By Conor Perrett
It’s Thanksgiving week in the land of America. That means with Week 12 of the NFL season fast approaching with roast dinners and football on Thursday, let’s see where everybody fairs after the action from Week 11.
- Kansas City Chiefs (8-2)
Last Week – 1st
When the Chiefs got the ball on their own 25-yard line, down four points with 1:46 to go Sunday night, it felt inevitable that they would score the go-ahead touchdown. It’s something that we have come accustomed to for Patrick Mahomes to pull off and this time against the Chargers it only took him six plays.
Travis Kelce’s name can go under the radar sometimes being in an offence that has Mahomes as its quarterback and Andy Reid as his head coach, but the tight-end is making a claim to be a future hall of famer. Kelce has already tied his career high with 11 receiving touchdowns and is on track to set a career high in receiving yards this season as well.
He just passed Rob Gronkowski for fifth in receiving yards among tight ends and is only 101 yards away from Shannon Sharpe for fourth. With a good few seasons still left in the tank, God knows what records he and Mahomes can break.
Up next: vs. Los Angeles Rams, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT
- Philadelphia Eagles (9-1)
Last Week – 2nd
In Weeks 1-9, Philadelphia led the league in turnover differential with 18 turnovers forced while committing just three turnovers of their own. In their last two games, they’ve turned their own ball over six times and rank 31st in turnover differential. Their reckless play got them their first loss last week against the Commanders and nearly another in Indianapolis last Sunday, if it wasn’t for a heroic fourth quarter.
I made a comment in Week 7’s edition of our Power Rankings that talked about whether their turnover differential is sustainable. I wrote then: “It shows Philadelphia’s dominance through the first half of the season, but is it sustainable? For the time being there is no reason not to doubt that, but things can come crashing down fast. Just ask the Cardinals of last year.“
I made that Cardinals comment at the end as a joke, but could it be heading that way?
Up next: vs. Green Bay, Monday 1:20 a.m. GMT
- Miami Dolphins (7-3)
Last Week – 3rd
The Dolphins are coming off a bye week heading into Week 12 and could afford to take another, with a home matchup against Houston waiting for them.
Up next: vs. Houston, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT
- Buffalo Bills (6-3)
Last Week – 5th
The snow that hit Buffalo last week must have changed something in their mentality when Devin Singletary and James Cook combined for 172 rushing yards on 29 carries. It’s the first time in a while the run game has looked any good, especially without Allen taking the load. It was against a historically bad Browns’ run defence, but they’ll be back in their home away from home on Thanksgiving, with a tummy full of turkey when they take on the Detroit Lions. A win could take them back on top of the competitive AFC East.
Up next: at Detroit, Thursday 5:30 p.m. GMT
- San Francisco 49ers (6-4)
Last Week – 7th
Everything went just as expected for the Niners in Mexico after their 38-10 blowout against the Cardinals. Jimmy Garoppolo is the fourth-ranked quarterback in EPA per dropback behind just Tagovailoa, Mahomes, and Allen. George Kittle is healthy and coming off a two touchdown game. A backfield of Christian McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell and a sprinkle of Deebo Samuel might be the most dangerous in the league.
Combine that with the top-ranked defence in points allowed, all while Philly and Minnesota hit a dip and the 49ers have entered the conversation as serious Super Bowl contenders.
Up next: vs. New Orleans, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT
- Baltimore Ravens (6-3)
Last Week – 6th
The trade Baltimore made to get Roquan Smith is looking like a hit for this defence. He recorded seven tackles and a sack this week as the Ravens held Carolina to a sad three points. Since his acquisition Baltimore are undefeated and have not allowed an opponent to score over 20 points. His play has rubbed onto others around him as well, with Patrick Queen shining. With a favourable schedule ahead for the Ravens, everything’s coming up Millhouse!!!
Up next: at Jacksonville, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT
- Dallas Cowboys (7-3)
Last Week – 8th
The Cowboys took no prisoners in their 40-3 win over the Vikings on Sunday. Dak Prescott completed 22 of 25 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns in an offensive masterclass where he and running-back Tony Pollard couldn’t put a foot wrong.
It’s the kind of complete game we needed to see from Dallas after their defeat to Green Bay, with the defence getting in on the action as well. Micah Parsons added two sacks to his campaign with a pressure rate of 60 percent, the highest rate in a game this season. While corner-back Trevon Diggs allowed just two catches for 19 yards against Justin Jefferson.
