The Kansas City Chiefs remain in first place in these power rankings as we approach Thanksgiving and the business end of the 2022 NFL season. After Dallas' 40-3 demolition of Minnesota on Sunday, the Cowboys are a big riser this week (although not the biggest) and the Vikings make the largest drop from second place to ninth.
Patrick Mahomes has now won 25 games in a row in November and December. That is a ridiculous stat. Travis Kelce leads the league with 11 receiving touchdowns and continues to play more like a big wide receiver than a tight end. KC are 4-0 when trailing at halftime this year, so they can dig deep.
The Eagles were far too sloppy for large portions of Sunday’s game against Indianapolis. After three giveaways in the first eight games, they have six in the last two outings. But they put the game on Jalen Hurts’ shoulders with a series of designed runs and the young quarterback delivered the win.
If the Cowboys can replicate the form they showed against the Vikings on Sunday, they can win the Super Bowl. They were that good. They were well balanced on offense, Tony Pollard is an emerging star and the defense had a field day with seven sacks. That unit leads the league with 42 sacks.
The Bills won a game in Detroit on a weekend when they must have wondered if they were going to get off their own driveways. A major assist has to go to the people of Buffalo, who dug the players out so they could play the game. That is the stuff of legend that will be talked about for years in the NFL.
The Dolphins are coming off their bye week with a 7-3 record and in first place in the AFC East. They’re all set to make a serious run, but they will be tested with upcoming road games against San Francisco, the LA Chargers, Buffalo and New England. Survive some of those and this team is a contender.
The 49ers had all their offensive weapons on display in Mexico and it was beautiful. Jimmy Garoppolo threw four touchdown strikes, Christian McCaffrey went over 100 scrimmage yards, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk each scored two touchdowns and Deebo Samuel had 94 yards and a score. Look out.
We’ve long talked about the physicality of the Titans on defense and their bruising desire to run Derrick Henry until opposing teams cry “Uncle.” But what if Ryan Tannehill can keep throwing for more than 300 yards and Treylon Burks can replicate the 100-yard receiving day he had in Green Bay.
The Ravens won at the weekend and now boast an impressive 7-3 record to top the AFC North. That’s all positive – as was the form of a defense that totally stifled Carolina – but I cannot overlook the fact this team managed just 13 points against the Panthers in what was a tough game to watch.
Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys was probably one of those ‘bury the film’ games for the Vikings. It was so bad that you simply move on and don’t look back. But I think this team would be well served in finding out why Kirk Cousins was sacked seven times and running for his life all night long.
The Bengals had to withstand some body blows from the Pittsburgh Steelers, but they were dragged to victory by their impressive leader in quarterback Joe Burrow. The third-year quarterback threw for 355 yards and four touchdowns, keeping Cincinnati on the heels of Baltimore in the AFC North.
Tom Brady and the Bucs enjoyed a week off after their successful trip to Germany but now they must remember what led them to victory in Munich. Greater balance on offense with a commitment to the run, an efficient passing game and a rampaging defense. If repeated, the Bucs will be dangerous.
The Seahawks have a chance to get back to winning ways as they host the Las Vegas Raiders at home coming off their bye week. This is a chance for Geno Smith and his offensive counterparts to attack a defense that ranks 27th in the NFL. Seattle cannot afford another slip here.
Bill Belichick grew up being taught the importance of great defense and special teams. No wonder he was buoyant – by his standards – after last week’s 10-3 win over the Jets. But you can only go so far with a poor offense and the Patriots have a moribund unit that cannot make enough big plays.
Zach Wilson completed nine passes on a day when the Jets punted 10 times. He led his team to three points in the entire game and amassed two offensive yards in the second half. And yet he didn’t think he let the defense down? Wilson will be lucky if he has not been benched by the time you read this.
The Giants crashed back down to earth with a 31-18 defeat at the home to the Detroit Lions that was in no way a fluke. New York remains wafer thin at receiver so that makes Saquon Barkley’s 22 rushing yards on 15 carries a real concern. That cannot afford for their star man to go quiet now.
