Neil Reynolds' Power Rankings Week 13

For once, there is some stability to these rankings with my top three teams staying intact for a second week in a row. That is major news given the fluctuating nature of this year's NFL. Bill Belichick's New England Patriots have crept up one spot. Will they be this season's Christmas number one?

1
Arizona Cardinals
2021 · 9-2-0

The Cardinals should come out of their bye week with a healthier team, particularly with the return of Kyler Murray. They have no room for error. Green Bay are one game back and hold the tiebreaker.

2
Green Bay Packers
2021 · 9-3-0

Aaron Rodgers is playing on nine toes but has produced two outstanding performances with this much-discussed injury. But there will be worries in Green Bay. What if his toe needs surgery? Then what?

3
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2021 · 8-3-0

Tom Brady’s road form is a concern this season if the Bucs need to leave Florida in January, but Leonard Fournette and the defense drove what proved to be a very hard-fought win in Indy. That is reassuring.


4
1
New England Patriots
2021 · 8-4-0

The Patriots are not just winning. They are blowing opponents out of the water. That’s six straight wins for the Pats now and the weekly average of those scores is 35-10. They have every chance this season.

5
4
Kansas City Chiefs
2021 · 7-4-0

The Chiefs are coming off their bye week and that’s great news for a team that has won four in a row. Head coach Andy Reid has a career record of 21-4 coming out of his bye weeks. Look out, Denver!

6
3
Buffalo Bills
2021 · 7-4-0

They may have been trying to run down the clock in a one-sided win over New Orleans, but the Bills made me sit up and take notice when their running backs carried the ball 32 times on Thanksgiving Day. Balance.

7
7
Cincinnati Bengals
2021 · 7-4-0

With Ja’Marr Chase under 50 receiving yards for the fourth game in a row, the Bengals used a Joe Mixon-led ground attack and an aggressive and opportunistic D to embarrass Pittsburgh. This team is intriguing.

8
4
Dallas Cowboys
2021 · 7-4-0

I think the Cowboys will be a genuine contender once they get all their guys back, but Dak Prescott just blew too hot and cold on Thanksgiving. When he was on, he was great. But he missed some key throws.

9
4
Baltimore Ravens
2021 · 8-3-0

I don’t find myself clamouring to watch Ravens games week in and week out, but I have great respect for their 8-3 record. And when the defense can bail out Lamar Jackson like it did in Week 12, that’s a positive.

10
5
San Francisco 49ers
2021 · 6-5-0

The 49ers have won three straight and in those victories Kyle Shanahan has dialed up 125 running plays for 535 yards and five touchdowns. Everyone is chipping in to make this a dominant ground attack.

11
4
Los Angeles Rams
2021 · 7-4-0

Not now, Detroit Lions version of Matthew Stafford! The Rams need the MVP candidate we saw earlier this season. Stafford has now thrown a pick six in three consecutive games and LA have lost all of them. 

12
2
Tennessee Titans
2021 · 8-4-0

I was impressed with how the Titans hung around in New England and that speaks to the culture instilled by head coach Mike Vrabel. But they are so depleted that Ryan Tannehill has been rendered irrelevant.

13
5
Indianapolis Colts
2021 · 6-6-0

The Colts have the talent to bounce back into the top 10 of these rankings, but only if they give the ball to such talent. The mis-use of Jonathan Taylor in Sunday’s loss to Tampa Bay was absolutely baffling to me.

14
3
Los Angeles Chargers
2021 · 6-5-0

On about 78 occasions this season, I have asked ‘Who are the Chargers?’ I still don’t have the answer. To put it simply, they are a team with flaws who will go as Justin Herbert goes. No pressure, kid!

15
3
Minnesota Vikings
2021 · 5-6-0

The Vikings were on the wrong end of their sixth one-score defeat this season but there is no time to cry. Find consistency and beat Detroit, Pittsburgh and Chicago next and they’re 8-6 and feeling much better.

