Neil Reynolds' Power Rankings Week 12

This is an absolute lottery! My top three teams from last week all lost and four of my top five were defeated as this wild ride of a season rolls on. With all that in mind, I offer a humble apology to the Arizona Cardinals and welcome them back to the top spot… again!

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3
Arizona Cardinals
2021 · 9-2-0

Every time we get ready to write this team off, they respond in a big way. Going 2-1 without Kyler Murray at quarterback and DeAndre Hopkins at wide receiver is impressive indeed. The Cards look complete.

2
1
Green Bay Packers
2021 · 8-3-0

Aaron Rodgers played his best game of the season last week and even though it came in a loss to the Vikings, that has me feeling good that the Packers are going to be in the mix right at the very end.

3
3
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2021 · 7-3-0

If only the Bucs could play every game at Raymond James Stadium. Tom Brady and his buddies are a perfect 5-0 at home and 2-3 on the road in 2021. The one seed in the NFC could be vital for Tampa Bay.

4
1
Dallas Cowboys
2021 · 7-3-0

Like a few teams who have been hit with a rash of key injuries all at the same time, the Cowboys are in ‘hang in there’ mode. But there is talent across the board and this will be a contender in January.

5
4
New England Patriots
2021 · 7-4-0

The Patriots know who they are, they know where they are strong and they play to their strengths. Add excellent coaching and rock-solid fundamentals to that mix and it is a recipe for success in the NFL.

6
2
Kansas City Chiefs
2021 · 7-4-0

The offense still gets bogged down at times, but the defense has been the story during KC’s four-game winning streak, allowing just 11.8 points per game. It feels like KC are getting ready to mount a challenge.

7
Los Angeles Rams
2021 · 7-3-0

The Rams got pushed around far too much in the two losses that came before their bye. Tennessee manhandled the offensive line while San Francisco ran all over the defense. That is a worrying trend.

8
6
Indianapolis Colts
2021 · 6-5-0

Jonathan Taylor might as well be saying to quarterback Carson Wentz: “Hold my beer, I’ve got this.” The Colts are loading up their running back and why not? He is the hottest player in the NFL right now.

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4
Buffalo Bills
2021 · 6-4-0

There were some major worries when watching the Bills last weekend. Josh Allen is forced to take too many risks due to a lack of balance and the plan for defending the Colts was poor and rigid.

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8
Tennessee Titans
2021 · 8-3-0

Injuries caught up to the Titans last week as it was all placed on the shoulders of Ryan Tannehill, who threw four picks. Mike Vrabel will demand a response but that might be tough on the road in New England.

11
1
Los Angeles Chargers
2021 · 6-4-0

The Chargers are 5-0 this season in games where Justin Herbert has posted a quarterback rating of 100 or above and he delivered in a big moment against Pittsburgh in Week 11. That was a massive moment. 

12
6
Minnesota Vikings
2021 · 5-5-0

When the Vikings can run the ball – as they have done very well with Dalvin Cook for the past two weeks – and when well protected, Kirk Cousins can thrive throwing passes to Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.

13
3
Baltimore Ravens
2021 · 7-3-0

The Ravens had to scrap for their lives to escape Chicago with a win over a very poor Bears team. Getting Lamar Jackson back will be key, but so will giving up fewer big plays on defense.

14
1
Cincinnati Bengals
2021 · 6-4-0

I probably shouldn’t be dropping the Bengals off their complete road win over the Raiders in Las Vegas. But I just like some of the teams above them right now. But Cincy steadied the ship in Week 11.


15
2
San Francisco 49ers
2021 · 5-5-0

The 49ers have also steadied their ship with back-to-back wins over the Rams and Jaguars. And they’ve shown their hand in those victories. They plan to run the ball extensively and be physical on offense.

16
1
Cleveland Browns
2021 · 6-5-0

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is like a kettle coming to the boil. He is not playing very well, he is being booed by his own fans, he is carrying injuries and the long-term contract he seeks has not arrived.

17
5
Philadelphia Eagles
2021 · 5-6-0

Where San Francisco’s rushing attack is designed to work around quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, the Eagles’ commitment to the run is built to showcase the unique talents of Jalen Hurts. And it’s working.

18
2
Pittsburgh Steelers
2021 · 5-4-1

The offense played better with Big Ben at QB, but unusual plays helped Pittsburgh back into that contest against the Chargers. This team needs its defensive stars to get healthy if the playoffs are to be reached.

19
8
New Orleans Saints
2021 · 5-5-0

Injuries to Alvin Kamara and both starting offensive tackles have hit New Orleans hard. The Saints were a frisky 5-2 to start the season but have now lost three in a row. Sean Payton is growing angrier by the day.

20
Carolina Panthers
2021 · 5-6-0

The end of last week’s loss at home to Washington was disappointing, but the 5-6 Panthers have winnable games either side of their bye against Miami and Atlanta. They can climb back into the playoff race.

21
Denver Broncos
2021 · 5-5-0

The Broncos are coming off their bye week and the formula for them is clear the rest of the way. Let’s see what the rushing duo of Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams can produce, while playing solid defense.

22
3
Las Vegas Raiders
2021 · 5-5-0

There have been too many off-field distractions and significant talent lost for the Raiders to stay afloat. They are on the verge of being in freefall and Thanksgiving Day is a big test to see what they have left.

23
3
Washington Football Team
2021 · 4-6-0

The greatest compliment I can give Taylor Heinicke is that he plays like a young Ryan Fitzpatrick. He leaves everything on the field by the end of a Sunday – some of it good, some bad. You want to root for him.

24
4
Miami Dolphins
2021 · 4-7-0

Miami have won three in a row but is it too late? They have winnable home games coming up against Carolina, New York Giants and New York Jets. Could the Dolphins be 7-7 and alive heading into Christmas?

25
1
Atlanta Falcons
2021 · 4-6-0

Arthur Smith has demanded a response after Atlanta laid an egg against New England in Week 11. He may get one as well because they are playing the Jags, who should not be confused with the Pats!

26
3
Seattle Seahawks
2021 · 3-7-0

It feels like the end of days in Seattle. Russell Wilson wanted out last year, D.K. Metcalf is suggesting passes coming from Geno Smith are more accurate and Pete Carroll is storming out of press conferences.

27
4
New York Giants
2021 · 3-7-0

It’s a tale as old as time. An under-fire head coach – Joe Judge, in this case – makes an attempt to deflect the blame by firing his coordinator. In this case, Jason Garrett. Judge could be on borrowed time in NY.

28
3
Chicago Bears
2021 · 3-7-0

The weird report doing the rounds is that Matt Nagy has been informed he will be fired after Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day game. Why tell him but not do it right away? Either way, Nagy is on his way out.

29
3
Houston Texans
2021 · 2-8-0

It must be a leadership and a locker room thing because his numbers are not great, but the Texans play harder and better when Tyrod Taylor is at quarterback. He put his body on the line during last week’s win.

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1
Jacksonville Jaguars
2021 · 2-8-0

The Jags are going nowhere on offense, making this a really difficult year to assess Trevor Lawrence. After a couple of solid weeks, the defense also regressed in Week 11 and could pushed around by the Niners.

31
New York Jets
2021 · 2-8-0

Zach Wilson looks set to return at quarterback and that’s all that really matters for the Jets the rest of the way. Can we please have some positivity around this kid as we head into the offseason rebuild?

32
2
Detroit Lions
2021 · 0-9-1

It feels like Detroit are at rock bottom and so devoid of talent that we’re waiting on news of a Jared Goff return. It’s miserable. So, why do I think they’re going to get their first win at home on Thanksgiving

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