There were a lot of big games this past week that had serious playoff implications. The Titans knocked off the Colts in Indy, the Bills took care of business against the Cowboys, the Dolphins upset the Eagles (leaving Philadelphia a game behind Dallas), and the Chiefs demolished the Raiders in a battle for the AFC West. The 49ers and Ravens battled in sloppy conditions in a game that could be a precursor to a worthy Super Bowl, and Deshaun Watson and the Texans took care of business against the Patriots. On Monday night, the Seahawks outlasted the Vikings to take over as the number one seed in the NFC. Oh, and there will not be an 0-16 team this year.
32) Cincinnati Bengals (Prev: 32)
The Bengals finally got their first win of the season and did so in dominant fashion over the New York Jets. Andy Dalton threw for 243 yards and one touchdown, and the Bengals didn’t turn the ball over once all game. They’re still in the driver’s seat for the first overall pick and can enjoy it since they know that 0-16 is off the table.
31) New York Giants (Prev: 29)
With so much talk about the Bengals, Dolphins, and Redskins, the Giants are very quietly having a terrible season. They’ve lost eight straight games, four of which have come by 10 or more points. Daniel Jones is still learning but threw three interceptions in Sunday’s 31-13 loss to Green Bay. If the season ended today, the Giants would have the second pick in the NFL Draft.
30) Arizona Cardinals (Prev: 27)
The Cardinals have lost five straight games, the most recent being a pitiful home loss to the Rams. It was by far their worst game of the season as they allowed 549 yards and only gained 198. The Cardinals’ final four games are all against teams in the playoff hunt.
29) Detroit Lions (Prev: 28)
Quarterback David Blough was the surprise of the first Thanksgiving Day game after his first NFL completion went for a 75-yard touchdown to Kenny Golladay. The undrafted rookie finished 22-38 for 280 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception as the Lions fell by one score or less for the seventh time this season. Blough will likely start this week, as Jeff Driskel was placed on IR.
28) Atlanta Falcons (Prev: 25)
The Falcons actually outgained the Saints by nearly 70 yards on Thursday night, but they turned the ball over three times and played most of the game down by two possessions. Matt Ryan threw the ball 50 times in the loss.
27) Miami Dolphins (Prev: 31)
DeVante Parker had his best game of the year hauling in seven catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns as the Dolphins shocked the Eagles on Sunday. Miami has already over-achieved with three wins this season, and their next three contests are winnable games against the Jets, Giants, and Bengals.
26) New York Jets (Prev: 23)
The Jets failed to score a touchdown against the winless Bengals and continued their inconsistent season with another frustrating loss. Sam Darnold posted a QBR of 23.2, and Le’Veon Bell rushed for just 32 yards.
25) Washington Redskins (Prev: 30)
After falling behind 14-0 early in the first quarter, Washington scored 29 unanswered points, then made a huge defensive stand to secure the 29-21 road victory over the Panthers. As a team, the Redskins rushed for 248 yards and three touchdowns on their way to their second straight win.
24) Jacksonville Jaguars (Prev: 22)
The Jags fell behind 25-0 before the half, so they elected to bench Nick Foles for Gardner Minshew. It worked, as Jacksonville was able to score 11 points, but Minshew was far from flawless. Down 25-11, he threw an interception in the red zone to thwart any chance at a comeback. In all, the Jaguars had four turnovers on the day.
23) Los Angeles Chargers (Prev: 20)
The Chargers hit a new low this season, falling 23-20 to the Broncos and rookie quarterback Drew Lock, who was making his first career start. The defense gave up just 218 total yards, but the offense’s two turnovers set up very short scoring drives for the Broncos.
22) Carolina Panthers (Prev: 19)
The Panthers jumped out to a 14-0 lead and then failed to move the ball at all until their last two drives of the game. Carolina started 5-3, but have lost four straight, two of which came against the lowly Falcons and Redskins. Ron Rivera’s job may be in danger.
21) Philadelphia Eagles (Prev: 16)
The Eagles had the opportunity to pull even with the Cowboys in the NFC East, but instead, they suffered an unforgivable loss to the Dolphins. Philly’s last four games are against the NFC East. They likely need to win out in order to get into the playoffs.
20) Denver Broncos (Prev: 26)
The Broncos got their first glance at their future, and it looked pretty promising. Rookie second-round pick Drew Lock made his first start and defeated the division-rival Chargers 23-20. He was 18-28 for only 134 yards, but he did have two touchdowns to go along with one interception.
19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Prev: 24)
For the first time since Week 10, Jameis Winston went an entire game without throwing an interception. More impressive than that was the defense of Tampa Bay. They forced four turnovers and chased Nick Foles from the game, forcing the Jaguars to go back to Gardner Minshew.
18) Cleveland Browns (Prev: 14)
After their loss to the Steelers, the Browns’ playoff chances are now slim to none. With four games left, they are two games back of the six-seed and likely need to win out and get a lot of help in order to sneak in.
17) Oakland Raiders (Prev: 13)
After winning three straight to get to 6-4, the Raiders have been destroyed in back to back games to fall to 6-6 while their AFC West hopes have faded from view. In their last two games, they’ve been outscored 74-12. This week they face the Titans in a must-win for their Wild Card chances.
