NFL Power Rankings: Where Does Every Team Stand Heading into Week 12?

Chris Simms@@CSimmsQBNFL Lead AnalystNovember 20, 2017

NFL Power Rankings: Where Does Every Team Stand Heading into Week 12?

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    Bleacher Report/Getty Images

    As we dive further into the second half of the 2017 NFL season, the top teams are beginning to establish themselves. When I watch them, I'm reminded of something I learned from my dad way back when I was a kid on the sidelines.

    My father learned this from Bill Parcells, and I remember hearing him say it 15 years ago. I heard the same kind of thing during my time working for the New England Patriots. It goes like this: Fast teams get slower as the year goes on; big teams don't get smaller.

    All of the best teams this season—like the Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers—have one thing in common. They have size. They have size in the trenches, and they have big, physical linebackers.

    Having a fast defense or an athletic offensive line has its advantages. Late in the season when the weather turns bad—or, more importantly, in the postseason—these advantages can shrink. The advantage of size stays. It allows teams to beat you up in the run game, control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and hammer down on opposing ball-carriers. This is how the best teams impose their will on the opposition.

    As we head into Week 12, here's how I view all 32 teams.

32. Cleveland Browns

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    Last Week's Ranking: 32

    I have to give the Cleveland Browns a lot of credit. They come out and play physical, tough football, especially on defense. Ultimately, though, there aren't enough offensive weapons, and they have way-below-average quarterback play.

    There has been nothing encouraging from DeShone Kizer this year, and the Browns are still going to be in find-a-quarterback mode in the offseason.

    The Browns had chances against the Jaguars, and they hung around. Turnovers by Kizer—two interceptions and two fumbles—destroyed their hopes in the end. A fumble by Jabrill Peppers on a punt return also hurt Cleveland.

    You're not going to win with five turnovers when you're not that talented anyway.

31. New York Giants

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    Last Week's Ranking: 31

    Give the New York Giants credit. With all the turmoil the team has gone through and after laying an egg against the San Francisco 49ers, New York came out and got a win.

    Eli Manning played well against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Giants ran the ball with authority. We saw something out of the defense that we'd been expecting all year.

    Against the Chiefs, the Giants defense created some of that magic we saw last year. It forced some turnovers and held Kansas City to a mere nine points.

    The Giants still aren't good, but they can be a hassle for opponents when the defense plays up to its talent level.

30. San Francisco 49ers

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Last Week's Ranking: 30

    I'm interested to see what the 49ers do coming out of the bye week. Will they pull the trigger and start Jimmy Garoppolo against the Seattle Seahawks this week?

    If it were me, this is the week I'd insert Garoppolo. The Seattle defense is banged up, and it isn't nearly as strong as its reputation. The other benefit for Garoppolo would be that the Seahawks only play a couple of different coverages. It's not like he would have to overthink at the line of scrimmage.

    The 49ers are not a good team, but they can be dangerous. Kyle Shanahan can dial up some big plays in the pass game, and the rushing attack with Carlos Hyde is legit.

29. Indianapolis Colts

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    AJ Mast/Associated Press

    Last Week's Ranking: 29

    The Indianapolis Colts aren't going to die quietly against any opponent this year. They're continuing to fight, even in what has become a lost season.

    Jacoby Brissett and T.Y. Hilton are capable of creating big plays in the pass game. The problem is that the defense, though it plays hard, doesn't have enough talent on the back end to consistently shut down opposing quarterbacks. This leaves the team too often asking its young quarterback to win shootouts.

    Opponents cannot expect the Colts to just roll over down the stretch, but plain and simple, this is one of the least talented teams in football.

28. Denver Broncos

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Last Week's Ranking: 24

    It's time for the Denver Broncos to start the Paxton Lynch era.

    It's been the same story for the Broncos all year. They controlled the game against the Cincinnati Bengals but screwed themselves with turnovers. You can't throw an interception when going in for a score and not expect it to cost you. You can't fumble the ball in the fourth quarter in a one-score game.

    The Broncos keep shooting themselves in the foot with stupid mistakes.

    Even if Denver gets into the postseason by some miracle, the Broncos are not going anywhere. They need to find out who their quarterback is long term, and they need to play Lynch down the stretch.

