NFL Week 12 Power Rankings: AFC Playoff Spots Change Hands

Can Mike White propel the Jets to the playoffs? (Photo by John Minchillo/AP Photo)

Everybody played in Week 12, and it was action-packed. On top of the three great games on Thanksgiving, Sunday night also saw a fascinating contest between the Eagles and the Packers. After 12 weeks, here’s where everyone stands in the NFL.

32. Houston Texans (1-9-1) Prev: 32

How have the Texans not mathematically been eliminated yet? While it’s only a matter of time, it’s shocking that there’s even one scenario where Houston makes the playoffs. They tried a quarterback change this week, but Kyle Allen may have been worse than Davis Mills.

Team MVP: Jordan Akins (5 rec, 61 yds, TD)

Next: vs Browns

31. Chicago Bears (3-9) Prev: 30

With Justin Fields out with a shoulder injury, there’s no reason to watch the Bears. Fields is their entire offense at this point, as his running ability makes Chicago’s offense go. Without him, they didn’t stand a chance against the Jets.

Team MVP: David Montgomery (79 yds, 3 rec, 34 yds)

Next: vs Packers

30. Denver Broncos (3-8) Prev: 29

Even the Broncos are starting to get sick of Russell Wilson. A Broncos defensive lineman screamed at Russ while walking off the field, showing that Denver’s players are upset with his lack of production. Wilson still has a very lucrative long-term contract that kicks in next season.

Team MVP: Latavius Murray (92 yds)

Next: at Ravens

29. Los Angeles Rams (3-8) Prev: 24

Bad continues to get worse for the Rams. They took another loss against the Chiefs, and now Aaron Donald may be hurt. He reportedly has an ankle injury and will miss a few weeks. It’s not like the Rams had a ton to play for, anyway.

Team MVP: Nick Scott (6 tackles, INT)

Next: vs Seahawks

28. New Orleans Saints (4-8) Prev: 23

New Orleans got shut out by the 49ers. After a few weeks where Andy Dalton was looking comfortable, the red rifle is back to square one. New Orleans is in desperate need of a quarterback, an issue they may not be able to address in the offseason due to their lack of a first-round draft pick.

Team MVP: Shy Tuttle (5 tackles, sack)

Next: at Buccaneers

27. Indianapolis Colts (4-7-1) Prev: 22

The Jeff Saturday hype train has slowed to a screeching halt. The Colts got close to knocking off the Steelers, but Saturday’s poor clock management at the end of the game likely cost them. While they may be competitive, Saturday needs to get his team some wins.

Team MVP: Yannick Ngakoue (4 tackles, 2 sacks)

Next: at Cowboys

26. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-7) Prev: 31

Kenny Pickett is starting to look more and more comfortable. While the rookie didn’t throw for any touchdowns, he also didn’t turn it over and led the Steelers to 24 points in a road win in primetime. His progress is a welcome sight for Yinzers everywhere.

Team MVP: Alex Highsmith (6 tackles, sack, 2 QB hits)

Next: at Falcons

25. Carolina Panthers (4-8) Prev: 28

Is Sam Darnold the spark that the Panthers needed? After PJ Walker cooled off and Baker Mayfield didn’t perform, Sam Darnold got his time to shine, leading Carolina to a win over the Broncos. Even if Darnold continues to play well, Carolina should draft a quarterback this offseason.

Team MVP: DJ Moore (4 rec, 103 yds, TD)

Next: Bye

24. Las Vegas Raiders (4-7) Prev: 27

Make that two in a row for the Raiders after Josh Jacobs walked off an overtime thriller against Seattle with an 86-yard touchdown. A thrilling win will lift spirits for the Raiders after not having much to cheer for most of the season.

Team MVP: Josh Jacobs (229 yds, 2 TDs, 6 rec, 74 yds)

Next: vs Chargers

23. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7) Prev: 26

Trevor Lawrence played his best game as a pro against the Ravens. T-Law led the Jags to a thrilling comeback win, capped off with a two-point conversion to Zay Jones. Performances like this remind us why Lawrence was the first-overall pick in 2021.

