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NFL Power Rankings: Week 12

Each week members of The Game Haus will collaborate to determine our NFL Power Rankings. We rate teams from 1-32 and add the points received to give us our final answer.

Our voters: Zac Stone, Joe DiTullio, Michael Packard, Savannah Dean, Ben Hendricks, Manny Finale, Pranay Malempati

It might not be possible to watch a more exciting game than what we witnessed Monday night. The Rams topped the Chiefs in the highest scoring game in Monday Night Football history 54-51. It showed that Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs can score, but yet again their defense cannot stop an elite offense. The Rams also showed they have holes.

The Saints absolutely dominated the defending Super Bowl champions and have become the clear-cut favorites in the NFC, despite the Rams playing in their conference.

In a season that seemed about as messy as possible, teams are finally starting to define themselves as threats. The top eight in our power rankings seem to be the powerhouses, but like they say, any given Sunday.

1. New Orleans Saints – 224 (High: 1. Low: 1. LW: 1)

The New Orleans Saints had solidified their spot as the top team in the league, with a 48-7 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Sean Payton and company showcased dominance on both sides of the ball. The Saints have gone through a gauntlet of imposing defenses and have beaten them all. Drew Brees continues to tear it up from the pocket, and Alvin Kamara has become more than a handful for the front seven. If they continue this, home-field advantage for the playoffs is as good as theirs.

– Manny Finale

2. Los Angeles Rams – 215 (High: 2. Low: 3. LW: 3)

The Rams came out on top in perhaps the most thrilling Monday Night Football game to ever exist. Despite allowing 51 points, Goff, Gurley and company were able to hang on for the win. The defense forced five turnovers which ultimately was the difference. Don’t be surprised to see a rematch in the Super Bowl.

– Zac Stone

3. Kansas City Chiefs – 211 (High: 2. Low: 4. LW: 2)

The Chiefs lost one of the craziest, high-scoring games ever 54-51. They lost this way essentially the same way they lost to the Patriots – scoring a ton of points but giving up even more on the road. Patrick Mahomes had six touchdowns, but also five total turnovers including two key deep interceptions at the end of the game. That will only help him grow as a quarterback as he experiences more clutch situations. The Chiefs need to keep winning because with this loss, the Chargers are still within striking distance for the division.

– Pranay Malempati

4. Pittsburgh Steelers – 198 (High: 4. Low: 6. LW: 5)

The first half of their game against the Jaguars was not the team that everyone has seen recently. Yet the second half was. They outscored Jacksonville 20-7 in the second half and Big Ben ran in for the go-ahead touchdown to pull out their sixth straight win with the clock expiring.

– Savannah Dean

5. New England Patriots – 192 (High: 5. Low: 8. LW: 6)

The Patriots will look to bounce back after a humiliating loss o the Titans. With the combination of a bye week and facing a team they historically dominate, there should be no reason to worry in New England. Look for Tom Brady to once again run over the Jets.

– Zac Stone

6. Chicago Bears – 190 (High: 3. Low: 8. LW: 7)

Statement win. Many thought the Bears had a fortunate start to the season, but that this division still belonged to Green Bay or Minnesota. That is no longer the case. After taking care of business to gain a game on the Vikings with the Packers losing on Thursday, it is clear who controls the division. With a defense as solid as Chicago’s, it will be hard for anyone to catch them.

– Zac Stone

7. Los Angeles Chargers – 184 (High: 4. Low: 8. LW: 4)

The Chargers have been rolling along smoothly this season, and looked to be on their way to another victory. However, shades of their past crazy losses appeared as LA dropped to 7-3. Philip Rivers, who has been playing well this whole season, threw an unexplainable, game-changing interception to Von Miller who was standing about three yards away from him. But the Chargers are still 7-3 with a game next week against the lowly Cardinals. They are still firmly in playoff position and control their own destiny for the division.

– Pranay Malempati

8. Houston Texans – 180 (High: 6. Low: 9. LW: 11)

The bye week didn’t slow the Houston Texans down, but they didn’t have an easy time in their
23-21 victory over the Washington Redskins. Quarterback Deshaun Watson had an average
game (215 total yards, one touchdown, two interceptions) and the run game for the Texans gained
139 yards. The defense stepped up big time in limiting the Redskins offense to only 278
yards while forcing two turnovers, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Houston has an
AFC South showdown next week as they take on the 5-5 Tennessee Titans, who won their Week
2 match-up 20-17.

– Michael Packard

9. Carolina Panthers – 161 (High: 7. Low: 14. LW: 9)

As talented as the Carolina Panthers have been this month, the team still has loose screws in need of tightening. Cam Newton and company had a chance to take the lead late against the Detroit Lions, but they couldn’t execute a two-point conversion. Losing to Detroit 20-19, the Panthers ought to make this a learning experience. They do have the credentials for a playoff contender. But to get back to their 2015 form, more must be done.

– Manny Finale

10. Minnesota Vikings – 160 (High: 9. Low: 11. LW: 8)

Ouch. The Vikings traveled to Chicago for a crucial division rivalry game, but were unable to walk away with the win. Minnesota looked solid, but what is on the scoreboard means a bit more. The Vikings need to rely on what has worked for them and continue to air it out. The running will come when other teams decide to focus strictly on the passing game.