Up next: vs. New York Giants Thursday 9:30 p.m. GMT
- Cincinnati Bengals (6-4)
Last Week – 9th
The Bengals’ win over the Steelers on Sunday kept their playoff hopes alive, and more good news flooded in Monday with Ja’Marr Chase returning to practice. Burrow ranks fifth in EPA per dropback and getting Chase back will only add to the heights we saw from both last season.
On a two-game winning streak, the Bengals now enter their hardest stretch. With seven games left in the season, they are scheduled to face six teams currently ranked 13th or higher in these Power Rankings. Perfect timing for the Chase return if you ask me.
Up next: at Tennessee, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT
- Tennessee Titans (7-3)
Last Week – 12th
After starting the season 0-2 the Titans have since won seven of their last eight games, with their only loss coming in overtime at Kansas City. With the league’s No. 1 DVOA run defence and a grind-it-out style that drags opponents into the mud with them, Mike Vrabel has another case for Coach of the Year with the way things are going.
Tennessee is in a four-way tie for the second-best record in the AFC at 7-3, and we finally saw an element of a passing game on TNF when rookie Treylon Burks had seven receptions for 111 yards. That extra element on offence is a welcome sight to start putting them up there with the big dogs.
Up next: vs. Cincinnati, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT
- Seattle Seahawks (6-4)
Last Week – 10th
On their bye with no game, Seattle sadly lost their top spot in the NFC West to the Niners this week. Though they still have a 84.5 percent chance of making the playoffs according to Football Outsiders.
Up next: vs. Las Vegas, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT
- Minnesota Vikings (8-2)
Last Week – 4th
I’ve been on top of Minnasota’s back all year and the minute I praise them with a 4th placed ranking last week, they suffer the most lopsided loss of the NFL season to date.
This team had been riding high after that insane win in Buffalo and it seems it caught up to them. I mentioned that Minnesota had been an overachiever and it’s important for them now to not let this free-fall. With a game against New England next which will see them play another top defence, they have to get their head back on straight, otherwise things can start to come crashing down real fast.
Up next: vs. New England, Friday 1:20 a.m. GMT
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5)
Last Week – 13th
There’s probably no better place to have a bye week than in Tampa, Florida. The sun, the beach, it all sounds so nice while I’m taking in 1 degree weather in Newcastle, UK.
Up next: at Cleveland, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT
- New England Patriots (6-4)
Last Week – 14th
Back in the Draft, Bill Belichick spent a third-round pick on a return specialist and it all paid off when Marcus Jones had a game winning 84-yard punt return.
However, there’s no denying that Mac Jones and the offence have been abysmal even in the team’s three-game win streak. Since Week 9, no offence ranks lower in offensive EPA per drive, and Jones ranks 32nd in EPA per dropback. That’s not going to cut it as they face the hardest remaining schedule in the NFL.
Up next: at Minnesota, Friday 1:20 a.m. GMT
- New York Jets (6-4)
Last Week – 11th
The Jets aren’t gone yet, but after Zach Wilson led them to just two offensive yards in the second half and answered “no” to a question about whether he let the defence down, New York has a big decision on their hands. For their next game, Robert Saleh refused to commit to Wilson and that’s going to lead to bigger talks about the QB in the off-season.
The Jets have the 6th ranked DVOA defence, they got weapons all over the offence, but their 2nd overall pick from last year is taking longer than expected to come good. Game It would feel rushed if the Jets were to change their plans at quarterback, but right now it feels the coaching staff don’t believe in the man and his recent comments won’t win over any of his teammates either.
Up next: vs. Chicago, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT
- Washington Commanders (6-5)
Last Week – 16th
Ron Rivera’s decision to continue riding with Taylor Heinicke was an easy one from the outside. Washington was 2-4 before Carson Wentz was placed on injured reserve with a finger injury. The Commanders are 4-1 in games since, including a blowout win in Houston this Sunday. Heinicke, who’s been great, has not solely been responsible for that turnaround though as the defence ranks fifth in defensive EPA per drive over that span.
But when you have a defence as successful as that, not turning the ball over is simply enough to win a game. That’s exactly what Heinicke has over Wentz and the major reason why he gets to keep the job. Sure Wentz has the higher ceiling, that’s why he’s a former 2nd overall pick, but his erratic play can lead to mistakes. With a top defence now the Commanders will take less highlight plays if it means less mistakes.
Up next: vs. Atlanta, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT
- Los Angeles Chargers (5-5)
Last Week – 17th
There’s no questioning Justin Herbert’s brilliance, especially after his effort against the Chiefs, but there will be questions surrounding head coach Brandon Staley, offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and the rest of the Los Angeles coaching staff if this team misses the playoffs again.
