Tuesday 22 August 2017 / 09:40 AM

NFL WEEK 12 POWER RANKINGS

The Raiders, Giants and Lions inched their way further up the top 10 after Week 11 wins, while the Texans and Ravens were the big-name sliders in the Power Rankings.

1. Dallas Cowboys (9-1) –

The Cowboys yet again took care of business, this time with a massive 300-yard performance from Dak Prescott, in what could amount to the best start of his young career. They took care of the Ravens and now sit pretty in the division, but the Giants aren’t letting them run away just yet.

2. Seattle Seahawks (7-2-1) –

The Seahawks just smothered the struggling Eagles offense, and Russell Wilson looked much better against a good defense in Philly. The Seahawks are going to be a tough out if they get home field, and with the division around them crumbling, it looks more and more like a real possibility.

3. New England Patriots (8-2) –

A win is a win in the NFL, no matter how ugly. Tom Brady and company turned on the jets a little late against San Fran and were still somehow able to just grind down the Niners. Things are getting a little tense, though, with the Dolphins making a late push, and looking at a really light schedule going forward.

4. Oakland Raiders (8-2) +1

The Raiders took their talents down to Mexico City and picked up what seemed like a large home field advantage while they were there. They took care of a sloppy start with a big second half. Derek Carr continues to do what he does. This team is just good – a real threat in the AFC.

5. Denver Broncos (7-3) +1

The Broncos had a BYE this week, and could really use it. The defense got healthier, now looking much more complete after beginning to get depleted. They also had time to look at the offense, and they really need it.

6. New York Giants (7-3) +2

Man, the Giants are streaking. They took care of Chicago, and are now right back in the thick of things in a division that features a team with the best record in football. They were left for dead a few weeks ago, with infighting everywhere. Now, the offense is among the best in football and they get the hapless Browns this week.

7. Kansas City Chiefs (7-3) -3

After traveling to a tough place in Carolina, to come home and drop one to Tampa Bay just felt like a colossal letdown. I know they can’t win them all at home, but come on. That one may end up stinging down the line, especially in this division. They’ve got a date with Denver this week.

8. Detroit Lions (6-4) +3

Speaking of streaking, anyone who thought the Megatron-less Lions would be leading their division this late in the season is lying to themselves. The Vikings look like they’ve slightly righted the ship, but the Lions offense is rolling. And what turned the corner is the improved defense. They’ll get Minnesota on Thanksgiving next.

9. Atlanta Falcons (6-4) –

A BYE for the Falcons saw the division get tighter, with the Bucs and Panthers getting to within a game and two of the Birds. They’ve got a tough defense in Arizona coming to town, and another loss would have them hitting the panic button on another potential collapse.

10. Washington Redskins (6-3-1)

The NFC East just gets more interesting, with Kirk Cousins turning back into the quarterback that we thought he could be. The defense, however, is more of a question. Things were ugly, surrendering huge plays left and right. But if the offense keeps playing like that, it may not matter for a while.

11. Houston Texans (6-4) -4

Yeah, the Texans had some rough calls go against them. But at the end of the day, they’ve again lost a big game to a divisional leader. They have had almost no luck against teams with winning records, and that has to be a concern at some point. The defense is great, but Osweiler has to step up.

12. Minnesota Vikings (6-4) +3

The Vikings got back on the winning track, and stabilized themselves with the Lions. But don’t think things are fixed: they only had one offensive touchdown on Sunday, using special teams and the defense to push scoring. They can’t rely on that going forward, especially against Detroit.

13. Miami Dolphins (6-4) +4

If this were ANY other division, I’d be very high on the Dolphins. Their schedule is really soft, and they’ve used that to their advantage, and should be able to going forward. But their looking up at New England, and there’s no hope for a collapse there. However, they are a real threat for a wild card birth.

14. Baltimore Ravens (5-5) -4

Seriously, does anyone want to win the AFC North? The Baltimore offense and defense both looked bad against Dallas, and now they go back home to welcome the Bengals now looking at a fight with Pittsburgh. Heck, even their lead on the Bengals is slim. It’s time lock in.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (5-5) -3

The slide for Philly, and their offense, just continues. The defense finally gave out, with an offense that’s stymied mightily after their fast start. Carson Wentz looks less comfortable, and the receivers have been bad for him. They’ve got another struggling team coming in on Monday in the Packers, in what is likely a survival game.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5) –

Yeah, the Steelers didn’t move up, but their situation got a lot better. They only beat the Browns, but they notched things up with the Ravens, and now are looking at a dead race for the division. A tough test in Indy for Thanksgiving will show how good this offense is at this point.

