SI's NFL Power Rankings: Week 12
2:34 | NFL
SI's NFL Power Rankings: Week 12
Wednesday November 25th, 2015

Nine teams hold winning records at the moment. That's it. 

The NFL's transcendent mediocrity will make for some fascinating playoff races—at least 25 teams have a realistic shot—but also poses a challenge when it comes to Power Rankings. Very few teams deserve to be ascending. Most spots, especially those from 10 through about 22, are more or less interchangeable.

Nevertheless, here's how things stack up as Turkey Day arrives: 

  • 1
    1New England Patriots
    last week: 1
    record: 10-0
    This was as close as New England has come in 2015 to slipping from the Power Rankings top spot. The Giants and Bills—not to mention a rash of key injuries on offense—have made the Patriots look vulnerable, if not quite beatable. On the other hand, Sunday will mark 11 months and one day since Bill Belichick's team last loss (Dec. 28, 2014 at Buffalo).

  • 2
    2Carolina Panthers
    last week: 2
    record: 10-0
    Washington has been competitive in most of its games this season and was coming off a 33-point rout of New Orleans. But it looked like Charleston Southern trying to hang with Alabama for much of Sunday. The Panthers were thoroughly dominant, with Cam Newton throwing for as many touchdowns (five) as Washington had turnovers.

  • 3
    3Arizona Cardinals
    last week: 4
    record: 8-2
    Once Bruce Arians had that all-important "Hey, you don't play for the Bengals anymore, stop throwing them the ball" discussion with Carson Palmer Sunday night, the Cardinals' offense again took off. The star? J.J. Nelson, Arizona's latest find at wide receiver.

  • 4
    4Cincinnati Bengals
    last week: 5
    record: 8-2
    Yes, up a spot after a loss. The Bengals acquitted themselves well in a hard-fought loss at Arizona, so they get a bump. Storming back from 14 down against that foe is no easy task. Plus, ya know, like every team in the league stinks this season so someone has to be in the top five.

  • 5
    5Pittsburgh Steelers
    last week: 6
    record: 6-4
    A Week 14 trip to Cincinnati suddenly looms large, should the Steelers traverse a tough back-to-back (at Seattle, Indianapolis). Will Richard Sherman track Antonio Brown around the field this week? And will it matter if no one else proves capable of covering Martavis Bryant?

  • 6
    6Green Bay Packers
    last week: 9
    record: 7-3
    The rallying cry proved prophetic last season, but can we cool it with Aaron Rodgers' "R-E-L-A-X" clip? It's trailing only "I am your father" and "Bond, James Bond" in the overplayed soundbite rankings. ("I am serious ... and don't call me Shirley" is No. 1 among underplayed soundbites.) Regardless, the Packers heeded Rodgers' year-old advice Sunday—they again looked like Super Bowl contenders in rolling Minnesota.

  • 7
    7Denver Broncos
    last week: 7
    record: 8-2
    Gary Kubiak previously said that Peyton Manning would be his QB again "when healthy." After Brock Osweiler's 20-of-27, two-TD performance in Chicago, Kubiak might be willing to amend that statement. "No, I meant spiritually healthy. That can take a lifetime."

  • 8
    8Minnesota Vikings
    last week: 3
    record: 7-3
    If you ever have watched a kid stack blocks for the sole purpose of being able to knock them over, then you have some idea how Teddy Bridgewater's day went Sunday. Disneyland is less welcoming than the Minnesota O-line was to Green Bay's pass rush.

  • 9
    9Kansas City Chiefs
    last week: 10
    record: 5-5
    A win over the Bills this week would make it a lot tougher to envision a Chiefs-less playoff field. Kansas City has the league's easiest remaining schedule (after the 5-5 Bills, it's five straight with sub-.500 teams), and its defense has been lights out since about mid-October.

  • 10
    10Seattle Seahawks
    last week: 12
    record: 5-5
    The Seahawks are still very much alive and very much a threat. Their first ten games, though, sure make that 5-5 seem rather accurate. They have yet to beat a quality team (the Tony Romo-less Cowboys don't count) and have fallen short against every playoff contender (plus the Rams). Knocking off Pittsburgh would change the story.

  • 11
    11Buffalo Bills
    last week: 8
    record: 5-5
    From the defense giving Tom Brady all he could handle to the offense stalling out behind a struggling QB, Monday's loss was prototypical Rex Ryan. The Bills clearly are a solid team. They're running out of time to prove they can be anything more.

  • 12
    12Indianapolis Colts
    last week: 14
    record: 5-5
    The Matt Hasselbeck story is a nice one—he's now 3-0 as a fill-in starter for Andrew Luck this season. Ahmad Bradshaw's plot might be just as important. It's not a complete coincidence that the offense has seen an uptick since Bradshaw was signed a few weeks back.

  • 13
    13New York Giants
    last week: 11
    record: 5-5
    Has anyone alerted the Giants that they're supposed to step aside so the Cowboys can win the division now? This isn't a great team by any means, but it's still a first-place one as we head into Thanksgiving. The NFC East remains New York's to lose.

  • 14
    14Houston Texans
    last week: 20
    record: 5-5
    Watching this offense, it's like DeAndre Hopkins traveled back in time to play on a team that just learned about the forward pass. He and this Texans defense—as was advertised before the season—have a chance to swipe the division title from Indianapolis.

