The Philadelphia Eagles are back on top of the power rankings after a complete performance in Sunday's thrashing of the Tennessee Titans. The Kansas City Chiefs drop from one to four, the Las Vegas Raiders are this week's biggest risers and the Miami Dolphins are among a handful of teams who make the largest drop.
The Eagles pounded the Green Bay Packers into submission with a dominant rushing attack in Week 12. Last weekend, they torched the Tennessee Titans through the air. They can beat you any way they want and look to be the class of the league as we head into the final five weeks of the regular season.
The Cowboys flexed their muscle by putting 54 points on the board against Indianapolis in Week 13. They have now won five of their last six and can keep that good form going with upcoming games against Houston and Jacksonville. A massive Christmas Eve battle with the Eagles looms large.
The Bills have survived a mid-season wobble which featured back-to-back losses to the Jets and Vikings. They have since won three straight and reclaimed their spot as the AFC’s number one seed. Josh Allen’s NFL-high 11 interceptions are a worry, but this team is good enough to overcome them.
I know, I know, Bengals fans. You’re literally just beaten the Chiefs for the third time in 2022! I still give the slight edge to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. If you were to ask me which of those teams is most likely to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, I would still lean towards KC.
The Bengals are another club taking on a very complete and balanced look at the right time of the year. They beat the Chiefs with some good running, solid defense and, of course, another outstanding showing from Joe Burrow, who might be an even better quarterback than he was a year ago. Scary!
History has shown that strong teams can survive and thrive with a backup quarterback. The 1990 New York Giants won a Super Bowl with Jeff Hostetler subbing for Phil Simms, Kurt Warner was an unknown before leading the Rams to glory in 1999 and we all know about Nick Foles in Philly in 2017. SF still have hope with Brock Purdy.
It really is an incredible statistic that is worth repeating. The Minnesota Vikings are 9-0 in one-score games this year. They blow hot and cold on both sides of the ball but make plays at exactly the right time in games. That counts for a lot and will make them extremely dangerous when the playoffs begin.
The Dolphins ran into a serious bully of a defense in San Francisco last week, but they still had their moments and were in the game before unravelling late on. Tua and the passing attack will be fine, but the injuries to offensive tackles Terron Armstead and Austin Jackson should be of real concern.
Not for the first time in Baltimore, the Ravens are leaning on their defense and that will be the case more than ever with Lamar Jackson sidelined with a knee injury. Tyler Huntley must make some plays in relief of Lamar. Pittsburgh will be dangerous this week after winning three of their last four.
The Seahawks ended their two-game slide with a hard-fought victory over the Los Angeles Rams that came off the back of a fine aerial performance from Geno Smith. Geno now has a career-high 3,169 passing yards and has thrown at least 2 TD passes and had a QB rating over 100 for six straight games.
The Jets players clearly love Mike White. When they flew to Minneapolis wearing Mike White t-shirts last week that must have been an awkward moment for Zach Wilson. White showed fight and skills in a close loss to the Vikings and he seems to offer the Jets their best hope for the remainder of 2022.
The Titans are stuck in mud on the offensive side of the ball. There is no fear of the passing attack, so defenses are loaded to slow Derrick Henry and it’s working. Behind an injury-hit line, Henry has averaged 52 rushing yards per game and 2.8 yards per rush over the last four weeks. Concerning.
The Buccaneers are a long way below the standards they have set in recent years, but they are still the best bet to top a poor NFC South and Tom Brady can still deliver magic, as he did late on Monday Night Football against his bogey team in the NFL in the New Orleans Saints.
The Lions are two games out of the NFC playoff spots with five to play. They couldn’t, could they? In beating Jacksonville last week, the Lions notched their sixth game in which they have scored at least 30 points. That’s half of the games for a team that had a non-existent offense this time last year.
It’s hard to know at this stage of the year if that tie against the New York Giants will hurt or help the Commanders come the season’s end. They are on a bye this week and then get another shot at the Big Blue.
