NFL Power Rankings: Reviewing Week 13 Standings After Sunday's Action

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 28, 2016

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 24: Matt Prater #5 of the Detroit Lions celebrates with his teammates after kicking the game winning field goal during the annual Thanksgiving day game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field on November 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit defeated Minnesota 16-13.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

With every NFL team in action in Week 12, there was a lot of opportunity for movement in the standings and power rankings.

Several squads took advantage of favorable matchups this week, earning key wins toward their playoff pushes. Others will look back at this week as a missed opportunity and could be headed toward a tough end of the season.

There is still time to turn things around, but here is a look at the latest power rankings through Sunday's Week 12 action.      

Post-Week 12 NFL Power Rankings
RankTeamRecordWeek 12 Result
1Dallas Cowboys10-1Win vs. Redskins
2New England Patriots9-2Win vs. Jets
3Oakland Raiders9-2Win vs. Panthers
4Kansas City Chiefs8-3Win vs. Broncos
5Detroit Lions7-4Win vs. Vikings
6Denver Broncos7-4Loss vs. Chiefs
7Seattle Seahawks7-3-1Loss vs. Buccaneers
8New York Giants8-3Win vs. Browns
9Atlanta Falcons7-4Win vs. Cardinals
10Miami Dolphins7-4Win vs. 49ers
11Washington Redskins6-4-1Loss vs. Cowboys
12Tampa Bay Buccaneers6-5Win vs. Seahawks
13Baltimore Ravens6-5Win vs. Bengals
14Pittsburgh Steelers6-5Win vs. Colts
15Minnesota Vikings6-5Loss vs. Lions
16Buffalo Bills6-5Win vs. Jaguars
17Tennessee Titans6-6Win vs. Bears
18New Orleans Saints5-6Win vs. Rams
19Philadelphia Eagles5-5Will play Monday vs. Packers
20San Diego Chargers5-6Win vs. Texans
21Indianapolis Colts5-6Loss vs. Steelers
22Houston Texans6-5Loss vs. Chargers
23Green Bay Packers4-6Will play Monday vs. Eagles
24Carolina Panthers4-7Loss vs. Raiders
25Arizona Cardinals4-6-1Loss vs. Falcons
26Cincinnati Bengals3-7-1Loss vs. Ravens
27Los Angeles Rams4-7Loss vs. Saints
28New York Jets3-8Loss vs. Patriots
29Jacksonville Jaguars2-9Loss vs. Bills
30Chicago Bears2-9Loss vs. Titans
31San Francisco 49ers1-10Loss vs. Dolphins
32Cleveland Browns0-12Loss vs. Giants

      

Notable Movers

Detroit Lions

It doesn't matter how you win, just that you win.

No team has learned this more than the Detroit Lions this season. They have trailed in the fourth quarter in all 11 games this year but have somehow found a way to produce a 7-4 record.

Few of those wins were more important than the one on Thanksgiving Day, when two field goals in the final two minutes helped tie and eventually beat the Minnesota Vikings 16-13. All of a sudden, the squad is alone in first place in the NFC North.

Head coach Jim Caldwell explained the team's ability to keep coming from behind, per Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com:

Our group plays loose and aggressive. That's kind of how we try to keep it. You can't play a ballgame uptight. They don't get uptight, even at the end of ballgames. In tough situations that are fairly tough for the most part and can be a little bit uncomfortable, it does not bother them.

They've been in it. They find a way. They believe in one another, and they keep trying to find a way to win.

The latest victory came thanks to a Sam Bradford interception deep in his own territory, which led to the game-winning Matt Prater field goal. However, all of these comebacks show it can't be a fluke.

Detroit doesn't run the ball consistently and has question marks in the defensive secondary, but this is starting to look like a playoff team on both sides of the football. With quarterback Matthew Stafford playing as efficiently as he has in his career, the Lions are extremely dangerous going forward.

                   

Houston Texans

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 27:  Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans throws off balance in the second quarter against the San Diego Chargers at NRG Stadium on November 27, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Every time it seems like the Houston Texans are ready to take a step forward, they take a large step back.

Houston entered the week in first place in the AFC South, coming off a hard-fought loss against the Oakland Raiders. A home game against the inconsistent San Diego Chargers would be a way to take control of the division and prove that they are a real contender in the conference.

That didn't happen as quarterback Brock Osweiler struggled once again with zero touchdowns and three interceptions.

Michael Fabiano of NFL.com summed up the day for the signal-caller:

The Texans weren't much better defensively as Philip Rivers passed for 242 yards and three touchdowns. While they remain in first place in the division, the 6-3 start is a distant memory, and there is legitimate competition in the AFC South.

Between the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts, Houston will need to scratch and claw to remain on top of the standings. Based on the way the team played Sunday, this is a hard group to bet on.

              

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 27: Bradley McDougald #30 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates after an interception against the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth quarter of the game at Raymond James Stadium on November 27, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers defe
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

After a 3-5 start to the year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are inexplicably in playoff contention.

The defense has been the key over the current three-game winning streak, allowing just 32 total points in the last three games combined. The unit came through with its best performance Sunday, holding Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks to just three offensive points in a 14-5 victory.

Seattle ended the game with 245 total yards of offense, three turnovers and was 1-of-11 on third-down conversion attempts.

Meanwhile, Jameis Winston continues to perform at a high level, completing 68 of 100 passes (68 percent) during the winning streak with an average of 287.7 passing yards per game.

With a healthy Doug Martin in the backfield and everyone playing to expectations, this team is surprisingly in contention in the NFC South and the wild-card race. This wasn't expected a month ago, but it would be a mistake to count the Buccaneers out now.

            

Carolina Panthers

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers looks to pass against the Oakland Raiders during their NFL game on November 27, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

There is no question the Carolina Panthers are talented. This team went 15-1 a year ago with many of the same players, including elite quarterback Cam Newton.

Unfortunately, many of the bounces that were going their way in 2015 have gone against them in 2016.

ESPN Stats & Info noted how close many of the losses have been:

It all counts the same in the standings, but this is a depressing sight for a team that sits at 4-7.

The latest loss featured a comeback from a 24-7 halftime deficit only to lose the game on a field goal in the final minutes. Newton made some of his best throws of the season, but there were still enough mistakes on both sides of the ball to come away with yet another loss.

While Carolina isn't eliminated from the playoffs, the team will likely need to win out to even have a chance. This isn't a great situation for the defending NFC champions.

           

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