1. Dallas Cowboys (9-1; Last Ranking: 1)
The Cowboys are solid and they deserve to be number one. However, this is the first time that they are playing a team with a hot streak and a winning record in Washington. Let’s see who wins this suddenly-critical divisional match up.
2. Seattle Seahawks (7-2-1; Last Ranking: 2)
Seattle is really good, but no one in the NFL didn’t already know that coming into the season. Russell Wilson is starting to hit his stride, as he always seems to do around this point in the season. They are one of the teams to beat in the NFC.
3. New England Patriots (8-2; Last Ranking: 3)
Tom Brady and company rolled through the San Francisco 49ers like it wasn’t even fair. Even though they weren’t clicking on all cylinders offensively for the entire game, they did more than enough to give their team a chance to win.
4. Oakland Raiders (8-2; Last Ranking: 4)
The Raiders are legit and anyone who says otherwise is just wrong. Five of their wins have come against teams that are .500 or better, the defense has steadily improved, and they have otherwise quarterback and head coach combo. They will be a threat for years to come.
5. Denver Broncos (7-3; Last Ranking: 6)
Denver took a week off before hosting the Chiefs after Thanksgiving on Sunday Night.
6. New York Giants (7-3; Last Ranking: 7)
The Giants, other than week one, lack a signature win this season. In addition, they have won all seven games by one possession, and they have the second worst rushing attack in the NFL. However, none of this matters as long as they keep winning.
7. Washington Redskins (6-3-1; Last Ranking: 9)
Don’t look now, but the Washington Redskins are 6-1-1 in their last eight games, and they are nowhere near out of playoff contention. Kirk Cousins has clearly proved this season that he can be the QB of the future, and Washington will have a chance to prove itself against a one-loss Dallas squad.
8. Kansas City Chiefs (7-3; Last Ranking: 5)
The Chiefs are one of the most consistent and reliable teams in the NFL, but they just looked flat on Sunday against the Buccaneers. The defense cannot do it for them every time. The offense only had 10 points entering the 4th quarter.
9. Minnesota Vikings (6-4; Last Ranking: 12)
The Vikings got back on track, and it sets up a huge Thanksgiving day battle with the 6-4 Lions. If Minnesota wins the game, they have an 86% chance of making the playoffs according to ESPN’s FPI.
10. Detroit Lions (6-4; Last Ranking: 14)
The Detroit Lions are the #10 ranked team in the NFL. Matt Stafford is an MVP candidate, and the Lions are tied for the division lead. Times are a-changing. Either way, expect their Turkey Day game to be a close one: every game Detroit has played in this season was decided by one possession.
11. Houston Texans (6-4; Last Ranking: 8)
Houston is a very confusing team, because they have wins over Detroit, Indy, Tennessee, and Kansas City. However, all but one of their wins is by one possession, and all but one of their losses are blowouts. Division winner? Probably. Playoff threat? Nope.
12. Atlanta Falcons (6-4; Last Ranking: 11)
The Falcons were resting this week, while getting ready to square off with Arizona.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (5-5; Last Ranking: 10)
The Eagles had a tough game when they traveled to Seattle, but they actually held up pretty well. Philadelphia has a lot of really talented pieces on this team, but the question is how long it will take for all of it to come together.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5; Last Ranking: 15)
Pittsburgh did what they needed to do in Cleveland. There isn’t much to talk about, because playing the Browns is different than playing other NFL teams. Pittsburgh needs to beat the Scott Tolzein-led Colts on Thanksgiving in what many consider a must-win game.
15. Baltimore Ravens (5-5; Last Ranking: 12)
The Ravens have five wins, but only two of them came against teams not ranked in the 30s. Needless to say, but the average NFL fan is not convinced that they are a playoff contender. This week against the Bengals might change some minds.
16. Buffalo Bills (5-5; Last Ranking: 16)
The Bills desperately needed a win this week and they got it. Even though the Bengals are not what we once though they would be in the beginning of the year, they are still a tough team to beat. Buffalo showed grit, and that will help them against Jacksonville on Sunday.