27. Arizona Cardinals

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Last Week's Ranking: 23

    If I were an Arizona Cardinals fan, I would be encouraged by what I saw from quarterback Blaine Gabbert. He has physical ability, and he did something that isn't easy. He went out on the field over halfway through the season and made his first start. He'll give the Cardinals a chance to win some games down the stretch if Arizona sticks with him.

    The defense created some big plays early against the Houston Texans, and we know it's capable of doing that. The problem is the defense cannot consistently stop anybody. I expected more from this Cardinals defense this season.

    It can't get off the field on third downs, and it struggles to make big stops. As the game against Houston went one, Arizona got torn up in both the run and pass game.

    The Cardinals can still be competitive, but they have zero chance of making the playoffs in the NFC.

26. Buffalo Bills

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    Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 16

    The Buffalo Bills' embarrassing loss proves there's karma in the world. Head coach Sean McDermott watched his defense get steamrolled a week ago, so he decides to bench his quarterback. That makes sense. That decision didn't quite work out.

    Listen, Nathan Peterman is young, and he still may have some great games ahead of him. However, he was a mess against the Los Angeles Chargers, throwing five picks in one half of work. The first pick wasn't really Peterman's fault, but the young signal-caller collapsed after that.

    It's impossible to overcome five interceptions in the first half. This game was over halfway through the second quarter.

    The Bills don't have much elite talent on their roster. They also might not have their franchise quarterback. Whether or not you believe Tyrod Taylor is the future, he was the best quarterback for this season. This wasn't the right time to make a quarterback change.

    If the Bills go back to Peterman, they'll be admitting they're giving up on the season. That isn't the right message for the players who have performed well. If they don't, the Bills can stay in the playoff mix because of their strong start to the season. I just don't see them getting in.

25. Chicago Bears

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 26

    I hope the Chicago Bears don't abandon the ship on coordinators Vic Fangio and Dowell Loggains after the season. Their units are making progress because general manager Ryan Pace has built the roster from the inside out.

    The Bears can beat you up in the trenches on both sides of the ball. The problem is that Chicago has no receivers who will scare a defense. The Bears don't have a No. 1 or even a No. 2 wideout on their roster.

    They also have no cornerbacks who can play man-to-man at a high level. That's a problem against top-tier passing attacks, like the one the Bears faced against the Detroit Lions.

    Chicago is a pain in the ass for most teams and is capable of pulling the upset every week. The Bears aren't going to win with any consistency, though, because there are no elite players at the skill positions.

    I like what I've seen from Mitchell Trubisky, and the defensive front seven is special. However, it's the future you need to worry about if you're a Bears fan.

24. Green Bay Packers

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    Mike Roemer/Associated Press

    Last Week's Ranking: 20

    The early interception by Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Hundley was huge. The Packers drove down the field, but Hundley threw a pick in the red zone. He misread the coverage and released the ball before he even read the defense and saw the coverage.

    That was a mistake that prevented the Packers from playing with an early lead. It's also a mistake that Aaron Rodgers would never have made.

    As I've been saying since I first joined Bleacher Report, Green Bay is not a good team. Rodgers has consistently taken a team with 6-10, 5-11 talent and fooled everyone into thinking it is a Super Bowl contender. We're now seeing how bad the Packers are without him.

    The offense isn't creative. The defense is average at best. The Packers play tough, but they don't do anything special. I have a hard time believing they're going to be able to string together wins.

23. New York Jets

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    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    Last Week's Ranking: 22

    The New York Jets have a tough schedule down the stretch. That's probably going to be enough to keep New York from reaching the postseason, even though this is a competitive team.

    The Jets do a lot of creative things in the passing game. New York is capable of having a terrific run game with the proper matchups, and the defense is capable of making big plays and creating chaos up front. Ultimately, though, this isn't a team with enough overall talent to overcome that brutal schedule.

    There isn't enough offensive firepower for the Jets to win close games against elite opponents, and while the defense is quite good, it isn't going to win games by itself.

22. Miami Dolphins

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    Last Week's Ranking: 21

    I wonder if this will be the end of us seeing Jay Cutler with the Miami Dolphins. Two of Cutler's three interceptions might not have been his fault, but Matt Moore played much better in relief and got Miami back into the game.

    Cutler left the game with a concussion.

    The Dolphins are a good all-around team, but they're nothing special. They can stay in the hunt for the AFC's sixth seed, but they're not going to make any kind of run if they get to the postseason.

