NFL Power Rankings Week 12

Wednesday November 27th, 2013

Sitting 6-5, the Eagles have zero wins over teams currently above .500.
Hunter Martin/Philadelphia Eagles/Getty Images

Nothing is official yet, but it looks as if we can pencil in at least five teams for the postseason: Seattle, New Orleans, Denver, Kansas City and New England. Beyond that? Chaos.

The way that the NFC is shaking out, teams may need 10 or 11 wins simply to claim a wild-card spot. Contrast that with the AFC, where 8-8 very well might get into the postseason and there's almost no question that the final spot will be decided by some form of tiebreaker.

MORE COVERAGE: Week 12: Mini-Mock Draft | Ranking AFC wild-card hopefuls by mojo

No fewer than 25 teams enter Week 13 with hopes of staying alive beyond Week 17, a dream scenario for the NFL. Flip on any game this weekend and it will have some tiny shred of playoff significance -- including all three games on Thanksgiving, where the stakes are sky high for every team involved.

There's plenty to play for over the next few weeks. Here's how the teams stack up as the holiday season rolls in.

NFL Power Rankings
1Seattle Seahawks
Last Week: 1
Despite the fact that some in Seattle's secondary seem to pass around banned substances with the enthusiasm of Bobby Boucher distributing water, the Seahawks have set themselves up as the team to beat down the stretch. Or, at least until Monday night, when they'll have to stop Drew Brees' passing attack with a thinned-out secondary.
2New Orleans Saints
Last Week: 3
Does any team in football have a tougher closing five-game stretch than New Orleans? It travels to Seattle this Monday, has a home-and-home with 8-3 Carolina, visits a St. Louis team that has won its past two games by an average of 25.5 points and closes with much-improved Tampa Bay.
3New England Patriots
Last Week: 6
Forget riding the hot hand. The Patriots have been reduced to sticking with the hand that can hang onto the football at running back. Currently in the spotlight: Brandon Bolden, who stepped in after Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount put the ball on the deck in Sunday's dramatic come-from-behind win.
4Carolina Panthers
Last Week: 4
In the past, the call on that last play vs. New England in Week 11 probably goes against the Panthers, so count that as a sign that this franchise has turned the corner. But an ever more obvious indicator is that Carolina followed up that emotional win over New England by surviving a tough road test in Miami.
5Denver Broncos
Last Week: 2
Coughing away a 24-0 halftime lead is as much an indictment of Denver's offense as it is its defense. Maybe the Peyton Manning cold-weather curse is overblown, but Broncos fans cannot be comfortable knowing he'll have to win three playoff games in wintry conditions.
6Kansas City Chiefs
Last Week: 5
The touted Kansas City defense now has allowed 400-plus yards in three straight games after hitting that mark just once in Weeks 1 through 8. If Denver makes it four in a row this week, the Chiefs probably won't be able to halt their losing streak.
7San Francisco 49ers
Last Week: 10
The 49ers had been 1-6 in games in which they finished with fewer than 100 yards rushing prior to Monday's 76-yard effort. Colin Kaepernick throwing three TDs (and no INTs) in spite of that lacking ground attack is as promising a development as San Francisco's had this season.
8Cincinnati Bengals
Last Week: 7
It wasn't all that long ago we were talking about the Bengals as a division-title lock and possible first-round bye candidate. Now? If they lose in San Diego on Sunday, their AFC North lead will be chopped to one game.
9Philadelphia Eagles
Last Week: 11
Number of wins Philadelphia has over teams currently above .500? Zero. Number of games remaining with teams boasting winning records? Four. Time to find out if the Eagles are legit.
10Arizona Cardinals
Last Week: 13
Now that Andy Reid has loosened his grip on presumptive Coach of the Year honors, Bruce Arians might be on deck. Oh, and Carson Palmer's last two outings combined: 733 yards, four touchdowns, no INTs.
11Dallas Cowboys
Last Week: 15
Dez Bryant remains the obvious go-to guy for Tony Romo. Dallas' game-winning drive Sunday, though, featured four receivers (RB DeMarco Murray also helped move the chains with multiple running plays). This offense is at its best when Romo spreads the wealth.
12Indianapolis Colts
Last Week: 9
Part of owner Jim Irsay's message to his team on Twitter Tuesday: "We gotta get our heads out of r butts-WAKE UP!" Irsay's rants are legendary, but this one plays -- the struggling Colts are at a crossroads of their season.
13St. Louis Rams
Last Week: 17
Did it take St. Louis too long to unlock the magic of its offense? Probably ... for 2013's playoff hopes. The emergence of Zac Stacy at RB and Tavon Austin at WR, however, sets this franchise up to be a contender come 2014.
14Pittsburgh Steelers
Last Week: 19
Five sacks, a balanced offense, a defensive touchdown ... Sunday's win over Cleveland was about as vintage Pittsburgh Steelers as this team has been in quite some time.
15Green Bay Packers
Last Week: 16
