Analysis

NFL Week 12 Power Rankings: Vikings Fall Hard as Titans Enter Top Five

Sunday’s stunning 40-3 home loss to the Cowboys isn’t going to have any effect on the Vikings’ ability to make the playoffs. Even with the lopsided defeat, they head into Week 12 with a comfy four-game lead in the NFC North.

But it did drop the 8-2 Vikings from third to eighth in The 33rd Team’s latest power rankings. That’s a significant fall for a team with an 8-2 record, but 37-point home losses come with consequences.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs (8-2) and the Eagles (9-1) hung on to the top two spots in the rankings with close-call wins. The No. 1-ranked Chiefs beat the No. 17 Chargers (5-5) on Patrick Mahomes’ third touchdown pass of the game to Travis Kelce with 31 seconds left.

Quarterback Jalen Hurts brought the Eagles back from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit, scoring on a 7-yard run with 1 minute, 30 seconds left to give his team a one-point win against the No. 19 Colts (4-6-1) a week after they suffered their first loss of the season to No. 14 Washington (6-5).

The Bills (7-3), who lost to the Vikings at home two weeks ago by three points, replaced Minnesota in the No. 3 spot. The 7-3 Ravens and Titans both moved up one spot to fourth and fifth respectively. The Cowboys (7-3), whose win against the Vikings came a week after a surprising home loss to the No. 20 Packers (4-7), moved up from eighth to sixth.

The Week 12 power rankings:

1. Kansas City Chiefs (8-2)

Last week: W 30-27 at Chargers | This week: vs. 3-7 Rams | Previous: 1

Good news: The Chiefs didn’t have two of their top pass-catching weapons (JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman) and still hung 30 points on the Chargers.

Bad news: They’ve held just four teams to less than 23 points and have given up the second-most touchdown passes in the league. But because their offense is so good, their defensive deficiencies seldom hurt them.

2. Philadelphia Eagles (9-1)

Last week: W 17-16 at Colts | This week: vs. 4-7 Packers | Previous: 2

Good news: Last week’s signings of veteran DTs Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh helped stabilize the Eagles’ run defense. After giving up 63 yards to Jonathan Taylor on the Colts’ first three possessions, the Eagles held him to 21 yards on 12 carries the rest of the game.

Bad news: The Eagles’ offense struggled without TE Dallas Goedert’s blocking and pass-catching. Goedert, who is on IR with a shoulder injury, will miss at least three more games, maybe more.

3. Buffalo Bills (7-3)

Last week: W 31-23 vs. Browns | This week: at 4-6 Lions | Previous: 4

Good news: A week after turning the ball over four times against the Vikings, the Bills had zero giveaways against the Browns.

Bad news: Their defense gave up three touchdown passes in a game for the first time this season.

4. Baltimore Ravens (7-3)

Last week: W 13-3 vs. Panthers | This week: at 3-7 Jaguars | Previous: 5

Good news: The combined record of the Ravens’ next six opponents is 20-38.

Bad news: The Ravens are 16th in the league in red-zone offense. In the last five games, they’ve converted just 9 of 20 trips inside the 20 into touchdowns.

5. Tennessee Titans (7-3)

Last week: W 27-17 at Packers | This week: vs. 6-4 Bengals | Previous: 6

Good news: Rookie WR Treylon Burks had his best game of the season. He was targeted eight times by Ryan Tannehill and had seven catches for 111 yards.

Bad news: Derrick Henry leads the NFL in rushing, but has averaged just 2.9 yards per carry in the last two games.

6. Dallas Cowboys (7-3)

Last week: W 40-3 at Vikings | This week: vs. 7-3 Giants | Previous: 8

Good news: Micah Parsons & Co. sacked Kirk Cousins seven times to run their sack total to a league-best 42.

Bad news: Ezekiel Elliott’s return from injury was uneventful. He rushed for just 42 yards on 15 carries.

7. San Francisco 49ers (6-4)

Last week: W 38-10 at Cardinals | This week: vs. 4-7 Saints | Previous: 7

Good news: They’re playing as well as any team in the NFC right now.

Bad news: The flight back from Mexico City was a tad bumpy.

8. Minnesota Vikings (8-2)

Last week: L 3-40 vs. Cowboys | This week: vs. 6-4 Patriots | Previous: 3

Good news: The Vikings could spend the next three weeks in Cancun and would still be leading their division when they got back.

