February 22, 2024

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The Eagles and Chiefs confirm their place at the top

The Eagles and Chiefs confirm their place at the top

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NFL power rankings entering Week 12 of the 2023 season (previous rankings in parentheses):

1. Eagles (1): Monday night, C Jason Kelce earned his long-awaited victory over former coach Andy Reid and current brother Travis Kelce. Philly’s schedule won’t let up over the next month, but the current NFC champions have proven it — perhaps, more importantly, to themselves? – They can beat anyone, anywhere.

2. Presidents (2): Of course, if WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling plays a game at the end of the game — or Taylor Swift is able to attend — Reed will be 5-0 against his former team while setting a KC record with 125 regular-season wins. The defending champions will definitely be back…although there’s work to be done to reclaim the top seed in the AFC from Baltimore. A generally tolerant set of games should help to that end.

3. 49ers (3): Brock Purdy, “Mr. Irrelevant,” has faced the No. 1 QB in each of the past three games, winning twice. His next three matchups will be with the second round before seeing Kyler Murray, the top pick in 2019, in Week 15. All of those opposing passers will paint a San Francisco defense depleted by the loss of All-Pro S Talanoa Hufanga (torn ACL). ).

4. Crows (5): Baltimore’s top-rated running game is in good shape, with Lamar Jackson now the first quarterback in league history to rush for at least 500 yards in each of his first six seasons. RB Gus Edwards already has 10 TDs after totaling nine over the past three years. But it’s better if TE Isaiah’s 20th-ranked passing game can fill in for injured All-Pro Mark Andrews.

5. Cowboys (7): The next six picks for CB DaRon Bland would give him the NFL single-season record, which is great. However, WR CeeDee Lamb is the only Dallas player with more TDs (6) than Bland’s four…and it’s not great.

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6. Black (6): A team without NFC North crowns to its credit has won seven straight divisional games for the first time since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. They can run that streak to eight on Thanksgiving with a win over Green Bay.

7. Dolphins (8): Playmaker Jalen Ramsey is already making a tangible impact on the rookie defense, grabbing three assists in the three games since returning from knee surgery in July. “He’s the best corner in the league, man,” Miami WR Tyreek Hill said Sunday.

8. Texas (9): Jacksonville was swept on Sunday, earning Houston the No. 1 seed in the AFC South. And it’s not just rookie QB CJ Stroud doing the work. LB Blake Cashman is a tackling machine (19 against Arizona), while playmaker Derek Stingley Jr. has earned the right tackles.

9. Jaguar (11): Regarding that subsequent divisional battle in Houston? The Jags have lost 10 of 11 to the Texans, although the only victory was at NRG Stadium on New Year’s Day this year.

10. Browns (4): Why is DE Myles Garrett in a position to get some MVP awards? He’s on pace for 22 sacks, seven forced fumbles and nearly 50 pressures. For a team with such a devastating offense, why not consider making him the first defenseman to earn the device since Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor in 1986?

11. Invoices (14): The offensive renaissance on Sunday was great. But what about newly acquired CB Rasul Douglas catching two passes — ending Buffalo’s seven-game drought — and recovering a fumble? Takeaway machine. Imagine if he played against Josh Allen…

12. Steelers (12): Sunday’s loss to Cleveland ended Pittsburgh’s nine-game winning streak in contests decided by one score. But maybe a frustrated RB Najee Harris and Co. can open up a big lead for Cincinnati in Week 12 against the Burrow-less Bengals? If not, well – I’ll need something else since the “blame Canada” excuse has evaporated.

13. Rams (19): The receiving tandem of Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua is great, but Los Angeles hasn’t recorded more than 220 yards through the air in the past six games.

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14. Seahawks (13): LB Bobby Wagner played 12 seasons, and after Sunday, he has compiled at least 100 tackles in all of them. See you in Canton – eventually – BWagz.

15. Broncos (23): I still wonder where Minnesota’s defenders thought Denver WR Jerry Jeudy was going to throw that ball. But perhaps such a joke is appropriate after the Broncos faked a death earlier in the season.

16. Colts (17): Coming out of the bye week, only two of Indianapolis’ seven final opponents (Pittsburgh and Houston) were over .500. Sleep on these guys at your peril.

17. Chargers (15): A win in Week 12 would put QB Justin Herbert 30-30 as an NFL starter in the regular season. Beat Baltimore by two, and the Bolts will have scored and given up the same number of points since becoming the starter in Week 2 of the 2020 campaign.

18. Vikings (16): Joshua Dobbs’ unique offseason continues as the quarterback becomes the first in NFL history to catch a TD pass And He played his first three matches with the team.

19. Raiders (18): Now the AFC’s least productive rushing attack (79 yards per game), Sunday’s 36 yards production was a season low. Confusing, especially considering that interim HC Antonio Pierce has identified franchise RB Josh Jacobs (the league’s rushing champion in 2022) as the player Las Vegas should build.

20. Cardinals (27): QB Kyler Murray’s next game with both a rushing and a passing TD would give him the 18th of his career and means he would trail only Cam Newton (31 games) and Allen (25) for the most in a player’s first five seasons in the NFL.

21. Pirates (21): WR Mike Evans needs 220 more yards to give him at least 1,000 receiving yards in all 10 of his NFL seasons. It’s never been done before.

22. Saints (22): The only NFC team to wrap up its interconference schedule, what should be a comfortable New Orleans team needs to start piling up wins and playoff wins in the overcrowded NFC South.

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23. Giants (24): Why would they burn the play that results in a TD pass to Pro Bowl DT Jeffery Simmons when they’re trailing by 27 points?

24. Falcons (25): None of their seven final opponents currently have a winning record. In golf, this will be an “emotional day” for Atlanta.

25. Packers (26): Sunday’s 322-yard passing explosion from QB Jordan Love cleared his previous career-high 33 yards. Thank you, Defending Chargers.

26. Bengals (10): All due respect to Jake Browning, but Cincinnati looks dead in the water without QB1 Joe Burrow.

27. Airplanes (20): All due respect to Zach Wilson…and Tim Boyle…but New York appears to be dead in the water without QB1 Aaron Rodgers. So they wouldn’t be?

28. Bears (28): After returning to the lineup on Sunday, Justin Fields appeared to be back to his best, rushing for at least 100 yards for the fifth time in his three-year career. Only Jackson (13 games) and Michael Vick (10) have more quarterbacks in NFL history.

29. Patriots (30): After losing two Super Bowls to the Giants, Bill Belichick could get a measure of revenge on Sunday. An infinitesimal scale of revenge.

30. Giants (32): They are 2-0 against Washington, and 1-8 against the rest of the league. All four of Big Blue’s games in the first half of this season also came against the Commanders, who also showed the lighter side of HC Brian Daboll when it came time to evaluate rookie QB Tommy DeVito.

31. Leaders (29): At least when embattled HC Ron Rivera tells his players to shower in Dallas on Thanksgiving…they’ll be able to.

32. Panthers (31): They haven’t got the top pick in the 2024 draft — to Chicago — yet. But Carolina secured its sixth straight losing season since owner David Tepper took control of the franchise in 2018.

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Follow Nate Davis of USA TODAY Sports on X, formerly Twitter @ByNateDavis.