NFL Week 12 Power Rankings: Vikings Climb After Impressive Win Vs. Rams

by NESN Staff

November 21, 2017

Week 11 in the NFL saw two young teams — the Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans — get steamrolled in potential playoff previews. Tennessee was completely outclassed in a 40-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, while the Rams’ high-flying offense went quiet in a 24-7 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. It was Minnesota’s most impressive performance to date and it propelled them up to No. 4 in the latest power rankings. 

Here?s a look at where each team stands in NFL power rankings as we head into Week 12. (To see our Week 11 power rankings, click here.)

1. Philadelphia Eagles (9-1; last week’s rank: 1): Philadelphia looked sluggish during the first half against the Dallas Cowboys, but Carson Wentz and the running game turned on the jets in the second half to blow out the Cowboys 37-9.

2. New England Patriots (8-2; 2): Tom Brady picked apart the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City on Sunday, as the Patriots won their sixth consecutive game. New England returns home in Week 12 to face an abysmal Miami Dolphins team. Since opening the season 2-2, the Patriots have dominated the opposition and are the clear-cut favorite in the AFC.

3. New Orleans Saints (8-2; 3): The Saints’ winning streak appeared to be in jeopardy Sunday, but Drew Brees showed he’s still a star, rallying New Orleans from a 15-point deficit to defeat the Washington Redskins in overtime. A matchup with the Rams awaits in Week 12.

4. Minnesota Vikings (8-2; 6): Head coach Mike Zimmer took Todd Gurley and the deep ball away from the Rams, and the result was a 24-7 win for the Vikings. Case Keenum will keep his job as long as he continues to minimize mistakes.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-2; 5): In what was billed as a playoff preview, the Steelers smacked the Titans 40-17 on “Thursday Night Football.” A Week 15 tilt with the Patriots should determine who gets the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.

6. Los Angeles Rams (7-3; 4): The Rams had been undefeated on the road, but the Vikings put an end to that. It doesn’t get any easier for the Sean McVay’s youngsters, as the red-hot Saints visit Sunday.

7. Carolina Panthers (7-3; 10): If the Cam Newton who terrorized the Dolphins in Week 10 continues to show up, the Panthers will be a threat in the NFC.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3; 9): We really can’t believe Blake Bortles is probably going to start a playoff game. Better get ready to call your bookie.

9. Atlanta Falcons (6-4; 12): Atlanta got a huge win over the Seattle Seahawks and moved into the sixth NFC playoff spot with the win. The Falcons still have the smell of a pretender but can move to 7-5 with a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 12.

10. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4; 7): It seems like years ago the Chiefs rolled the Patriots in Gillette Stadium. After losing to the lowly New York Giants on Sunday, Kansas City now has lost four of its last five games. Luckily for the Chiefs, the Buffalo Bills come to town in Week 12 and there’s no telling who Sean McDermott will start at quarterback.

11. Seattle Seahawks (6-4; 8): No Richard Sherman, no Kam Chancellor and a whole lot of issues for Seattle’s defense against the Falcons. Still, Russell Wilson almost rescued the Seahawks, but Pete Carroll’s brutal fake field goal call ended up costing Seattle in the 34-31 loss.

12. Tennessee Titans (6-4; 11): Marcus Matriota threw four interceptions and the Titans were hammered by the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Tennessee still is in a good position to make the playoffs, however, as one of five teams above .500 in the AFC.

13. Detroit Lions (6-4; 14): Matt Prater’s game-winning 52-yard field goal rescued the Lions from what would have been a devastating loss to the Chicago Bears. They’ll put their four-game Thanksgiving winning streak on the line against the Vikings in Week 12.

14. Dallas Cowboys (5-5; 13): Without their three most important players, the Cowboys were embarrassed by the Eagles on “Sunday Night Football.” If left tackle Tyron Smith can’t play against the Los Angeles Chargers, it will be another long day for QB Dak Prescott.

15. Baltimore Ravens (5-5; 18): The Ravens shut out the Green Bay Packers to move to .500 on the year and into the sixth and final AFC playoff spot. Don’t let that fool you, though: Baltimore has no business being in the playoffs.

16. Los Angeles Chargers (4-6; 21): In what was Week 11’s most impressive performance (sorry, Patriots and Eagles), the Chargers obliterated the Bills 54-24. Of all the mediocre AFC teams battling for the final playoff spot, the Chargers undoubtedly are the most talented. They’ll also probably blow three more games in the final two minutes and finish at 7-9.

17. Washington Redskins (4-6; 17): Washington had the Saints dead to rights, and then they blew it. Kirk Cousins’ inexplicable grounding penalty took them out of field goal range and triggered a 10-second runoff that ended regulation. The Redskins fell in overtime. Here’s the penalty:

At 4-6, Washington’s season likely is over.

18. Oakland Raiders (4-6; 15): The least surprising development of Week 11 was Jack Del Rio being woefully outcoached by Bill Belichick. The Raiders will face a team in a similar tailspin to them, the Denver Broncos, in Week 12.

19. Houston Texans (4-6; 23): Houston beat the Blaine Gabbert-led Arizona Cardinals to stay in playoff contention. Imagine if the Texans were willing to sign an actual quarterback, say Colin Kaepernick?

20. Green Bay Packers (5-5; 19): Speaking of a team that could use Kaepernick, have you watched Brett Hundley try to run an NFL offense?

21. Buffalo Bills (5-5; 16): The Bills probably are better than a few teams in front of them, but McDermott’s asinine decision to bench Tyrod Taylor for rookie Nathan Peterman might have cost Buffalo a shot at the playoffs. Dates with the Chiefs, Patriots (twice), Dolphins (twice) and Indianapolis Colts put the Bills at 8-8 if everything goes perfectly.

22. New York Jets (4-6; 22): Fear not, Jets fans: New York has a brutal final six games, so a top-five pick is still possible.

23. Arizona Cardinals (4-6; 20): Who’s ready for the Gabbert revenge game against the Jaguars? Yeah, us either.

24. Cincinnati Bengals (4-6; 27): Could the Bengals actually make the playoffs? The AFC is that bad.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6; 29): Tampa Bay has virtually no shot to make the playoffs, but they have bigger things to worry about, like the sexual harassment allegations against Jameis Winston.

26. Chicago Bears (3-7; 25): Mitchell Trubisky continues to battle but it hasn’t translated into wins. Up next: the Eagles.

27. Miami Dolphins (4-6; 26): The Dolphins have been the biggest fraud of the season, but they’ve finally been exposed the past two weeks. The FCC might not want to show what the Patriots will do to the struggling porpoises.

28. Denver Broncos (3-7; 24): At what point does John Elway strap on a helmet and try to get the Broncos a win?

29. Indianapolis Colts (3-6; 28): If the Colts could have gotten six games out of Andrew Luck they probably could have made the playoffs. Instead, they are a complete dumpster fire.

30. New York Giants (2-8; 31): Ben McAdoo should send Andy Reid a thank you card for the Chiefs’ lackluster performance against the Giants on Sunday.

31. San Francisco 49ers (1-9; 30): Will we see Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 12?

32. Cleveland Browns (0-10; 32): Josh Gordon can start practicing with the team, so it’s not all bad for the Browns.

Thumbnail photo via Thumbnail photo via Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports Images
Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones, Raiders wide receiver Johnny Holton
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