Week 12 NFL Power Rankings: Train wrecks, triumphs and toss-ups

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Updated: November 21, 2017

Where is your team’s season heading — toward train wreck or triumph? Or is it still a toss-up?

NFL Playoff Picture: How Week 11 changed the bracket

The juggernauts in both conferences keep winning, but there are some new entrants in the race for the AFC wild-card slots.

  • What we learned (and didn’t) in Week 11: Players about to get paid

    Remember that one-year deal Alshon Jeffery took last offseason? Expect him to do much better in free agency in 2018. He’s not alone. This week’s lessons run through guys in position to land big new contracts.


  • Best and worst QBs of Week 11: Rotten days for Peterman, Prescott

    Nathan Peterman had one of the worst first starts in NFL history while Dak Prescott had his worst game yet.

  • Here’s a rundown of the Week 12 Power Rankings, as voted on by our power panel — a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities — with a look at how each team is trending.

    ESPN Stats Information’s John McTigue contributed the following information.

    Methodology: These rankings are based on which teams voters think would win head-to-head matchups. Higher-ranked teams would be favored against lower-ranked teams. Coming off a win doesn’t guarantee a jump, and a loss doesn’t guarantee a fall.

    Previous rankings: Week 11 | 10 | 9 | 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | Preseason

    1. Philadelphia Eagles

    2017 record: 9-1
    Week 11 ranking: No. 1

    Triumph: The Eagles have had an OK season. They have the best record, have scored the most points, thrown the most passing touchdowns, have the best red zone efficiency, forced the third-most turnovers, allowed the second-lowest third-down conversion percentage … you get the point.

    2. New England Patriots

    2017 record: 8-2
    Week 11 ranking: No. 2

    Triumph: Remember when the Patriots opened the season 2-2 and were allowing the second-most points per game (32.0)? Well, the defense has made a triumphant return, allowing 12.5 points per game and no more than 17 points in a single game since. The lesson, as always, is to never write off the Patriots.

    3. Pittsburgh Steelers

    2017 record: 8-2
    Week 11 ranking: No. 4

    Triumph: The Steelers have held their opponents to 17 or fewer points in five straight games — all wins. Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown might be the biggest stars in Pittsburgh, but the defense’s return to prominence and third overall ranking in the Football Power Index is the biggest triumph for the Steelers this season.

    4. Minnesota Vikings

    2017 record: 8-2
    Week 11 ranking: No. 6

    Triumph: Case Keenum has turned this season into a win for the Vikings. He has taken just one sack in his past six games and has posted the league’s best Total QBR (94) against the blitz this season. He ranks second in overall QBR this season, behind the injured Deshaun Watson.

    5. New Orleans Saints

    2017 record: 8-2
    Week 11 ranking: No. 3

    Triumph: The Saints have won eight straight games on the back of 15 rushing touchdowns in that span. Even if the Saints had failed to come back on Sunday, this season would have been a success. But overcoming a 15-point deficit late in the fourth quarter to beat Washington has turned this year into something special for New Orleans.

    6. Los Angeles Rams

    2017 record: 7-3
    Week 11 ranking: No. 7

    Triumph: The Rams are coming off a loss to the Vikings, but that’s not the end of the world. Los Angeles is 7-3 and should have no problem finishing the year with a winning record. If that happens, it’ll be the franchise’s first winning season since 2003.

    7. Jacksonville Jaguars

    2017 record: 7-3
    Week 11 ranking: No. 9

    Triumph: The Jaguars already have their most wins in a season since 2010, when they went 8-8. The defense has been dominant, Leonard Fournette has impressed and Blake Bortles has done just enough. The team would have to go completely off the rails for this season to be anything less than a triumph for Sacksonville.

    8. Carolina Panthers

    2017 record: 7-3
    Week 11 ranking: No. 10

    Triumph: Two of Carolina’s three losses are to the 9-1 Eagles and 8-2 Saints. The Panthers also have rushed for 200 yards and multiple scores in back-to-back games, and if that type of success on the ground continues, the sky could be the limit for Carolina.

