NFL POWER RANKINGS: WEEK 13

By ADAM GREENE

At long last the 12th week of the NFL season finally came to an inglorious end as third string Baltimore Ravens quarterback Trace McSorely picked up his one and only NFL highlight with a 70-yard touchdown pass that broke every single Pittsburgh Steelers bettor’s heart Wednesday night.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have Pittsburgh and Baltimore pre-ranked here before the game even kicked off. As I’ve said before, no good team should lose to the Ravens’ Pop Warner offense even at full strength. It definitely shouldn’t happen with their B team on the field.

As for the rest of the rankings, the Top 10 remains roughly the same, though with teams slotted in different spots. The fact is, this season is playing out predictably, minus a bad loss or two, but if any team ranked in the low teens is going to pull a shocker and make the postseason, the push has to begin now.

1. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (11-0)

To no one’s surprise the Steelers knocked off the Ravens’ JV team. To plenty of people’s surprise they didn’t cover. The problem for Pittsburgh as they close in on a possible undefeated season is the games will just get tougher, no matter how inferior the opponent happens to be. It’s the nature of the beast when you shoot for perfection. Last week: No. 1

2. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (10-1)

The Chiefs are the best team in football and could easily finish with just one loss this season and still not be the top seed in the AFC. Last week: No. 2

3. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (9-2)

Taysom Hill completed nine passes last week against the Broncos and the team won. It wasn’t even close. There is a vast chasm between the good teams and even the OK teams in the NFL this season. Last week: No. 3

4. BUFFALO BILLS (8-3)

The Bills are not only the only team that could mess up the eventual Steelers vs Chiefs AFC Championship game, they’re also the only realistic pick to keep Pittsburgh from finishing the regular season 16-0. Last week: No. 5

5. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (8-3)

Like every other NFC West team, the Seahawks have to face down a gauntlet to keep a home field playoff game over the last month of the season. Last week: No. 6

6. TENNESSEE TITANS (8-3)

The Titans are two victories away (with five tries to get there) from their first double-digit win season since 2008. Last week: No. 7

7. GREEN BAY PACKERS (8-3)

The Packers play one team with a winning record over the final five games, the Tennessee Titans, and it’s at Lambeau. Last week: No. 8

8. CLEVELAND BROWNS (8-3)

This week marks the first time in 12 seasons the Browns are guaranteed to not post a losing record at the end of the season. On a personal note, in my six years of crafting Power Rankings, this is the highest I’ve ever put them. Last week: No. 10

9. LOS ANGELES RAMS (7-4)

Jared Goff has turned the ball over 10 times in his last four games. In a wide open NFC, Goff’s carelessness with the football could cost LA another shot at the Super Bowl. Last week: No. 4

10. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (7-4)

The Colts hold onto a playoff spot in a crowded AFC, but they can’t let the Houston Texans take it away from them Sunday. Last week: No. 9

11. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (6-5)

Nothing can wipe the bad taste of a horrid loss from a team’s mouth like trip to New York to take on the Jets. Last week: No. 11

12. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (6-5)

The Bucs get their bye at the perfect time, if by perfect you mean that they’ve already played and lost most of the biggest games on their schedule. Last week: No. 12

13. ARIZONA CARDINALS (6-5)

The Cardinals have one thing working against them in their playoff push; their schedule, which includes two games against the Rams, one against the 49ers and one against the Seahawks. Last week: No. 13

14. MIAMI DOLPHINS (6-5)

The Dolphins could be that team that accidentally makes the playoffs a year early and messes up their schedule for the next two seasons. See the 2018 Chicago Bears. Last week: No. 14

15. BALTIMORE RAVENS (6-5)

The Ravens offense can only consistently work if Lamar Jackson is in the game and they’re playing a team that’ll finish with the season with under six wins. Last week: No. 15

16. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (5-6)

The Patriots aren’t out of the playoff race just yet, but they’ll have to get past three teams with winning records over their next five games to get there. Last week: No. 17

17. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (5-6)

The results Kyle Shanahan’s paternity test are back and I have bad news for the Rams and Sean McVay. Last week: No. 18

18. CHICAGO BEARS (5-6)

I’m not sure how many people are left from the 2017 front office that drafted Mitchell Trubiski over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, but that number should be exactly zero. Last week: No. 16

19. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (5-6)

The Vikings aren’t out of the playoff race by any means, but they need plenty to go right for them over the next five games. Mainly for Kirk Cousins to not play like Kirk Cousins and Mike Zimmer to not coach like Mike Zimmer. Last week: No. 21

20. ATLANTA FALCONS (4-7)

The Falcons finally discovered their offense this season and it only took them 12 weeks and two head coaches to do it. Last week: No. 23

21. HOUSTON TEXANS (4-7)

All the Texans can realistically do at this point is play spoiler to AFC Wild Card teams. They can start Sunday with the Colts. Last week: No. 25

22. NEW YORK GIANTS (4-7)

I’ve run the numbers and looked ahead and, not to jinx it, but there’s a good chance that the Giants will make the playoffs as NFC East champion if they win two more games. Last week: No. 24

23. CAROLINA PANTHERS (4-8)

Like the Bucs, the Panthers get to enjoy one of the latest byes in the history of the NFL. Unlike Tampa Bay, they won’t be using it to get healthy and prepare for a last month playoff push. Last week: No. 20

24. WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (4-7)

With each start, Alex Smith stakes his claim on the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award. More than that, he might be the guy that pushes Washington back to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Last week: No. 30

25. DENVER BRONCOS (4-7)

After last week’s QB debacle, every team should take note. Not just to maximize their safety protocols, but they should also keep a QB separate from the rest. Maybe covered in plastic bubble wrap. Last week: No. 19

26. DETROIT LIONS (4-7)

The Lions hit the trap door under head coach Matt Patricia’s feet and sent him down the garbage shoot. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has been named interim head coach, but even if they guy wins a few games here over the next few weeks; don’t fall for it. He ain’t the pick. Last week: No. 22

27. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (3-8)

Chargers fans are so desperate to see head coach Anthony Lynn fired they’ve turned to sharing their message in a way that’s downright difficult to ignore. Last week: No. 26

28. DALLAS COWBOYS (3-8)

Jerry Jones should not only fire Mike McCarthy, he should fire himself as general manager for hiring him in the first place. Last week: No. 28

29. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (3-7-1)

I don’t think Carson Wentz is done, but the Eagles need to invest heavily in QB coaching this offseason or it will be. Still, it wouldn’t surprise me to see more of Jalen Hurts over the last month of the season. Last week: No. 27

30. CINCINNATI BENGALS (2-8-1)

Cincy QB Brandon Allen is living proof that if you keep working hard and hold onto your NFL dreams long enough they can still be thoroughly crushed by the Bengals. Last week: No. 29

31. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (1-10)

After their latest loss, the Jaguars fired general manager Dave Caldwell, but not head coach Doug Marrone. It may not mean Marrone is safe at season’s end, but it does mean the team is giving him every chance to keep his job. Last week: No. 31

32. NEW YORK JETS (0-11)

By keeping Sam Darnold at QB and Adam Gase as head coach, the Jets have all but secured not only the No. 1 overall pick in April 2021’s NFL Draft, but the third 0-16 season in the modern free agency era. It’s probably not a bad idea with the Jaguars keeping pace loss for loss literally since Week Two. Last week: No. 32

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