Team MVP: Trevor Lawrence (29/37, 321 yds, 3 TDs)

Next: at Lions

22. Green Bay Packers (4-8) Prev: 21

Green Bay dueled with the Eagles for a while but ultimately lost. Jordan Love’s impressive performance after Aaron Rodgers left with an injury was very noteworthy. Green Bay’s future may be in better hands than we thought.

Team MVP: Christian Watson (4 rec, 110 yds, TD)

Next: at Bears

21. Arizona Cardinals (4-8) Prev: 20

Arizona had a late lead but gave up a go-ahead two-point conversion to blow the game against the Chargers. Even more concerning was Kyler Murray’s NSFW quote calling out Kliff Kingsbury after the game. The Cards’ head coach appears to be on the hot seat.

Team MVP: James Conner (120 yds, 3 rec, 20 yds, TD)

Next: Bye

20. Cleveland Browns (4-7) Prev: 25

The Jacoby Brissett era ends with a win over the Buccaneers. Deshaun Watson will now take over as the starting quarterback in Houston. Just in time for a return to Houston for a showdown with his former team.

Team MVP: Nick Chubb (116 yds, TD)

Next: at Texans

19. Detroit Lions (4-7) Prev: 19

The Lions’ win streak may be over, but they gave the Bills a run for their money. The Lions can’t seem to buy a win on Thanksgiving. It’s a shame they have to play on it every year.

Team MVP: Amon-Ra St. Brown (9 rec, 122 yds, TD)

Next: vs Jaguars

18. Atlanta Falcons (5-7) Prev: 18

Atlanta ran into a red-hot Washington team that took them down. The Falcons have gone ice cold after being in position to win the NFC South a few weeks ago. Marcus Mariota continues to struggle, putting up another unimpressive stat line.

Team MVP: Mykal Walker (9 tackles, INT)

Next: vs Steelers

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6) Prev: 16

The Bucs took an overtime loss to the Browns in what should have been a winnable game. Instead, the Bucs are back under .500 but leading the NFC South. The Bucs may walk backward to another playoff run.

Team MVP: Chris Godwin (12 rec, 110 yds, TD)

Next: vs Saints

16. New England Patriots (6-5) Prev: 13

A loss to the Vikings takes the pats out of the AFC playoff picture and back on the bubble. One positive that New England can take away is that the offense looked the best it has all year, as Mac Jones put up a career-high in passing yards without turning it over. They’ll need Mac to keep playing well as they begin a tough stretch.

Team MVP: Mac Jones (28/39, 382 yds, 2 TDs)

Next: vs Bills

15. Seattle Seahawks (6-5) Prev: 10

Seattle took a tough loss against the Raiders. With the Commanders catching fire, Seattle needed a win here. Now they’re ice-cold, with the Commanders stealing their playoff spot. Things don’t look good in Seattle right now.

Team MVP: Quandre Diggs (6 tackles, 2 INTs)

Next: at Rams

14. New York Giants (7-4) Prev: 7

This loss makes two tough losses in a row for the Giants, this one against Dallas. The Giants are starting to slip at a crucial point in the season. The Giants are still firmly in the playoff picture, but they need to get back on track ASAP.

Team MVP: Julian Love (10 tackles, INT, TFL)

Next: vs Commanders

13. Tennessee Titans (7-4) Prev: 9

The Titans took a loss to the Bengals. It’s likely inconsequential, as they face no competition in the AFC South. They’ll likely be back in the playoffs, though one has to question their ability to make a deep run.

Team MVP: Ryan Tannehill (22/34, 291 yds)

Next: at Eagles

12. Los Angeles Chargers (6-5) Prev: 14

The Chargers scored a big win over the Cardinals, including a clutch two-point conversion. Los Angeles needed this win to keep pace with the other playoff teams. They’re hanging in there but will need some help over the coming weeks.