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5) +3

What a week for the Bucs. They inched closer to the Falcons (whom they own a tiebreaker over), and knocked off the Chiefs on the road. Talk about a confidence boost. Now, we’ll see if they can capture that momentum for the first time, and make a push for the postseason.

18. Indianapolis Colts (5-5) +3

Despite how bad they’ve been at times, here are the Colts, still hanging on to the playoff hopes from the beginning of the year. Somehow, they only trial the Texans by a game, and got their revenge on the Titans. Now, they have the Steelers, in a must win to keep pace.

19. Arizona Cardinals (4-5-1) -5

There are tough ways to lose, and then there’s the game the Cardinals played against the Vikings. It looks now like the division is out of reach, and now they turned their sights on the wildcard. But after getting the Hawks, they now have a road trip to the Falcons with their head coach just getting out of stay in the hospital. Ouch.

20. Buffalo Bills (5-5) +2

The Bills are still alive, and it’s completely behind the defense. Now, they look like a wildcard threat, and have the Jags coming to town. This team may rally to make the playoffs, and how fun would having Rex in the playoffs be?

21. Tennessee Titans (5-6) -3

I swear, the AFC South just can’t get out of its own way. The Titans looked like the challenger to the Texans, and then they dropped the ball against the Colts. Now, they’ve got a slight climb back to competition, but the Bears are the prime opponents to get back in it.

22. Carolina Panthers (4-6) +5

Welcome back to the discussion, Carolina. The Panthers got back into things are the heartbreaker to the Chiefs. Still, don’t bet on them coming back, as they have the toughest schedule in football going forward. Still, props for putting up a fight.

23. New Orleans Saints (4-6) -4

The Saints gave the Panthers a fight in the second half, but the bad first half doomed them. Now, they are sitting in the bottom of the NFC South, but still sit in decent shape to make the playoffs. Still, the offense is way too much of a live-or-die for this team, as bad as the defense is.

24. Los Angeles Rams (4-6) -1

Well, Jared Goff got some playing time. Unfortunately, it was in a losing effort. Still, the Rams rookie looked pretty good, and should get another start this week on the road in New Orleans. What better defense for a young QB?

25. San Diego Chargers (4-6) –

A week off for the battered Chargers is a good thing, but most of their injuries are yearlong affairs. Still, the Chargers needed the rest, and now will start the climb of trying to get back in the wildcard race, which is surprisingly within their reach.

26. Green Bay Packers (4-6) -2

It’s officially time for the Packers to panic. They are looking up at the rest of the division, and now things are looking more and more bleak for them to go to the postseason. Two years in a row missing it, and it’s time to evaluate this roster.

27. Cincinnati Bengals (3-6-1) -1

Yeah, the Bengals aren’t the same team that they’ve been the last few years. Andy Dalton is worse, and the defense is, too. But, as bad as it looks, it’s not over yet: the division they are in is the worst in football, and they still have a chance to make a move late.

28. New York Jets (3-7) –

A BYE for the Jets gave us a break from Jet football, but at least they got their quarterback again, renaming Ryan Fitzpatrick the starter again. So, ten games into the season, they are back to where they started. Man, things are rough in New York.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8) –

It’s our weekly edition of “How does Gus Bradley still have a job?” And in this weeks episode, it’s another loss to add to his 14-44 mantle. The Jaguars are bad, and Blake Bortles has lost all of his confidence. I’m not sure where they go from here, but there’s way too much young talent being wasted here.

30. Chicago Bears (2-8) –

And the Bears are still the Bears, and took another loss this week. But, it was uplifting seeing Jay Cutler play well. I still think he’s a good quarterback, but his experiment in Chicago may be getting close to over.

31. San Francisco 49ers (1-9) –

The 49ers showed a pulse for the first time in ages, giving the Patriots a legit fight for about a half of football. That’s more than most teams, and should give them some hope going forward. Man, that was a sad sentence to write.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-11) –

The Browns got beat again, but gave the Steelers a fight. Still, the Browns are now staring 0-16 in the face, and could really use a massive upset. Is it coming against the Ravens? They better hope so.

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About the author

Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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