Bad news: They have given up 70 points in their last two games and have taken bad beatings in two of their three games against the NFC East.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (6-4)

Last week: W 37-30 at Steelers | This week: at 7-3 Titans | Previous: 9

Good news: The Bengals have won four of their last five games, averaging 36 points per game in the four wins.

Bad news: Those four wins were over teams with a combined 15-28 record.

10. Seattle Seahawks (6-4)

Last week: Bye | This week: vs. 3-7 Raiders | Previous: 12

Good news: Geno Smith has thrown 13 touchdown passes and just two interceptions in the Seahawks’ last seven games.

Bad news: They’ve given up 764 rushing yards in their four losses, including 161 to the Buccaneers before the bye.

11. Miami Dolphins (7-3)

Last week: Bye | This week: vs. 1-8-1 Texans | Previous: 13

Good news: The Dolphins took a four-game winning streak into the bye week.

Bad news: Those four wins came against teams with a combined 12-25 record.

12. New England Patriots (6-4)

Last week: W 10-3 vs. Jets | This week: at 8-2 Vikings | Previous: 17

Good news: All of those gloom-and-doom predictions about the impact Josh McDaniels’ departure would have on the Patriots’ offense has turned out to be a bit overblown, even if they did fail to score an offensive touchdown Sunday against the Jets.

Bad news: The Patriots’ 17 turnovers are the fourth-most in the NFL.

13. New York Jets (6-4)

Last week: L 3-10 at Patriots | This week: vs. 3-8 Bears | Previous: 10

Good news: The Jets haven’t given up more than 22 points in a game since Week 3. The defense’s 11 interceptions are tied for third-most in the league, and their 32 sacks are tied for fourth.

Bad news: After yet another disappointing performance by Zach Wilson, the jury remains very much out on the first-round quarterback.

14. New York Giants (7-3)

Last week: L 18-31 vs. Lions | This week: at 7-3 Cowboys | Previous: 11

Good news: With five division games left to play, including a Thanksgiving battle with the Cowboys and two games against the Eagles, the Giants control their own destiny.

Bad news: A thin WR corps got thinner Sunday after Wan’Dale Robinson tore his ACL shortly after becoming the first Giants receiver to record at least 100 yards receiving in one game this season.

15. Washington Commanders (6-5)

Last week: W 23-10 at Texans | This week: vs. 5-6 Falcons | Previous: 15

Good news: Taylor Heinicke’s passing numbers aren’t much to look at, but the Commanders are 4-1 since he replaced Carson Wentz.

Bad news: The Commanders unexpectedly find themselves in the playoff hunt, but have a challenging schedule remaining, including two games with the Giants and games against the Cowboys and 49ers.

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5)

Last week: Bye | This week: at 3-7 Browns | Previous: 14

Good news: Tom Brady finally has given offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich his blessing to run the ball.

Bad news: The Buccaneers are averaging just 18.3 points per game. That’s the fewest by a Brady-quarterbacked team ever.

17. Los Angeles Chargers (5-5)

Last week: L 27-30 vs. Chiefs | This week: at 4-7 Cardinals | Previous: 16

Good news: They had the No. 1-ranked Chiefs on the ropes Sunday night until Mahomes and Kelce ruined things.

Bad news: WR Mike Williams returned to the lineup after missing two games with an ankle injury, but played just six snaps before hurting the ankle again.

18. Indianapolis Colts (4-6-1)

Last week: L 16-17 vs. Eagles | This week: vs. 3-7 Steelers | Previous: 20

Good news: Despite injuries to several key players, the Colts’ defense has played well. They’ve held two of the league’s top offenses – the Chiefs and Eagles – to season-low point totals.

Bad news: Since putting up 34 points in a Week 6 win against Jacksonville, the Colts have averaged just 14 points in their last five games, and 11.2 in the four of those they’ve lost.

19. Green Bay Packers (4-7)

Last week: L 17-27 vs. Titans | This week: at 9-1 Eagles | Previous: 21

Good news: Rookie WR Christian Watson has five touchdown catches in the last two games and seems to have finally earned his QB’s trust.

Bad news: The Packers are at the tail end of the Murderer’s Row portion of their schedule that has already included the Bills, Cowboys and Titans, and concludes Sunday with a trip to Philly to face the 9-1 Eagles.

20. Los Angeles Rams (3-7)

Last week: L 20-27 at Saints | This week: at 8-2 Chiefs | Previous: 19

Good news: Cooper Kupp isn’t going to have to worry about hurrying back from his ankle injury for the playoffs.