    Miami has talent on both sides of the ball, but the Dolphins don't have enough firepower to overcome multiple turnovers. Miami is going to be relevant down to the end of the season because of the AFC's wild-card picture, and it may well pull a couple of big upsets down the stretch.

    However, the Dolphins aren't a legitimate threat.

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Mark Brown/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 28

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were fortunate to run into a mistake-prone Dolphins team in Week 11. The win doesn't make me feel any better about Tampa moving forward.

    Yes, the defense finally forced some turnovers. The best player on that defense, Kwon Alexander, had a great pick. However, you could argue the other two interceptions were the result of Miami mistakes and weren't created by the Tampa defense.

    The pass game can be dangerous with all of the weapons the Buccaneers put out there, but we don't see consistency.

    I'll give the Buccaneers credit for winning and for playing hard against the Dolphins. Plain and simple, though, Tampa Bay is nothing more than a middle-of-the-pack NFC team. There is nothing elite about it.

20. Oakland Raiders

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    Buda Mendes/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 18

    The Oakland Raiders got themselves a butt-whupping from the New England Patriots. That's what I expected, though, because the Patriots are chewing up teams like a buzzsaw right now.

    The Raiders defense isn't good, but it hasn't been good the last couple of years. That's not a surprise. The disappointment with this team comes on offense. That's where the money is being spent, and that's where the letdowns have occurred.

    Oakland is underperforming at the receiver position, along the offensive line, in the run game and at quarterback. Derek Carr isn't making the kind of game-saving plays we saw a year ago—let's not forget how often he delivered last-minute wins in 2016.

    It's hard to believe the Raiders can stay in this, even though they're still only a game out of the playoff picture. There is nothing elite about this team, and I've seen nothing to make me think Oakland can turn it around.

19. Houston Texans

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    Tim Warner/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 27

    I'm moving the Texans up quite a bit this week because I'm beginning to believe they do still have a shot at the AFC's sixth seed. They cannot be counted out.

    If Tom Savage can take care of the ball a bit better, the Texans can still be dangerous. There are weapons in the pass game, and Houston has a physical rushing attack—though it appears D'Onta Foreman will miss the remainder of the season with an achilles injury. The defense, even without J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus, is capable of making a mess of offensive game plans.

    Jadeveon Clowney is, plain and simple, one of the best players in the NFL. He makes plays that make my jaw drop more frequently than anyone in the league. On a week-to-week basis, he creates total disruption. As long as he's healthy, Houston's defense is still a force.

    Houston can be in the conversation for that sixth seed all year long.

18. Cincinnati Bengals

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Last Week's Ranking 25

    Watch out for the Bengals because they're not out of the playoff hunt quite yet.

    Cincinnati lacks creativity on offense, but they do have weapons like A.J. Green and Joe Mixon. The Bengals also have playoff experience and a battle-tested quarterback in Andy Dalton. They know how to win tough games down the stretch.

    Cincinnati's defense is legit too. It has elite talent on all three levels, and it can keep the Bengals in games when the offense is struggling.

    It's not going to be easy for the Bengals to get into the playoffs, though, because they have a tough finish to their schedule. Every week is going to be vital from here on out.

17. Baltimore Ravens

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    Dylan Buell/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 17

    Of all the teams in the hunt for the AFC's sixth seed, I like the Baltimore Ravens' chances the best. They're physical on both sides of the ball, they've found a running game, and the defense is capable of making plays with its creativity and talent.

    I don't think Baltimore is going to the Super Bowl or even coming close to it by any stretch, but the Ravens can give superior squads a hard time and dominate lesser teams. We saw that against the Packers.

    If I were able to put together the playoffs myself, Baltimore would be my pick for the final postseason spot in the AFC. The Ravens aren't going to catch the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North, but they're not a team the rest of the division should want to play.

16. Washington Redskins

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    Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 14

    This was about as heartbreaking a loss the Washington Redskins could have suffered. They needed a win over the New Orleans Saints to get back into the playoff mix.

    I like a lot of what the Redskins do, both on the field and from the sideline. Jay Gruden's fake-punt call with Washington backed up was a huge play in the game. The Redskins offense is legit and opened up a 15-point lead over the Saints. Washington just couldn't close things out.