Despite posting an 0-3-1 mark over their past four and sitting in third place, the Packers are the first NFC North team here. Why? Because Detroit and Chicago have let them hang around almost long enough for Aaron Rodgers to come back and play the hero.
16Baltimore Ravens
Last Week: 20
Maybe, just maybe Jacoby Jones can be the playmaker alongside Torrey Smith that this team has been missing all season. Sunday, he went over 100 yards receiving for the first time since Dec. 26, 2010.
17Detroit Lions
Last Week: 12
In their apparent never-ending quest to find new ways to lose, the Lions committed two of the season's most bizarre turnovers Sunday. First, Kris Durham somehow forced a fumble on himself while falling out of bounds, with the ball spinning perfectly to stay inbounds. Then with the game on the line, Calvin Johnson appeared to have a catch inside the Tampa Bay 5, only to have the ball shoot out of his hands into Jonathan Banks' for an interception.
18Chicago Bears
Last Week: 8
It's tough to wins games in November and December when you can't stop the run, and the Bears have been as effective against the run as A-Rod has been at convincing folks of his innocence. Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart, off gashing Green Bay, are up next for Chicago.
19San Diego Chargers
Last Week: 22
Believe it or not, San Diego has played only four home games so far this season. Which might lead one to believe that the Chargers, with four of their final five in Qualcomm, are primed for a playoff push -- not that anything about this Chargers team has been predictable.
20Tennessee Titans
Last Week: 26
Are the Titans a playoff team? Are they even a remotely good team? Their 2-4 home record and 1-3 mark under Ryan Fitzpatrick would point toward no for both queries, and yet ... there they are in a wild-card spot.
21Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last Week: 28
Dear Mike Glennon, I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I thought you were destined to be at best a career backup. I'm sorry I assumed you would throw interceptions on approximately 800 percent of your throws against NFL defenses. I'm sorry I doubted you. Happy holidays.
22New York Giants
Last Week: 14
The list of running backs averaging more yards per game than Andre Brown's 102.7 is null and void. Brown is not eligible for the official league leader list because he missed eight games. Still, his showing hints that 2014 could be a step up for the Giants over a tough 2013.
23Buffalo Bills
Last Week: 23
"Marquise is a guy you want to get him the ball, but not just deep routes," EJ Manuel said of fellow rookie Marquise Goodwin. The Bills would be wise to listen, especially after Goodwin scored on a 43-yarder Sunday. He's the threat here that Tavon Austin is in St. Louis.
24Miami Dolphins
Last Week: 24
The Dolphins probably have the best defense that no one talks about. Unfortunately, they also have an offense that we can't stop discussing for all the wrong reasons.
25New York Jets
Last Week: 18
Geno Smith has gone more than a month without a touchdown pass -- his last came in the Jets' Week 7 win over New England. Since then, he has seven picks and a giant goose egg in the plus column. Figuring out how many of the offensive issues are his fault will be priority No. 1 for the Jets in the coming weeks and months.
26Cleveland Browns
Last Week: 25
The Browns appear to have swindled Indianapolis in the Trent Richardson trade, and they don't necessarily need a dominant back in their offense. What they could use, however, is a more dangerous weapon in the pass game. Chris Ogbonnaya, a couple fumbles aside, has been solid but he hardly scares any defenses.
27Oakland Raiders
Last Week: 21
This team has enough issues without Sebastian Janikowski morphing into 2012 Mason Crosby. Seabass is hitting field goals at a shaky 68.2-percent clip, and his two misses Sunday cost Oakland a W.
28Minnesota Vikings
Last Week: 29
Ties are pointless enough without bringing the added pain Minnesota felt Sunday in dropping three draft slots because of that result. At least with a win, the Vikings could have rejoiced in hurting the rival Packers' playoff case.
29Jacksonville Jaguars
Last Week: 30
The numerous Jaguars fans on the Teddy Bridgewater bandwagon have to be feeling pretty conflicted with Jacksonville's recent 2-1 stretch. On the plus side, this team's playing hard for coach Gus Bradley. But will that effort cost the Jaguars their QB of the future?
30Washington Redskins
Last Week: 27
The wheels on the bus are falling off, falling off, falling off. The wheels on the bus are falling off, who let Kyle Shanahan drive?
31Atlanta Falcons
Last Week: 31
How the Falcons defense has turned in its two best showings against the Saints is one of the season's great mysteries. The offense should bounce back when it's healthy again next season. This D is in need of several improvements.
32Houston Texans
Last Week: 32
With their putrid six-point showing Sunday, the Texans slipped to 30th in points scored. The last time they were buried in such depths was the franchise's inaugural year of 2002, with David Carr under center. Houston had the NFL's worst offense that season.

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