    9. Atlanta Falcons

    2017 record: 6-4
    Week 11 ranking: No. 11

    Toss-up: The Falcons were 6-4 through 10 games last season and ended up in the Super Bowl. There’s still a lot of work left for Atlanta to repeat last season’s success, but a win in Seattle on Monday night was a step in the right direction.

    10. Seattle Seahawks

    2017 record: 6-4
    Week 11 ranking: No. 8

    Toss-up: There’s only so much Russell Wilson can do. Injuries in the secondary have Seattle’s defense looking mortal while kicker Blair Walsh has made only three of his past eight field goal attempts. The Seahawks can still be a dangerous team, but they’re trending the wrong way.

    11. Kansas City Chiefs

    2017 record: 6-4
    Week 11 ranking: No. 5

    Toss-up: At one point it looked like a triumphant season for the Chiefs, who opened the year with a 5-0 start. After losing four of their last five games, it has turned into a toss-up. Kansas City still has a 96 percent chance to make the playoffs, according to FPI, but this recent downfall can’t generate much optimism.

    12. Detroit Lions

    2017 record: 6-4
    Week 11 ranking: No. 14

    Toss-up: The Lions have won three straight, including back-to-back games they had trailed by 10 points, after losing three straight. A Thanksgiving Day win over the Vikings would mean a season sweep against Minnesota, and also would put the Lions squarely in the hunt for the NFC North title.

    13. Dallas Cowboys

    2017 record: 5-5
    Week 11 ranking: No. 13

    Toss-up: The Cowboys have been outscored 64-16 over the past two weeks and have genuinely looked awful. They’re still 5-5 though, and a win over the Chargers on Thanksgiving could help right the ship, but another big loss could move the Cowboys into train wreck territory.

    14. Tennessee Titans

    2017 record: 6-4
    Week 11 ranking: No. 12

    Toss-up: The Titans are currently positioned for a wild-card spot and are above .500, but they also have been outscored by 31 points this season and Marcus Mariota’s four-interception game under the bright lights of “Thursday Night Football” last week wasn’t encouraging. A playoff berth would be a positive step forward, but it seems the Titans are leaving something on the table.

    15. Washington Redskins

    2017 record: 4-6
    Week 11 ranking: No. 18

    Toss-up: The Redskins are 4-6, but they’ve lost to the Eagles (twice), Chiefs, Cowboys, Vikings and Saints — teams that have a combined .720 win percentage this season. The schedule eases up moving forward, so no need to bury this team just yet.

    16. Los Angeles Chargers

    2017 record: 4-6
    Week 11 ranking: No. 19

    Toss-up: The Chargers have won four of their past six games following an 0-4 start. Five of their losses have been by eight or fewer points. Most Chargers games are toss-ups, so it’s no surprise their season has been one too.

    17. Baltimore Ravens

    2017 record: 5-5
    Week 11 ranking: No. 20

    Toss-up: The defense has been triumphant, pitching three shutouts for just the second time in franchise history (it had four in 2000). But the offense is leaving a lot to be desired, ranking 31st in FPI’s efficiency rating. That makes the Ravens a perfect middle-of-the-road candidate.

    18. Cincinnati Bengals

    2017 record: 4-6
    Week 11 ranking: No. 27

    Toss-up: The Bengals play four of their next five games at home and have three more division matchups, so they’re still very much in the AFC playoff picture. They’ve gone 4-3 since dropping their first three games.

    19. Houston Texans

    2017 record: 4-6
    Week 11 ranking: No. 21

    Toss-up: This season was trending toward a triumph with Deshaun Watson at the helm, especially after the rookie QB threw four touchdowns for a third time in his final game. But his replacement, Tom Savage, has thrown four touchdowns all season. Still, the Texans are in the hunt, so all is not lost.

    20. Oakland Raiders

    2017 record: 4-6
    Week 11 ranking: No. 15

    Train wreck: The Raiders were considered a contender at the start of the season. And after a 2-0 start, that expectation seemed legit. Since then, the Raiders have been held to fewer than 20 points in six games (all losses) and have seen their playoff chances dip to 4.8 percent, according to FPI. Unless they can string together some wins, this season is off the rails.

