It has pretty much been assumed since the beginning of the season that the AFC will come down to a late-January battle between Andy Reid’s Chiefs and Sean McDermott’s Bills.
Nothing that’s happened in the first 12 weeks of the season has changed that likelihood. The 9-2 Chiefs and the 8-3 Bills are ranked first and third in The 33rd Team power rankings heading into the December-January homestretch.
The Chiefs held on to the top spot Sunday with an easy 26-10 win over the struggling Rams. The Bills remained at No. 3 after beating the resurgent Lions on a 45-yard Tyler Bass field goal with two seconds left.
The NFC is a little more muddled, with four teams – the Eagles, Cowboys, 49ers and Vikings – battling for the conference’s No. 1 seed and the all-important home-field advantage through the playoffs.
The 9-1 Eagles, who hung on for a harder-than-it-should-have-been 40-33 win against the Packers Sunday, are sandwiched between the Chiefs and the Bills in the No. 2 spot.
The 8-3 Cowboys, 7-4 Niners and 9-2 Vikings all moved up two spots to fourth, fifth and sixth with impressive Thanksgiving week wins.
The 7-4 Ravens took the week’s second-biggest drop following their 28-27 loss to the 4-7 Jaguars. They plummeted from fourth to 10th. The spiraling Super Bowl champion Rams took the biggest drop, falling from 20th to 27th after losing for the eighth time in 11 games.
The 33rd Team’s Week 13 power rankings:
1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-2)
Last week: W 26-10 vs. Rams | This week: at 7-4 Bengals | Previous: 1
Good news: The Chiefs’ defense stole the show from the offense, holding the Rams to one touchdown, 13 first downs and 198 total yards.
Bad news: While it hasn’t hurt them, the Chiefs have 11 turnovers in their last six games.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (10-1)
Last week: W 40-33 vs. Packers | This week: vs. 7-4 Titans | Previous: 2
Good news: The Eagles rushed for 363 yards vs. the Packers, including 157 by QB Jalen Hurts. The 363 rushing yards were the most by the Eagles since 1943. Hurts has 18 rushing first downs in the last two games.
Bad news: The Eagles gave up 33 points to a Packers team averaging 18.4.
3. Buffalo Bills (8-3)
Last week: W 28-25 at Lions | This week: at 6-5 Patriots | Previous: 3
Good news: The Bills are fifth in scoring defense. They’ve held opponents to 18.1 points per game.
Bad news: The offense has turned the ball over a league-high 19 times, 14 of them by Josh Allen.
4. Dallas Cowboys (8-3)
Last week: W 28-20 vs. Giants | This week: vs. 4-7-1 Colts | Previous: 6
Good news: With the Colts, Texans and Jaguars up next, they should be going into their big Christmas Eve battle against the Eagles with a lot of momentum.
Bad news: Dak Prescott has been uncharacteristically reckless with the football. He has had multiple interceptions in two of the last three games.
5. San Francisco 49ers (7-4)
Last week: W 13-0 vs. Saints | This week: vs. 8-3 Dolphins | Previous: 7
Good news: The 49ers pitched their first shutout since 2019. They’ve held their last four opponents to a total of 40 points.
Bad news: San Francisco’s 13 points were their fewest since an 11-10 Week 3 loss to the Broncos.
6. Minnesota Vikings (9-2)
Last week: W 33-26 vs. Patriots | This week: vs. 7-4 Jets | Previous: 8
Good news: Justin Jefferson is the closest thing to an unstoppable receiver the league has. He has averaged 7.9 catches and 123.2 receiving yards per game in the Vikings’ last eight games.
Bad news: Their last three opponents have a collective 74.1 completion percentage and nearly 1,000 passing yards.
7. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)
Last week: W 20-16 at Titans | This week: vs. 9-2 Chiefs | Previous: 9
Good news: The Bengals have managed to win three of their last four games without injured WR Ja’Marr Chase.
Bad news: The Bengals have one of the league’s toughest December-January homestretches. Their remaining opponents include the Chiefs, Bucs, Patriots, Bills and Ravens.
8. Tennessee Titans (7-4)
Last week: L 16-20 vs. Bengals | This week: at 10-1 Eagles | Previous: 5
Good news: Their defense hasn’t given up more than 20 points since Week 3.