The Raiders have won three in a row but might have left their playoff charge a couple of weeks too late in the competitive AFC. But they will be dangerous down the stretch. Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams are becoming a joy to watch on a weekly basis. Keeping Jacobs for 2023 should be a priority.
The Giants need to avoid the wheels coming off what was a promising campaign. After a 6-1 start, the Big Blue have three losses and a tie in five games. At least the tie showed there is still fight left in the Giants. The run-in is tough with two contests against the powerful Eagles and one against Minnesota.
The Chargers are currently 6-6 and two places out of the AFC playoff picture and I think they’re fighting for more than their postseason lives when they host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday night. If this season meanders towards another playoff-less finish, head coach Brandon Staley could be done.
The Patriots are 6-6 and just one game out of the playoff spots, but does anyone really expect them to make much noise in the big picture? They are not exactly exciting to watch on the offensive side of the ball. They need to find their own version of Justin Jefferson in the upcoming offseason.
The rust on Deshaun Watson was real in Sunday’s win over Houston that was powered by two defensive touchdowns and a special teams score. He and the Browns will struggle against tougher opposition if games cannot be raised. Few will want to see Cleveland in the playoffs, anyway.
The Packers headed into their late-season bye week with a win over Chicago that showed there is life in the old Aaron Rodgers dog yet. He was certainly helped by another big performance from Christian Watson. The rookie wide receiver has shown form that offers great hope for the future.
The Steelers have won three of their last four to improve to 5-7. It feels like reaching the playoffs might be a step too far, but they still have a shot at avoiding a first losing season under the leadership of head coach Mike Tomlin. Kenny Pickett’s play has been much tidier in the past month.
The NFC South division has been there for the taking in the past month and the Falcons have gone and lost four of their last five. What will frustrate Arthur Smith the most is that his team have been in those games, with three of those defeats coming by just one score. An opportunity has been lost.
The loss to Detroit was a punch on the nose following the highs of the previous week’s win over Baltimore, but I’m not jumping off the Trevor Lawrence bandwagon every time the Jags suffer a loss. They have their guy, for sure, and the remainder of this year is about building towards 2023.
The Panthers are coming off their bye week having moved on from Baker Mayfield, leaving the path clear for Sam Darnold to take Carolina the rest of the way. For this season, at least. I have to believe this team is going to add a potential franchise QB in 2023, either via the draft or free agency.
The Saints almost took down Tom Brady again and if that had happened, they would have been alive in the race for the NFC South. As it is, they are going to play out the slate while wondering what to do at the quarterback position next season. Andy Dalton and Jameis Winston are not the answer.
The Cardinals are about to begin a stretch run that will decide the future of head coach Kliff Kingsbury and tell us about the leadership and mettle of Kyler Murray. The blame spreads further than that pair. The offense ranks 28th in yards per play and the defense sits 31st in scoring.
We might not to have the ‘should Jeff Saturday be an NFL head coach?’ chat for very long into the 2023 offseason. The shockwaves that had the Colts reeling when Andrew Luck retired in 2019 are still being felt in Indianapolis to this day. The franchise is lost without a star quarterback leading the way.
Justin Fields delivers a stunning run that makes me say, “Wow” every single week. He also throws an incompletion or an interception that makes me say, “Whoah.” There are highs and lows at the moment but the potential once he ups his passing skills would have Fields in the MVP conversation.
The Rams have signed Baker Mayfield, but can he really start on Thursday night after just a couple of practices in California? I know this is a lost season for the defending champs, but Sean McVay owes it to the rest of the guys in his locker room to play a quarterback who at least knows all of the playbook.
Russell Wilson has just eight touchdown passes in 11 games this season… let that sink in for just a moment. There might not be a more stunning statistic in 2022 and it is contrasted by Geno Smith lighting it up in Seattle as Wilson’s replace. Dange-Russ is now one of the NFL’s worst quarterbacks.
The Texans are stuck. They flit from head coach to head coach when we all know they really want to give Josh McCown a shot. They have few playmakers on either side of the ball and nothing is going to change until they grab their franchise quarterback with the first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft