NFL power rankings entering Week 12 of the 2023 season (previous rankings in parentheses):
1. Eagles (1): Monday night, C Jason Kelce earned his long-awaited victory over former coach Andy Reid and his current brother Travis Kelce. The schedule won’t stop for Philly over the next month, but the defending NFC champions have proven it — perhaps, more importantly, to themselves? – that they can beat anyone and anywhere.
2. Heads (2): Of course, if WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling played at the end of the game – or if Taylor Swift had been able to attend – Reid would be 5-0 against his former team while setting a KC record with 125 regular season wins . The defending champions will certainly be back… although there is still work to be done to reclaim the AFC’s No. 1 seed from Baltimore. A generally forgiving set of matches over time should help towards that end.
3. 49ers (3): Brock Purdy, “Mr. Irrelevant”, has faced No. 1 draft QBs in each of the last three games, winning twice. Its next three matchups will be with second-rounders before seeing 2019 first-round pick Kyler Murray in Week 15. All those opposing passers will attract a San Francisco defense depleted by the loss of All-Pro S Talanoa Hufanga (ACL tear). ).
4. Ravens (5): Baltimore’s top-ranked running game is in great shape, Lamar Jackson is now the first quarterback in league history to rush for at least 500 yards in each of his first six seasons. RB Gus Edwards already has 10 touchdowns after totaling nine in the previous three years. But a 20th-ranked passing game has better hope that TE Isaiah Likely can effectively replace injured All-Pro Mark Andrews.
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5. Cowboys (7): Next CB pick DaRon Bland will give him the NFL single-season record, which is great. However, WR CeeDee Lamb is the only Dallas player with more touchdowns (6) than Bland’s four…which isn’t as great.
6. Lions (6): A team that has no NFC North crowns under its belt has won seven straight division games for the first time since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. They can take that streak to eight on Thanksgiving by beating Green Bay.
7. Dolphins (8): CB Jalen Ramsey is already making a measurable impact on an up-and-coming defense, catching three passes in three games since returning from knee surgery in July. “He’s the best corner in the league, man,” Miami WR Tyreek Hill said Sunday.
8. Texans (9): Sweep Jacksonville on Sunday and Houston takes first place in the AFC South. And it’s not just rookie QB CJ Stroud getting the job done. LB Blake Cashman is a tackling machine (19 against Arizona), while highly touted CB Derek Stingley Jr. picked up his first pass of 2023, matching the total from his disappointing rookie year.
9. Jaguars (11): Regarding that resulting divisional battle in Houston? The Jags have lost 10 of 11 to the Texans, although the only win came at NRG Stadium on New Year’s Day this year.
10. Browns (4): Why is DE Myles Garrett able to get some MVP traction? He’s on pace to have 22 sacks, seven forced fumbles and about 50 pressures. For a team with such a decimated offense, why not consider making him the first defender to get the hardware since Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor in 1986?
11. Invoices (14): Sunday’s offensive recovery was fantastic. But how about newly acquired CB Rasul Douglas, who picked off two passes – ending a seven-game drought for Buffalo – and recovered a fumble? Takeaway machine. Imagine if he played against Josh Allen…
12. Steelers (12): Sunday’s loss at Cleveland ended Pittsburgh’s nine-game winning streak in contests decided by one score. But maybe frustrated RB Najee Harris and Co. can open up a sizable lead for Cincinnati in Week 12 against the Burrow-less Bengals.
13. Rams (19): A receiving tandem of Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua is sophisticated, but LA hasn’t scored more than 220 yards through the air in the last six games.
14. Sea Hawks (13): LB Bobby Wagner played 12 seasons and, after Sunday, compiled at least 100 tackles in each of them. Meet in Canton – possibly – BWagz.
15. Broncos (23): I still wonder where Minnesota defenders thought Denver WR Jerry Jeudy was going to throw that ball. But perhaps such a juke is apropos after the Broncos faked a death early in the season.
16. Colts (17): Coming into the bye week, only two of Indianapolis’ last seven opponents (Pittsburgh and Houston) have an average above .500. Sleep on these guys at your own risk.
17. Chargers (15): A win in Week 12 would take quarterback Justin Herbert 30-30 as an NFL regular-season starter. Beat Baltimore by two and the Bolts will have scored and given up the same number of points since he became a starter in the second week of the 2020 campaign.
18. Vikings (16): Joshua Dobbs’ singularly tortuous season continues, with the quarterback becoming the first in NFL history to hold both a TD pass. And ran in his first three games with a team.
19. Raiders (18): Now the AFC’s least productive rushing offense (79 yards per game), Sunday’s 36-yard production was a season low. Confusing, especially since interim HC Antonio Pierce identified franchise RB Josh Jacobs (the league’s 2022 champion) as the player Las Vegas should build around.
20. Cardinals (27): Quarterback Kyler Murray’s next game with both a rushing TD and a TD would give him 18 in his career and mean he trails only Cam Newton (31 games) and Allen (25) for the most over of a player’s first five seasons in the NFL.
21. Buccaneers (21): WR Mike Evans needs 220 more receiving yards to give him at least 1,000 over his 10 NFL seasons. This has never been done before.
22. Saints (22): The only NFC team to wrap up its interconference schedule, what should be a rested New Orleans squad must start piling up wins and tiebreakers in a tight NFC South.
23. Titans (24): Why are they burning the play that results in a TD pass to Pro Bowl DT Jeffery Simmons when they trail by 27 points?
24. Falcons (25): None of their last seven opponents currently have a track record. In golf, it would be “moving day” for Atlanta.
25. Packers (26): Sunday’s 322-yard passing explosion from quarterback Jordan Love cleared his previous career high of 33 yards. Thanks, Chargers defense.
26. Bengals (10): All due respect to Jake Browning, but Cincinnati seems dead in the water without QB1 Joe Burrow.
27. Jets (20): All due respect to Zach Wilson…and Tim Boyle…but NYJ seems dead in the water without QB1 Aaron Rodgers. Until they aren’t anymore?
28. Bear (28): After joining the lineup on Sunday, Justin Fields appeared to be back in top form, rushing for at least 100 yards for the fifth time in his three-year career. Only Jackson (13 games) and Michael Vick (10) have more among quarterbacks in NFL history.
29. Patriots (30): After losing two Super Bowls to the Giants, Bill Belichick can get his revenge on Sunday. An infinitesimal measure of revenge.
30. Giants (32): They are 2-0 against Washington and 1-8 against the rest of the league. Big Blue’s four first-half TDs this season also came against the Commanders, who also brought out team lighter HC Brian Daboll when evaluating rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito.
31. Commanders (29): At least when struggling HC Ron Rivera tells his players to go take showers in Dallas for Thanksgiving…they’ll be able to.
32. Panthers (31): They have yet to land the top pick in the 2024 draft – for Chicago – yet. But Carolina is assured of a sixth straight losing season since owner David Tepper took control of the franchise in 2018.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on X, formerly Twitter @ByNateDavis.
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