Bad news: The Titans’ offensive engine, Derrick Henry, has averaged just 2.7 yards per carry in the last four games. The Titans have managed to score more than 17 points in just one of those games.
9. Miami Dolphins (8-3)
Last week: W 30-15 vs. Texans | This week: at 7-4 49ers | Previous: 11
Good news: The Dolphins have won five in a row and have scored 30-plus points in the last four.
Bad news: Five of their final six opponents are teams with winning records.
10. Baltimore Ravens (7-4)
Last week: L 27-28 at Jaguars | This week: vs. 3-8 Broncos | Previous: 4
Good news: The Ravens have held their last four opponents to 41.5 rushing yards per game and 2.5 yards per carry.
Bad news: Baltimore has converted just 12 of its last 29 red-zone opportunities into touchdowns (41.4%). It’s 24th in red-zone offense (51.2%).
11. New England Patriots (6-5)
Last week: L 26-33 at Vikings | This week: vs. 8-3 Bills | Previous: 12
Good news: The Patriots are ninth in the league in run defense. In their last four games, they’ve held opponents to 61.2 rushing yards per game and 2.8 yards per carry.
Bad news: New England has been struggling on third down. It’s converted just 31.1% of its third-down opportunities in the last four games.
12. New York Jets (7-4)
Last week: W 31-10 vs. Bears | This week: at 9-2 Vikings | Previous: 13
Good news: The Jets may have found their long-term starting quarterback.
Bad news: He’s not the guy they spent the second overall pick in the 2021 draft on.
13. Washington Commanders (7-5)
Last week: W 19-13 vs. Falcons | This week: at 7-4 Giants | Previous: 15
Good news: The Commanders have won six of their last seven. They’ve held opponents to 15.4 points per game in those seven games.
Bad news: They’re still in last place in the NFC East.
14. Los Angeles Chargers (6-5)
Last week: W 25-24 at Cardinals | This week: at 4-7 Raiders | Previous: 17
Good news: Justin Herbert had his first three-touchdown game since Week 2.
Bad news: The Chargers are 26th in third-down defense (44.8%). In their last five games, opponents have converted 51.7% of their third downs v. the Chargers.
15. New York Giants (7-4)
Last week: L 20-28 at Cowboys | This week: vs. 7-5 Commanders | Previous: 14
Good news: Daniel Jones has the fourth-best interception percentage in the league. He’s averaging just one pick every 79 attempts and hasn’t thrown any in eight of the Giants’ 11 games.
Bad news: Saquon Barkley has averaged just 2.3 yards per carry in the Giants’ back-to-back losses to the Cowboys and Lions. They’re not going anywhere without him putting up 100-plus yards every week.
16. Seattle Seahawks (6-5)
Last week: L 34-40 vs. Raiders | This week: at 3-8 Rams | Previous: 10
Good news: The Seahawks have put up 30-plus points in five of their last eight games.
Bad news: The defense gave up 576 total yards to the Raiders, including 283 on the ground. That’s the third-most yards ever allowed by a Seahawk defense.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6)
Last week: L 17-23 at Browns | This week: vs. Saints | Previous: 16
Good news: Somehow, they’re still in the driver’s seat in the NFC South. God must not want Tom Brady to go out on a negative note.
Bad news: The Bucs’ protection problems have forced Brady to dink and dunk. He has averaged less than 6.1 yards per attempt in four of the last six games.
18. Indianapolis Colts (4-7-1)
Last week: L 17-24 vs. Steelers | This week: at 8-3 Cowboys | Previous: 18
Good news: Jonathan Taylor had his third straight game with 80-plus rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.
Bad news: The Colts’ next four opponents – Cowboys, Vikings, Chargers and Giants — are a combined 30-14.
19. Green Bay Packers (4-8)
Last week: L 33-40 at Eagles | This week: at 3-9 Bears | Previous: 19
Good news: They scored a season-high 33 points against an Eagles defense that had allowed just 18.3.
Bad news: Aaron Rodgers left the game Sunday night early in the fourth quarter with an oblique injury. Was it the end of an era?
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7)
Last week: W 28-27 vs. Ravens | This week: at 4-7 Lions | Previous: 24
Good news: Trevor Lawrence is starting to play like a first overall pick in the draft. In the last three games, he’s got a 116.1 passer rating with a 76.9 completion percentage, six TD passes and no interceptions.