The good news though is Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are both back and they only have to face two more teams with a current winning record.
Up next: at Arizona, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT
- Detroit Lions (4-6)
Last Week – 22nd
Three weeks ago after getting torched by Miami for a fifth straight defeat on the season and an overall record of 4-19-1 in the Dan Campbell era. A deflated Campbell stood on a press podium to say, “It’s frustrating. I know everybody’s tired of hearing it’s close, but I do know we’re close, and you just don’t know when it’s going to turn.”
At the time, frustrations were starting to grow among the Lions fan-base as this rebuild they were so hoping to work, looked to be failing like the ‘Same Old Lions.’
But it almost feels prophetic that since then, the Lions have put together a three-game win streak after dismantling the 7-2 Giants 31-18, on the road in a one sided event. With two teams with winning records left on their schedule the Playoffs might feel like a stretch, but more importantly this young team is starting to get wins under their belt and still might get a top-5 pick in the Draft due to the Stafford trade with the Rams.
Up next: vs. Buffalo, Thursday 5:30 p.m. GMT
- New York Giants (7-3)
Last Week – 15th
It feels harsh putting the Giants in the bottom half of the rankings when they have seven wins on the season, but it’s where they belong. That’s not taking anything away from Brain Daboll and his coaching staff. This New York side has overachieved and look amazing for a team in the first year of their rebuild, but they have a glaring weakness.
The Giants have won six of their games on one score wins, having been down by double-digits points multiple times before coming back. It’s a great talent to win close games and be perfect at the end of games, but this team functions on running the ball and when they get too far behind there’s no way back for them. That’s exactly what happened against the Lions, as a 24-6 deficit in the third quarter was too much to ask.
Up next: at Dallas, Thursday 9:30 p.m. GMT
- Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7)
Last Week – 20th
The Jaguars might not be overly happy after how they started the season, but what they can be happy about is how Trevor Lawrence looks significantly better this season compared to last year. He’s a top-10 quarterback in EPA per dropback, while Jacksonville has the same point differential as the 7-3 Dolphins and Titans. They just happen to be 1-6 in one score games.
Up next: vs. Baltimore, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT
- Green Bay Packers (4-7)
Last Week – 18th
With games against the Eagles, Dolphins, and Vikings to come, there’s a world where the Packers are drafting in the top-10 of the 2023 NFL draft. It hopefully will allow them to get young and press restart on their team, but will Aaron Rodgers be there?
With four years left on his contract you would think so, but with the rumblings of retirement for years and a less than ideal season, I wouldn’t count it out. It would leave the Packers in hell, hauling in $99.7 million in dead cap.
Up next: at Philadelphia, Monday 1:20 a.m. GMT
- Atlanta Falcons (5-6)
Last Week – 26th
Cordarrelle Patterson, who scored his ninth career kickoff return touchdown Sunday against the Bears and the tough offensive line are saving the Falcons right now. This team ranks sixth in EPA per rush and focuses heavily on it. However how the run game is going will determine how they do, and they’ll be tested this week against Washington’s strong run defence. Maybe Kyle Pitts and Drake London will get more of an opportunity this week.
Up next: at Washington, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT
- Arizona Cardinals (4-7)
Last Week – 19th
That was an ugly loss in Mexico Monday night, and showed where this team is really at. San Francisco is a serious team and if Arizona wanted to make a late push for the play-offs, then being semi-competitive would have been a start. Instead they suffered a one-sided defeat and that win they got two weeks ago against the Rams, feels like one step forwards and two steps back now.
Up next: vs. Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT
- Cleveland Browns (3-7)
Last Week – 21st
When the Browns traded the world to acquire Deshaun Watson it kind of felt like this was going to be the most realistic scenario. Knowing he would miss three months of the season without a backup plan felt foolish and they are paying the price. To be fair, the offence has been the better of the two units, but with such a poor defence this season kind of feels like a gap year for Cleveland.
Up next: vs. Tampa Bay, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT
- Indianapolis Colts (4-6-1)
Last Week – 29th
Over the last two weeks since Matt Ryan has taken the reins back on the offence, the Colts passing attack ranks 19th in EPA per dropback over that span. It does beg the question to what was going on in that building at the start of the season?
In Frank Reich’s first year he looked like the real deal and it seemed he would be a head coach for a long time. But this season Indy’s offence ranked 32nd in the majority of metrics under his spell. At the time we assumed that Ryan had clearly ran out of steam in the tank, but since Jeff Saturday took interim head coach duties he’s got him looking five years younger again.