– Zac Stone

11. Washington Redskins – 151 (High: 9. Low: 15. LW: 10)

The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad news is that Washington’s quarterback, Alex Smith, is done for the year after breaking two bones in his right leg. The good news is that the Redskins feature a run-heavy attack that won’t lose any steam with a quarterback change, and the defense has been solid. Washington just signed former Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez to back up veteran Colt McCoy. We’ll see if they can game-manage their way through the NFC East.
FUN(?) FACT: Not only did Smith break his leg 33 years to the day that famed Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann broke his, but the final score of the game was the same, too.
– Ben Hendricks

12. Baltimore Ravens – 138 (High: 11. Low: 17. LW: 16)

They’re missing their starting quarterback? Well here comes first-round pick Lamar Jackson for 117 yards and threw for 150. Although he threw his first interception, the Ravens’ defense stepped up and helped the rookie pull out a win in his first NFL start.

– Savannah Dean

13. Indianapolis Colts – 132 (High: 10. Low: 19. LW: 20)

Taking on another AFC South opponent in consecutive weeks, the Indianapolis Colts took care
of business in their 38-10 win over the Tennessee Titans. Quarterback Andrew Luck had
another great day, passing for almost 300 yards and three touchdowns. The Colts’ running
game able to contribute as well, gaining over 100 yards and scoring twice, and the defense,
which is becoming one of this teams’ strengths in recent weeks, is only giving up 17.2 points per
game during their four-game win streak. The Colts stay at home and take on the 5-5 Miami
Dolphins next week.

– Michael Packard

14. Dallas Cowboys – 129 (High: 11. Low: 18. LW: 18)

Dallas snuck out of Atlanta with a win after a last-second field goal. Dak Prescott was good, not great, throwing for 208 yards and rushing for one touchdown. The defense did enough to keep Matt Ryan from torching them too much, and picked off a pass. The word “meh” has summed up Dallas’ season, and the word “meh” sums up this win. With the division still up for grabs, Jason Garrett is coaching for his job.

– Ben Hendricks

15. Seattle Seahawks – 121 (High: 11. Low: 15. LW: 17)

What a win in Seattle. After dropping a pair to both Los Angeles teams, they bounce back with a big win against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. A team that looked like they had no life at the start of the season suddenly has made themselves playoff hopefuls. Their losses to the Chargers and Rams proved they can hang with top teams. Seattle will make the last few weeks exciting.

– Zac Stone

16. Tennessee Titans – 119 (High: 14. Low: 19. LW: 12)

Coming off of a high of beating the Patriots the previous week, the Tennessee Titans struggled
mightily in their 38-10 loss against the surging Indianapolis Colts. The Titans offense had trouble
doing anything against a stingy Colts defense, only scoring on two of their 10 drives.
Meanwhile, the Titans defense started out strong, but eventually allowed Andrew Luck and
company to march up and down the field and scoring, only punting twice after the first quarter.
It also didn’t help that quarterback Marcus Mariota left the game in the second quarter with an
elbow injury, something head coach Mike Vrabel just called “a stinger”. Tennessee can ill-afford
any major injuries as they sit two games back of the Huston Texans in the AFC South. That is
who they take on next week at NRG Stadium.

– Michael Packard

17. Green Bay Packers – 109 (High: 13. Low: 23. LW: 13)

Aaron Rodgers has looked off his game as of late. Granted the standard he is held too is as high as they come, but he has not come close to reaching it. The lack of a running game hurts, making it predictable to read this offense. The season is not over yet, but the clock is running out for the Packers to figure it out. Perhaps if Mike McCarthy trusted Rodgers over a depleted defense to stop the Seahawks their record might look a little better.

– Zac Stone

18. Cincinnati Bengals – 108 (High: 14. Low: 20. LW: 14)

Cincinnati is not the same team they were in the beginning of the season. They have now lost four out of their last five games. They fell to the Ravens who couldn’t even play their staring quarterback. The Bengals have now fallen from first place in the division to third at an even .500.

– Savannah Dean

T19. Atlanta Falcons – 93 (High: 15. Low: 23. LW: 19)

The Atlanta Falcons continue to show a solid offensive attack, but they also continue to showcase a spotty defense. During their 22-19 defeat to the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta gave up a 19-9 lead. Matt Bryant, Tevin Coleman and Julio Jones shined bright during the game, but the defense did not pull its weight in keeping the lead. The road to the playoffs will only get bumpier unless the Falcons can dominate on defense.

– Manny Finale

T19. Philadelphia Eagles – 93 (High: 18. Low: 23. LW: 15)

Oh how the mighty have fallen. Philadelphia was absolutely shellacked by (arguably) the best team in the NFL on Sunday night. What should have been a marquee matchup was a legitimate embarrassment of the defending Super Bowl champions. Wentz was awful, throwing three interceptions and no touchdowns. The defense got every single bit of 48 points hung up on them. Granted, they are injured beyond belief, especially on the back end, but still. At this point a repeat looks unlikely at best.