    Unfortunately, Chris Thompson's injury (fractured fibula) is going to make that offense a little less dangerous moving forward. The Redskins defense is a quality unit as well. Again, though, it couldn't stop a potent Saints offense when it needed to.

    Washington is a solid football team, but the injuries and losses have mounted to the point where reaching the playoffs is going to be difficult.

15. Los Angeles Chargers

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 19

    Look, the Chargers are closing in on the AFC's sixth seed. I'd argue they have a great chance at earning it.

    The L.A. defense is rolling right now, and it's buying into a Gus Bradley scheme that fits the personnel. Philip Rivers is still a quality quarterback. The Chargers can run the ball with Melvin Gordon, and they have the league's best pass-rushing duo in Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa.

    That pass rush and the entire defense put on a show against the Bills.

    The Chargers can be dangerous down the stretch, and I'd expect them to be in the postseason chase until the final week.

14. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 9

    Hey, I'm not saying it's time for the Chiefs to bench quarterback Alex Smith, but the conversation of possibly getting Patrick Mahomes some reps has to start. You didn't trade all those picks to move up and get Mahomes so he can sit there and look pretty in his coat on the sideline.

    This team is in need of a spark. As I've said all year, the defense isn't that good. The Chiefs are going to have to put up points to win down the stretch. When unorthodox plays like speed-sweeps, screens and shovel passes don't work, Smith has a hard time moving the ball. He is struggling to make big plays in the drop-back passing game, and that's a problem.

    Kansas City has too much firepower to be putting up nine points against the Giants. Starting Mahomes could change the narrative surrounding the Chiefs offense moving forward. He has arm talent that allows him to make throws that Smith isn't willing to throw and isn't physically capable of thinking about attempting.

    Smith has gotten back to being a Check-Down Charlie. He also watches the pass rush too much. Kansas City is in trouble, and I'm interested to see what the Chiefs do from here. Losing in New York was embarrassing.

13. Dallas Cowboys

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 15

    The Dallas Cowboys were sloppy all game long against the Philadelphia Eagles. However, the defense came up big with stops after two turnovers, and Dallas somehow had the lead at halftime. Holding that lead wasn't to be, though.

    The Cowboys find success with their physical power, and it's hard to win that kind of matchup against the Eagles—especially without Tyron Smith and Ezekiel Elliott.

    Not having Elliott is hurting this team because so much is based on the run game. It helps the offense set up bootlegs and play-action. It helps the defense too because it allows the Cowboys to control the clock. The run game was effective against Philadelphia, but the Eagles weren't worried about Alfred Morris beating them.

    Some of the big runs Morris had Sunday night would have been six points for Elliott. Stats don't always do Elliott justice because they don't show how he makes big runs bigger. This game may have gone differently with him.

    Elliott is one of the best players in the NFL. Period. Winning without him is hard. The Cowboys had better not dwell on this too long, tough, because they have a game with the Chargers in just a few days.

    The Cowboys can stay in the playoff hunt—I'm less concerned about them than the Chiefs and Redskins, who have dropped in my rankingsbut they have to get back to winning quickly.

12. Tennessee Titans

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    Last Week's Ranking: 11

    I've been saying this all season: There are no glaring weaknesses with the Tennessee Titans, but there are no glaring strengths, either.

    The Titans defense isn't special, and we saw that with some of the big plays surrendered to the Steelers in the passing game. I'm also still concerned with Marcus Mariota's ability to carry the team when the running game isn't working.

    Having said that, let's not forget the Titans were down just 23-17 when Delanie Walker dropped a touchdown pass. That would have given the Titans a second-half lead and allowed them to lean more on the ground attack.

    Tennessee is going to stay in the hunt for a wild-card spot, but this isn't a team that is going to do damage if it does manage to get into the playoffs. I can see the Titans getting there, but I can't see them going on any significant run.

11. Seattle Seahawks

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Last Week's Ranking: 13

    Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is amazing. If you don't think he's a top-five quarterback, I'm not sure what you're watching. As my old coach Jon Gruden noted, he is responsible for 85 percent of the Seattle offense. That is unreal. Ultimately, though, that places too much responsibility on his shoulders.

    Wilson cannot do everything.

    This is a Seattle team that is banged-up and one that isn't as dominant as in years past. The defense isn't what it once was and the offensive line is still a mess. Still, the Seahawks make teams execute in all three phases to beat them and they always play hard.

