A new team creeps into the top 10, and this Sunday brings us a titanic showdown between the two best teams in football. Before you eat turkey, please devour these Power Rankings. No politics at the dinner table.
They're No. 1 in the Power Rankings for a reason. The 49ers welcomed one of the best teams in the NFL into their building and made the Packers look like an XFL expansion franchise. The Niners led 10-0 after one quarter and 23-0 at the half, but the most ruthless bit of domination came after Green Bay trudged down the field and finally cracked the end zone to get on the board in the third quarter. San Francisco answered Aaron Rodgers' 13-play, nearly nine-minute march with a two-play, 75-yard siege that culminated with George Kittle's game-icing 61-yard touchdown. One can imagine Rodgers watching that play unfold with serious tight end envy. The Packers won't admit as much, but the last thing they want to do is return to Levi's Stadium for a playoff rematch. It's the type of butt-whipping that leaves mental scars with the opposition.
Baltimore is a team possessed right now. The AFC North leader went into Los Angeles and absolutely shattered the Rams, who woke up Tuesday knowing full well there was only one Super Bowl contender playing at the Coliseum on Monday night. The Ravens are the class of the AFC, and they're led by Lamar Jackson, who put some distance between himself and Russell Wilson in the MVP race with a near-perfect prime-time showing. Jackson threw as many touchdown passes (five) as he had incompletions, and he added 95 more yards on the ground. The Ravens outgained the Rams 480-221 and scored touchdowns on all seven possessions when Jackson was in the game. It was an absolute masterpiece and it sets up a must-see showdown against the 49ers this Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. This certainly has the feel of a Super Bowl preview.
Welcome to the offense, Rashaad Penny. The former first-round pick has been buried behind Chris Carson since the beginning of last season, but that could be changing after Sunday's 17-9 win over the Eagles. Penny set career highs in carries (14) and rushing yards (129), and he busted the game open with a 58-yard touchdown that served as a reminder of why Seattle was so high on the former San Diego State star in the first place. Penny's big output came on the same day Carson struggled against the Eagles and fumbled for the seventh time, the most in the league amongst running backs. Is Penny about to steal the primary ball-carrier role in Seattle? Not so fast -- Carson has had a very good season, on balance. But you can safely assume the Seahawks will begin to mix Penny in more often after Sunday's breakout showing.
Sunday started out as a cakewalk that turned into a nail-biter that nearly turned into a disaster. Thank goodness for shaky kickers, as three Joey Slye misses -- including a chip-shot yack in the final two minutes -- allowed New Orleans to escape with a 34-31 win. This was far from the best performance we've seen from the Saints' defense, but the unit deserves credit for getting five stops near the goal line that set up Slye's final miss. Drew Brees took over after that, driving the Saints into field-goal position to set up the Wil Lutz game-winner. True story: Michael Thomas has 104 receptions before Thanksgiving. Football's best wideout had 10 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown in a ho-hum performance. Speaking of Thanksgiving, the Saints are on a short week ahead of a matchup with the Falcons on Thursday night. In a loaded NFC, New Orleans needs to keep stacking wins.
The Vikings hit the bye at 8-3, including a 6-1 mark since Week 5. They're legit Super Bowl contenders in the NFC, and their offense has been a key part of their success, no matter what all the Kirk Cousins Haters at your Thanksgiving dinner table tell you. Dalvin Cook's admission into The Superstar Club has unlocked hidden potential in Minnesota's attack, but Cousins has absolutely held up his end of the bargain in the second season of his three-year pact with the Vikings. With Cook gashing defenses on the ground and Cousins carving up secondaries through the air, the Vikings have piled up 88 "big plays" -- which NFL Media Research constitutes as runs of 10-plus yards or passes of 20-plus yards -- this season. The Vikes led the NFL in that category entering Week 12.