– Ben Hendricks

21. Detroit Lions – 83 (High: 15. Low: 10. LW: 25)

With the NFC North loaded with talent, the Lions seemed to be fading away. Then a hot Panthers team comes to town and they sneak away with a 1-point win. The Lions have talent, there is no doubt about that, but will it be enough to push them back into the playoff picture?

– Zac Stone

22. Denver Broncos – 82 (High: 20. Low: 25. LW: 23)

The Broncos found a way to beat the Chargers on Sunday, most notably due to Von Miller’s interception and long run back in the third quarter. They are now 4-6 only one game out of the wild card, behind a multitude of 5-5 teams. If this team makes the playoffs, it will be mostly because of the defense and rookie running back Philip Lindsay. In addition, wide receiver Courtland Sutton, another rookie, is looking like a great second round pick. Denver has a tough game against the Steelers next week, but four winnable games after that.

– Pranay Malempati

23. Miami Dolphins – 81 (High: 17. Low: 26. LW: 21)

The Dolphins are putting together a strong case as the most confusing team in the league over the Lions. Their record indicates the same at 5-5. Every week a new team shows up, sometimes good, sometimes bad. In a crowded AFC conference, the good Dolphins must show up from here on out if they want to have a chance to make the playoffs.

– Zac Stone

24. Jacksonville Jaguars – 64 (High: 22. Low: 25. LW: 22)

For 43 minutes, the Jacksonville Jaguars looked like a team that was a Super Bowl Contender.
However, it was the last 17 minutes that mattered in their 20-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Although Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette had another stellar day against the Steelers
(30 touches, 141 yards, one touchdown), he was basically shut down the entire second half.
Quarterback Blake Bortles only had 104 yards on 18 pass attempts, and the Jaguars defense,
who had shut down the high-powered Steelers offense for three quarters, gave up 176 yards
and two touchdowns in the final quarter of play when they could not have afforded to because
the Jaguars offense had stagnated. With the postseason all but a dream now, the Jaguars will
finish their season as participants in games, starting with the 3-7 Buffalo Bills next week.

– Michael Packard

25. Cleveland Browns – 51 (High: 24. Low: 29. LW: 24)

The bye week came at a good time after a great win over the Atlanta Falcons. They face their inner division rival, the Bengals, this week in Cincinnati and could possibly pull out their fourth win of the season against a falling team.

– Savannah Dean

26. New York Giants – 50 (High: 24. Low: 27. LW: 30)

A couple of weeks ago, I told you that the Giants could pick up a win in this game against a bad Buccaneers defense (I totally did, feel free to go look). They proved me right, although they probably shouldn’t have. With three wins, the Giants do not want to win enough to put them out of the top three picks, but the competence of the offense has been surprising of late. With an angry Eagles team up next, let’s see if New York can win by losing.

– Ben Hendricks

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 40 (High: 25. Low: 29. LW: 26)

To call the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a mess is an understatement. Losing to a lackluster New York Giants is a testament to that. Like Atlanta, the Bucs has a defense problem. Saquon Barkley and Eli Manning made Tampa Bay look bad, and almost effortlessly at that. Yes, Jameis Winston and Mike Evans did their parts to carry the team. Not to mention Lavonta David was inactive due to an MCL sprain, but even with him, the defense was terrible.

– Manny Finale

28. San Francisco 49ers – 32 (High: 24. Low: 32. LW: 27)

The 49ers watched football rather than play this past weekend. Perhaps an ideal time for a bye, which allows Nick Mullens to study the playbook before stepping foot onto the field. The team expected to compete with Jimmy G. The lack of production from both sides proves that a quarterback was not all this team was missing.

– Zac Stone

T29. Buffalo Bills – 30 (High: 27. Low: 30. LW: 29)

The cinderella story that was last season came to an abrupt halt. The Bills are in desperate need of a quarterback. The draft will be the next exciting moment for Buffalo football, but at least they did not lose this week, or play for that matter.

– Zac Stone

T29. New York Jets – 30 (High: 27. Low: 30. LW: 28)

Out of all the teams that have played miserably this year, the Jets should feel the best. They have a quarterback who seems like he will develop into a quality NFL player. Sam Darnold is just 21 years old with promise. The Jets should be able to turn this team around with him as the centerpiece if they draft well.

– Zac Stone

31. Oakland Raiders – 16 (High: 31. Low: 32. LW: 32)

The Raiders won their second game of the season with a game winning drive at the end, but was it really a win? This team is building for the future and beating the (also 2-win) Cardinals only moves them back in the race for the number one draft pick. In other news, Derek Carr and Jon Gruden got in a heated exchange on the sideline during the game, and Raiders tight end Lee Smith grabbed Gruden to calm him down, apparently taking Carr’s side. On the bright side, Derek Carr has played will since the bye, with no picks since then.

– Pranay Malempati

32. Arizona Cardinals – 8 (High: 31. Low: 32. LW: 31)

There was only one team that could possibly be worse than the Cardinals, and they just lost at home to them. First overall pick sounds pretty nice at least, right?

– Zac Stone

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