17. Miami Dolphins (6-4; Last Ranking: 19)
Miami is a very interesting team to think about. They have one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL, their defensive line can make your day difficult, but they are 21st in points per game, and they have the 29th-ranked passing attack. Let’s talk in two weeks if they beat the Ravens to move to 8-4.
18. Indianapolis Colts (5-5; Last Ranking: 21)
The Colts got the job done, even if it means giving their fan base panic attacks throughout the game. Unfortunately for the Colts, they will host the Steelers on Thanksgiving night with backup (and former Wisconsin Badger) Scott Tolzien at the helm – a position he hasn’t experienced in quite a while.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5; Last Ranking: 25)
The Buccaneers had probably the most surprising upset of all the games from Sunday. Tampa walked into Kansas City, one of the most difficult places to play in the NFL, and walked out with a win. These are the games that help young teams like this turn the corner.
20. Arizona Cardinals (4-5-1; Last Ranking: 18)
Something is wrong with the Cardinals. While we certainly don’t know anything definitive, you can tell that Carson Palmer is not the same player he used to be. The deep ball is something that has been completely lost.
21. Green Bay Packers (4-6; Last Ranking: 17)
Something is also wrong in Green Bay, and it is more than Aaron Rodgers looking more human than usual. The secondary has been decimated by injuries, the running game is non-existent, and the offensive line isn’t quite as stout as it once was. There has even been talk this week of making some coaching shifts in the near future.
22. San Diego Chargers (4-6; Last Ranking: 23)
The Chargers spent their week on a bye, getting ready for a trip to Houston next week.
23. Tennessee Titans (5-6; Last Ranking: 20)
The Titans had a chance to give themselves a winning record this late in the season for the first time in who knows how long. Unfortunately, they dug themselves too big of a whole early in the game against Indy; they can get back to .500 with a win over the abysmal Chicago Bears.
24. Carolina Panthers (4-6; Last Ranking: 27)
If the Panthers had any hope of going to the playoffs, then their Thursday Night game against NOLA was a must win. Unsurprisingly, Cam Newton and Company got the job done. They need to keep the momentum going against Oakland next week.
25. New Orleans Saints (4-6; Last Ranking: 24)
Their game on Thursday night was a tough loss to take. If the Saints had won that game, they would have put themselves one game behind the Atlanta Falcons. Instead, now both the Saints and the Panthers are two games back.
26. Cincinnati Bengals (3-6-1; Last Ranking: 22)
The Bengals have simply regressed this season. When you lose one of the best offensive coordinators in the NFL, lack production from your draft class, and fail to score 20 points a game offensively, you are not going to win a lot of games.
27. Los Angeles Rams (4-6; Last Ranking: 26)
The Rams certainly have a lot of talent, and that list includes Jared Goff. The issue is that they have a coach who perpetually finishes around .500. Side note: Jared Goff is not ready to play in the NFL.
28. New York Jets (3-7; Last Ranking: 28)
The Jets spent the week on a bye, preparing for a matchup with the rival Patriots.
29. Chicago Bears (2-8; Last Ranking: 29)
The Bears are having a rough season. Kevin White, Leonard Floyd, Zach Miller, Alshon Jeffery, and Jay Cutler have all missed extended time. The good news is that this all may be for the best: they can get rid of Cutler without serious financial repercussions, and it appears they’ll have a high draft pick as well.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8; Last Ranking: 30)
Needless to say, the Jacksonville Jaguars need a new head coach. The Raiders turned their young talent into a winning culture by bringing in Jack Del Rio. The Jaguars need to find a leader for their franchise. They’ll get an upstart Bills team in Buffalo this weekend.
31. San Francisco 49ers (1-9; Last Ranking: 31)
Chip Kelly looks miserable as the San Francisco head coach, but are any of us surprised? Their roster has the least amount of talent in the NFL. There is not much to say about the 49ers, other than that they are not very good.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-11; Last Ranking: 32)
In what seems like a recurring narrative this season for the Browns, they were within 2 scores of the game when their starting quarterback gets injured and a costly turnover pushed them out of contention. Games at home against the Bengals and Chargers may be their only chances at wins this season.