Team MVP: Justin Herbert (35/47, 274 yds, 3 TDs)

Next: at Raiders

11. Washington Commanders (7-5) Prev: 17

Washington continues to surge, as they got a win over the Falcons. The Commanders now hold a playoff spot, a scenario nobody saw coming at this point in the season. The team will get Chase Young back soon, making their defense even more dangerous.

Team MVP: Brian Robinson Jr (105 yds, 2 rec, 20 yds, TD)

Next: at Giants

10. New York Jets (7-4) Prev: 15

The Jets’ savior has arrived, and it’s… Mike White?! The backup QB threw for over 300 yards, getting everyone involved. The team seemed to rally around White, as opposed to Zach Wilson, who now has likely lost his job.

Team MVP: Mike White (22/28, 315 yds, 3 TDs)

Next: at Vikings

9. San Francisco 49ers (7-4) Prev: 12

The 49ers shut out the Saints. Ever since acquiring Christian McCaffrey, the 49ers have been a wagon. They appear well on their way to coasting to an NFC West title.

Team MVP: Nick Bosa (3 tackles, sack)

Next: vs Dolphins

8. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) Prev: 11

The Bengals didn’t get Ja’Marr Chase back this week, but that didn’t stop them. They grabbed a win over the Titans and now hold a playoff spot. The defending AFC champs expect Chase back this week, in time for a big matchup.

Team MVP: Tee Higgins (7 rec, 114 yds, TD)

Next: vs Chiefs

7. Baltimore Ravens (7-4) Prev: 6

The Ravens are back to blowing late leads. They blew one to the Jaguars this week, a game they should have won. Now, the Bengals have the same record as them, setting up a tight race for the AFC North.

Team MVP: Lamar Jackson (16/32, 254 yds, TD, 89 rush yds)

Next: vs Broncos

6. Miami Dolphins (8-3) Prev: 8

Miami had its way with Houston. The Dolphins currently lead the AFC East and look like a lock for the playoffs. Mike McDaniel needs to be in the running for coach of the year after the job that he’s done.

Team MVP: Elandon Roberts (9 tackles, sack, TFL, QB hit)

Next: at 49ers

5. Dallas Cowboys (8-3) Prev: 5

Dallas scored a big Thanksgiving win over the Giants. The Cowboys hold the top wild-card spot in the NFC and are two games back of the Eagles. If the Eagles lose before they get a chance to play Dallas, the NFC East could get that much more intriguing.

Team MVP: CeeDee Lamb (6 rec, 106 yds)

Next: vs Colts

4. Buffalo Bills (8-3) Prev: 4

The Bills got their second win in Detroit in as many weeks, beating the Lions on Thanksgiving. The Bills did struggle a bit, however, showing they may be vulnerable. One has to wonder if Josh Allen’s elbow is affecting him.

Team MVP: Stefon Diggs (8 rec, 77 yds, TD)

Next: at Patriots

3. Minnesota Vikings (9-2) Prev: 3

The Vikings won a Thanksgiving thriller against New England. Justin Jefferson is starting to separate himself from the other wide receivers in the league. He could be the best receiver in the NFL for years to come.

Team MVP: Justin Jefferson (9 rec, 139 yds, TD, 1/1, 11 yds)

Next: vs Jets

2. Philadelphia Eagles (10-1) Prev: 2

The Eagles won again, but the Packers didn’t make it easy. Philly will get rookie defensive tackle Jordan Davis back soon, which will help their run defense massively. They’re a different defense when Davis is on the field.

Team MVP: Jalen Hurts (16/28, 153 yds, 2 TDs, 157 rush yds)

Next: vs Titans

1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) Prev: 1

Kansas City had an easy time with the Rams. The Chiefs look like the best team in the AFC by a mile, but they don’t have much breathing room. They’re only one game above the Dolphins and Bills, and Buffalo has a head-to-head win against the Chiefs.

Team MVP: L’Jarius Sneed (7 tackles, INT)

Next: at Bengals