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NFL Power Rankings Week 12: Review and Reaction to 2017 League Standings

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 19: Adam Thielen #19 of the Minnesota Vikings and Michael Floyd #18 celebrate after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Rams on November 19, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

In case you thought 10 weeks provided all the answers to the 2017 season, the one-win New York Giants upset the AFC West division-leading Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11. The Washington Redskins led the New Orleans Saints by 15 points with 5:58 left in the fourth quarter and lost on Sunday.

Though the Chiefs have struggled, many questioned the Giants players' desire to play the game. When head coach Ben McAdoo encouraged fans to come watch "great football," fans laughed. Big Blue didn't play their best but came away with the victory as a heavy underdog.

The Minnesota Vikings have already matched their win total from the previous season. Despite turning to a backup quarterback and losing their second-round pick in running back Dalvin Cook to a season-ending injury, head coach Mike Zimmer and his staff have their group rolling into a Thanksgiving matchup with the Detroit on a six-game win streak.

The New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers stand above the rest in the AFC, but there's a 5-5 team playing great defense with a soft remaining schedule that should rise through the ranks in the coming weeks. Which club deserves more respect as a threat down the stretch?

We'll take a look at the current standings with a fresh power rankings list for Week 12.

            

NFL Division Standings After Week 11

AFC East

1. New England Patriots (8-2)

2. Buffalo Bills (5-5)

3. Miami Dolphins (4-6)

4. New York Jets (4-6)

AFC North

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-2)

2. Baltimore Ravens (5-5)

3. Cincinnati Bengals (4-6)

4. Cleveland Browns (0-10)

AFC South

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3)

2. Tennessee Titans (6-4)

3. Houston Texans (4-6)

4. Indianapolis Colts (3-7)

AFC West

1. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)

2. Los Angeles Chargers (4-6)

3. Oakland Raiders (4-6)

4. Denver Broncos (3-7)

NFC East

1. Philadelphia Eagles (9-1)

2. Dallas Cowboys (5-5)

3. Washington Redskins (4-6)

4. New York Giants (2-8)

NFC North

1. Minnesota Vikings (8-2)

2. Detroit Lions (6-4)

3. Green Bay Packers (5-5)

4. Chicago Bears (3-7)

NFC South

1. New Orleans Saints (8-2)

2. Carolina Panthers (7-3)

3. Atlanta Falcons (6-4)

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6)

NFC West

1. Los Angeles Rams (7-3)

2. Seattle Seahawks (6-4)

3. Arizona Cardinals (4-6)

4. San Francisco 49ers (1-9)

                   

Week 12 Power Rankings

1. Philadelphia Eagles (9-1)

2. New England Patriots (8-2)

3. New Orleans Saints (8-2)

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-2)

5. Minnesota Vikings (8-2)

6. Carolina Panthers (7-3)

7. Atlanta Falcons (6-4)

8. Los Angeles Rams (7-3)

9. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)

10. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3)

11. Seattle Seahawks (6-4)

12. Tennessee Titans (6-4)

13. Baltimore Ravens (5-5)

14. Los Angeles Chargers (4-6)

15. Washington Redskins (4-6)

16. Detroit Lions (6-4)

17. Dallas Cowboys (5-5)

18. Cincinnati Bengals (4-6)

19. Oakland Raiders (4-6)

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6)

21. New York Jets (4-6)

22. Buffalo Bills (5-5)

23. Denver Broncos (3-7)

24. Green Bay Packers (5-5)

25. Miami Dolphins (4-6)

26. Chicago Bears (3-7)

27. Indianapolis Colts (3-7)

28. Houston Texans (4-6)

29. Arizona Cardinals (4-6)

30. New York Giants (2-8)

31. San Francisco 49ers (1-9)

32. Cleveland Browns (0-10)

               

Notable Rankings

No. 5 Minnesota Vikings Roll into Thanksgiving with Six-Game Win Streak 

Jim Mone/Associated Press

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater's return to action on the active roster provides a feel-good story off the field. However, signal-caller Case Keenum's re-emergence as a starter under center has propelled the Vikings into playoff contention. 

Keenum signed a one-year deal with the Vikings during the offseason and took advantage of his opportunity to lead this team as a fill-in for Bridgewater and Sam Bradford. The 29-year-old passer's statistical resume looks far less impressive than Minnesota's record, but wins outweigh touchdown numbers.

The Vikings ride a six-game win streak behind offensive efficiency and a stout defense. Keenum has completed over 65 percent of his throws with 12 touchdown passes to just five interceptions. He's taking care of the football and picking his spots with wideouts Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen downfield.

Without Cook, the Vikings ground attack ranks eighth in the league. Minnesota has rectified its issues along the offensive line. The front five keep Keenum upright in the pocket and open lanes for the running backs.

The Vikings look to avenge a Week 4 loss to the Lions on Thanksgiving.

                

No. 9 Kansas City Chiefs Hit Rock Bottom

Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

For the Chiefs, 5-0 seems like a distant memory. After a red-hot start, they've dropped four of the last five contests, which include an embarrassing loss to the New York Giants on Sunday.

Roger Lewis, an undrafted second-year player out of Bowling Green, led the Giants wideouts without Sterling Shepard in action. He caught a 34-yard pass that put Big Blue in position to kick the game-winning field goal in overtime.

Why did the Chiefs need overtime against the Giants? New York didn't have their top three wide receivers, went through a messy situation in which players called out head coach Ben McAdoo, per ESPN's Josina Anderson, and came into Sunday's game with one win. Yet, they took the field and beat the AFC West leaders.

Kansas City's defense ranks No. 28 in yards allowed. After giving the ball away once in the first seven weeks, the play calling and execution have been sloppy. In the previous three games, the Chiefs have committed six turnovers.

Running back Kareem Hunt logged four 100-yard performances in his first five games. He hasn't reached that mark since Week 5 against the Houston Texans. 

It's quickly going south for the Chiefs. They're clinging on to a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Chargers and Oakland Raiders.

                    

No. 13 Baltimore Ravens Primed for Late Win Streak in Mediocre AFC

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 26: Outside Linebacker Terrell Suggs #55 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates after a play in the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium on October 26, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

At times, the Baltimore Ravens offense looks inept. Quarterback Joe Flacco and his pass-catchers often seem out of sync. Furthermore, the conservative approach hinders the ability to erase large deficits. 

Nonetheless, the Ravens defense has recorded three shutout victories—their last against the Green Bay Packers in Week 11. As the temperatures drop in November and December, it's the perfect time to field a unit that's stingy with points.

The team activated running back Danny Woodhead from injured reserve before Sunday's game. He saw six targets in the passing attack and converted five into receptions for 21 yards. The 32-year-old should provide a slight lift to the offense going forward.

Baltimore will play four teams with sub-.500 records, three consecutively, to finish the season. At 5-5, with the Texans next on the schedule, expect the Ravens to push for an AFC wild-card spot.

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