NFL Power Rankings – Week 12, John Crowe

Sunday, November 29, 2020

 

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Happy Thanksgiving Day Weekend to all of our fans in football nation.

There’s a lot to be thankful for even though things don’t look so rosy with our 4-6 New England Patriots. So, before we get to our weekly NFL Power Rankings, let’s get to a few.

Let’s be thankful for what we have had to date:

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The fact that there is actually an NFL season to watch even with the COVID-19 pandemic. Sure, games have been moved and players have missed games, but largely, the season has gone on as scheduled. Late on Saturday, the Broncos's three QB's were ruled ineligible due to COVID protocols and were nearly forced to forfeit their game against the Saints.

UPDATE: The NFL has had a flurry of late week COVID-19 news highlighted by postponement of the Ravens vs. Steelers game from Thanksgiving Night to Sunday and now Tuesday. Also, on Saturday, all 3 of the Broncos quarterbacks were deemed ineligible to play Sunday against New Orleans due to close contact, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Twitter.

Finally, Santa Clara County in California has told the 49ers that as of Monday, they can’t practice or hold games, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. So, they will have to find a place to play the rest of the way.

Tom Brady is still playing at a somewhat elite level in Tampa Bay. We say “somewhat” elite due to his rash on interceptions against the Saints and Rams of late. He may not be New England’s quarterback any more, but he’s still a media darling and will get his next chance at a high-profile game Sunday against the Chiefs.
We have an undefeated team still alive in week 12. The Steelers may not get their fair due, but they still haven’t lost a game.

Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers. They’re lighting it up across NFL defenses each and every week.

Alex Smith. The Washington QB has endured 17 surgeries on his injured right leg only to return and put Washington on top of the NFC East with four wins after their Thanksgiving Day upset at Dallas.

The woeful Jets. They’re 0-16 and still Tanking for Trevor (Lawrence). For the first time in years, New York has set out on a mission and stuck to it. If they stay winless, they’ll have to lose at the Patriots in the final week of the season to clinch their infamous standing in NFL history.

And with that, let’s get to the rankings!

Best of Rest: Tennessee Titans (7-3, Last week: not ranked) / Miami Dolphins (6-4, Last week: ranked 8th)

The Titans saved their season with a Derrick Henry game-winning touchdown run in overtime. Now, with a rematch in Indianapolis against the Colts Sunday, Tennessee can put themselves back into contention for the AFC South title with a victory.

The Dolphins proved just how a fragile an NFL season can be with a young team. Riding a five-game winning streak, Miami lost in Denver and benched starting QB Tua Tagovailoa in the process. Now, they’ll have to regroup Sunday at the Jets, something that should be easier to do against the NFL’s worst team.

 

10. Arizona Cardinals (6-4, Last week: ranked 10th)

We won't knock the Cardinals too much for a last-second loss in Seattle last Thursday night. Now, Kyler Murray and crew need to rebound and beat the Patriots in Foxboro. Things to watch though for the Cards – Murray’s sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder and how wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald’s positive COVID-19 test will affect the rest of the team. Fitzgerald’s already been ruled out of Sunday’s game.

 

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4, Last week: ranked 7th)

Tampa's just not ready for prime-time it seems. The Bucs dropped to 1-3 in the spotlight after Tom Brady's second interception of the night sealed the Rams 27-24 victory over the Bucs. It doesn't get any easier when Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs come calling this Sunday. I wonder how much Brady likes head coach Bruce Arians likes calling his mistakes out in the postgame press conferences.

“Other than the deep ball, I think he’s getting confused a few times with the coverage. That might be the cause for some inaccurate balls, but I don’t see it at all in practice. We’re not missing the deep ball in practice, that’s for sure. It’s just a matter on Sundays hitting them,” said Arians Tuesday according to the Tampa Bay Times.

 

8. Los Angeles Rams (7-3, Last week: ranked Best of Rest)

Just call them the rising Rams! LA's now in first place in the NFC West. The Rams are filled with weapons offensively, led by Jared Goff, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. Plus, having Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey anchor that defense doesn't hurt either.

 

7. Indianapolis Colts (7-3, Last week: ranked 9th)                                                                                 

The Colts are good. There's no denying that. Coming back to beat the Packers in OT Sunday proved that.  I just wonder how far Philip Rivers can take them.  A rematch from week 10 against the Titans awaits them this Sunday in Indy. A win there gives Indy a stronghold on the AFC South title.

 

6. Green Bay Packers (7-3, Last week: ranked 4th)

If the Packers don't find their way back to the top spot in the NFC, they'll have Sunday's second half in Indy to look back in horror. Up 14, they let the Colts back in the door, eventually losing 34-31 in OT. Still, Green Bay has an easy schedule the rest of the way, playing the Bears (twice), Eagles, Lions along with hosting the Titans.

 

5. Seattle Seahawks (7-3, Last week: ranked 6th)

Seattle may be looking up at the Rams in the NFC West after losing to them a couple of weeks ago, but they have what should be a cakewalk the next month with games against Philly, both New York teams and Washington. Balance on offense, along with a rejuvenated defense, will be the key for the Seahawks.

 

4. Buffalo Bills (7-3, Last week: ranked 5th)

After a week off, the Bills welcome the Chargers to town. Buffalo can thank Denver for beating Miami last week to give them a bit of breathing room at the top of the AFC East. Would it surprise you to know that Josh Allen has thrown less interceptions (7) than Tom Brady (9) or Russell Wilson (10)?

 

3. New Orleans Saints (8-2, Last week: ranked 3rd)

No Drew Brees. No problem. The Saints are now 6-0 over the past two seasons with their fearless leader who has 11 fractured ribs. This week, it's a trip to Denver for Taysom Hill and friends.

 

2. Kansas City Chiefs (9-1, Last week: ranked 2nd)

Think the Chiefs are motivated? Last week, it was revenge against the Raiders with a last-second 35-31 win to avenge their only loss of the season. This week, it's old friend Tom Brady and the Bucs in a national TV showdown. Don’t think twice that Mahomes doesn’t remember that Brady holds a 2-1 series edge over him including a 2018 AFC Championship victory over the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

 

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-0, Last week: ranked 1st)

Due to COVID-19, this one moves from Thanksgiving Night to Tuesday night. The Steelers were none too happy about the move, especially given that they already lost their bye earlier this season when the Titans COVID-19 positive results moved their clash into week 7.

“First the NFL takes away our bye week because another team can’t get their Covid situation together, now they take away our Thanksgiving primetime game for the same reason. Smh,” said Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster on his Twitter account Wednesday.

Pittsburgh doesn't need any motivation as staying undefeated and keeping the number one seed in the AFC, the only seed that gets a first-round bye in the upcoming playoffs, should be motivation enough.

Last week:
Best of Rest: Rams / Ravens
10. Cardinals
9. Colts
8. Dolphins
7. Buccaneers
6. Seahawks
5. Bills
4. Packers
3. Saints
2. Chiefs
1. Steelers

Happy Thanksgiving Day Weekend to all of our fans in football nation.

There’s a lot to be thankful for even though things don’t look so rosy with our 4-6 New England Patriots. So, before we get to our weekly NFL Power Rankings, let’s get to a few.

 
 

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