By Henry Cook
The Superbowl Favorites:
Rank 1: San Francisco 49ers - 8-3
With a dominant win against Seattle on Thanksgiving, the 49ers continue to look like the most complete team in the league. They lead the NFL in almost every statistical category.
Rank 2: Dallas Cowboys - 8-3
The Cowboys have had one of the easiest schedules, but a great team takes care of the bad ones. This was evident on Thursday against Washington, dominating them 45-10 by being efficient in the Red Zone and not turning the ball over.
Rank 3: Baltimore Ravens - 9-3
The Ravens' defense continues to impress, holding the Chargers' high-powered offense to only 10 points. This team looks better than ever in the Lamar Jackson era.
Rank 4: Philadelphia Eagles - 10-1
Great teams find a way to win bad games, and the Eagles did just that in their 37-34 comeback win against Buffalo. But their turnovers are a problem, and being in too many close games with bad teams keeps them out of the top tier.
Rank 5: Kansas City Chiefs - 8-3
The Chiefs gave us a scare early against Las Vegas, but they came through and got the win, mainly due to limiting their turnovers. They look dominant as long as the right playmakers are getting the ball.
Rank 6: Miami Dolphins - 8-3
I wonder how much the Dolphins could’ve beaten the Jets on Friday if not for their turnover problems, especially after seeing what this team can do on offense earlier this year. Similar to the Cowboys, it's hard to tell how good Miami is based on who they’ve won against.
Rank 7: Buffalo Bills - 6-6
Josh Allen isn’t the problem in Buffalo. The Bills are good at blowing out bad teams and keeping it close against good teams. The Bills are bad at winning those close games, two of which are against the Patriots and the Jets. Inconsistency will keep them from reaching the playoffs.
Rank 8: Detroit Lions - 8-3
Detroit is a great team that’s probably better than their ranking. But Goff might keep them from reaching the top. He's been great in their wins but has disappeared in their last few losses. Also, the defense needs to be better.
Rank 9: Jacksonville Jaguars - 8-3
The Jags took care of business this week against the Texans and their star rookies. They’re looking solid in the AFC, but their loss against the 49ers a couple of weeks ago is still a lingering stain.
Rank 10: Pittsburgh Steelers - 7-4
Firing Canada seemed to be the solution to their problems so far. The offense was firing on all cylinders Sunday against the Bengals, having their first 400-yard game in almost four years. Work on scoring in the red zone; this team will look dangerous.
Rank 11: Houston Texans - 6-5
One of the most consistent teams in the league is saying a lot, considering how young they are and our expectations. The Jags simply weren’t going to let a rookie beat them twice in one season. Don’t count the Texans out of the playoff race.
Rank 12: Cleveland Browns - 7-4
A dominant defense can't keep your offense from turning the ball over. That’s been the story for the games Watson has been out for. Denver didn’t outplay the Browns on Sunday by much, but they made the most of Cleveland's fumbles and turned a winnable game into a blowout loss.
Rank 13: New Orleans Saints - 5-6
The Saints do a good job at keeping things frustratingly interesting. They have stars who play like them (when they aren’t injured), but costly mistakes at crucial times and complete incompetence in the red zone are ruining what should be an easy playoff berth. Fire Pete Carmichael.
Rank 14: Indianapolis Colts - 6-5
The Colts have snuck into playoff talks thanks to winning the turnover battle and playing to their strengths (rushing and kicking). They have some winnable games up ahead, so I can see them making a push for a playoff spot.
Rank 15: Cincinnati Bengals - 5-6
Losing Joe Burrow hurts a lot, but this is still a solid team with a glimmer of hope. They'll probably look back on this loss to the Steelers and wish they had it back. Jake Browning seems pretty good as a Burrows replacement, but if they want to win, it won't be because of him.
Rank 16: Seattle Seahawks - 6-5
Seattle has been looking very middle of the pack recently. Winning against bad teams and losing to good ones. They might sneak into the playoffs but won't make any noise after their multiple blowout losses to great teams like San Francisco on Thanksgiving.
Rank 17: Los Angeles Chargers - 4-7
Yes, the Charges are 4-7 and currently 13th in the AFC, but 5 of their seven losses have been by only 3 points. This is a 10-11 win team that can't seem to finish out games or keep themselves from turning the ball over, and if they don't win all their next three games, fire Staley.
Rank 18: Denver Broncos - 6-5
A five-game win streak is impressive, and this team is starting to look like who we all thought they'd be at the beginning of the season. But it doesn’t excuse some terrible losses earlier in September and October. Keep those turnovers low and takeaways high, and the Broncos will find their way into the playoffs.
Rank 19: Los Angeles Rams - 5-6
Kyren Williams and Matthew Stafford are back, and a push for a playoff spot is not out of the question. This is a top-10 offense when healthy. The problem is that they haven’t been 100% healthy for a lot of this season.
Rank 20: Green Bay Packers - 5-6
Just when we were about to give up on the hype, Jordan Love impresses again with a huge win over Detroit. The Packers have been dealing with injuries to key players, but they’re starting to pick up some momentum.
Rank 21: Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 4-7
Tampa has done one thing well all season: win the turnover battle. Not much else has gone right for them. Going 1-6 in their last seven shouldn’t warrant a placement at 21st, but anything is possible because they’re in the NFC South.
No Man's Land:
Rank 22: Minnesota Vikings - 6-5: Dobbs is not the answer, but Jefferson is coming back.
Rank 23: Atlanta Falcons - 5-6: Winning a couple of close games doesn’t make you good.
Rank 24: Tennessee Titans - 4-7: Good job you beat the Panthers.
Rank 25: Chicago Bears - 4-8: They’ve been competitive recently, but they’re also the Bears.
Rank 26: New York Jets - 4-7: I wish they’d tank because drafting a QB like 2nd overall is all they need...
Rank 27: New York Giants - 4-8: Tommy DeVito!!(you only beat the Pats by 3)
Playing for the Draft:
Rank 28: Las Vegas Raiders - 5-7: Some star player performances are what got this bad team to 5 wins.
Rank 29: Arizona Cardinals - 2-10: Kyler being back is cool, but he's not the guy.
Rank 30: New England Patriots - 2-9: Mac Jones is supposed to be getting better, not worse.
Rank 31: Washington Commanders - 4-8: Keep tanking; everything will be okay.
Rank 32: Carolina Panthers - 1-10: At least they fired Frank Reich.