16) Chicago Bears (Prev: 21)
Mitchell Trubisky went 29-38 for 338 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception as the Bears escaped Detroit with a Thanksgiving victory. For the first time all season, it was the defense that put Chicago in danger of losing as they allowed rookie David Blough to throw for 280 yards and two touchdowns. The Bears are still clinging to life in the Wild Card race, but just barely.
15) Dallas Cowboys (Prev: 12)
The Cowboys played terribly on Thanksgiving, but they ended Week 13 with their one-game NFC East lead intact due to the Eagles’ loss in Miami. The Cowboys dropped to 0-5 against teams that are currently in the playoffs. Luckily for them, the rest of their schedule includes zero teams that would be playing in January if the season ended today.
14) Indianapolis Colts (Prev: 15)
Adam Vinatieri continued his season-long struggles, as he missed three of his four field goals. He even had one blocked and returned for a touchdown when the score was tied 17-17 late in the fourth quarter. After back-to-back losses to division rivals, the Colts’ playoff hopes are fading. Three of the Colts’ last four games are on the road.
13) Pittsburgh Steelers (Prev: 18)
Devlin “Duck” Hodges looked pretty good starting this week against the Browns. He was 14-21 for 212 yards, one touchdown, and one interception as the Steelers got a much-needed win over the Browns. They’re currently clinging to the second Wild Card spot but will play three of their last four games on the road.
12) Los Angeles Rams (Prev: 17)
Jared Goff exploded for 424 yards and two touchdowns as the Rams decimated the Cardinals 34-7 on Sunday. It was the offensive performance that the Rams had been looking for all season, and it keeps them very much alive in the NFC playoff race. Three of their last four games are against teams currently in the playoffs.
11) Tennessee Titans (Prev: 11)
Tye Smith returned a blocked field goal 63 yards for a touchdown and helped lead the Titans to victory in Indianapolis. The Titans are now seventh in the AFC, but they hold the same record as the Steelers, who sit in the last Wild Card spot. Their last four games are against the Raiders, Saints, and Texans twice.
10) Minnesota Vikings (Prev: 7)
The Vikings took a lead into halftime against the Seahawks, but they gave up 24 unanswered points to start the second half. They still fought their way back late in the game, but it was too little too late, and now the Vikings are just one game up on the Rams for the second Wild Card spot in the NFC. The good news is that three of their final four games are at home.
9) Green Bay Packers (Prev: 9)
Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdowns as the Packers bounced back from their dreadful performance last week by defeating the Giants with ease. The defense intercepted Daniel Jones three times in the victory. The Packers now have two home games against the Redskins and the Bears before they travel to Minnesota for what could be the NFC North Championship game.
8) Houston Texans (Prev: 10)
Deshaun Watson threw for three touchdowns and caught another as the Texans took care of the Patriots on Sunday Night Football. After falling behind 3-0, the Texans scored 21 straight points and held New England scoreless for 30+ minutes of game time. The Texans lead the AFC South by a game, and they will play the Titans, who are currently in second place, twice in the last four weeks.
7) Buffalo Bills (Prev: 8)
The Bills took care of business in Dallas, and they now face an incredibly difficult three-game stretch that includes the red-hot Ravens along with trips to Pittsburgh and New England. Josh Allen was 19-24 for 231 yards and a touchdown on Thanksgiving as the Bills scored 26 unanswered after they gave up an opening drive touchdown.
6) Kansas City Chiefs (Prev: 6)
In a battle for the AFC West, the Chiefs led 31-0 heading into the fourth quarter as they routed the Raiders. The defense forced three turnovers, including a 46-yard pick-six from Juan Thornhill, and a defensive two-point conversion from Charvarius Ward. Kansas City has swept the Raiders and are now just one win and one Raiders loss away from winning the division.
5) New Orleans Saints (Prev: 5)
The Saints became the first team in the league to wrap up a playoff spot this week with their victory over the Falcons. If they win the remainder of their games, they will lock up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs as well.
4) New England Patriots (Prev: 1)
The defense held the Texans to 276 yards, only 52 of which came on the ground, but the offense struggled mightily for the first three quarters as the Patriots fell behind 28-9. The Patriots are 10-2 this season, but only 2-2 against teams that currently have winning records.
3) San Francisco 49ers (Prev: 3)
The 49ers held Lamar Jackson to his worst passing performance of the season and stuck with the Ravens’ offense in sloppy conditions in Baltimore. San Francisco now ends their brutal three-game stretch at New Orleans this weekend for a game that could determine the number-one seed in the NFC.
2) Seattle Seahawks (Prev: 4)
Russell Wilson and the Seahawks have quietly won five straight games and have taken over the top spot in the NFC from the 49ers for the time being. Next week they travel to Los Angeles to take on a desperate Rams team, and then they have two easier games before ending the season with a home game against San Francisco.
1) Baltimore Ravens (Prev: 2)
We have a new number one. Some could argue that this should have happened weeks ago, but after beating the 49ers, and with the Patriots falling at Houston, there is no way to keep the Ravens out of the top spot. They’ve won eight straight games, and in that stretch have beaten the Steelers, Seahawks, Patriots, Texans, Rams, and 49ers. This is the team to beat in the NFL.