Week 12 NFL Power Rankings: Pittsburgh Showing Vulnerability?

How long can the Steelers remain undefeated? Photo by Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Week 12 of the NFL season has come to a close. The week was six days long due to the Ravens’ COVID-19 situation. This week, we saw some Wild Card teams lose their footing in the playoff picture. Here are the power rankings for Week 12 of the NFL season.

32. New York Jets (0-11) (Eliminated) Prev: 32

Another week, another loss for the New York Jets, whose chances of going 0-16 have become extremely likely. They don’t have the first overall pick locked down just yet, because there is also another team that seems insistent on losing this season.

Team MVP: Quinnen Williams (7 tackles, 1.5 sacks)

Next: vs Raiders

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-10) (Eliminated) Prev: 31

With their tenth consecutive loss, the Jaguars have officially been eliminated from playoff contention. They responded to this by firing their general manager, David Caldwell. A team that was in the AFC Championship not long ago, Jacksonville will look for a fresh start this offseason, likely with a new quarterback and maybe a new head coach.

Team MVP: James Robinson (128 rush yds, 5 rec, 31 yds, TD)

Next: at Vikings

30. Cincinnati Bengals (2-8-1) Prev: 30

The Bengals were competitive in their first game without Joe Burrow, but they ultimately lost. The main point of this season for the Bengals was to evaluate Burrow and see where else they may need to improve. The immediate answer is the offensive line, but the defense could use work as well. The Bengals will end up with a good pick to evaluate these issues.

Team MVP: Vonn Bell (10 tackles, fumble recovery)

Next: at Dolphins

29. Dallas Cowboys (3-8) Prev: 29

Dallas is the most talented team in the NFC East on paper, even without Dak Prescott. So when the team struggles this badly, you immediately point to the coaching. Mike McCarthy has been making questionable decisions all year, and his defense has been horrible all year. However, getting Jerry Jones to admit he made a bad hire is much easier said than done.

Team MVP: Amari Cooper (6 rec, 112 yds, TD)

Next: at Ravens

28. Los Angeles Chargers (3-8) Prev: 24

Anthony Lynn is not keeping his job after this season. The mental mistakes he made during the team’s loss to Buffalo show that he should not be holding an NFL head coaching job. For example, down by two possessions with less than a minute to go, Lynn ran the ball on the goal line. You don’t have to be Bill Belichick to know when you should run or pass the ball.

Team MVP: Austin Ekeler (44 rush yds, 11 rec, 85 yds)

Next: vs Patriots

27. Atlanta Falcons (4-7) Prev: 27

The Falcons successfully lured the Raiders into a trap game. This team has no shot at making the playoffs at this point, but the talent on the roster is good enough to lure playoff teams into a trap game. Good teams should be wary when they see Atlanta on their schedule.

Team MVP: Deion Jones (5 tackles, INT, TD)

Next: vs Saints

26. Detroit Lions (4-7) Prev: 23

The Lions’ latest Thanksgiving blunder was the last straw for the Lions. They fired coach Matt Patricia and general manager, Bob Quinn. It is a long-overdue move by the Lions, as Quinn and Patricia failed to make the Lions a Patriots clone.

Team MVP: Kerryon Johnson (46 rush yds, 4 rec, 52 yd)

Next: at Bears

25. Houston Texans (4-7) Prev: 26

The Texans were victorious on Thanksgiving, as they beat the Lions. Houston has said interim coach Romeo Crennel will not be the head coach, but he should at least get consideration for the job due to his recent performances. Houston has now won two in a row, and Deshaun Watson looks spectacular.

Team MVP: Deshaun Watson (17/25, 318 yds, 24 rush yds, 4 TDs)

Next: vs Colts

24. Philadelphia Eagles (3-7-1) Prev: 22

The Eagles looked primed to take control of the NFC East a few weeks ago. Now, they find themselves in third place in the division. Coach Doug Pederson’s seat is getting warmer, despite bringing the team their first Super Bowl a few years ago. Carson Wentz’s seat may also be getting a little hot, with rookie Jalen Hurts on the bench.

Team MVP: Dallas Goedert (7 rec, 75 yds, TD)

Next: at Packers

23. Washington Football Team (4-7) Prev: 28

Thanksgiving was the Antonio Gibson coming out party. Gibson had quietly been putting together a solid season for Washington, but he exploded against Dallas for over 100 yards and three touchdowns. Washington now has a good shot at winning the NFC East, as they and the Giants are tied at four wins.