    Coach Pete Carroll made some questionable decisions against the Atlanta Falcons that didn't help the cause. The fake field goal before the half was about as dumb as throwing the ball from the 1-yard line with Marshawn Lynch in the backfield.

    Seattle is tough and is going to compete in every game, but it is no better than a sixth seed in the NFC. The Seahawks have a tough schedule down the stretch. Not only will they have to win the rest of the way, they're getting to the point where they're going to have to root for others to lose.

10. Detroit Lions

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 10

    Matthew Stafford is amazing, plain and simple. I watched the Lions against the Bears and was astounded by the number of tremendous throws he made under pressure. Detroit doesn't have an effective run game and has merely an average defense. The Lions rely on Stafford to keep them in games.

    On Sunday, the Lions were dominated early. They benefited from a botched quarterback-center exchange that resulted in a D.J. Hayden touchdown. That got Detroit back in the contest, and Stafford was able to work his magic from there.

    The big thing for Detroit right now is that receiver Kenny Golladay is healthy again. He gives the Lions a solid third option, which is big because they are going to have to win shootouts down the stretch to sniff the playoffs. It's going to come down to Stafford, Golladay, Golden Tate and Marvin Jones every week.

    Detroit is an average team that becomes above-average because it has one of the three best quarterbacks in football.

9. Atlanta Falcons

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    Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

    Last Week's Ranking: 12

    The Falcons started hot against the Seahawks and did a lot of good things in a tough environment. However, special teams was horrible. Atlanta needs to work on that, situational football and discipline moving forward. It almost cost the Falcons on Monday night, because they kept giving Seattle chances to get back in the game.

    Still, the Falcons were able to close this one out, and that should give them confidence.

    The offense isn't as good as last season's, but the Falcons still have Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. The offense is still explosive, and the defense flies around and creates chaos. Both units need to clean up a few details, but they're going in the right direction.

    This was a huge win, because it puts Atlanta in position to grab the sixth seed. The Falcons now control their own destiny. As long as they can get into the dance, they can be dangerous because of their playmakers and their team speed.

8. Los Angeles Rams

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 6

    The Los Angeles Rams' loss to the Minnesota Vikings wasn't quite as bad as the final score might indicate. It was a great test for an up-and-coming team with a young quarterback in Jared Goff. The Rams can learn from the loss.

    This was the first time L.A. has gone into a hostile environment with a target on its back. The Rams are one of the league's better teams, but as I've been saying, they're a little overrated. They don't have many quality wins on their resume.

    L.A. got a good win on the road against the Cowboys. They got a win on the road in Jacksonville too, but they got a kick-return touchdown and a score off a blocked punt in that game. The Jaguars physically dominated the Rams otherwise. I need to see more from this team before I buy into it as a title contender.

    The Rams are still dangerous, of course, but they're entering a brutal schedule. We're going to find out what the Rams really are over the next month.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 8

    The Jaguars are unquestionably one of the best teams in football. The problem is they have the 68th-best quarterback in the NFL. That is a problem.

    It's amazing, though, how the Jaguars are able to overcome bad quarterback play. Every week, Blake Bortles misses easy, open throws. I feel bad for Jacksonville's running backs at times because opposing defenses have zero respect for Bortles.

    The Jaguars have a powerful offensive line and a force of nature in Leonard Fournette. That allows the offense to operate even when everyone knows they are going to run the ball. Of course, it helps that the Jaguars have the most defensive talent of any team in football.

    Unlike the Broncos, the Jaguars know how to play through their defense and their running game. That makes them dangerous.

    I'll stick to my belief that the Jaguars are the biggest threat to the New England Patriots in the AFC. It's not the Steelers. Jacksonville's defense is capable of winning a Super Bowl by itself.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    Last Week's Ranking: 7

    It may seem weird, but Pittsburgh's 23-point win over the Titans doesn't make me feel much better about the team's chances in the postseason. Yes, it's encouraging that we saw the offense get going a bit in the second half, but the red zone continues to be a struggle, and the defense is still giving up too many big plays.

    It was an uninspired effort from the Steelers for much of the game. It took some bad play from Mariota to really get things going. In the first half, two short red-zone trips resulted in field goals. Had the Titans not missed a field goal in the first half (blocked), Tennessee could have held a lead early in the third quarter. That would have changed the complexion of the game.

