NFL Power Rankings Week 12: League Hierarchy in Aftermath of Sunday's Action

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistNovember 18, 2013

Nov 17, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) in the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Spor

Another week in the books, and we're no closer to nailing down the perfect set of power rankings.

Just when it looked like the top and bottom of the rankings were solidified, things got hectic in Week 11. Kansas City was knocked off its undefeated perch, and a new challenger arrived in the bottom of the league to spar with Jacksonville.

That goes without mentioning the great revolt in the middle rankings, which are as unpredictable as ever.

But enough talk. With Sunday's action in the books, here's how the Week 12 edition of power rankings looks. Enjoy.

1. Denver Broncos (9-1)

Peyton Manning and Denver finally reclaimed the top spot and put the league on notice with a win over undefeated Kansas City.

Manning had little issue moving the ball up and down the field against a vaunted Chiefs defense. He ended the game with over 300 yards and a score in the 27-17 victory.

Outside of a six-point loss to Indianapolis in Week 7, the Broncos have mostly cruised this year and appear primed for a Super Bowl berth. It's hard to imagine any team shutting down the league's best passing attack.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (9-1)

Doubters, rejoice—the Kansas City Chiefs lost to a legitimate opponent Sunday. Denver took control early, and the Chiefs never managed to match. 

It's hard to discredit nine wins in a row, but the Chiefs put together a snooze fest on national television and did next to nothing to silence critics.

Kansas City is a sound team, and it gets another shot at the Broncos in the coming weeks, but one has to wonder if the offense is enough to make noise in the postseason.

3. New Orleans Saints (8-2)

The New Orleans Saints continue to be Super Bowl contenders.

Not only is the offense impressive, but Rob Ryan's defense also continues to excel against the pass.

Perhaps most impressive in Week 11 was not the fact that the defense shut down the San Francisco passing attack but that the unit held one of the NFL's best rushing attacks to 81 yards.

Again—the Saints are a scary good team.

4. Seattle Seahawks (10-1)

The Seattle Seahawks have rattled off six straight wins.

Nitpickers could point to the near loss to Tampa Bay in Week 9 or the five-point victory over St. Louis in Week 8, but the fact remains that the Seahawks are contenders and take care of business each week.

Business was good in Week 11 when Minnesota came to town. Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks bullied the Vikings into submission early and piled on late.

5. New England Patriots (7-2)

The New England Patriots had a bye in Week 10, which they surely used to prep for the elite defense Carolina brings to the table.

Tom Brady and the Patriots are two weeks removed from 55 points and over 600 yards against Pittsburgh.

Things won't come as easy against Carolina on Monday Night Football. The prime-time duel will tell us much about two supposed contenders this season.

6. Carolina Panthers (6-3)

Speak of the devil.

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers have won five straight. Their last win was an impressive road victory over San Francisco, as the elite defense that allows just 12.8 points per game held the 49ers to nine.

Not many can score efficiently on the Panthers this season. Tom Brady will get his shot on Monday Night Football in what, on paper, should be one of the best games of the season.

7. Detroit Lions (6-4)

Detroit could absolutely not afford a loss in Week 11.

After all, the week prior saw Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and the Lions get a big win over NFC North rival Chicago.

Alas, Stafford and his many weapons blew it by 10 points against Pittsburgh and have lost footing in the division. Things get better next week with a game against lowly Tampa Bay.

8. Indianapolis Colts (7-3)

Another week, another classic example of the Indianapolis Colts playing down to the competition.

The Colts took the field on Thursday Night Football and almost laid an egg against Tennessee. We mean the Titans, a team without its starting quarterback.

Indianapolis managed to escape by a field goal, but the Colts need to start acting like a contenders.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)

It takes an extremely resilient team to bounce back from two straight overtime losses. A young Cincinnati roster did just that on Sunday with a major win over Cleveland. 

Andy Dalton was once again a dud in the worst three-touchdown performance fans may ever see. He also threw two interceptions (one that went back for a score) and had just 93 yards.

Alas, the Bengals defense continues to excel, and the team still sits alone atop the AFC North.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (6-5)

The Philadelphia Eagles are legit.

Nick Foles is the primary reason. The Eagles defense is still atrocious, but Foles and the offense have little trouble compensating each week.

