NFL power rankings, Week 13: Packers, Patriots earn their top spots

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  • Green Bay Packers
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With a couple of hot teams near the top of last week’s poll, the Cardinals and Chiefs, both on byes, there still was room near the summit for some big movements.

The Packers held their ground, but knocked the Rams down the hill in the process.

In terms of the Patriots, it’s hard to debate how hot they ahead of a huge test next week.

But before we get there, here is Touchdown Wire’s latest power rankings heading into Week 13:

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell (USAT photo)

32. Detroit Lions (0-10-1)

Last week: 32

So close again for the Lions, but a 16-14 Thanksgiving Day defeat to the Bears keeps them winless. This really felt like it could’ve been the one.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9)

Last week: 30

The Falcons beat the Jaguars, but Jacksonville couldn’t help themselves in assisting Atlanta win with giveaways. The Jags clawed back into it, eventually falling 21-14 after trailing 21-3.

30. Houston Texans (2-9)

Last week: 29

Some critical penalties helped down the Texans, but neither team look very good in a 21-14 win for the Jets in Houston. The Texans mustered only 202 yards of offense as the early-season spark provided by QB Tyrod Taylor before injury seems gone.

Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

29. New York Jets (3-8)

Last week: 31

On the plus side in this ugly game, the Jets did win and end a three-game skid in a contest where rookie QB Zach Wilson returned to the lineup. He did only muster up 145 passing yards, though. New York coach Robert Saleh called him “rusty.”

28. Chicago Bears (4-7)

Last week: 28

Beating the Lions should be expected of the Bears and any team at this point but Chicago needed a late field goal from Cairo Santos to make it happen, 16-14. The Bears ended a five-game losing streak and QB Andy Dalton, who started in favor of the injured Justin Fields, did have 317 passing yards.

27. Seattle Seahawks (3-8)

Last week: 26

A blown coverage by Washington late gave the Seahawks and QB Russell Wilson some hope… but the two-point conversion fell flat… much like Seattle did throughout the game. This team is destined for some changes now.

26. Carolina Panthers (5-7)

Last week: 22

Blown out by the Dolphins, 33-10, QB Cam Newton was benched and just when you thought that’d be the worst of it… it’s not. Carolina RB Christian McCaffrey just returned from injury, only for his season to end. He was placed on injured reserve and his season is over.

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8). Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

25. Atlanta Falcons (5-6)

Last week: 27

The Falcons find themselves so low on many polls because when they play a half-decent opponent, they’ve been blown out in recent weeks. Another team that should’ve won this weekend who did… but the Falcons did take their foot off the gas vs. the Jaguars. RB Cordarrelle Patterson’s return did provide some hope moving forward, at least.

24. New York Giants (4-7)

Last week: 25

The Giants defense got hot on the day the team honored former pass rusher Michael Strahan. The notched three interceptions and four total takeaways for the Hall of Famer. But as the final score of 13-7 indicates, New York’s offense didn’t exactly explode offensively in the win post-Jason Garrett.

23. Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)

Last week: 20

Throughout the entire season heading into Sunday, Eagles QB Jalen Hurts only had five interceptions. He had three against the Giants a week after using his legs to impressively beat a stout run defense in the Saints a week ago.

22. Washington Football Team (5-6)

Last week: 23

Washington made it closer than it needed to be but their defense held the Seahawks offense in check for most of the night. Had it not been for a called back touchdown late, Washington would’ve had a larger gap on the scoreboard in the end (or had their kicker not been hurt).

21. New Orleans Saints (5-6)

Last week: 16

Beaten up by injuries, the Saints were never even close to being on the same level as the Bills. New Orleans fell 31-6 on Thanksgiving at home and the score could’ve been even more lopsided if it wasn’t for a takeaway or two for the Saints defense.

Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II. Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

20. Miami Dolphins (5-7)

Last week: 23

The Dolphins? In the playoff discussion? Miami still has a ways to go with the damage done early this season. But there is no doubt the Dolphins have vastly improved during their four-game winning streak. WR Jaylen Waddle led the way offensively with 137 yards and a score while the Miami defense had three interceptions and five sacks.

19. Minnesota Vikings (5-6)

Last week: 18

QB Kirk Cousins and WR Adam Thielen doubled down on scores but it wasn’t enough in a 34-26 loss to the 49ers… another one-possession defeat for Minnesota. The Niners ran all over the Vikes defense and a loss between these two .500 teams in the NFC might prove costly.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5-1)

Last week: 15

The Steelers were routed by the Bengals, 41-10, which felt like a sign that Pittsburgh has some changes coming in the future with the rise of other AFC North rivals in recent years. Cincy scored on their first four drives to to help put the Steelers away quickly.