[What a dispiriting performance](http://www.nfl.com/standings) by the [Packers](/teams/greenbaypackers/profile?team=GB), who had a chance to put themselves on the inside track for the No. 1 seed in the NFC -- and instead laid a massive egg that leaves you questioning where they really fit into the contender landscape. Yes, it was that bad, and both sides of the ball -- not to mention the outclassed coaching staff -- have to answer for [Sunday night's 37-8 loss to the 49ers](https://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/2019112410/2019/REG12/packers@49ers). You probably never thought you'd live to see the day [Aaron Rodgers](/player/aaronrodgers/2506363/profile) averaged 3.2 yards per attempt over 33 passes, but such was the grisly nature of Green Bay's evening. The [Packers](/teams/greenbaypackers/profile?team=GB) are still in great position at 8-3, a fine record, good enough for a tie atop the NFC North. But the question becomes this: Did Matt LaFleur's team have a very bad night ... or is it simply in a class below the best of the NFL? </content:power-ranking>
The Chiefs got a well-timed bye to heal up after Week 11's win over the Chargers, and now they gear up for another big division clash against the Raiders. A key to the game will be slowing down Oakland super rookie Josh Jacobs, who could be set up for a big afternoon against the AFC West leaders. The Chiefs' defense is allowing 143.1 rushing yards per game this season, ranking 30th in the NFL. A whopping five players have already gone over 100 yards against the Chiefs defense; Jacobs has four 100-yard efforts this season and enters Week 13 as the No. 5 rusher in the NFL. If K.C. can limit Jacobs, it will put pressure on Derek Carr to make plays against a Chiefs secondary coming off a game in which it snagged four picks off Philip Rivers.
We know all about the brilliance of DeAndre Hopkins, who offered a reminder Thursday night with both Texans touchdowns in a 20-17 win over the Colts. But the secret ingredient to Houston's attack is Will Fuller, whose big-play ability lifts the ceiling for Deshaun Watson and everyone around him. Fuller -- who had been sidelined since Week 7 with a hamstring injury -- had deep-ball snares of 44 and 51 yards, part of a seven-catch, 140-yard day. He ran a perfect route for his final reception of the day, a first-down pickup that allowed the Texans to run out the clock and take control of the AFC South. Fuller's biggest issue has been staying healthy, but there's no underplaying how important he is. According to Next Gen Stats, Watson throws deep more than twice as often when Fuller is on the field. Now the Texans just need to pray he'll stay there.
"Eight and three? That feels good to me. I ain't never been 8-3 in the NFL." That was Shaq Lawson, after the defensive end finished with two sacks and three pressures in the Bills' 20-3 win over the Broncos. Lawson is in his fourth season, but he could be wrapping up his 20th year in Buffalo and still be tasting 8-3 for the first time. (The 1996 Bills were the last team to start 8-3). Yes, these are optimistic days in Western New York, where the local team is in prime position for a second trip to the playoffs in three years. The D was dominant on Sunday, holding Denver to a piddly 134 yards. Brandon Allen did not lead the Broncos on a drive of more than 48 yards in a contest that never felt in doubt for the home team, even when it was 6-0 at the half. The Bills are good.
Sometimes, Jason Garrett seems to actively court second-guessing from the general public. It was hard not to on Sunday against the Patriots, after the coach sent his field-goal unit on the field with Dallas in the red zone and trailing by seven points with six minutes to play. Given the general flow of the game, against a gifted Patriots defense, in miserable conditions at Gillette Stadium, it felt like the Cowboys were punting (or, to be more accurate, kicking) on their last, best chance to draw even with the defending champions. And that's pretty much how it turned out. The 'Boys got the ball back with two minutes to play, but they were buried deep in their own end and turned the ball over on downs before reaching midfield. Garrett's Cowboys are rarely bold ... and it continues to hold them back.
We wrote about it last week: Derrick Henry is the superstar running back nobody talks about. On Sunday, Henry shredded the Jaguars (he does this a lot) for 159 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-20 win. Over the past two weeks, Henry has accumulated 347 rushing yards and four touchdowns, averaging 8.3 yards per rush with a stiff-arm that is quickly becoming the stuff of legend. And for once, Henry's actually getting help from his quarterback. Ryan Tannehill looks revitalized in this offense, leading the Titans on crisp drives with his arm and legs. He's playing like the guy the Dolphins thought they were getting in the first round once upon a time. Watching the Titans on Sunday, it's hard to fathom this is the same team that had a stretch this season in which it scored seven points in 10 quarters. Change happens fast in the NFL.