It appears the Eagles will run away with the NFC East and certainly have enough firepower to make some noise in the postseason.

11. San Francisco 49ers (6-4)

The same issues continue to plague the San Francisco 49ers.

Colin Kaepernick once again had a tough time getting anything going. This time, he was asked to keep up with Drew Brees and New Orleans, which simply was not going to happen.

This year, San Francisco has feasted on easy portions of the schedule and faltered in the face of contenders. Not a good sign come playoff time.

12. Chicago Bears (6-4)

It's easy to pick out the good teams in the NFL. 

Chicago is one of them, and it remains competitive despite the absence of quarterback Jay Cutler

The Bears continue to stay relevant thanks to the new offense in place courtesy of coach Marc Trestman. Josh McCown's play continues to raise a simple question: Is Cutler worth the money moving forward?

Either way, the Bears are on a serious playoff hunt.

13. Green Bay Packers (5-5)

The Green Bay Packers continue to disappoint without Aaron Rodgers under center.

This time, Scott Tolzien took the ball from under center in an attempt to keep playoff hopes alive. He threw for 339 yards but also added three interceptions.

Eddie Lacy could not find any room to operate without Rodgers and ran for just 27 yards on 14 carries.

Rodgers cannot return soon enough.

14. Miami Dolphins (5-5)

At this point, a .500 record for the Dolphins is a great mark.

Issues abound in Miami. Most pressing is the woeful state of the offensive line. Ryan Tannehill is consistently on his back—it's hard to make plays from that position.

Still, Miami got a tough win at home over San Diego and continues to show fight. Credit where it's due.

15. Cleveland Browns (4-6)

Pump the brakes on the playoff whispers in Cleveland.

The Browns went back to being the Browns in Week 11. They had two punts blocked, or at least deflected, and scored just 20 points in a loss to Cincinnati.

Cleveland was thoroughly abused in all facets of the game. So much for sweeping the Battle of Ohio this season.

16. New York Jets (5-5)

No team in the NFL has been harder to predict than the New York Jets.

Well, unless fans expected them to lose every other game this season—which they have. Or is it win every other game? Dealer's choice.

Regardless, rookie Geno Smith was benched in Week 11. That's about all that needs said.

17. Dallas Cowboys (5-5)

Dallas remained in a holding pattern in Week 11 courtesy of a bye.

It could not have come at a better time.

The Cowboys have a porous defense (surprise) that gave up an NFL-record 40 first downs two weeks ago to New Orleans. Dallas lost that one 49-17. Here's hoping the team used its extra downtime to find answers defensively.

18. Buffalo Bills (4-7)

Just when the world was ready to write off the Bills after a three-game skid, they went ahead and totally redeemed themselves.

Week 11 was a dominant showing for Buffalofew and far between at this point.

Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel finally looked comfortable on the field again as the Bills took down the Jets with ease. Not something to go nuts over, but it's a win.

19. San Diego Chargers (4-6)

There was a point at which it looked like the San Diego Chargers had a serious shot at a playoff spot.

Now? Forget it.

San Diego is on a three-game losing streak. Sunday, the Chargers failed to go on the road and take care of business against a reeling Miami team.

The Chargers put up over 430 yards of total offense but could only muster 16 points. Yikes.

20. St. Louis Rams (4-6)

There is no better way to halt a three-game skid than to beat up on a contender.

The reeling Rams did just that in Week 10 with a 38-8 victory over Indianapolis.

Week 11 was a bye for the Rams. With Kellen Clemens under center, don't expect this rank to change much in the coming weeks despite the impressive win.

21. New York Giants (4-6)

This was entirely too predictable.

It's what the New York Giants do—start off sluggish before going on a run to make the postseason.

The Giants have now won four straight after a victory over the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers. Eli Manning continues to dabble in mediocrity, but with a favorable schedule over the next few weeks, that doesn't matter.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-6)

The Pittsburgh Steelers are alive and well.

Ben Roethlisberger continues to take entirely too many hits, but the Steelers have now won two straight.

Week 11 saw a 10-point victory over Detroit. The Pittsburgh defense came up big, as did Roethlisberger. Expect the Steelers to continue their rise up the ranks, but don't look for them in the postseason.

23. Arizona Cardinals (6-4)

Arizona has quietly been playing some great football as of late.