Team MVP: Antonio Gibson (115 rush yds, 5 rec, 21 yds, 3 TDs)

Next: at Steelers

22. New York Giants (4-7) Prev: 25

Daniel Jones was unable to finish this game, leaving with a hamstring injury. He avoided a major injury, but he is likely still going to miss time. The Giants currently hold the lead in the NFC East, so they will hope for a one-game absence and a return to the field. This team would kill for a Saquon Barkley right now.

Team MVP: Wayne Gallman (94 rush yds, TD)

Next: at Giants

21. Denver Broncos (4-7) Prev: 20

Denver was put into an unfortunate situation this week, as they did not have a quarterback active. They elevated practice squad quarterback Kendall Hinton, and he played the quarterback position for Denver. Good on Hinton and the Broncos for attempting to win this game, but beating the Saints with their situation was almost impossible.

Team MVP: Essang Bassey (2 tackles, INT)

Next: at Chiefs

20. Carolina Panthers (4-8) Prev: 18

Carolina lost to a hot Vikings team. They got Teddy Bridgewater back, and the offense showed improvement with him back under center. Unfortunately for Carolina, the defense bent at the last second and gave up a go-ahead touchdown to Minnesota.

Team MVP: Jeremy Chinn (13 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 TDs)

Next: Bye

19. New England Patriots (5-6) Prev: 21

New England stunned the Cardinals in a must-win game for their season. With the loss by Vegas, New England now is only two games out of the playoff picture. They also hold tiebreakers over the Dolphins, Raiders, and Ravens. If New England keeps winning, it is not too far-fetched for them to make the playoffs, despite their uncharacteristic losing streak earlier this season.

Team MVP: Adam Butler (5 tackles, sack)

Next: at Chargers

18. San Francisco 49ers (5-6) Prev: 19

The 49ers finally got some of their key players back, like Richard Sherman and Raheem Moster, and they were able to score an upset victory over the Rams. It is easy to forget that this team was in the NFC Championship just last year, due to the number of injuries they have sustained this year. When somewhat healthy, this team can still give NFC contenders problems.

Team MVP: Deebo Samuel (11 rec, 133 yds)

Next: vs Bills

17. Chicago Bears (5-6) Prev: 16

The Bears were 5-1 at one point this season, but they have now dropped under .500 on the season. Head coach Matt Nagy maybe another coach on the hot seat this season, largely due to his offense’s uninspired performance. The defense was not great this week either, as they allowed over 40 points to their heated rival, Green Bay.

Team MVP: David Montgomery (103 rush yds, 5 rec, 40 yds, TD)

Next: vs Lions

16. Minnesota Vikings (5-6) Prev: 17

The Vikings are continuing to make their push for playoff relevancy as they secured a victory over the Panthers this week. With teams like Arizona and Tampa Bay beginning to slip, the Vikings could slide into the playoff picture in the coming weeks.

Team MVP: Kirk Cousins (34/45, 307 yds, 19 rush yds, 3 TDs)

Next: vs Jaguars

15. Baltimore Ravens (6-5) Prev: 14

On top of their COVID-19 issues, the Ravens fell to the Steelers for the second time this season. Baltimore is currently on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, which is troubling since they were expected to win the division this year. That is no longer a possibility, as they will have to settle for a Wild Card spot should they make the playoffs.

Team MVP: Tyus Bowser (3 tackles, INT)

Next: vs Cowboys

14. Las Vegas Raiders (6-5) Prev: 13

It was not a good week for Jon Gruden’s Raiders. They lost a very winnable game against the Atlanta Falcons, and it was not particularly close. The Raiders’ playoff position is not very secure at the moment, as the Ravens are not too far out and the Patriots have a tiebreaker over them.

Team MVP: Hunter Renfrow (7 rec, 73 yds)

Next: at Jets

13. Arizona Cardinals (6-5) Prev: 10

The Cardinals fell victim to a trap game courtesy of the New England Patriots. The Pats found a way to contain Kyler Murray, something no other team had been able to do to this point in the season. Arizona will need to ensure that they did not give the rest of the league a blueprint.

