NFL Power Rankings Week 12: Top TENnessee

Week 11 continued the weirdness of this NFL season as we saw a lot of shake ups with the mid-tier teams.

As will happen every Tuesday throughout the season, nine of our contributors — Zach Lyons, Mike HerndonJustin MeloJimmy MorrisRobert GreenlawWes WisleyAustin NelsonJosh Hong, and Justin Graver — have submitted their power rankings, 1 to 32. Below is the aggregate results of those rankings.

Biggest Risers: Mike McCarthy took a mallet to some watermelons, and the Dallas Cowboys smashed the Minnesota Vikings in the face and moved up six spots this week

Biggest Fallers: Joe Burrow tore his ACL, and the Cincinnati Bengals fell down eight spots this week.

Here’s where we landed with our rankings as we head into Week 12 of the regular season…

To see the full list of everyone’s individual rankings click here.

Highest Rank:1stLowest Rank:1stPreviously:1st
Highest Rank:2ndLowest Rank:2ndPreviously:2nd
Highest Rank:3rdLowest Rank:3rdPreviously:4th

Wes: The New Orleans Saints are sitting pretty at 8-2 and first place in the NFC South. With six games remaining, the Chiefs are the only remaining team they will face currently with a winning record. Can they take advantage of a fairly easy remaining schedule?

Losing Drew Brees to injury (11 broken ribs) is a pretty big blow. Making Taysom Hill the starting quarterback was a risky move, as he clearly is not your prototypical QB. While he helped the team win Sunday, it was not the type of performance that the Saints are accustomed to from the quarterback position.

The defense will need to sustain the level they are currently playing at to ensure they stay ahead of the inconsistent Buccaneers. In their last three games, Saints’ opponents have only put 25 total points on the scoreboard. The defense is playing some impressive football.

Highest Rank:4thLowest Rank:6thPreviously:7th
Highest Rank:3rdLowest Rank:5thPreviously:9th

Justin G: Most of my fellow rankers had the Bucs above the Rams prior to the Monday Night Football game (little peek behind our curtain: we have to get our rankings done in time for these graphics to be made, so there is a deadline). I anticipated the Rams winning the game, so I was one of the few (along with Zach) to have the Rams ahead of the Bucs in my Week 12 ranks.

But the Bucs are still a top-five team in the NFL. At 7-4, they are well-positioned to nab a wildcard spot (all signs point to the Saints winning the division). The Rams defense is one of the best in the NFL, and they showed it again last night. But this is the same Bucs offense that just put up 40 a week ago with Antonio Brown still working into the fold.

I think Tom Brady and Bruce Arians will pull things together down the stretch, making the Bucs as one of the NFC’s most competitive squads.

Highest Rank:4thLowest Rank:7thPreviously:11th
Highest Rank:6thLowest Rank:10thPreviously:8th
Highest Rank:5thLowest Rank:9thPreviously:4th
Highest Rank:7thLowest Rank:10thPreviously:14th

Justin G: The Titans notched a crucial conference win over the Ravens on Sunday to push themselves back into the current playoff picture (meaning if the season ended today, Tennessee would be in). It wasn’t the prettiest game, but it was the type of win that can propel a strong finish.

Ryan Tannehill started hot, completing his first six passes, but he faltered thereafter and missed his next five, including an interception. But he bounced back strong in the second half. Arthur Smith made some halftime adjustments to get the ball out quicker and target the wide receivers, and it paid huge dividends for the offense in the second half.

Despite the team’s struggles with no defensive coordinator, Mike Vrabel was able to rally his team to contain the explosive Lamar Jackson. This was the defense’s best performance since their Tuesday night win over Buffalo. I’ll take Vrabel in most coaching matchups at this point (and would also take him against most opponents on coaches fight island, if we ever make that happen).

After reversing the downward trend they’d been on for a month or so, the team rebounded strong. Now they’ll face another crucial matchup, this time in the division, on the road, against the Indianapolis Colts.

