US Sports Veteran
In the latest NFL Power Rankings, the New Orleans Saints drop a spot without Drew Brees, the Tennessee Titans take a huge leap thanks to a dominant performance in Week 12, and the Seattle Seahawks regain control of the NFC West. Outside of the top three teams, there isn’t a powerhouse franchise this year. While teams can author upsets on any given Sunday, it feels like the NFL’s dominant trio is beginning to cement itself.
Last week’s ranking: 1
The Chiefs only defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by three points, but it never felt like Kansas City’s lead was in danger. Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill scorched Tampa Bay’s secondary, while Tyrann Mathieu made his presence felt on defense. Regardless of what you think of Kansas City’s defense, the Chiefs are the most unstoppable team in the NFL.
Last week’s ranking: 2
Facing a Denver Broncos team missing all of their quarterbacks, the Saints went with a conservative game plan that resulted in 44 carries for 229 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. The Saints have a good enough offensive line and defense to play this conservative style until Drew Brees returns. However, their Week 15 matchup against the Chiefs might cause problems.
Last week’s ranking: 3
The Steelers don’t face the Baltimore Ravens until Wednesday afternoon, which means they maintain their undefeated record for another power ranking. Pittsburgh leads the NFL with 38 sacks, and the defense ranks among the top three in total yards, passing yards, and points allowed per game.
Last week’s ranking: 11
The Titans reasserted their dominance over the AFC South with a blowout win over the Indianapolis Colts. Derrick Henry ran for 178 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 6.6 yards per attempt. A.J. Brown also had a monster day, making four catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. Tennessee’s defense made some positive strides as well.
Last week’s ranking: 4
The Los Angeles Chargers pushed Buffalo to the brink, launching endless assaults against Josh Allen. However, the Bills pulled through with a 27-17 victory. The running game produced 172 yards, which ultimately clinched the win for Buffalo.
Last week’s ranking: 9
Green Bay obliterated Chicago’s usually sturdy defense. Aaron Rodgers made his case for MVP by throwing for four touchdowns. Aaron Jones also came to life, rushing for 90 yards on 17 carries. Green Bay’s run defense remains an issue, as the Packers gave up 103 yards on 11 carries to Chicago’s David Montgomery.
Last week’s ranking: 10
Seattle and Russell Wilson reclaimed the NFC West division crown with a win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football. With two consecutive wins, the Seahawks are building momentum heading into the easiest part of their schedule. Seattle’s next three games come against teams with a combined 8-25 record.
Last week’s ranking: 5
After pushing the Chiefs to their limit in Week 11, I thought the Raiders were a top-five team. Unfortunately for Jon Gruden’s squad, they ran into a brick wall against the Atlanta Falcons. Derek Carr turned the ball over four times as Las Vegas’ offense vanished. The Raiders lost 43-6 to a Falcons team that played without Todd Gurley and Julio Jones.
This loss might only represent a blip on the radar for Las Vegas, but losing by 37 points to a team Taysom Hill produced 282 total yards and a 108.9 passer rating against never looks good. They deserve at least a three-spot drop.
Last week’s ranking: 6
Jared Goff held the Rams back for most of Sunday’s matchup against the division rival San Francisco 49ers. The former Pro Bowl quarterback committed three turnovers against a battered 49ers defense. The Rams are still a good team, but the defense needs to carry Goff and the inconsistent offense.
Last week’s ranking: 8
Tom Brady doesn’t look comfortable in Bruce Arians’ offense. He’s missing on throws and failing to take advantage of the plethora of Pro Bowlers around him. In the second half, Tampa Bay showed some life against Kansas City. However, it was too little too late. The Buccaneers need to get their offense on the same page and find some answers in the secondary.
Last week’s ranking: 7
Without DeForest Buckner, the Colts had no answers for Derrick Henry. Indianapolis gave up 35 points in the first half and never recovered as the Titans ran away with a 45-26 victory. Philip Rivers didn’t have a bad day, but Indy’s running game vanished without Jonathan Taylor.
Last week’s ranking: 12
The Cardinals and Kyler Murray are still a year away from figuring things out. While the defense picked off Cam Newton twice and Kenyan Drake ran for two touchdowns, the Cardinals only scored 17 points. Call it inexperience if you want to, but Arizona got outcoached on Sunday.
Last week’s ranking: 14
Ryan Fitzpatrick stepped in for Tua Tagovailoa on Sunday. He delivered with two touchdowns and no turnovers. DeVante Parker played a large role in the win, making eight receptions for 119 yards. Miami’s defense held the New York Jets to three points and intercepted Sam Darnold twice.
Last week’s ranking: 17
Despite Dalvin Cook struggling, the Vikings pulled off a last-minute win over the Carolina Panthers. Kirk Cousins threw three touchdowns, including two to Justin Jefferson, as Minnesota won its fifth game this year. With three of their final five games coming against teams with losing records, 8-8 is within reach for Mike Zimmer’s squad.
Last week’s ranking: 19
Bill Belichick rebounded from a difficult loss at the hands of Deshaun Watson with a masterful game plan against Kyler Murray. Despite Cam Newton having the worst game of his career, New England nailed a game-winning field goal as time expired. At 5-6, the Patriots are only two games behind the Dolphins for second place in the AFC East.