Winners of three straight, the Cardinals most recently took care of business against lowly Jacksonville in Week 11.

The Cardinals continue to have an elite rush defense and do just enough offensively to win games. Week 12 against Indianapolis will tell us whether we should take them seriously.

24. Baltimore Ravens (4-6)

The Baltimore Ravens don't make a lot of sense.

Joe Flacco and the Ravens are two weeks removed from knocking off a contender in Cincinnati but followed it up with a loss to Chicago (also a contender that owns a win over the Bengals, but without its quarterback).

The only silver lining here is that Ray Rice seemed to wake up and rushed for over 100 yards. Other than that, things don't look so hot for the defending champs.

25. Oakland Raiders (4-6)

The Oakland Raiders go without Terrelle Pryor, and good things happen.

Matt McGloin took over under center in Week 11. The result? 197 yards and three touchdowns—and a 28-23 victory for the hapless Raiders. 

It's way too early to call McGloin the answer, but the Raiders continue to play their way out of an elite quarterback prospect via wins.

26. Tennessee Titans (4-6)

Nov 14, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (4) scrambles against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Stick a fork in the Tennessee Titans.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is the man under center the rest of the way. Tennessee lost to then-winless Jacksonville two weeks ago.

The team showed some fight against Indianapolis on Thursday Night Football, but the season is all but over. Time to just go through the motions. 

27. Minnesota Vikings (2-8)

It was nice to see Minnesota break a four-game skid two weeks ago.

Adrian Peterson deserves that much.

But it was back to the typical in Week 11 when the Vikings lost 41-20 in Seattle. Peterson was held in check, but it's hard to fault him when Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel combine for three interceptions.

It's hard to imagine the Vikings will stay competitive the rest of the way.

28. Houston Texans (2-8)


The Houston Texans continue to remain competitive in each game. One problem: They don't actually win many.

Houston has now lost eight in a row. The last four have been by a total of 12 points. Even worse, the coaching staff clearly has no idea what it's doing—young quarterback Case Keenum struggled in Week 11, so the staff's response was to bench him. 

Somebody is getting fired in the offseason, and it's not Keenum.

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8)

Don't look now, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on a roll.

Go figure—Greg Schiano may do just enough to keep his job despite the circus he's created.

The Buccaneers upset Miami two weeks ago, but Week 11 was especially impressive, as the Buccaneers destroyed Atlanta. Just don't expect the Buccaneers to put up over 40 each week.

30. Washington Redskins (3-7) 

I sound like a broken record, but Robert Griffin III cannot do it all on his own.

The Washington defense continues to be an absolute mess. RGIII continues to play better as the season wears on, but he simply does not have enough to compensate.

The Redskins have lost two straight. Expect more with the season lost.

31. Atlanta Falcons (2-8)

Nov 17, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) reacts as he walks off the field when its fourth down against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Atlanta Falco
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Well, look at that—Jacksonville has a new friend at the bottom.

The way Atlanta has played this year is 100 percent inexcusable—injuries or not.

Matt Ryan continues to look like Carson Palmer, and he threw a pair of touchdowns and interceptions in a 41-28 loss to Tampa Bay.

Atlanta does nothing in particular very well, which shows in its record. The Falcons have now lost four straight and are flirting with falling to the last spot in the rankings.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9)

The only thing preventing Atlanta from residing in this spot is the NFL's only one-win team.

Jacksonville fell back to Earth in Week 11 after its first win of the season the week prior. The Jaguars showed promise in the early going, but they ended up falling 27-14 to Arizona on Sunday.

Business as usual for the Jaguars, a franchise set on finding a franchise quarterback soon.


    Brett Favre Looking to End Youth Tackle Football

    NFL logo

    Brett Favre Looking to End Youth Tackle Football

    Green Bay Packers
    via Green Bay Packers

    Players Under the Most Pressure at Minicamp

    NFL logo

    Players Under the Most Pressure at Minicamp

    Maurice Moton
    via Bleacher Report

    Does the NFL Have a Referee Problem?

    NFL logo

    Does the NFL Have a Referee Problem?

    Mike Florio
    via ProFootballTalk

    Report: NFL to Ban Winston 3 Games

    NFL logo

    Report: NFL to Ban Winston 3 Games

    Alec Nathan
    via Bleacher Report