The Raiders pulled a total no-show at the Meadowlands on Sunday, dominated on both sides of the ball in a 34-3 loss to the Jets. Perhaps this always made sense as a trap game for the Raiders, who have the Chiefs at Arrowhead this week, but the cold truth is that Oakland isn't good enough to look past any opponent. Few teams are. "We dropped passes. Hell, we dropped four center-QB exchanges in the second half. We missed tackles. We missed field goals," Jon Gruden said, ticking off transgressions. "I'm really disappointed in it." How disappointed was the head coach? He pulled Derek Carr from the game late in the third quarter with the Raiders trailing by 31 points. Josh Jacobs rode the pine with his quarterback. Suddenly, the Silver & Black appear extremely vulnerable, with the Chiefs looking to deliver a divisional deathblow on Sunday.
[Steelers](/teams/pittsburghsteelers/profile?team=PIT) fans, your season is in the hands of a man who [goes by Duck.](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chzf6Mmsl1Y) [Devlin Hodges](/player/devlinhodges/2563258/profile) replaced an ineffective [Mason Rudolph](https://www.nfl.com/prospects/mason-rudolph?id=32462018-0002-5599-4271-c09bf8338e3c) [against the Bengals](http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/2019112403/2019/REG12/steelers@bengals) and provided enough of a spark ( [he completed one long pass, basically](http://www.nfl.com/videos/pittsburgh-steelers/0ap3000001079933/Can-t-Miss-Play-Duck-Hodges-dials-deep-79-YARD-TD-to-James-Washington)) to lift Pittsburgh past the worst team in football. We'll see if Hodges can move the offense against better competition, but it's not as if the [Steelers](/teams/pittsburghsteelers/profile?team=PIT) have another option at this point. [Big Ben](http://www.nfl.com/player/benroethlisberger/2506109/profile) is on the sideline with a giant beard and a busted elbow, and Rudolph proved himself wholly incapable of leading an NFL attack. Hodges is a Hail Mary for an injury-ravaged Pittsburgh team that could find its way into the playoffs with three more wins. Up next is [a rematch with the Browns](https://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/2019120110/2019/REG13/browns@steelers) and a chance for payback on multiple levels. A Pittsburgh win essentially ends Cleveland's season. Think Mike Tomlin would like that? </content:power-ranking>
The Super Bowl window has slammed shut as quickly as it opened. It can happen fast in the NFL, and the Rams looked nothing like contenders in an embarrassing 45-6 loss to the Ravens on Monday Night Football. In 2017 and '18, Sean McVay was the architect of an offensive attack that was the envy of the league. Against the Ravens, McVay could only watch as the Ravens reminded the world they yanked that torch away weeks ago. The Rams' defense got six chances to stop Lamar Jackson, and Jackson led the Ravens to touchdowns on all six drives. A year ago, Goff went pass for pass with future MVP Patrick Mahomes in a Monday night classic. Facing another likely MVP on Monday, Goff was outclassed. How have things gone south so quickly in Los Angeles? The Rams will have plenty of time to unpack that mystery immediately following Week 17.
Let's start with the obvious: Darius Leonard should have been credited with the play of the night on defense, a strip and apparent fumble recovery that would have given the Colts new life in the final minutes against the Texans. But the replay review buzz never came, leaving the All-Pro linebacker to fume in the locker room after a gutting 20-17 loss. The Colts and their fans are right to be frustrated -- furious, even -- but the game wasn't lost on that play alone. The Colts didn't make enough impact plays on offense. Jacoby Brissett threw for just 129 yards and Eric Ebron led all Indy pass-catchers in receptions (4) and yards (44). Indy also got a bust performance from T.Y. Hilton, who returned from his calf injury but had two key drops that short-circuited potential scoring drives. With a chance to put the AFC South in a stranglehold, the Colts flinched.
