NFL games don’t make sense right now and games are still unpredictable. The Def Pen Sports team has analyzed the Week 11 games and made the needed adjustments for Week 12 of the 2021 NFL Power Rankings. The contributors to this week’s rankings are Dylan Hargis and Xavier Santos. Team names will be followed by their record and the number of spots they moved up or down from last week’s rankings.
2021 NFL Power Rankings: Week 12
1. Arizona Cardinals 9-2 (+2)
The Cardinals keep finding ways to win and keep pace in a competitive division. Colt McCoy has guaranteed himself another decade in the league as a backup quarterback with the way he has come in and competed. The schedule has been favorable but it’s hard to imagine a better outcome after their star quarterback missed three consecutive weeks. The playoffs will be the true test for this team but they’ve done a wonderful job of positioning themselves for a potential first-round bye.
2. Green Bay Packers 8-3 (-1)
The Packers will be fine. Their play Sunday was inconsistent but they were a small bobble away from marching down the field and pulling out a win against a desperate Minnesota team. Health will be key for this team moving forward.
3. Tennessee Titans 8-3 (-1)
This team looked promising despite losing Derrick Henry and then in typical NFL fashion this year they lost to the Houston Texans. This team is hard to pin down. They’ve beat some good teams, but two of their three losses are to the Jets and Texans.
4. Baltimore Ravens 7-3 (+4)
This team found a way to win without Lamar Jackson in a week where a lot of top teams lost. The defense is still inconsistent, but with Jackson, they don’t lose often. They move up in the 2021 NFL Power Rankings this week.
5. Los Angeles Rams 7-3 (-)
6. Dallas Cowboys 7-3 (-2)
The Cowboys had the most disappointing performance of the weekend. Many thought the Cowboys would be able to match the Chiefs’ offensive firepower. The defense did a great job of containing Patrick Mahomes but the offense simply could not capitalize on the many opportunities.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7-3 (-)
Tampa Bay seemingly righted the ship against the Giants on Monday Night Football. Early miscommunication happened, but the team figured things out. Antonio Brown coming back should have the team ready for the final stretch.
8. Kansas City Cheifs 7-4 (+1)
The magic may not be all the way back for the Cheifs, but they are winning games. Dallas couldn’t find answers against the defense this past Sunday. Kansas City continues to move up the 2021 NFL Power Rankings.
9. New England Patriots 7-4 (+1)
The Buffalo Bills have lost control of the AFC East and they should be very worried. It looks like Tom Brady didn’t take all of the magic away with him to Tampa Bay. Mac Jones seems to have a bright future in the NFL.
10. Los Angeles Chargers 6-4 (+2)
The Chargers like many teams are very up and down right now. They got a much-needed win against the Steelers on Sunday Night Football this week. This team looks and feels like a wildcard team.
11. Buffalo Bills 6-4 (-5)
This team is currently in a free fall and in jeopardy of losing control of their season. The two matchups against the Patriots will make or break them this year. Right now the Bills do not like the better team.
12. Cincinnati Bengals 6-4 (+4)
The Bengals got a much-needed win to right the ship against the Raiders. Joe Mixon carried the load and Ja’Marr Chase caught another touchdown. This team is young, but they could make the playoffs this year.
13. Indianapolis Colts 6-5 (+4)
This Colts team looks completely different from the team that couldn’t win a game to start the year. Carson Wentz looks healthy and back to what we thought he could be this year. The Colts could sneak into the Playoffs.
14. Denver Broncos 5-5 (-)
15. Cleveland Browns 6-5 (+3)
Baker Mayfield just isn’t the answer at quarterback, but this team wants to try and force him to be this year. They abandoned the run game against the Lions despite Nick Chubb being healthy. The team made this win very hard to get.