Last week’s ranking: 13
The Ravens limp into their crucial Wednesday afternoon showdown against the rival Steelers after dropping their last two games. Assuming the game is played, Robert Griffin III will start in place of Lamar Jackson, who is on the COVID-19 list with several other starters. After Pittsburgh, the Ravens only face one winning team in their final five games, and it’s the Cleveland Browns.
Last week’s ranking: 15
Cleveland escaped a scary game in Jacksonville, winning 27-25. Baker Mayfield had one of his best statistical performances this year, but the young quarterback also missed a ton of throws. Without Myles Garrett, Cleveland’s defense couldn’t generate any pass rush. Luckily, Nick Chubb and Jarvis Landry both produced over 140 yards.
Last week’s ranking: 24
Give Kyle Shanahan credit for keeping his team engaged in a snake-bitten season. The 49ers upset the Rams on Sunday as Richard Sherman made his triumphant return, intercepting Jared Goff once. Rookie Javon Kinlaw pitched in with a pick-six, and emerging defensive tackle Kerry Hyder Jr. recorded two sacks. At 5-6, the 49ers are only one game behind the Cardinals.
Last week’s ranking: 16
Matt Rhule’s team battled to the game’s final seconds, but Carolina couldn’t escape a game-winning Dan Bailey extra point. The Panthers have five losses by seven points or less this season. Once they get Christian McCaffrey back next year, this could turn into a playoff team.
Last week’s ranking: 18
With their 41-25 win over the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving, the Texans claimed their third win in the past four weeks. The defense played a massive role in the late-game blowout, forcing three turnovers. J.J. Watt even scored on a pick-six. On offense, Will Fuller continued his sneakily good season, catching six passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns. The fifth-year receiver has five 100-yard games in 2020.
Last week’s ranking: 20
After getting beat down by Taysom Hill and the Saints in Week 11, the Falcons got their act together. Atlanta decimated Las Vegas in a 43-6 blowout. Even without Todd Gurley and Julio Jones, the Falcons made one of the NFL’s hottest teams look like a JV squad.
Last week’s ranking: 26
Antonio Gibson dominated Dallas’ weak defense, rushing for 115 yards and three scores in the 41-16 blowout. The Dallas Cowboys found themselves at a loss for slowing down the rookie running back. Meanwhile, Washington’s defense forced two turnovers and scored a touchdown. Ron Rivera’s team shut down Ezekiel Elliott and took advantage of Dallas’ poor
Last week’s ranking: 23
With a narrow 19-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Giants momentarily took the NFC East division crown from Washington. Unfortunately, Daniel Jones suffered a hamstring injury and could miss several games. The Giants need their quarterback, considering four of their next five games come against winning teams.
Last week’s ranking: 21
Justin Herbert didn’t handle Buffalo’s defense well, posting a new career-low passer rating. However, the rookie quarterback didn’t get much help from any of his weapons. At least the defense played well, haunting Josh Allen throughout the game. Joey Bosa recorded three sacks, six tackles for loss, and five quarterback hits.
Last week’s ranking: 27
Unless the Bears turn things around in the final five games, there’s a good chance Mitchell Trubisky, head coach Matt Nagy, and general manager Ryan Pace all meet their demise simultaneously. After a 5-1 start, the Bears have thrown their season away.
Last week’s ranking: 22
With Andy Dalton returning from injury, the Cowboys had a lot of momentum going into their Thanksgiving matchup. However, everything came to a screeching halt against Washington’s defense. Rivera’s team held Dallas to 247 yards of total offense and 24:04 minutes of possession. Mike McCarthy’s team gave up 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
Last week’s ranking: 28
The Lions desperately need Kenny Golladay back and a new head coach. Matthew Stafford has looked lost without his top receiving option this season, and Matt Patricia continues to coach Detroit to horrible losses. The former defensive coordinator watched his team give up 41 points on Thursday, marking the third time this season that a team scored over 40 points against the Lions.
Detroit fired Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn on Saturday.
Last week’s ranking: 25
We all knew Sunday’s game would be ugly, but I don’t think anyone anticipated Denver throwing for 12 yards and two touchdowns. With all of their quarterbacks on the COVID-19 list, the Broncos played a practice squad receiver at quarterback. Denver’s defense shut down New Orleans’ passing game, but the Saints ran for 229 yards.
Last week’s ranking: 29
The Eagles hit a new low on Monday night with a loss to Seattle. Doug Pederson has been awful for the past several weeks and Carson Wentz isn’t much better. This team’s identity is crumbling quicker than its quarterback’s confidence. Reports claim owner Jeffrey Lurie is extremely frustrated with the team’s underperformance. If the Eagles don’t win the NFC East, changes seem imminent.
Last week’s ranking: 31
Mike Glennon performed well in his first start since 2017, bringing the Jaguars within a field goal of upsetting the Browns. James Robinson seems like a keeper at running back, but very few other players on this entire roster stand out.
Last week’s ranking: 30
The Bengals performed better than expected against the Giants, but a 103-yard kick return touchdown by Brandon Wilson padded the score a little. Cincinnati has plenty of offensive weapons, but things don’t run without Joe Burrow. The defense also needs significant re-tooling.
Last week’s ranking: 32
The Jets are one game closer to drafting Trevor Lawrence. I expect New York to clean house this offseason, except for general manager Joe Douglas, and begin another phase of roster reconstruction. If done right, the Jets might win six or seven games next year.
While you’re here, check out last week’s rankings. I’m producing these weekly rankings throughout the regular season, and all of the previous editions can be found under the NFL Power Rankings tab on The Grueling Truth’s website.
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