The Browns we saw Sunday were the Browns we -- "we" being the bulk of the Football Cognoscenti -- expected them to be this summer. Is it disappointing it's taken this long to see the offense dominate the way it did against the Dolphins? Of course. But the optimistic viewpoint here is Baker Mayfield and Co. could be figuring it out just as the stakes are about to be at their highest. Mayfield and Jarvis Landry are developing real chemistry, Odell Beckham is showing signs of life and the backfield duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt is as dangerous as any in the league. Myles Garrett's absence will be felt as the competition improves, but the Browns have the feel of a legit wild-card contender. That is, if they can find a way to sweep the Steelers in Heinz Field on Sunday. A loss there, and Cleveland is cooked.
It will be remembered in the greater Charlotte area as The Joey Slye Game. And when there's a "The [Insert Kicker Name] Game" -- well, that's rarely a good thing. Slye missed three short kicks -- two PATs and a 28-yard field-goal attempt with less than two minutes to play -- a crushing meltdown that cost the Panthers dearly in a 34-31 loss to the Saints. Kickers, man. The nature of the loss shouldn't obscure a very strong performance by Kyle Allen, who shook off Week 11's four-interception showing against the Falcons by completing 23 of 36 pass attempts for 256 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target was D.J. Moore, who had six catches for 126 yards. Moore has gone over 100 yards in three of the last four games, entrenching himself as a player to build around. When you're in win-out-or-else territory by Thanksgiving, you take the positives where you can find them.
The hard truth: If the Chargers wanted a realistic chance of playing football in January, they had to find a way to beat either the Raiders or Chiefs in their past two games. They lost both and now stand in the position of having to win out to even have a chance. Putting together a winning streak like that would take the kind of consistency we simply haven't seen from the Bolts since last year. That said, the Philip Rivers career obituaries felt premature after last Monday night's four-interception nightmare. Rivers has undeniably taken a step back this season -- only Jameis Winston (24) and Daniel Jones (18) have more giveaways than Rivers (16) this season -- but he's also the type of player who can go off on a hot streak at any moment. The Chargers might not make the playoffs, but they could be a deadly spoiler down the stretch.
It's getting late early for the Eagles, who fell to the fringes of the NFC playoff picture after another poor offensive performance in a home loss to the Seahawks. The Eagles' already subpar wide receiver group was further thinned out by injuries on Sunday, putting Carson Wentz in a nearly impossible situation. The quarterback was unable to do much at all, the team's only touchdown coming in the final minute of garbage time. Wentz deserves some blame, as well: He simply wasn't sharp against Seattle, missing open receivers and struggling with ball security on a wet and windy day in Philadelphia. The boo birds came out after a Wentz interception early in the second quarter, and they hung around for the duration of the soggy affair. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has a lot of work to do this offseason to fix an attack that has stalled out.
[Khalil Mack](/player/khalilmack/2543463/profile) hasn't been heard from much this season. In fact, he didn't have a single tackle in [Week 11's Sunday night doomsday loss](http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/2019111711/2019/REG11/bears@rams) to the [Rams](/teams/losangelesrams/profile?team=LA). But the All-Pro linebacker was back to his game-wrecking ways against the [Giants](/teams/newyorkgiants/profile?team=NYG) this past Sunday, recording a sack and forced fumble that set up an important insurance touchdown in [a 19-14 win](http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/2019112402/2019/REG12/giants@bears). The [Bears](/teams/chicagobears/profile?team=CHI) expected a lot from Mack this season; the same can be said for Mitch Trubisky, who has suffered through one of the more disappointing quarterback seasons in recent memory. Trubisky at least showed some signs of life against the [Giants](/teams/newyorkgiants/profile?team=NYG), throwing for a season-high 278 yards and a touchdown. He also ran seven times for 18 yards and a touchdown, bringing back a positive aspect of his game that has all but disappeared in 2019. Trubisky threw his third red-zone interception of the season, but the [Bears](/teams/chicagobears/profile?team=CHI) will still count Sunday as progress. </content:power-ranking>
Who are these guys? The Jets beat up on the Raiders in every conceivable way on Sunday at the Meadowlands, rolling to a 34-3 win, their third straight. Sam Darnold played one of his strongest games, finishing 20 of 29 for 315 yards and three total touchdowns. Darnold -- who has thrown one pick in three weeks -- led the offense to scores on five of its first six possessions in building a 31-point lead by the end of the third quarter. Gregg Williams' defense was just as sharp, holding Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite Josh Jacobs to 34 yards on 10 carries and limiting Derek Carr to 127 yards passing. At 4-7, Gang Green remains firmly entrenched in the spoiler role, but they get the Bengals and Dolphins in the next two weeks. If the Jets play relevant games in December, call it a Christmas miracle.
