As we wrap up the month of November, the NFL playoff picture is starting to take shape in both conferences.
In the AFC, the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders each won this week, hanging on to the top two seeds in the playoff picture at 9-2 overall. Only the Kansas City Chiefs, at 8-3, appear to be a serious threat to potentially steal one of those spots atop the conference.
In the NFC, the Dallas Cowboys' win on Thanksgiving pushed them closer to clinching the top seed in the conference. But the No. 2 spot remains up for grabs among a large group of contenders. In fact, the NFC has two teams over .500 that are on the outside looking in at the playoff picture.
Based on all of this week's action, here's a look at the latest power rankings heading into Week 13, followed by a breakdown of a few notable teams.
|NFL Power Rankings|
|2||New England Patriots||9-2|
|4||Kansas City Chiefs||8-3|
|8||New York Giants||8-3|
|10||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6-5|
|17||Green Bay Packers||5-6|
|21||San Diego Chargers||5-6|
|24||New Orleans Saints||5-6|
|27||Los Angeles Rams||4-7|
|28||New York Jets||3-8|
|31||San Francisco 49ers||1-10|
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After a 1-3 start to the season, it looked like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were headed toward another year of rebuilding. But after three straight victories, including wins over the Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks, the Bucs are very much alive in the NFC playoff race.
The most shocking development in recent weeks has been the Buccaneers' improved performance on defense. The same team that already allowed two 40-point outbursts and allowed 37 points to the inept Los Angeles Rams offense managed to hold the Chiefs and Seahawks to a combined 22 points over the last two weeks.
On Sunday, Tampa Bay's defense held Seattle to just 245 yards of total offense—the worst regular-season offensive performance by the Seahawks since Week 6 in 2014.
If this version of the Buccaneers defense continues to hold form down the stretch, Tampa Bay needs to be considered a serious threat in the NFC.
The Bucs now sit at 6-5 with two winnable games ahead against the San Diego Chargers and New Orleans Saints. If the Bucs can extend their win streak in those games, they would be 8-5 heading into an important showdown versus the Cowboys in Week 15.
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers finally got back on the winning path on Monday night, snapping a four-game losing streak by upending the Philadelphia Eagles 27-13. It had been Aaron Rodgers' longest losing streak as the starting quarterback since the 2008 season.
The victory was also the Packers' first road win since they took the season opener in Jacksonville.
It was certainly a must-win situation for the Packers, but even with the victory it's probably too little, too late. Four of the Packers' final five games are against teams with winning records, including the final two matchups of the year against the division-rival Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions.
If the Packers are going to make a late push for the playoffs, they'll need to build upon their defensive performance from Monday night.
Green Bay's defense held the Eagles to just 292 total yards. During their four-game losing streak, the Packers were allowing an average of 420.8 yards per game.
The Eagles' red-hot 3-0 start feels like an awfully long time ago.
Since Carson Wentz led his team to that impressive start, the Eagles are just 2-6 and have been one of the worst offensive teams in the league during that stretch.
Including Monday night's loss to the Packers, the Eagles have been held under 300 total yards of offense four times this season. On the season, the Eagles offense is now averaging just 336 yards per game, dropping it into the bottom third of the league in that category.
Realistically, this should have been expected. Wentz's scorching-hot September performance just wasn't sustainable for a rookie.
Despite a 5-6 record and technically being within reach of the playoffs, the Eagles' recent performance makes it difficult to view them as a contender. But when looking at this season as a whole, Eagles fans should feel excited about their future with Wentz at the helm.
While the Eagles offense was inconsistent against Green Bay, Wentz still managed to generate a total quarterback rating of 67.1, according to ESPN.com. It was his best performance since the Eagles' Week 3 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, indicating that he is continuing to make progress even if the end results are still leaving the team falling short on the scoreboard.