As we enter the last month of 2021 tomorrow, the home stretch of the NFL season will arrive shortly. Alongside watching the AFC and NFC playoff races intensify, there will be great speculation (or anticipation) about the futures surrounding various head coaches and front offices. But like many things in life, we have to wait for these developments to play out. Down below are our latest power rankings before we enter Week 13 of this NFL season.
1. Arizona Cardinals (9-2) – The Cardinals are sitting pretty through their bye week, maintaining their perch as the NFC’s #1 seed. Their biggest win of the week, though, was that they gained extra cushion in their division as the Los Angeles Rams continued their November skid.
2. Green Bay Packers (9-3) – If there’s ever a way to bounce back from a tough divisional loss, it’s to beat a fellow playoff contender on prime-time television. The Packers certainly looked and played the part of a championship-contending team in their 36-28 victory over the Rams.
3. New England Patriots (8-4) – After a 2-4 start, the Patriots have surged to the top of the AFC. If there were any doubts of their legitimacy, the Pats put them to rest in their 36-13 shellacking of the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. And a massive part of their success? Turnovers. The Patriots have had the league’s second-best turnover differential (+10) since Week Six.
4. Baltimore Ravens (8-3) – The Ravens have a good record and are the #1 seed in the AFC, but have been plagued by sloppy, mediocre play. Throughout December, the AFC North leaders must sharpen up if they want to be a true Super Bowl contender.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3) – You can choose to pick apart the Bucs’ overall performance against the Colts last Sunday, but they won’t care. At this point of the season, the reigning Super Bowl champion will take any win possible, given their struggles with age, injuries, and inconsistency.
6. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4) – A huge divisional matchup against the Denver Broncos is on the horizon, giving the new AFC West a chance to build on their latest wave of momentum. But in their attempt to do so, the question regains whether the Chiefs’ once-great offense can regain its rhythm. They’ve only scored 20 or more points once out of their previous five games.
7. Tennessee Titans (8-4) – Is it time to panic in Nashville? Not yet. Despite being severely outplayed by the Patriots in last Sunday’s loss, the Titans didn’t lose ground in the AFC South divisional race because their divisional rival, the Indianapolis Colts, squandered a double-digit second-half lead to the Bucs and lost in the final seconds.
8. Buffalo Bills (7-4) – On Thanksgiving, the Buffalo Bills blew out the New Orleans Saints 31-6, providing hope that they can regain the excellent form they demonstrated earlier in the year. Unfortunately, they may face an up-hill battle in their air-tight divisional race against the Patriots moving forward as the Bills will have to adjust to life without All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White who suffered a season-ending knee injury last Thursday night.
9. Los Angeles Rams (7-4) – In the words of Drake, it’s officially “Scary Hours” for the Rams. The championship-contending hopeful went winless in November, haven’t received meaningful contributions from new trade acquisitions in wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr and pass-rusher Von Miller, and are now 1-4 against teams with a winning record.
10. Dallas Cowboys (7-4) – While it was nice for the Cowboys to be effective on offense against the Las Vegas Raiders, their defense took a massive step back in their 36-33 overtime loss on Thanksgiving. And even though the NFC East isn’t the most competitive division, the Cowboys have to watch out for the surging Washington Football Team, who’ve won three consecutive games and stand at 5-6.