"It's like a nightmare that plays over and over and over again for the Jaguars." Those were the words of CBS play-by-play man Ian Eagle after a 74-yard Derrick Henry touchdown run that summoned memories of Henry's 99-yard TD score against the Titans a year ago. Sunday was a rock-bottom moment for the Doug Marrone era, the game in which a division rival broke the Jaguars' spirit, crippled their playoff chances ... and looked to have fun while doing it. Nick Foles appears to have had the misfortune of returning from injury right as the Jags were going into a nosedive, and turning back to Gardner Minshew will likely be fruitless, unless the rookie QB can double as a rangy linebacker. If the trajectory continues, it's a very real possibility that Marrone's time is up in Jacksonville. The Jags are now 9-18 since the 2017 AFC Championship Game.
Well, you can probably paint over the "SAVE DAN QUINN" message scrawled on the town water tower. The Falcons' modest two-game winning streak ended with a thud in Sunday's 35-22 loss to the Buccaneers. Playing without Austin Hooper (knee) and missing Julio Jones (shoulder) for portions of the game, Matt Ryan struggled to keep pace with Jameis Winston and a Bucs offense that piled up 446 yards of offense and four touchdowns. It was a comedown game for the Atlanta defense, which surrendered zero touchdowns and just four field goals in back-to-back wins over the Saints and Panthers. In fact, this version of the Falcons defense looked a lot like the version of the defense that sunk the season over the course of a 1-7 start. We'll see which team shows up on a Thanksgiving night rematch with the Saints.
A dark and frightful tidbit from ESPN's Jeff Legwold: In the Broncos' 20-3 loss to the Bills on Sunday in Orchard Park, the Denver offense averaged 4.8 inches per play over its final five possessions. The headline writer in Legwold's piece referred to the possessions as "drives," but that feels entirely too kind. Yes, the Brandon Allen-led offense was completely overmatched by a very good Buffalo defense in a game that served as another reminder of how much work the Broncos need to do in the offseason and beyond to return this meandering organization back to relevance. If the season ended today, the Broncos would pick fifth in the draft. Will they pick a QB with their first selection? Will John Elway be making the call? Uncertainty permeates in Denver.
The Cardinals have been the NFL's streakiest team this season. Through Week 4, Arizona was 0-3-1. Bad! From Week 5 to Week 7, the Redbirds were 3-0. Perfect! From Week 8 through Week 11? 0-4. Brutal! The schedule stiffens up in the final weeks, as well: Four of the Cardinals' final five opponents are over .500. Yes, there will be more challenges for Kyler Murray, but the good news is that the No. 1 overall pick continues to make progress in what's been a very promising debut season. Murray leads all rookies in passing yards (2,703) and completions (254) and has seven touchdown passes against just one interception since Week 9. The Cardinals' final record will not be pretty, but we can guarantee they won't be in the first-round quarterback market for the third straight year.