16. Philadelphia Eagles 5-6 (+10)
Don’t look now but the Eagles are getting better by the week. It took a month for the coaching staff to realize that Jalen Hurts should be deployed in the run game but boy has it paid off. With this new look scheme, look for Miles Sanders to get more involved as he returns from injury. If the defense can bend but not break, Philly has the chance to make a late run at a postseason appearance.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers 5-4-1 (-2)
Just a few weeks ago we thought the Steelers had figured things out on the field. We were very wrong. A tie with the Lions and a loss to the Chargers have the team moving the wrong way on the 2021 NFL Power Rankings.
18. New Orleans Saints 5-5 (-7)
Many thought the defense would be able to corral Jalen Hurts and the Eagles’ offense. Instead, they gave yards in chunks and could not get off the field on third down. It was a disappointing outcome for a team that would have been 6-4 with a win and very much in play for a postseason berth. At 5-5, a playoff berth is possible but not something we would put money on.
19. Las Vegas Raiders 5-5 (-6)
The Raiders hit the wall we expected them to hit this season. They are losing games and look uninspired on the field. It may be time to write them off for the season.
20. Minnesota Vikings 5-5 (-)
The Vikings were fortunate to pull out a win on Sunday. There’s something missing in Minnesota and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is. The answer is likely Kirk Cousins and management will need to make a decision on his future after the season.
21. San Francisco 49ers 5-5 (-)
The 49ers took care of business against an outmanned Jaguar team. At 5-5 there is hope but how the season unfolds will depend on Jimmy Garoppolo’s level of play moving forward. The defense and run game are good enough to keep them competitive but it will be his arm and ability to complete throws in key moments that determine whether a playoff spot is possible.
22. Carolina Panthers 5-6 (-3)
The Panthers were never the team that came out hot early in the season. The arrival of Cam Newton gives Panther fans something to cheer for as the season comes to an end. He shouldn’t be viewed as the long-term answer at the position but it does add a level of intrigue for what looked to be a lost season.
23. Washington Football Team 4-6 (+1)
They fought hard and pulled out a solid win against a highly motivated Panther team. The win doesn’t do much for their long-term outlook but it shows that the team has not given up on its coach.
24. Atlanta Falcons 4-6 (-1)
Two weeks ago, the Falcons were .500 and had a postseason run in their sights. Two weeks later, their season is all but over and some serious changes are likely to occur during the offseason.
25. New York Giants 3-7 (-)
The Giants are in serious need of a real rebuild. It is time to move on from players that don’t help that rebuild. It doesn’t help matters that Jason Garrett is a terrible play caller on offense.
26. Miami Dolphins 4-7 (+2)
Seemingly out of nowhere the Dolphins look like a decent football team. We certainly didn’t see that coming this year. The Dolphins may continue to move up on the 2021 NFL Power Rankings.
27. Chicago Bears 3-7 (-5)
Simply put the Bears are bad and the main reason is Matt Nagy. His offensive scheme is bad and doing no favors to Justin Fields or Andy Dalton on the field. A new head coach would do this team wonders.
28. Seattle Seahawks 3-7 (-1)
Something is clearly wrong in Seattle. Did Russell Wilson rush back too soon from his injury? Is it a coaching issue? I tend to put most of the blame on the coaching staff and front office. It’s probably best for all parties to go their separate ways at this point.
29. Houston Texans 2-8 (+2)
They won? Are we sure? In all seriousness, we didn’t think this team had it in them. A wild week in the NFL is capped off by this team beating a red-hot Titans team.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars 2-8 (-1)
It is still hard to believe this team won two football games. Urban Meyer should run back to college football if given the chance. He isn’t cut out for this level of football.
31. New York Jets 2-8 (-1)
The Jets have a few young players that could one day help them win games. Michael Carter looks like a franchise running back. That being said this team has more holes than swiss cheese right now.
32. Detroit Lions 0-9-1 (-)
The Lions are a dumpster fire. The return of the brown paper bags with a frowny face and 0-16-1 soon come.
* The biggest movers of the week were the Philadelphia Eagles (+10) and the New Orleans Saints (-7) *