Bad news: Given their difficult remaining schedule, 6-11 might be the best the Jags can hope for at this point..
21. Atlanta Falcons (5-7)
Last week: L 13-19 at Commanders | This week: vs. 4-7 Steelers | Previous: 21
Good news: Despite being two games below .500, they’re still only a game out of first in the NFC South.
Bad news: If they’re going to catch the Bucs, they’re going to have to do it without their best receiver, second-year TE Kyle Pitts, who tore his MCL in Week 11 and probably will miss the rest of the season.
22. Cleveland Browns (4-7)
Last week: W 23-17 vs. Bucs | This week: at 1-9-1 Texans | Previous: 26
Good news: Deshaun Watson’s 11-game suspension is officially over. He is eligible to play this week.
Bad news: The defense has intercepted just three passes all season and one in the last seven games.
23. Arizona Cardinals (4-8)
Last week: L 24-25 vs. Chargers | This week: Bye | Previous: 22
Good news: The Cardinals’ 181 rushing yards Sunday was their best ground performance of the season.
Bad news: It was against the Chargers, who can’t stop the run to save their lives.
24. Detroit Lions (4-7)
Last week: L 25-28 vs. Bills | This week: vs. 4-7 Jaguars | Previous: 23
Good news: Four of the Lions’ last six games are against teams with losing records.
Bad news: The Lions’ run game has cooled off. They averaged 5.2 yards per carry in their first seven games. In the last four? Just 3.7.
25. Las Vegas Raiders (4-7)
Last week: W 40-34 at Seahawks | This week: vs. 6-5 Chargers | Previous: 27
Good news: After losing six games by seven points or less, the Raiders have won two straight games in overtime.
Bad news: It’s way too little, way too late.
26. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-7)
Last week: W 24-17 at Colts | This week: at 5-7 Falcons | Previous: 29
Good news: Kenny Pickett hasn’t thrown an interception in the last three games.
Bad news: Pickett also hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in three of the last four games.
27. New Orleans Saints (4-8)
Last week: L 0-13 at 49ers | This week: at 5-6 Bucs | Previous: 25
Good news: They held the 49ers to 96 rushing yards and 3.3 yards per carry.
Bad news: The Saints were shut out for the first time since 2001.
28. Los Angeles Rams (3-8)
Last week: L 10-26 at Chiefs | This week: vs. 6-5 Seahawks | Previous: 20
Good news: They held the Chiefs to their fourth-lowest point total of the season.
Bad news: They still lost by 16 points.
29. Carolina Panthers (4-8)
Last week: W 23-10 vs. Broncos | This week: Bye | Previous: 30
Good news: With Matt Rhule signing a $72 million deal with Nebraska, the Panthers are off the hook for much of the $34 million they still owed him. If you’re Panthers’ owner David Tepper, that beats the hell out of anything that happened Sunday.
Bad news: As things stand now, the Panthers would have the sixth pick in the 2023 draft, which probably isn’t going to be high enough to land any of the draft’s top three QBs – Bryce Young, Will Levis and C.J. Stroud – without trading up. Levis is The 33rd Team’s top-rated quarterback.
30. Denver Broncos (3-8)
Last week: L 10-23 at Panthers | This week: at 7-4 Ravens | Previous: 28
Good news: There have been no reports yet of any members of the Broncos’ defense, which is third in the league in points allowed, threatening any members of their pathetic offense with physical harm.
Bad news: Russell Wilson’s passer rating (82.3), completion percentage (58.9) and yards-per-attempt average (7.05) are all career-lows.
31. Chicago Bears (3-9)
Last week: L 10-31 at Jets | This week: vs. 4-8 Packers | Previous: 31
Good news: Justin Fields’ 55 rushing first downs are the second-most in the league.
Bad news: Since their 33-14 Week 7 win over the Patriots, the Bears have lost five games in a row, giving up 34.6 points a game.
32. Houston Texans (1-9-1)
Last week: L 15-30 at Dolphins | This week: vs. 4-7 Browns | Previous: 32
Good news: If they don’t screw it up, they’re going to have the pick of the quarterback litter in next spring’s draft.
Bad news: The Texans have scored more than 20 points just once all season.