Ron Rivera’s team have won five of their last six to move into the NFC Wild Card race. The defense is leading the way but the head coach also doesn’t want to mess with the offense and has stressed that Carson Wentz is the backup QB when he returns from a broken finger. All yours, Taylor Heinicke.
The Chargers always have a puncher’s chance with Justin Herbert at quarterback and they looked more like their old selves in Sunday’s loss to Kansas City. The return of Keenan Allen boosted the passing attack, although Mike Williams re-aggravated his ankle injury after making just one catch.
The Falcons seem to be involved in wild games every week due to the fact that they cannot stop anyone with their 30th-ranked defense. But they also possess a great fighting spirit and stay in – and win – a lot of those games. Atlanta are not trusted by many but they are fighting for their division.
For the first time in many a year, I’m really excited to watch the Lions play on Thanksgiving. Dan Campbell has this group fired up and they have won three in a row. They have playmakers in the run and pass games and young defensive players growing well in Aidan Hutchinson and Kerby Joseph.
The Packers are 4-7 and are now entering the playoffs… for them. They probably cannot afford to lose another game the rest of the way and that’s bad news given that they take on Philadelphia on Sunday Night Football. If they lose that one, dare they bench Aaron Rodgers and take a look at Jordan Love?
Injuries have decimated the Saints, but Andy Dalton had some of his guys back last weekend and he threw three touchdown passes in a victory over the Los Angeles Rams. A tougher test awaits on Sunday with a trip to San Francisco. The Saints might yet have a spoiler role to play in 2022.
It doesn’t feel like there is much to get excited about when it comes to this team and the final seven weeks of the regular season. Arizona are 4-7 and sliding down in a lost season. They were out-matched against the 49ers in Mexico and it was another example of a defense that ships far too many points.
The Browns remain competitive and pushed the Buffalo Bills very hard on Sunday. But they just cannot seal the deal and are now 3-7 and have fallen out of the playoff race in the AFC. Cleveland only need to go through one more game before their controversial Deshaun Watson era begins in Week 13.
The Bears are way more entertaining than in recent years as Justin Fields continues to shine at quarterback. But they have to find a way to finish. Chicago have scored at least 24 points in each of their last five games but have gone 1-4 and have lost four in a row. They are close, but not there yet.
The Jaguars are coming off their bye and as they take on the Baltimore Ravens they will hope for continued good form from quarterback Trevor Lawrence – who is coming off very nice back to back displays – and running back Travis Etienne. That won’t be easy against Baltimore’s tough defense.
I definitely believe that Jeff Saturday has made a positive impact as interim head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. But while he can invoke an energetic response from his players, he cannot magically upgrade the ailing arm of veteran quarterback Matt Ryan. That is holding this team back.
Derek Carr and Davante Adams hooked up for a game-winning touchdown pass in overtime against Denver last week and it might just have saved Josh McDaniels’ job… for now. Carr has at least two touchdown passes and no interceptions in each of his last three games.
What a mess. Cooper Kupp is on injured reserve and Matthew Stafford was knocked out of last week’s loss to New Orleans with a second concussion. There is no route back to the playoffs now for arguably the most disappointing defending champ in NFL history.
I was stunned to learn on Sunday night that Najee Harris’ 19-yard touchdown run was Pittsburgh’s longest offensive touchdown of the season. That got raised to 24 yards by George Pickens later in the same game against Cincinnati. But that fact shows the stunning lack of explosion in Pittsburgh’s attack.
The defense plays well for the Panthers but, not for the first time, they are being undone by shoddy quarterback play. Baker Mayfield was not up to the task and now Carolina will turn to Sam Darnold. He will not be the answer, either. They simply must find a long-term answer at that vital position.
The seat upon which Nathaniel Hackett is now sitting has turned positively volcanic. He is looking more and more like a one and done head coach in Denver, but we are so often told players win games. They can lose them as well and Russell Wilson is just as much to blame for this demise.
Houston still only have one win to their name and have lost five in a row. They gained just 148 total yards against Washington in Week 11 and they just don’t have the horses to make a weekly impact. The Texans gained an embarrassing five yards in the first half of their loss in Washington