Photo via Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
This week in the NFL can be best described in one word: chaotic. A punter threw a touchdown pass to a kicker, the winless Cincinnati Bengals finally won a game and the Redskins and Dolphins won games few expected them to win. But the heavyweight matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens lived up to the hype. It was an epic back and forth game where the Ravens came out on top 20-17. After Week 13, let’s look at my top 10 rankings of the NFL teams.
1. Baltimore Ravens (10-2)
Previous Ranking: 1
While it wasn’t pretty, the Ravens won their heavyweight matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. Lamar Jackson rushed for over 100 yards and nearly rushed for as many yards as he threw. He got the job done, and Justin Tucker continues to be historically great as he nailed a game-winning 49-yard field goal in the cold rain.
2. San Francisco 49ers (10-2)
Previous ranking: 2
Yes, the 49ers lost but I will not move them down as they, as a West Coast team, went on the road to Baltimore, who was an unstoppable juggernaut and went toe-to-toe with the Ravens. They played very well and very nearly won. Raheem Mostert had a huge game on the ground and Garoppolo made plays to keep them in the game. The 49ers head to New Orleans next week for a game I think will be the true indicator of their status as contenders.
3. New Orleans Saints (10-2)
Previous ranking: 3
Speaking of the Saints, they remain at three as they continue to take care of business within their division, beating the Falcons 26-18. The Saints continue to play mostly mistake-free football and are officially the first team in the 2019 playoffs. Now, they welcome the 49ers to the Superdome for a huge game that’ll help shape the NFC Playoff Picture.
4. Seattle Seahawks (10-2)
Previous ranking: 5
The Seahawks were tested this Monday Night by the 8-3 Minnesota Vikings and passed due to excellence on special teams, Russell Wilson makes MVP-caliber plays, and the ground game running loose for 218 yards. They have vaulted themselves into the second seed of the NFC and first place in the NFC West. Their next game will be huge as they head to Los Angeles to take on the Rams who dominated Arizona 34-7 this past week.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (8-4)
Previous ranking: 9
The Chiefs have suddenly become a team no one wants to face. They have held their last two opponents under 20 points and thrashed a solid Raiders team 40-9 in the game after their bye week. Patrick Mahomes is getting healthier after his injury and the defense is showing signs of improvement. The Chiefs are hot and will next week play their nemesis, the New England Patriots, the team that denied them the Super Bowl a year ago. This will be a big test for Kansas City and an important game for their seeding in the AFC playoffs.
6. New England Patriots (10-2)
Previous ranking: 4
They are one of five 10-2 teams, and they are the one 10-2 team that is in trouble. The wide receiver corp looked lifeless and unproductive in their 28-22 loss to the Houston Texans, a team that hasn’t beaten them since the 2009 season. Tom Brady looks helpless and the defense could not contain the vast amount of weapons Deshaun Watson has to work with. The Patriots will now play another team like that with the Chiefs. If the Patriots cannot add any more weapons, or if the current corp doesn’t step up, the Patriots will not go far in the AFC playoffs.
7. Buffalo Bills (9-3)
Previous ranking: 7
The Buffalo Bills declared their relevancy and their impressive team in front of a national television audience in their Thanksgiving win at Dallas 26-15. Josh Allen was efficient and made some huge throws when he had to, Devin Singletary continues to develop as a nice weapon, and the defense is showing why they are a top-three unit. The Bills are looking solid, but it is time to see how good they really are as the league’s best team, the Baltimore Ravens, come to town.
8. Minnesota Vikings (8-4)
Previous ranking: 6
Once again, Kirk Cousins cannot win on Monday Night Football as he dropped to 0-8 in his career. But it wasn’t all his fault as the Vikings’ defense could not stop the Seahawks’ running game, and the Vikings’ special teams cost the team dearly throughout the game. The Vikings sit a game behind the Green Bay Packers in the division and they are still waiting for star Adam Thielen to return from his hamstring injury. They should get a nice bounce-back win this week as the battered Detroit Lions head to Minneapolis, where the Vikings are currently 5-0.
9. Green Bay Packers (9-3)
Previous ranking: 8
Even though the Vikings lost and Packers won, I still have the Vikings ahead of the Packers as they have clearly shown they are a better team. The Packers looked good in their win at the New York Giants, but it came against a team that looks like the worst in the league. The Packers got a confidence boost and should continue that as the Washington Redskins come to town next week. They are still looking for that statement win.
10. Houston Texans (8-4)
Previous ranking: 10
The Houston Texans have beaten the New England Patriots for the first time in a decade. Deshaun Watson and the offense continues to thrive with all of their weapons. The Texans are still in a good position to at least make the playoffs and should continue to pad their standing as they will host the 4-8 Denver Broncos for their third straight home game.