16
6
Las Vegas Raiders
2021 · 6-5-0

I was very impressed with Derek Carr on Thanksgiving Day and I loved the way the Raiders worked DeSean Jackson into the attack. I know he is an older player, but his involvement must be a regular feature.

17
7
Miami Dolphins
2021 · 5-7-0

The Dolphins have won four in a row and are not yet dead in the AFC playoff race. Strong defense has been a key in the past month, but so has the improving form of second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

18
2
Cleveland Browns
2021 · 6-6-0

Head coach Kevin Stefanski got angry when asked if he would consider a change at quarterback. It’s a fair question. Baker Mayfield is banged up and bottled up with Cleveland’s offense stuck in mud.

19
2
Denver Broncos
2021 · 6-5-0

Few fully trust Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback, the offensive line is paper thin after injuries and Vic Fangio is constantly perceived to be on the hot seat. Yet here we are in December and the Broncos are playing for first place in the AFC West.

20
3
Washington Football Team
2021 · 5-6-0

Ron Rivera is one of the more respected head coaches around the league. It seems like if he called, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would listen. Rivera should petition for each season to start in November!

21
3
Pittsburgh Steelers
2021 · 5-5-1

The obvious and glaring issue with the Steelers is that Big Ben is in decline and the offense is struggling. But let’s not let the normally-lauded defense off the hook. They must improve, especially against the run.

22
3
Atlanta Falcons
2021 · 5-6-0

There are just two reasons to check out Atlanta games every week. Number one, you’re going to get a special catch from Kyle Pitts. Two, you’re likely to get some wow moments from Cordarrelle Patterson.

23
6
Philadelphia Eagles
2021 · 5-7-0

As rough as last Sunday was for the Eagles, they still had a shot to win the game at the end, but Jalen Reagor dropped a go-ahead touchdown in the endzone. Jalen Hurts still has much to prove at quarterback.

24
5
New Orleans Saints
2021 · 5-6-0

The Saints are in freefall and Taysom Hill could be inserted at quarterback to stop the bleeding. Make no mistake, though, this is not all on Trevor Siemian. Injuries have devastated a team that started off 5-2.

25
2
New York Giants
2021 · 4-7-0

Giants fans will be screaming that they should be ahead of the Eagles having just beaten them. But these are not one-game rankings and the offense remains a really tough watch. The defense is good, though.

26
6
Carolina Panthers
2021 · 5-7-0

Cam Newton had the worst game of his career last Sunday and the Panthers have been further rocked by the news that running back Christian McCaffrey is gone for the year with an ankle injury.

27
1
Seattle Seahawks
2021 · 3-8-0

I never thought I would see the day but the post-match press conferences after the loss to Washington (Seattle’s sixth in seven games) tells me the positivity has been beaten out of Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson.

28
Chicago Bears
2021 · 4-7-0

It was far from pretty from the Bears on Thanksgiving Day but a win to snap a five-game losing streak will be taken anyway it can be gotten! Andy Dalton or Justin Fields? I still say let’s see what the kid can do.

29
2
New York Jets
2021 · 3-8-0

That was a better defensive display from the Jets last Sunday, albeit against the struggling Texans. But the rest of this season has to be about seeing what Zach Wilson can do at the quarterback position.

30
1
Houston Texans
2021 · 2-9-0

There is not that much to write about a Texans team in the midst of a lost season, but I will tell you what I see every time I pop on the film. I see a team that at least plays harder when Tyrod Taylor is under center.

31
1
Jacksonville Jaguars
2021 · 2-9-0

It was always going to be a long and difficult season for the Jags and they, more than a lot of teams, could not afford the injuries that have hit them. I still believe Trevor Lawrence is the long-term answer, though.

32
2
Detroit Lions
2021 · 0-10-1

Jared Goff is so broken that all he wants to throw is swing passes to his running backs, D’Andre Swift is out injured with a bad shoulder and head coach Dan Campbell is blowing games by calling back-to-back time outs. It’s not much fun being a Lions fan

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