    Pittsburgh's defense is solid, and it did a great job of slowing Tennessee's run game. However, the pass defense is still a concern. Mariota had some wide-open receivers on big plays, and he even had some open guys when he threw interceptions. An elite quarterback wouldn't have cost his team that game.

    Pittsburgh is one of the best teams in football, but I still worry about this defense's ability to stop elite offenses. That didn't change with Thursday night's game.

5. Carolina Panthers

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    Bob Leverone/Associated Press

    Last Week's Ranking: 4

    The Panthers are going to continue to be in the hunt for one of the NFC's top two seeds in the playoffs the rest of the way.

    Ever since Carolina put in more designed runs for Cam Newton, it's changed the dynamic of the offense and made the Panthers a more dangerous team. The defense, as everyone knows, is special. The front seven is tremendous, and the secondary does a lot of creative things to confuse opposing quarterbacks.

    A lot is going to come down to Carolina's late-season games—particularly the Week 13 matchup with New Orleans. Regardless, I view the Panthers as a legit Super Bowl contender.

4. Minnesota Vikings

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    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 5

    Should the Vikings bench Case Keenum for Teddy Bridgewater even though they might go to the Super Bowl with Keenum?

    Hopefully Keenum's latest performance puts an end to this question, which is one of the stupidest I've heard over the last few years. Keenum is playing like one of the best signal-callers in the league and far better than Bridgewater ever has.

    Keenum makes the Vikings offense dangerous. He has weapons in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. The run game has become a force to be reckoned with, and the defense is special.

    That defense played well against the Rams, but L.A. did move the ball early. The game-changer came when Anthony Harris stripped Cooper Kupp on Minnesota's 1-yard line. That was a momentum-shifter, and the Vikings never looked back after that.

    Minnesota is one of the best teams in football, and they continue to prove it every week.

3. New Orleans Saints

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    Rusty Costanza/Associated Press

    Last Week's Ranking: 3

    Here's something to keep in mind with the Saints: During the team's winning streak leading up to Week 11, the defense never faced a top-tier offense. It faced a talented offense against the Redskins, and it showed there's room for improvement.

    Regardless, New Orleans is one of the best teams in the game. The Saints are never out of it because Drew Brees is still the quarterback. The Saints can be physical in the run game and beat you up that way, but when they need to lean on Brees, he's more than capable.

    New Orleans has now won eight games in a row, and those are results that are difficult to argue with.

2. Philadelphia Eagles

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 1

    Yes, I'm dropping the Eagles a spot after a convincing win over Dallas. This isn't meant to slight Philadelphia; it's more about the Patriots. Also, I need to see the Eagles deliver in the postseason before I'll fully buy in.

    Still, I view New England as No. 1 and Philadelphia as 1A. They are clearly the two best teams in the game.

    It was a sluggish start for the Eagles in Week 11. They didn't capitalize on turnovers and good field position—and that might be because of the bye-week hangover. In the second half, though, they stomped on the gas.

    Carson Wentz once again showed why he's the leading MVP candidate. The run game got going in a big way. Once the Eagles get a lead, they're almost unstoppable because of that run game and defense.

    The defensive line is the best in the game, and I was impressed by the play of the secondary against Dallas.

    Simply put, the Eagles are awesome.

1. New England Patriots

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    Rebecca Blackwell/Associated Press

    Last Week's Ranking: 2

    Even if you don't agree the Patriots are the best team in the NFL, it's hard to argue they're not the hottest. They're embarrassing opponents.

    Tom Brady and the Patriots offense are unstoppable right now. What do you do against them? They can run it and they can throw it. They can throw it deep or underneath, outside the numbers or over the middle. There are so many different weapons and personnel sets. There are only a couple of teams that can match up with New England's offense and hope to win.

    Defensively, the Patriots are playing great too. The change the defense has made since the loss to Carolina is out of this world. It's hard to score on New England—the defense hasn't given up more than 17 points since that loss—and the Patriots aren't giving up big plays like they did early in the season.

    Can you say repeat?

    Look, the Eagles are awesome too, and I know a lot of people will believe they deserve to stay at No. 1. If I have to pick a quarterback to win me one game in the postseason, I'm taking Brady over Wentz. Sorry, but I'm not dumb.