Bad news: The Rams are averaging more than 10 points less per game this year than they did last year during their Super Bowl run. Sean McVay must’ve gotten that Chunky Soup gig before the season started.

21. Atlanta Falcons (5-6)

Last week: W 27-24 vs. Bears | This week: at 6-5 Commanders | Previous: 23

Good news: The Falcons are third in the league in rushing. They’ve rushed for 135-plus yards in nine of their 11 games.

Bad news: Marcus Mariota has played OK but isn’t the answer at quarterback, which means the search for a replacement will dominate the Falcons’ offseason.

22. Arizona Cardinals (4-7)

Last week: L 10-38 vs. 49ers | This week: vs. 5-5 Chargers | Previous: 18

Good news: Just one more game until the bye week.

Bad news: Stick a fork in them. They’re done.

23. Detroit Lions (4-6)

Last week: W 31-18 at Giants | This week: vs. 7-3 Bills | Previous: 25

Good news: The Lions have won three games in a row for the first time in five years and have scored 62 points in their last two games.

Bad news: Their defense is still a work in progress. The Giants game was only the third time this season they’ve held an opponent to less than 27 points.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7)

Last week: Bye | This week: v. 7-3 Ravens | Previous: 24

Good news: Trevor Lawrence has a 108.5 passer rating in the last two games.

Bad news: Josh Allen, Travon Walker and Dawuane Smoot have combined for 82 QB pressures, but only 10 ½ sacks.

25. New Orleans Saints (4-7)

Last week: W 27-20 vs. Rams | This week: at 6-4 49ers | Previous: 31

Good news: Andy Dalton had a career-high 149.6 passer rating against the Rams, throwing three touchdown passes and completing 21-of-25 attempts.

Bad news: The Saints have a league-worst minus-12 turnover differential.

26. Cleveland Browns (3-7)

Last week: L 23-31 at Bills | This week: vs. 5-5 Bucs | Previous: 26

Good news: Jacoby Brissett threw for a season-high 324 yards and three touchdowns against the Bills.

Bad news: For one of the few times this season, their ground game came up small against the Bills. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt were held to a combined 51 yards on 19 carries.

27. Las Vegas Raiders (3-7)

Last week: W 22-16 at Broncos | This week: at 6-4 Seahawks | Previous: 32

Good news: The Raiders finally won a close game. Derek Carr had his third straight two-touchdown game, including a 35-yard walk-off TD pass to Davante Adams in overtime.

Bad news: The Raiders’ pass defense is a joke. They are last in opponent passer rating (106.3) and opponent completion percentage (71.5), with only three interceptions and 13 sacks.

28. Denver Broncos (3-7)

Last week: L 16-22 vs. Raiders | This week: at 3-8 Panthers | Previous: 22

Good news: Their defense has held its last six opponents to 17.2 points per game.

Bad news: Russell Wilson’s mighty struggles continued. He didn’t throw a touchdown pass Sunday and has thrown just three in his last five starts.

29. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-7)

Last week: L 30-37 vs. Bengals | This week: at 4-6-1 Colts | Previous: 30

Good news: After throwing seven interceptions in his first four games, Kenny Pickett has thrown just one in his last three starts.

Bad news: The Steelers have given up a league-high 22 touchdown passes, including four more Sunday to Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow.

30. Carolina Panthers (3-8)

Last week: L 3-13 at Ravens | This week: vs. 3-7 Broncos | Previous: 28

Good news: The Panthers held the Ravens to a season-low 13 points.

Bad news: They scored a season-low three points.

31. Chicago Bears (3-8)

Last week: L 24-27 at Falcons | This week: at 6-4 Jets | Previous: 27

Good news: GM Ryan Poles still has a lot of work to do rebuilding the Bears. But it appears he’s found his quarterback.

Bad news: The Bears have given up 142 points in their last four games. They own the third-worst third-down defense in the league (48.1%).

32. Houston Texans (1-8-1)

Last week: L 10-23 vs. Commanders | This week: at 7-3 Dolphins | Previous: 29

Good news: Their 11 draft picks next spring, including two in the first round, one of which could be the first overall pick, won’t turn the Texans into a Super Bowl team. However, they might make them a little bit less of an eyesore if they use them correctly, which is a big if.

Bad news: One of their few offensive bright spots, rookie running back Dameon Pierce, was held to eight yards on 10 carries by Washington.

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