17. Cleveland Browns (6-6)

Last week: 17

In an ugly affair, the Browns defense showed up and had four interceptions. The problem continues to be the stunted passing attack with QB Baker Mayfield at the helm in Cleveland. His playmakers are limited and he’s banged up, which allows opponents to focus in on their top rushing attack.

16. Denver Broncos (6-5)

Last week: 21

In a weekend that didn’t have too many shocking upsets or wins, the Broncos might’ve taken the cake. Hosting the Chargers, Denver cornerback Patrick Surtain II had two interceptions including a pick-six in the 28-13 win. RB Melvin Gordon also averaged 4.9 yards per carry. The victory puts the Broncos in an interesting spot in the AFC West.

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (USAT photo)

15. Las Vegas Raiders (6-5)

Last week: 19

The post-Jon Gruden bump seemed to have worn off but the Raiders are still alive. In a huge win, Las Vegas took down the Cowboys in overtime on Thanksgiving. The AFC postseason race just keeps getting more interesting, week-by-week.

14. Los Angeles Chargers (6-5)

Last week: 11

The Bolts were in a prime position to do something about the Raiders winning… but they did not answer the bell. Pressure and a good scheme by the Broncos against Chargers QB Justin Herbert limited his outing as did inopportune miscues and penalties by Los Angeles.

13. Indianapolis Colts (6-6)

Last week: 12

As so many have mistakenly done before, Bucs QB Tom Brady had a chance to put it away late and did just that in a 38-31 win over the Colts. After this one, Indy just has to get themselves up off the mat. It was a hard-fought loss and the Colts should focus on their winning streak and momentum built in the weeks prior moving forward.

12. San Francisco 49ers (6-5)

Last week: 14

Just the way Kyle Shanahan likes it. The rushing attack bowled over the Vikings in the 49ers’ pivotal victory. WR Deebo Samuel had two rushing scores while Elijah Michell had one of his own with 133 yards on the ground. Now their defense needs to tighten up if the Niners are to build on this three-game winning streak.

11. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)

Last week: 13

RB Joe Mixon had a career effort with 165 rushing yards while a former Steelers defender, CB Mike Hilton, had a pick-six which was the cherry on top of the rout. The Bengals went up 31-3 on Hilton’s play and went on to win 41-10. Was this game symbolic of a new era in the AFC North?

Bills quarterback Josh Allen (USAT Photo)

10. Los Angeles Rams (7-4)

Last week: 6

That’s three in a row on the wrong side of the scoreboard for the Rams. Not to mention, this one comes after a bye week and two weeks to prepare for a banged up Packers roster. Los Angeles QB Matthew Stafford has a thing for the pick-six all of a sudden while their defense couldn’t slow Green Bay’s momentum at all in a 36-28 loss.

9. Dallas Cowboys (7-4)

Last week: 7

The Raiders looked dead in the water but rallied against Dallas thanks to some untimely play and penalties by the Cowboys. Specifically on defense. The Cowboys did, at least, get a comeback of their own from QB Dak Prescott.

8. Baltimore Ravens (8-3)

Last week: 9

About as unlikely of a win as you can get. If your QB throws four interceptions, a team almost never pulls it off. The Ravens did though and Lamar Jackson did exactly that, as their defense completely shut down the Browns’ offense and rushing attack in a 16-10 win.

7. Buffalo Bills (7-4)

Last week: 10

A blowout win or a questionable loss? That’s the formula for the Bills this season. This week, it was the first choice. Buffalo traveled to New Orleans and it was a 31-6 final for the Bills. It felt like it could have been a 51-6 final.

6. Tennessee Titans (8-4)

Last week: 5

The Titans hung tough early but it simply appeared that their injury bug was far too vast for them to overcome in New England this week. The first key to doing so is not turning the ball over. Tennessee rushers had three fumbles while QB Ryan Tannehill also tossed an interception.

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

5. New England Patriots (8-4)

Last week: 8

The Patriots whooped a depleted Titans team, 36-13. Rookie QB Mac Jones tossed two touchdown passes. A couple of top teams losing help the Pats move up in this week’s rankings, but their biggest game to date vs. the Bills next week looms.

4. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)

Last week: 4

Bye week.

3. Green Bay Packers (9-3)

Last week: 3

The Packers stand pat as a top-three team but that’s no slight. Their defense annoyed the Rams throughout their win while QB Aaron Rodgers’ toe was no match for his ability to lead his team down the field against a talented defense. RB AJ Dillion was also automatic on short yardage.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3)

Last week: 2

The Buccaneers got a vintage Tom Brady late-game win as held bled the clock and scored to beat the Colts, 38-31. But let’s not forget RB Leonard Fournette. He had four touchdowns, including the game winner from 28-yards out. The Bucs rallied down 24-14 at half.

1. Arizona Cardinals (9-2)

Last week: 1

Bye week.

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