There's no use trying to figure out which Buccaneers team will show up on a weekly basis. Much of this, of course, points back to Jameis Winston, who edges Jay Cutler for the title of most inconsistent quarterback this decade. Bruce Arians -- the latest head coach tasked with harnessing Winston's powers for good -- talked about his level of optimism toward QB1 after Winston threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns (against two picks) in a 35-22 win over the Falcons. "My glass is full as hell. And it's gonna get real full in a minute." Weird. Arians might be full to the brim, but can he really tie his future to Winston for a second season? Whoever is throwing the ball next season will be lucky to have Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Godwin blew up on Sunday and serves as a feather in the cap of GM Jason Licht. Finding superstar wideouts in the third round ain't easy.
A season that begin with promise has descended into ugliness. A 19-16 loss to the lowly Redskins is the seventh defeat in eight games for Detroit, which has belly flopped with Matthew Stafford out of the lineup with a back injury. Jeff Driskel had some positive moments early in his stint as Stafford's understudy, but he had a bad game against Washington, throwing interceptions in each of Detroit's final two possessions to seal the loss. And while the defense wasn't the culprit on Sunday, this remains a unit that has given up nearly 29 points per game over the last eight outings. Throw in some poor special teams, and Matt Patricia appears to be in a fair bit of trouble. The second-year coach probably needs a strong finish for a chance at another season on the sideline. A playoff stakes-free Thanksgiving matchup against the Bears is up next.
Isn't it just like the Redskins to cap a rare win with an embarrassing gaffe? Washington won for just the second time this season, and for the first time with rookie first-round pick Dwayne Haskins under center. But Haskins wasn't in victory formation to take the final snap with teammates against the Lions. Instead, Haskins was snapping selfies with fans seated behind the bench at FedExField. In a big-picture sense, this isn't a big deal. It didn't affect the outcome ( Case Keenum took the final kneel-down), and Haskins' intentions weren't harmful. It was the opposite, really. But it speaks to a lack of discipline for the player, and it serves as a peek into a culture in Washington that needs something close to a total reboot. Whoever takes over that head coach gig is taking on the challenge of his life.
The good times never seem to last. The Dolphins were spanked for the second straight week, this time in a 41-24 loss to the Browns that further put Miami's two-game winning streak in the rearview mirror. Hey, better to have won and lost than to have never won at all. Baker Mayfield became the latest opposing quarterback to get way too comfortable behind his offensive linemen, throwing for over 300 yards and three touchdowns while taking just one sack. Miami has now gone three straight games with one sack or less, highlighting a glaring area of need as the team continues its naked rebuilding phase. Finally, congratulations to Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw his 200th career touchdown pass on his 37th birthday. The Dolphins might be a bad team, but Fitzpatrick has made them intermittently fun to watch. The Amish Rifle's been doing that for talent-deficient teams his entire career.
The Giants are a chore to watch right now. Saquon Barkley isn't doing any of the things that made him special during his historic rookie year, and Daniel Jones continues to take his lumps as a first-year quarterback struggling with ball security. Jones lost another fumble on Sunday via a Khalil Mack strip sack, the fifth consecutive game in which he's lost a fumble. Jones has flashed in several games this season, but ball security will be a major point of emphasis as he heads into his first offseason. Jones' job would certainly be made easier if Barkley could get back on track, but the running back was held to 59 yards on 17 carries. Barkley hasn't averaged more than 3.5 yards per rush in a game since Week 7. The Giants appear destined to pick in the top three of the draft for the second time in three years.
Maybe if Tyler Boyd doesn't fumble in the red zone in the fourth quarter against Pittsburgh, and the Bengals score a go-ahead touchdown en route to their first win, spirts would be up at team headquarters, and Ryan Finley would be prepping for another start. But Boyd did fumble, and the Bengals didn't score, and so Cincinnati remains winless. And now we say goodbye to Finley, replaced Monday as the starter by -- wait for it -- Andy Dalton. It's a shaky look from an organizational standpoint -- remember, benching the longtime starter Dalton was supposed to be in service of getting a long look at what they had in the rookie Finley. By turning back to the veteran, it's clear Zac Taylor and the Bengals have eschewed appearances in favor of giving themselves the best shot to avoid 0-16. It's hard to blame them, ultimately, but this is not how functional teams operate.