    21. Arizona Cardinals

    2017 record: 4-6
    Week 11 ranking: No. 25

    Toss-up: Another loss and the Cardinals probably can be written off, but they do play four of their next five at home, so there is a chance to pick up some wins. If they can win a few more without Carson Palmer and David Johnson, that’s worth something.

    22. New York Jets

    2017 record: 4-6
    Week 11 ranking: No. 24

    Triumph: According to FPI, the Jets entered the season with the lowest projected win total (4.0) and the worst playoff odds (0.6 percent). If the Jets lose out, we could be singing a different tune. But this team has exceeded all expectations so far.

    23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    2017 record: 4-6
    Week 11 ranking: No. 23

    Train wreck: The Buccaneers have won back-to-back games with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. While that’s encouraging, they’re 2-6 with Jameis Winston under center. Winston is the franchise’s future, not Fitzpatrick, so there’s plenty of reason to be concerned with how this season has progressed.

    24. Buffalo Bills

    2017 record: 5-5
    Week 11 ranking: No. 16

    Train wreck: What was once a promising start for the Bills has turned into a disaster. This team benched Tyrod Taylor for a rookie quarterback, Nathan Peterman, who threw five interceptions on 14 attempts. The team has allowed 135 points in the past three games alone. And they now sit at .500 after opening the year 5-2.

    25. Chicago Bears

    2017 record: 3-7
    Week 11 ranking: No. 28

    Toss-up: Expectations were low for the Bears this season, so the 3-7 record isn’t a shocker. The defense has shown a lot of improvement and Jordan Howard is closing in on a second-straight 1,000-yard season. Rookie Mitchell Trubisky has posted only a 32 Total QBR, but at least he’s getting NFL reps.

    26. Green Bay Packers

    2017 record: 5-5
    Week 11 ranking: No. 17

    Train wreck: Including the game he got hurt, the Packers are now 1-4 without Aaron Rodgers this season, averaging 13.4 points per game in those contests. This looked like it would be a promising season for Green Bay, but after a shutout loss to the Ravens at Lambeau Field, it’s hard to see the remainder of the season being anything short of a mess.

    27. Denver Broncos

    2017 record: 3-7
    Week 11 ranking: No. 22

    Train wreck: Following a 3-1 start, the Broncos have dropped six straight games for the first time in a single season since 1990. Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy already has lost his job, and there’s no clear-cut No. 1 QB on the roster. This season couldn’t get much worse for Denver.

    28. Miami Dolphins

    2017 record: 4-6
    Week 11 ranking: No. 26

    Train wreck: The record isn’t terrible, but the Dolphins have been outscored by 97 points this season, third worst in the NFL. Not even the 1-9 Niners have been outscored by that much. Some narrow victories aren’t enough to save this season for Miami.

    29. New York Giants

    2017 record: 2-8
    Week 11 ranking: No. 30

    Train wreck: The Giants are 2-1 against the AFC West this season, so maybe they’re just in the wrong division? Unfortunately, they’re 0-7 against every other division this year, and for a team that made the playoffs in 2016, that is not going to cut it.

    30. Indianapolis Colts

    2017 record: 3-7
    Week 11 ranking: No. 29

    Train wreck: Jacoby Brissett has shown an ability to make some big plays, as only Alex Smith has thrown more 40-yard touchdowns this season. But Brissett isn’t the future of the Colts. Andrew Luck is. And with Luck out all year and the Colts sitting at 3-7, this season is a loss for Indy.

    31. San Francisco 49ers

    2017 record: 1-9
    Week 11 ranking: No. 31

    Train wreck: It’s hard to say a 1-9 team is anything but a train wreck. But — if Jimmy Garoppolo takes over at quarterback and shows his potential (he had an 89 Total QBR in two starts last season) — the 49ers would have hope going into next season.

    32. Cleveland Browns

    2017 record: 0-10
    Week 11 ranking: No. 32

    Train wreck: Fun fact: The Browns are the only team in the NFL to force a turnover in every game this season. Despite that, they have yet to win the turnover battle in any game — and oh yeah, they also have yet to win one.

    Article source: http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/page/NFLpowerrankingsx171121/nfl-2017-week-12-power-rankings-train-wrecks-triumphs-toss-ups-philadelphia-eagles-new-england-patriots-pittsburgh-steelers-top-board