Highest Rank:7thLowest Rank:11thPreviously:13th

Austin: This is a really good Rams team. How we have them at 10, I have no idea (it’s Zach’s fault). A week after beating the Seahawks, they go to Tompa Bay on Monday Night Football and make Tom Brady look like a true 43 year old. Brady never looked comfortable in the pocket and Kendall Fuller picked him off twice.

Their identity is their defense, but don’t sleep on the offense. Goff is having a so-so season, but the Rams have two studs and two of the most underrated receivers in football in Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. The Rams control their own destiny and they are only a game back on the NFC’s top spot.

Highest Rank:9thLowest Rank:11thPreviously:9th
Highest Rank:11thLowest Rank:14thPreviously:10th

Robert: This team is very frustrating to try and gauge. Wins against the Bills, Seahawks, and healthy 49ers would tell you this is a very good squad. However, losses to the likes of Detroit, Miami, and Panthers are maddening.

The future of this team will likely coincide with the health of Kyler Murray. If he is healthy down the stretch, and is able to create with his arm and legs, this is a very dangerous team. If he is hurt and does not bring the rushing element to the offense, they will struggle going forward.

Highest Rank:11thLowest Rank:15thPreviously:13th
Highest Rank:10thLowest Rank:14thPreviously:15th
Highest Rank:14thLowest Rank:16thPreviously:12th

Justin Melo: The success of Miami Dolphins has been one of the biggest surprises of the 2020 season but this lackluster loss to the lowly Denver Broncos certainly knocks them down a peg.

Brian Flores is an excellent head coach but I wasn’t a fan of his decision to bench Tua Tagovailoa. Yes, Tagovailoa was awful. He was just 11 of 20 for 83 yards and a touchdown at the time of his benching. But Flores made the call to hand him the reins and he needs to stick to that decision now. He’s already announced that he’ll keep his job, but I wonder what this benching could do to his psych.

This Dolphins team is still a good story, but they’ve overachieved until now. I’ll be surprised if they make the playoffs.

Highest Rank:15thLowest Rank:17thPreviously:17th
Highest Rank:16thLowest Rank:18thPreviously:16th
Highest Rank:17thLowest Rank:21stPreviously:19th
Highest Rank:18thLowest Rank:20thPreviously:20th
Highest Rank:19thLowest Rank:23rdPreviously:23rd
Highest Rank:19thLowest Rank:23rdPreviously:25th
Highest Rank:20thLowest Rank:23rdPreviously:18th
Highest Rank:22ndLowest Rank:24thPreviously:22nd
Highest Rank:21stLowest Rank:25thPreviously:28th
Highest Rank:25thLowest Rank:28thPreviously:31st
Highest Rank:25thLowest Rank:29thPreviously:24th

Zach: The Detroit Lions got smoked by P.J. Walker and the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

I will put this succinctly as possible: Matt Patricia is the defensive version of Adam Gase. His players literally celebrated a break from him with mimosas.

He is one of many Bill Belichick disciples that sputter out from under Bill’s shadow. For those Titans fans that want him here: no way. The defense would be worse because the players would hate him.

He is the second worst coach in the league, and it has been that way for a while now. Yet, much like Gase, he still somehow has a job.

Highest Rank:24thLowest Rank:29thPreviously:26th
Highest Rank:26thLowest Rank:28thPreviously:27th
Highest Rank:27thLowest Rank:31stPreviously:21st
Highest Rank:28thLowest Rank:30thPreviously:29th

Zach: This your weekly reminder that the Philadelphia Eagles are one of the worst teams in football. Carson Wentz is down right broken, and I’m no longer sure that Doug Pederson is a good coach.

I almost put them at 31 with my vote, but then I remembered Jake Luton’s historically awful day. That changed things for me.

The future isn’t bright for this team either because of how Howie Roseman distributed his contracts. They’re tied to Wentz, and many of their veteran players carry expensive contracts that are difficult to get out of.

2021 is going to be a rough year for this team. This Eagles regime may not last much longer.

Highest Rank:29thLowest Rank:31stPreviously:30th
Highest Rank:32ndLowest Rank:32ndPreviously:32nd

Joe Flacco is elite.

Who is too high? Who is too low? Drop a comment down below!

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