami Dolphins (Last Week: 14)

Miami took care of business on Sunday when it beat the New York Jets 20-3. As per the norm, there was nothing spectacular about the offensive performance by the Dolphins. But Miami’s defense managed to get the job done again, keeping the Jets’ offense quiet. Miami is just a game behind Buffalo for first place in the AFC East as we enter the home stretch of the regular season.

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last Week: 13)

Tampa Bay lost another home game against quality competition last week when they fell to the Kansas City Chiefs. Tampa mounted a furious comeback attempt, but could not get themselves to the point of tying things up late. A lack of experience closing the deal in big games could come back to haunt this team later in the year as they look to position themselves favorably for the playoffs.

12. Cleveland Browns (Last Week: 12)

The Cleveland Browns improved to 8-3 in Week 12, as they defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars in a 27-25 nail-biter. Cleveland is playing some good football thanks to its running game, which is the main component that has helped them win three games in a row. While you would have liked to have seen them win more convincingly here, there is no such thing as a bad road win in the NFL.

11. Indianapolis Colts (Last Week: 9)

Indianapolis got crushed in Week 12 by the Tennessee Titans. There is no shame in failing to stop Derrick Henry and the Titans’ offense. But with the division title more or less on the line, it was a huge disappointment to see the vaunted Colts defense fail to step up in this game at home. The Colts now find themselves a game back of first place while the Titans have the momentum heading into the final stretch.

10. Buffalo Bills (Last Week: 11)

Buffalo took care of business at home against the Chargers, thanks in large part to some questionable time management from the Chargers at the end of the game. Their double-digit win at home kept the Bills ahead of Miami by a full game in the AFC East. The 8-3 start for Buffalo puts them in position to earn a home playoff game, so long as they can hold off the Dolphins in the division.

9. Arizona Cardinals (Last Week: 7)

Arizona suffered a truly baffling loss in Week 12 to the New England Patriots. The explosive Cardinals offense was shut down, scoring just 17 points. And the defense for the Cardinals, while solid for most of the day, disappeared down the stretch. Now at 6-5 on the season, the Cardinals’ recent slide has made their participation in the playoffs anything but a sure thing.

8. Los Angeles Rams (Last Week: 8)

The Rams were another team that suffered a rather surprising loss when they faltered against the Nick Mullens led Niners. San Francisco got some key players back from injury for the game, but a home loss against the only team in the NFC West with a losing record does not look good at this point in the season. Now a game back of first place in the NFC West, the Rams’ margin for error for a playoff spot has all but vanished.

7. Green Bay Packers (Last Week: 10)

Aaron Rodgers’ first half against the Chicago Bears was some of the best quarterback play of the season. Despite all of the injuries to key offensive players, Rodgers has made stars out of players like Robert Tonyan. The defense could use some work, as they let Mitchell Trubisky move the ball in the second half. But Green Bay will always be a contender as long as they have Rodgers running the show.

6. Baltimore Ravens (Last Week: 6)

Baltimore lost the Wednesday afternoon game against Pittsburgh that was supposed to take place on Thanksgiving. But the loss came with Robert Griffin III as their quarterback rather than Lamar Jackson. With so many players out due to injury or COVID-19 concerns, it makes sense that the Ravens didn’t triumph here. With that said, at 6-5, Baltimore needs to play much better football than it has been if they want to make the playoffs.

5. Seattle Seahawks (Last Week: 4)

Seattle took care of business in Week 12 with a Monday night win over the Eagles. A pass rush that has played better in recent weeks made things very difficult for Carson Wentz. But the Eagles’ defense did manage to stymie Russell Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense more than you would have expected. Seattle moved into sole possession of first place thanks to the win and the Rams’ loss, but consistency will always be a question with this team.

4. Tennessee Titans (Last Week: 5)

Tennessee steamrolled the Indianapolis Colts to retake the lead in the AFC South. Derrick Henry had 178 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. AJ Brown had a receiving touchdown and an onside kick return for a score. And everything that could have went right for the Titans did go right for them in what could be a season defining win for Mike Vrabel’s club.

3. New Orleans Saints (Last Week: 3)

The Saints came into their Week 12 game against the Broncos not knowing who the opposing quarterback would be. Despite that uncertainty, the Saints took care of business in the mile high city. Taysom Hill, who is also not a traditional quarterback, was the better of the two non-quarterbacks who started the game. And New Orleans’ defense continues to be one of the more underrated units in the NFL as they held Denver’s handcuffed offense to just one completion for the contest.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week: 2)

The Chiefs went to Tampa Bay and got the better of Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in Week 12. Somehow, the Chiefs sit at 10-1 for the regular season, but are not in a position to claim a first round bye for the playoffs. Bye or not, there is not a team in the league that wants to deal with this Chiefs offense in the playoffs. With 348 points scored, only the Packers have put up more points on the season with 349.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last Week: 1)

Pittsburgh did not flinch in Week 12, beating the Ravens despite multiple postponements of their matchup. The uncertainty and the unconventional game time may have impacted the team’s focus, but a one-possession win over a backup quarterback is still a win. Now 11-0 on the year, the Steelers are close to 3/1 odds to finish the season at 16-0. There may be too many tough opponents to accomplish that feat, but Mike Tomlin’s team is in a great position to earn a first round bye.

NFL Betting FAQ

Could the Ravens miss the playoffs?

Right now, most NFL picks would likely have the Ravens in the postseason. The odds currently have the Ravens at -250 to get in. But Baltimore is currently the ninth seed in the AFC playoff picture. That means that they have to climb over multiple teams to earn the seventh seed and get into the playoffs. If Lamar Jackson can come back from COVID and play well, it is certainly a possibility.

Who is going to win the NFC East?

Every team in the NFC East is at plus money to win the division right now. But the New York Giants currently have the best odds to get there at +200. The Giants have a winning record in division games, which gives them the inside track over the rest of the division. The question is whether the team can make it through whatever injury issues Daniel Jones is dealing with to win the division with a losing record.

Why are the Chiefs favored over the Steelers?

The Chiefs are the current Super Bowl favorites rather than the undefeated Steelers. Given that the Chiefs won the title last year, it isn’t entirely unexpected that they are favored to do it again. There have also been questions about the quality of opponents that the Steelers have beaten, though any team that has won 11 straight games should see those questions cease.

Jay Sanin
Jay Sanin is a sports writer and broadcaster from Albany, NY. He has covered sports betting and the gambling industry since 2013.