Team MVP: Markus Golden (3 tackles, INT)

Next: vs Rams

12. Miami Dolphins (7-4) Prev: 15

Miami was victorious over the Jets this week. Ryan Fitzpatrick stepped in again this week due to Tua’s thumb injury, and he played well. Miami is starting to secure their playoff position due to teams like the Raiders and Ravens beginning to stumble.

Team MVP: Devante Parker (8 rec, 119 yds)

Next: vs Bengals

11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5) Prev: 11

Tampa Bay fell victim to their poor first-half play, as they lost to the Chiefs. They gave up over 200 yards to Tyreek Hill in the first quarter alone, and they were never able to recover. Tom Brady’s turnover struggles continued into this game, as he threw two more interceptions. He is currently on pace for a career high.

Team MVP: Rob Gronkowski (6 rec, 106 yds)

Next: Bye

10. Cleveland Browns (8-3) Prev: 12

Cleveland continues their run as the AFC’s biggest surprise of the season. Their consistent run game continues to be their driving force, as Nick Chubb ran for over 100 yards again. The Browns will likely find themselves in the playoffs this year.

Team MVP: Nick Chubb (144 rush yds, 3 rec, 32 yds, TD)

Next: at Titans

9. Indianapolis Colts (7-4) Prev: 8

The Colts had a chance to create space from the Titans but were ran over by Derrick Henry. The usually stout defense could not contain Henry, and they now trail in the race for the AFC South. The Colts will look to bounce back next week.

Team MVP: Darius Leonard (14 tackles, sack)

Next: at Texans

8. Los Angeles Rams (7-4) Prev: 5

The Rams were beaten by their division rival, the 49ers. Coming off of a statement victory, this sets them back a little bit, but they still have secure playoff positioning for the moment. As long as this does not become a trend, the Rams should be fine.

Team MVP: Cam Akers (84 rush yds, TD)

Next: at Cardinals

7. Tennessee Titans (8-3) Prev: 9

Derrick Henry plays grown man football. There’s no other way to put it. He has been running dominantly all season no matter who the opponent is. If Tennessee closes out the AFC South, it is not a stretch to say he deserves MVP consideration.

Team MVP: Derrick Henry (178 rush yds, 3 TDs)

Next: vs Browns

6. Seattle Seahawks (8-3) Prev: 7

Seattle has taken back control of the always-changing NFC West. DK Metcalf dominated Darius Slay and took over the game against the Eagles. Seattle will look to give themselves some breathing room in the division next week.

Team MVP: DK Metcalf (10 rec, 177 yds)

Next: vs Giants

5. Buffalo Bills (8-3) Prev: 6

Buffalo took advantage of coaching mistakes from the Chargers and were victorious this week. This week it was the defense’s turn to ball out, as they got to Herbert multiple times, and picked him off once. Buffalo still has Miami on their tail for the AFC East.

Team MVP: Tre’Davious White (8 tackles, INT)

Next: at 49ers

4. Green Bay Packers (8-3) Prev: 4

Green Bay had their way with the Bears on Sunday night. Aaron Rodgers remains a strong MVP candidate, which would mark the third time he has won the award. Green Bay sits one game out of the number one seed in the NFC.

Team MVP: Aaron Rodgers (21/29, 211 yds, 12 rush yds, 4 TDs)

Next: vs Eagles

3. New Orleans Saints (9-2) Prev: 3

New Orleans had a fairly simple task this week, as Denver was forced to play without a quarterback. New Orleans has thrived in Drew Brees’ absence, as Taysom Hill has filled in well to this point. New Orleans currently holds the number one seed in the NFC.

Team MVP: Latavius Murray (124 rush yds, 2 TDs)

Next: at Falcons

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-0) Prev: 1

The Steelers lose their iron grip on the number one spot due to a poor showing against the depleted Ravens. The Steelers’ defense continued to dominate, but that was to be expected against a Baltimore team without Lamar Jackson. The offense left a lot to be desired, as the run and pass games both struggled. Pittsburgh remains undefeated, but they look very beatable.

Team MVP: TJ Watt (7 tackles, 2 sacks)

Next: vs Washington

1. Kansas City Chiefs (10-1) Prev: 2

Kansas City claims the number one spot this week. Tyreek Hill had over 200 yards in one quarter against a Bucs defense that is not too bad. Kansas City looks like the well-oiled machine that won the Super Bowl last year.

Team MVP: Tyreek Hill (13 rec, 269 yds, 3 TDs)

Next: vs Broncos