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NFL Power Rankings Week 12: Mostly Static

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You know you got your rankings right when they’re basically unchanged after a week of action.

Denver Broncos v Minnesota Vikings
Did Denver stumble across they’re franchise passer? I kid... I kid... maybe.
Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

So with the NFL heading towards its home stretch, I’m faced with a serious dilemma and want your feedback. This is my first ever season long Power Rankings series, so I want to do right by you, dear reader.

The Broncos’ playoff hopes are long dead, and the Bungles are clear favorites for the top pick in the draft. Would it interest you if I started a reverse ranking for the tankapalooza? I consider the teams outside of the legit playoff chase and rank them according to how they’re set up for the April Draft with commentary on how things look for them to find success in 2020.

If that sounds appealing, let me know in the comments, via Twitter, or by hitting me up some other way. Anyways, on to your regularly scheduled post.

Quick Disclaimer: As always, the Power Rankings are based upon how I see each team’s chances at winning the 2019 Lombardi. That means some teams will be lower than their record indicates and some teams will be lower than previous opponents they beat.

Race to the Bottom

The current tank leaders, even if they aren’t “officially” trying to suck. These are the teams I look to when the Broncos’ current season really bums me out. Some days it takes a little squinting, but I almost always come away thinking, “well, at least they aren’t _____.”

32. Cincinnati Bengals

31. Washington

30. New York Giants

29. Miami Dolphins

28. Atlanta Falcons

27. New York Jets

Purgatory

Life in the middle. These teams are a clear step ahead of the bottom dwellers, but they have no real shot at contention this year and clearly need help in one or more areas if they want to make real noise in 2020.

Most of these fan bases are frustrated because the solution isn’t as simple as drafting Joe Burrow. Some want heads to roll, others want to burn it all to the ground and start over NBA style.

26. Detroit Lions

25. Arizona Cardinals

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

23. Chicago Bears

22. Denver Broncos

Lost amid the hysteria over the Broncos’ “collapse” is the fact they played a Super Bowl contender tight. Hard to knock them there, and I’d pick Denver over any of the teams listed higher on the rankings based on how they’ve been playing since Flacco hit I.R. Maybe that changes when Drew Lock takes over, but they’re tough for a 3-7 outfit.

Wiggling on the ground

These teams aren’t really a whole lot better off in 2019 than the teams below them. They’ll almost certainly wind up on the outside looking in come playoff time, barring something really nutty over the next month. The difference is, they’ll get treated like contenders because the NFL feeds off belief and hope (which is why you’ll see them on the contender lists even though every one has a 15% or worse chance at the dance per Football Outsiders Playoff Odds report.)

21. London Chargers

20. Jacksonville Jaguars

19. Carolina Panthers

Simply Goff

The defending are their own tier. They’re clearly the third banana in the NFC West and need some help to have a real shot at the playoffs. They face four playoff teams and the Cardinals twice over the next six weeks. Sean McVay, Aaron Donald, and the gang are probably doomed, but maybe the offense creeps towards competency just in time to make a run.

18. Los Angeles Rams

The AFC Bubble

It’s ridiculous Mason Rudolph wasn’t suspended.

It’s also ridiculous where the Titans could be if Ryan Tannehill had started the opener.

17. Cleveland Browns

16. Pittsburgh Steelers

15. Tennessee Titans

Playoff Contenders

If the four best teams regardless of conference made the playoffs, the Eagles would be 12. Alas, Buffalo and Oakland are playing out Charmin soft schedules in a weak AFC. Beyond that, a little health luck (good or bad) could move a play team into legitimate contention.

Kansas City will need Patrick Mahomes to return to his early from, but if I was looking to bet on an outside contender, the Chiefs are it. Both AFC South teams are a wrung below and Gruden beat the hapless Bungles by 7. We’ll learn a good bit about Josh Allen and the Bills this week, but the way Fangio called the Vikings game, I think it’s a low scoring affair.

The four NFC teams are fighting for two spots. I have Dallas where they are only because they look like a good match up on the Iggles in what will be a de facto playoff game in week 16.

14. Philadelphia Eagles

13. Buffalo Bills

12. Oakland Raiders

11. Indianapolis Colts

10. Houston Texans

9. Seattle Seahawks

8. Dallas Cowboys

7. Minnesota Vikings

6. Kansas City Chiefs

The Favorites

I still consider the Patriots the favorite because Bill Belichick has that defense at a level we haven’t seen since Wade Phillips’ No Fly Zone carried Gary Kubiak and the corpse of Peyton Manning to a Lombardi trophy.

Behind them, New Orleans bounces back from a bad day and rolls the floundering Bucs. Lamar Jackson continues to make his claim for MVP consideration. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers get a late bye while the banged up 49ers get a Vance Joseph miracle to beat the Cardinals.

5. San Francisco 49ers

4. Green Bay Packers

3. Baltimore Ravens

2. New Orleans Saints

1. New England Patriots

Still Grazin’? MVP Rankings

Because Denver played at 1 PM on Sunday, I did not get a chance to catch the Cowboys or Ravens games. If I had, maybe I’d be drinking the Lamar Jackson Kool Aid, but alas I still have him at number two in my race with Russel Wilson leading the way.

There’s been a lot of push in some corners for Dak Prescott to jump both because he’s having a pretty incredible year. At this point, I can’t move him any higher than third. This isn’t a QBWinz issue so much as you look at the supporting casts and it’s had to say Wilson and Jackson aren’t doing so as much or more with less. Throw a league average backup into any of the three offenses and the Cowboys have the best chance at surviving.

If you want to argue any running back is the MVP, set your Delorian for 1982, 85, or even 2012. We’re better than that in these parts.

1. Russell Wilson

2. Lamar Jackson

3. Dak Prescott

4. Deshaun Watson

5. Patrick Mahomes