The Thanksgiving edition of the NFL Power Rankings includes the NFC team that nobody will want to face in January, a red-hot quarterback proving his skeptics wrong and a rookie coach turning heads.
1. Seahawks (7-2-1); Last week: 1
Pete Carroll’s bunch remains on the mountaintop for a second consecutive week after a thoroughly impressive win over Philly. Now Russell Wilson is catching touchdown passes too?! Seattle’s banged-up backfield is a concern — do you think Carroll regrets cutting Christine Michael? — but a healthy Thomas Rawls adds a nasty edge to the offense.
2. Cowboys (9-1); Last week: 2
America’s Team has won an in-season franchise-record nine in a row behind rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. They’ll have to successfully navigate through a treacherous three-games-in-12-day stretch before I crown them. A turkey day matchup against Washington awaits.
3. Patriots: (8-2): Last week: 3
Tom Brady cruised past the 49ers with a ho-hum four touchdown passes. He’ll be motivated to do the same against the team he loves to hate at MetLife Stadium this week. Remember, the Jets were so unappealing to the league that they flexed Brady & Co. out of prime time.
4. Raiders (8-2); Last week: 5
Derek Carr’s pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns masked an otherwise subpar performance in a win over the Texans. Just win, baby. And Oakland did just that to inch up a spot.
5. Giants (7-3); Last week: 7
Eli Manning & Co. might be the team that nobody wants to play in the postseason. The G-Men’s running game is showing signs of life. Do-everything star-in-the-making safety Landon Collins should be in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation. Circle Dec. 11 on your calendars when the Cowboys come to town. The Giants might actually take control of the NFC East that day.
Russell Wilson really can do it all.
(Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
6. Broncos (6-3); Last week: 6
Denver has a quarterback problem that won’t go away anytime soon. After a hot start, Gary Kubiak’s team is 3-3 over the past month and a half. They had a chance to recalibrate during the bye week in anticipation of a pivotal Sunday night game against the Chiefs.
7. Chiefs (7-3); Last week: 4
Andy Reid’s club drops three spots after losing to the Buccaneers at home. A bounce-back prime time road win in Denver will right the ship. A loss will prompt more troubling questions.
8. Washington (6-3-1); Last week: 11
Kirk Cousins is getting richer by the second. The underappreciated (disrespected?) quarterback has been flammable after a couple hiccups to start the season. Washington is a missed chip shot field goal in London away from being on the Cowboys’ heels. As it stands, Jay Gruden’s bunch has lost only once in the past two months thanks to Cousins, who is going to get a monster payday after this season. How you like him now?
9. Lions (6-4); Last week: 9
Matthew Stafford and Detroit remained in first place in the NFC North. A home win over the lowly Jaguars isn’t enough to move them up though. Sorry.
10. Dolphins (6-4); Last week: 10
Does Adam Gase deserve consideration for Coach of the Year honors? Uh, yes. Miami has won five in a row. With the hapless 49ers coming to town, it’ll be six soon enough.
Eric Ebron and the Lions could have their legs taken out from under them agaisnt Minnesota on Thanksgiving.
11. Falcons (6-4); Last week: 8
Whoa. Atlanta slid three spots without playing a game? It’s a cut-throat league indeed. With the Cardinals and Chiefs coming to town in consecutive weeks, Dan Quinn’s team better be careful or they’ll continue to drop.
12. Vikings (6-4); Last week: unranked
Guess who’s back? Minnesota snapped their four-game funk thanks to a pair of 100-yard touchdowns (INT and kickoff) to topple the slumping Cardinals. If the Vikings beat the Lions on Thanksgiving, they’ll be all alone atop the NFC North again.
13. Steelers (5-5); Last week: 15
What better way to snap a four-game slide than by facing the Browns? Big Ben’ bunch didn’t exactly look like an offensive juggernaut in their win in Cleveland, but Mike Tomlin will take it. A quick turnaround in Indy on Thursday night awaits.
14. Ravens (5-5); Last week: 14
Joe Flacco was right: Baltimore probably should have beaten the Cowboys last week.
15. Texans (6-4); Last week: 12
Who are we kidding? Houston got robbed in Mexico City. DeAndre Hopkins didn’t step out of bounds. Bill O’Brien’s team got back-to-back terrible spots by the officials in the fourth quarter. And there might have been a laser pointer issue to boot.
MOVERS AND FAKERS: The Eagles dropped out after making some boneheaded mistakes at inopportune times in Seattle. The Panthers and Bills are lurking.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News