  • 15
    15Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    last week: 24
    record: 5-5
    The Buccaneers are a playoff contender. It doesn't make a lot of sense, but it's happening ... sort of like the "Point Break" remake that debuts on Christmas Day. Jameis Winston might even be able to storm back for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors if he turns in a couple more five-touchdown outings.

  • 16
    16Dallas Cowboys
    last week: 28
    record: 3-7
    Huge rise for the Cowboys this week, but let's not forget that this was considered a Super Bowl contender prior to Tony Romo's injury. Placing them in the middle of the pack leaves leeway in either direction. We'll see how things look after a Thanksgiving Day matchup with Carolina.

  • 17
    17Chicago Bears
    last week: 15
    record: 4-6
    Matt Forte, Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal all missed Sunday's loss to Denver. At one point during the game, Jay Cutler attempted a pass to what I believe was just a chair with two shovels taped to it for arms. The injuries are a shame, because a win over the Broncos would have made things very interesting for Chicago.

  • 18
    18St. Louis Rams
    last week: 13
    record: 4-6
    I once was so hungry at a restaurant that I didn't say anything when the waiter messed up my order. I didn't want to wait for the fix. "Well," I thought, "this food's already here." That's the analogy for Jeff Fisher maintaining his St. Louis job. The Rams could go find a better coach, but Fisher's right there on the sideline.

  • 19
    19New York Jets
    last week: 16
    record: 5-5
    The Jets have lost four of five, pushing their once-promising season to the brink. The offense's sudden struggles should come as a surprise only to someone who's never witnessed the many prior runs of the Ryan Fitzpatrick Roller Coaster.

  • 20
    20Oakland Raiders
    last week: 17
    record: 4-6
    "We expect to be better than we were," head coach Jack Del Rio said Monday of his team's lethargic offensive performance in Detroit. "There’s no sugarcoating that." If his team doesn't snap out of it immediately, the promise following a 4-3 start will be gone until 2016.

  • 21
    21Atlanta Falcons
    last week: 18
    record: 6-4
    The Falcons' season is on the brink following their fourth loss in five games. And it's really the offense that is causing the ship to anchor. Atlanta has turned it over 16 times combined over its past six games, including four in Sunday's loss to Indianapolis.

  • 22
    22Washington Redskins
    last week: 19
    record: 4-6
    There is ample material to harp on regarding Washington's road performances. In the Redskins' defense, though, their last two trips took them to New England and Carolina—teams with a combined 20-0 record.

  • 23
    23New Orleans Saints
    last week: 23
    record: 4-6
    Recently fired coordinator Rob Ryan said Sunday on the NFL Network that he's been blamed for everything in New Orleans, "including Katrina." Oof I guess it probably was unrealistic to to expect that Ryan's mouth could play a little defense on his brain.

  • 24
    24Jacksonville Jaguars
    last week: 25
    record: 4-6
    A two-game win streak has the Jaguars firmly entrenched in the playoff race, which is the latest piece of evidence that NFL parity has gone cuckoo bananas this season. WR Allen Robinson is the league's least talked-about star.

  • 25
    25Miami Dolphins
    last week: 21
    record: 4-6
    The Dolphins did not give up a safety this past weekend, snapping a three-game run. They did, however, allow a pick-six—Rolando McClain picked off Ryan Tannehill to open Dallas's 24-14 win. Miami finishes with four of five at home, but it's hard to see that mattering.

  • 26
    26Detroit Lions
    last week: 27
    record: 3-7
    Had Detroit held on to a 21-3 lead in San Diego or Calvin Johnson held on to the football at the goal line in Seattle, the Lions would be a wild-card threat. As is, each win merely drifts them into the middle of the NFL draft pack.

  • 27
    27Philadelphia Eagles
    last week: 22
    record: 4-6
    Sometimes, a lack of effort can be confused with a lack of talent. Right now, the Eagles' problem is that they simply are not very good. They're also not meshing with Chip Kelly's plan of attack most weeks, which means tough questions could be coming in the off-season.

  • 28
    28Baltimore Ravens
    last week: 29
    record: 3-7
    Baltimore won Sunday but lost Joe Flacco in the process, making him the 15th player on this team to hit injured reserve in 2015. The entire season basically has played out like the plot of "Final Destination" for the Ravens. Check for buses before crossing the street, Matt Schaub.

  • 29
    29San Francisco 49ers
    last week: 26
    record: 3-7
    With his team trailing Seattle by 16 in the fourth quarter Sunday, Jim Tomsula thrice opted to punt on fourth downs. He then fruitlessly used two timeouts when Seattle had the ball in the closing minutes. Tomsula is a likable guy and, by all accounts, a solid position coach but he continues to prove he's in way over his head.

  • 30
    30Tennessee Titans
    last week: 30
    record: 2-8
    The Titans now have lost two straight to AFC South rival Jaguars. They've also beaten Houston just once in the past four seasons and are mired in a 1-13 drought against Indianapolis. Tough to crawl out of the basement when you can't beat anyone else in the division.

  • 31
    31Cleveland Browns
    last week: 32
    record: 2-8
    Johnny Manziel finally was handed the reins as starting quarterback, only to be demoted behind both Josh McCown and Austin Davis after video surfaced of Manziel out partying. His perceived maturation was the one reason to feel optimistic about this Browns' season. Not anymore.

  • 32
    32San Diego Chargers
    last week: 31
    record: 2-8
    The Chargers came out of their bye week with a 30-point home loss to Kansas City, extending their losing streak to six games. When reached for comment about this franchise's possible relocation, the city of Los Angeles said, "Nah, never mind. We're good."

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.