By Bryan Dietzler
The NFL’s Week Twelve is in the books, and we saw a lot of football over the course of the previous week with Thanksgiving games being played.
The Philadelphia Eagles beat the Chicago Bears soundly and easily look like the best team in the NFL. They will continue their march to the playoffs in sound fashion. The second-best team in the poll, the New England Patriots, won as well and look like the team to beat in the AFC. Will these be the two teams in the Super Bowl when it’s all said and done? Right now, it would appear it could be.
At the bottom of the poll, the Cleveland Browns are still the worst team. Will they ever win a game? Meanwhile, some teams are climbing from the bottom to the middle. Teams like San Diego and Baltimore are making their way up the poll. How far will they get before the season is done?
So, without further delay, here is the Week Thirteen sometimes late but always consistent NFL power poll.
- Philadelphia Eagles-(LW 1, 10-1) Their game against the Bears was a cake walk. This team looks like a Super Bowl contender.
- New England Patriots-(LW 2, 9-2) The Patriots appear as if they are going to be the team to contend with in the AFC. Will anyone else step up and stop them from repeating?
- Pittsburgh Steelers-(LW 3, 9-2) The Steelers barely escaped the Green Bay Packers at home this Sunday. It does appear they play down to their competition and can’t do that if they expect to get to the Super Bowl.
- Minnesota Vikings-(LW 5, 9-2) The Vikings are looking good and are easily a top team. Having the goal of playing in a Super Bowl in your home stadium isn’t a bad goal to have, is it? And it’s possible the Vikings could do that.
- Los Angeles Rams-(LW 7, 8-3) The Rams proved themselves by beating one of the best teams in the NFC. They are young and may fall out of the playoffs early but give them some time and they will be contending for the Super Bowl.
- Atlanta Falcons-(LW 6, 7-4) The Falcons are looking good and winning games big. It’s also nice to see Julio Jones getting some attention. Could this team continue and end up being a top team in the NFC?
- New Orleans Saints-(LW 4, 8-3) The Saints’ eight-game winning streak was snapped by the Rams. The Rams exposed some issues on both sides of the ball that the Saints will need to correct to continue to win. Can they continue to march forward towards the playoffs?
- Carolina Panthers-(LW 9, 8-3) The Panthers squeezed out a close victory over the New York Jets and are one of three hot teams in the NFC South. The battle there is going to be the best to watch in in the final weeks of the season.
- Seattle Seahawks-(LW 11, 7-4) The Seahawks climb back into the top ten with a win over the lowly 49ers. This team may get to the playoffs but will struggle and make an early exit. They need help on both sides of the ball and won’t get it until the offseason.
- Jacksonville Jaguars-(LW 8, 7-4) The Jaguars were bested by the Cardinals Sunday and showed us that they have some work to do on offense. Now they are tied with the Tennessee Titans for the lead in their division. It will be a fight to the finish for those two teams.
- Tennessee Titans-(LW 13, 7-4) The Titans are doing just enough to win but won’t blow anyone out. They still need some help but are poised to make it to the playoffs with Jacksonville standing in their way. Can they get past the Jaguars and win the division?
- Washington Redskins-(LW 15, 5-6) This is a hard team to figure out. They win, they lose, and they don’t make a lot of waves. Could they make the playoffs or are they playing for next year? It’s hard to tell.
- Detroit Lions-(LW 10, 6-5) The Lions are still in the hunt for a playoff spot but aren’t looking particularly strong enough to compete with some of the better teams in the NFC. Shoring up some holes on defense and getting more consistency out of their offense will help them out immensely.
- Kansas City Chiefs-(LW 12, 6-5) The Chiefs continue their fall from the top of this poll and the top of the NFL. Pretty soon the Raiders and the Chargers are going to catch up with them, and they will be left to miss the playoffs. Will they get back to the way they played to start the season?
- Buffalo Bills-(LW 18, 6-5) The winning Bills showed back up again this Sunday by beating the Chiefs. Maybe their little quarterback experiment is over now?
- Oakland Raiders-(LW 20, 5-6) The Raiders got a good win over the lowly Broncos and, with the Chiefs falling, are in the hunt for the AFC West. Let’s see if they can be consistent, and ward off the Chiefs and Chargers to win the division.
- Baltimore Ravens-(LW 19, 6-5) The Ravens are doing it with defense and a little bit of offense, but they are winning games. Just how much longer will this formula keep them going? Without a strong offense, they are sure to falter.
- Dallas Cowboys-(LW 14, 5-6) Do the Cowboys miss Ezekiel Elliott that much? Wow. This team has fallen so far since last year. Will they be able to pick it back up again and be playoff contenders or is this season lost?
- Green Bay Packers-(LW 17, 5-6) This team is not as bad as people think after hanging tough with Pittsburg on Sunday night. Still, it’s not the same team without Aaron Rodgers. They might have won that game had he been at the controls on offense.
- Los Angles Chargers-(LW 24, 5-6) This team is playing very well and may even sneak up and contend for the AFC West title. Can they compete with the Chiefs and the Raiders to get to the playoffs?
- Arizona Cardinals-(LW 21, 5-6) The last moment victory by the Cardinals was a stroke of luck but they played a good game and deserved the win. This team should improve next season provided they can get some stability at quarterback.
- Houston Texans-(LW 16, 4-7) The Texans aren’t that bad, especially on defense. They have one of the most dominant defenders in the game in Jadeveon Clowney. They just don’t have the offense to keep up. Look for them to be much better in 2018.
- New York Jets-(LW 22, 4-7) The Jets hung tough with one of the NFL’s better teams, the Carolina Panthers on Sunday and almost won. This team has some potential. I remember when I was calling them the worst team in the NFL. That’s certainly not the case any longer.
- Cincinnati Bengals-(LW 23, 5-6) The Bengals are looking good against weaker opponents and we will see how well they look against some of the better NFL talent. You can bet there will be some changes here this offseason but it’s still up in the air as to what will happen with Marvin Lewis.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers-(LW 4-7) Tampa got back to their losing ways this Sunday and there isn’t much they are going to be able to do to salvage their season. This team will have to look towards next year and make some changes.
- Miami Dolphins-(LW 25, 4-7) This Dolphins team isn’t going to do much this year and has a lot of questions. If they don’t see improvement next season, could Adam Gases’ job be on the line? It’s possible.
- Chicago Bears-(LW 26, 3-8) Yikes! This team was clobbered by the Philadelphia Eagles and proved that they need a lot of help. Did this loss seal the fate of head coach John Fox or will he have one more year to turn this team around?
- Indianapolis Colts-(LW 28, 3-8) Chuck Pagano’s job may be on the line at the end of this season but he had a lot of problems to deal with. Not having Andrew Luck available all year was his biggest issue. Will the Colts be able to bounce back in 2018?
- New York Giants-(LW 29, 2-9) There is some big news out of New York this week that will have people wondering what is happening. Eli Manning is going to sit while Geno Smith will start at quarterback. Are we seeing the end of the Eli Manning era?
- San Francisco 49ers-(LW 30, 1-10) Is the Jimmy Garoppolo era about to start in San Francisco? It might come earlier than we were promised. Will it make a difference?
- Denver Broncos-(LW 31, 3-8) Denver is a mere shadow of what it once was. Is it the coaching staff? Could it be general manager John Elway? What is Denver’s problem?
- Cleveland Browns-(LW 32, 0-11) You know that all is right in the world when the Cleveland Browns lose. There are some teams coming up in their schedule that they could beat so stay tuned. They just might earn a win.