NFL Power Rankings Week 12: Review and Reaction to 2018 League Standings

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistNovember 20, 2018

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 18:  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints of the New Orleans Saints reacts after a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 18, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

If you didn't find the 11th week of the NFL season exciting, you might want to check your pulse. The week brought a veritable cornucopia of intriguing outcomes—including exciting comebacks, scoring frenzies and one-sided blowouts.

When the dust settled, we were left with just two one-loss teams and zero with only a single victory.

We're here to take a look at the league standings after Week 11. We're also going to put together our power rankings—based on factors like record, recent team performance and divisional competition—and closely examine some of the most important rankings of the week.


NFL Standings

AFC East

1. New England Patriots (7-3)

2. Miami Dolphins (5-5)

3. Buffalo Bills (3-7)

4. New York Jets (3-7)

AFC West

1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-2)

2. Los Angeles Chargers (7-3)

3. Denver Broncos (4-6)

4. Oakland Raiders (2-8)

AFC North

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2-1)

2. Baltimore Ravens (5-5)

3. Cincinnati Bengals (5-5)

4. Cleveland Browns (3-6-1)

AFC South

1. Houston Texans (7-3)

2. Indianapolis Colts (5-5)

3. Tennessee Titans (5-5)

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7)

NFC East

1. Washington Redskins (6-4)

2. Dallas Cowboys (5-5)

3. Philadelphia Eagles (4-6)

4. New York Giants (3-7)

NFC West

1. Los Angeles Rams (10-1)

2. Seattle Seahawks (5-5)

3. Arizona Cardinals (2-8)

4. San Francisco 49ers (2-8)

NFC North

1. Chicago Bears (7-3)

2. Minnesota Vikings (5-4-1)

3. Green Bay Packers (4-5-1)

4. Detroit Lions (4-6)

NFC South

1. New Orleans Saints (9-1)

2. Carolina Panthers (6-4)

3. Atlanta Falcons (4-6)

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-7)


Power Rankings

1. New Orleans Saints

2. Los Angeles Rams

3. Kansas City Chiefs

4. Pittsburgh Steelers

5. Chicago Bears

6. Houston Texans

7. Los Angeles Chargers

8. New England Patriots

9. Carolina Panthers

10. Minnesota Vikings

11. Indianapolis Colts

12. Baltimore Ravens

13. Dallas Cowboys

14. Washington Redskins

15. Seattle Seahawks

16. Tennessee Titans

17. Cincinnati Bengals

18. Miami Dolphins

19. Green Bay Packers

20. Denver Broncos

21. Philadelphia Eagles

22. Detroit Lions

23. Cleveland Browns

24. Atlanta Falcons

25. Jacksonville Jaguars

26. New York Giants

27. Buffalo Bills

28. New York Jets

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

30. Oakland Raiders

31. Arizona Cardinals

32. San Francisco 49ers


1. New Orleans Saints

While the Los Angeles Rams hold the better record, the New Orleans Saints have handed the Rams their only loss of the season. On top of that, New Orleans has been dominating opponents like nobody else in recent weeks.

New Orleans beat the Rams by 10 points, thumped the Cincinnati Bengals 51-14 and just handed the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles a 48-7 loss.

What makes the Saints truly scary is the fact their defense is beginning to round into form. It only allowed seven points in Week 11, and that was with the Saints daring the Eagles to beat them with former MVP candidate Carson Wentz.

"We want to put the game on Wentz," coach Sean Payton said before the game, according to NBC Sports' Peter King.

New Orleans got up early, forced the Eagles to lean on Wentz and the passing game, and then embarrassed them the rest of the way.

If New Orleans loses another game before locking up a first-round bye it will be a surprise. The big question is how the heck did the Saints lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in Week 1?


29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers opened the season 2-0 and with an offense that was thriving behind quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. That feels a long time ago. Fitzpatrick has since lost his starting job twice, and the only other win the Buccaneers have produced was a shaky overtime victory over the Hue Jackson-led Cleveland Browns.

The only reason Tampa isn't even lower in our rankings is the fact they have enough offensive talent to pull off another upset or two down the stretch. The same cannot confidently be said about the two-win Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers.

The reality, though, is that the Buccaneers are a mess, and it starts with the coaching staff. Dirk Koetter cannot seem to figure out how to lead his team in a coherent direction, and it's led to some baffling losses—like the one in which Tampa racked up 501 yards of offense and only scored three points.

Trevor Sikkema @TampaBayTre

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had more yards against the Washington Redskins than the Los Angeles Rams did tonight against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Bucs scored 3 points; the Rams scored 54.

Jameis Winston is back in the starting lineup at quarterback for Week 12, but there's no guarantee that he'll remain the quarterback of the future after this season. There's even less certainty that Koetter will remain.


14. Washington Redskins

Right now, the Washington Redskins are sitting atop the NFC East and would be sitting higher in the power rankings if they hadn't lost two of their last three—and hadn't just lost starting quarterback Alex Smith for the season.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

The bad news the #Redskins were dreading: QB Alex Smith will have surgery right away on a broken tibia and fibula. A stellar season is over.

We're bumping Washington down a few spots because Smith is done for the year, but this could only be a temporary move. Colt McCoy is a capable backup who has years of experience with this team and its offense.

"You're in good hands with me," McCoy told Redskins cornerback Josh Norman, according to Roman Stubbs of the Washington Post.

Washington is indeed in good hands with McCoy. We'll get a good look at just what kind of a team the Redskins are with him under center on Thanksgiving against the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas has won two in a row and is surging toward the division lead. If the Redskins can fend them off, they'll be jumping right back up into the Top 12.