Up next: vs. Pittsburgh, Tuesday 1:15 a.m. GMT
- New Orleans Saints (4-6)
Last Week – 30th
The Saints feel like a yo-yo at the minute with their performances sending them up and down our rankings. Andy Dalton has surprisingly not looked too bad in a weak offence, ranking 10th in EPA per dropback after 11 weeks.
But Chris Olave is the real star of this offence. His 760 receiving yards on 51 catches are 10th among all players and best among rookies. Micheal Thomas, Drew Brees and Sean Payton feel like a distant memory for Saints fans and it feels they’ve replaced at least one of those.
Up next: at San Francisco, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT
- Chicago Bears (3-8)
Last Week – 23rd
Chicago feels like they’re having a bit of a personality crisis right now. Realistically their first year in the rebuild is going well, with three wins and being competitive in many more. But they got to figure out what their identity is on offence.
Justin Fields when using his legs looks special, like elite special. There’s a reason why he ranks fifth in rushing yards from the quarterback position, but he is still so limited as a passer. When the Bears play the kind of offence they want to with Field’s legs, they look like a top offence.
But in the last two games with the offence on the field needing to score in the dying minutes, they kept going to Field’s arm. That’s only normal to do so with a quarterback, but this passing scheme is clearly not working so trust what you have with the run game.
Up next: at New York Jets, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT
- Pittsburgh Steelers (3-7)
Last Week – 27th
TJ Watt has returned to this defence, but it feels to have lit a spark among the entire team. The offence has shown a sign of new life in his return, scoring a season-high 30 points in the loss to Cincinnati. Their two best performances of the season by EPA per drive have come over the past two weeks, as it feels they’ve figured some things out with this offence.
Up next: at Indianapolis, Tuesday 1:15 a.m. GMT
- Las Vegas Raiders (3-7)
Last Week – 31st
The Raiders’ defence held an opponent under 20 points for the first time all season in Sunday’s overtime win in Denver. Even against an awful Broncos offence it feels like a stepping stone for this defence which has let Vegas down this year. Maxx Crosby showed us he never went away by winning Defensive Player of Week 11 in Smashmouthing Football’s award, but he’s never been the problem. Vegas has the star players you need but the lack of play-makers elsewhere has hampered them out of the playoff race already.
Up next: at Seattle, Sunday 9:05 p.m. GMT
- Denver Broncos (3-8)
Last Week – 24th
Losing to the Raiders at home on Sunday all but secured the Broncos’ position as the league’s most disappointing team in 2022. In their pursuit of Aaron Rodgers, they ended up with Nathaniel Hackett and Russell Wilson. One of which looks broken and the other lost. I’ll leave you to decide which ones which.
The path forward will be a rocky one after swinging and missing so badly, but something will have to change. For the next few weeks, look for Hackett’s seat to get even hotter if the Broncos don’t start showing offensive improvement late on.
Up next: at Carolina, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT
- Carolina Panthers (3-8)
Last Week – 28th
So as bad as Carolina has been this year, their defence has remained promising. They have youngsters on all levels of the D and just held Lamar Jackson and company to their season low 13 points. The head coach in waiting will have a much more attractive job than it seemed a month ago, with a QB from their draft pick in May maybe making this team relevant again.
Up next: vs. Denver, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT
- Los Angeles Rams (3-7)
Last Week – 25th
Yikes, who would have seen this coming? Poor play from every position on offence led to a disappointing start but after years of good injury luck, it seems to have hit them all at once. First we had offensive linemen, then Cooper Kupp required surgery. But now their Super Bowl winning QB Matthew Stafford left Sunday’s loss to be evaluated for a concussion one week after missing a game for being in the concussion protocol.
Up next: at Kansas City, Sunday 9:25 p.m. GMT
- Houston Texans (1-8-1)
Last Week – 32nd
The Texans are a game and a half clear of the teams with the next-fewest wins, and they don’t exactly look on the verge of making up that difference any time soon. It’s never too early to start talking about the draft, so allow me to greet you with some names the Texans will be choosing between.
First, out of Alabama QB Bryce Young looks like the top prospect with fellow five star recruit, QB CJ Stroud (Ohio State) just below. But if Houston feels like skipping that position again, then look no further to Young’s teammate, EDGE Will Anderson, who looks like a young Khalil Mack.
Up next: at Miami, Sunday 6 p.m. GMT