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My 2020 Week 11 NFL Power Rankings

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Rich has a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Penn State. WE ARE!!!

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Week 11 NFL Power Rankings

Well kids, it’s the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. We are just two days away from stuffing our bodies with all the fixins while watching NFL games all day long. It doesn’t get much better than that. So for this week’s power rankings I feel like changing it up a bit. Adding a bit of that holiday spirit into the list. The teams will still be ranked top to bottom, but I’ll be saying what each team should be thankful for this year. Let’s see how it goes.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-1) ~ Patrick Mahomes. While this seems like the obvious choice, it doesn’t mean it isn’t the right choice. Ask yourself this. If you could take any quarterback in the NFL and put them on your favorite team, would it be anyone other than Mahomes? He’s in his third year as the starter and he’s won a league MVP, Super Bowl MVP and a Super Bowl. He could easily secure his second of any of those this year as well. He’s the cream of the crop. (Last Week’s Ranking 1)

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-0) ~ Ben Roethlisberger. Last year the Steelers got a glimpse of life without Big Ben. That resulted in an 8-8 finish and a lot of ugly, low-scoring games. Games in which any Steelers fan, hell, any NFL fan, would tell you that Pittsburgh would have won had they had even a competent signal-caller. It could come down to Ben vs Mahomes to see who represents the AFC in this year’s Super Bowl. (LWR 2)

3. New Orleans Saints (8-2) ~ Sean Payton. This offensive mastermind has had a high-powered offense for the past decade led by Drew Brees. Consider the fact that Brees has now missed six games over the last two seasons and the Saints are 6-0 in those games. Also consider that this week Payton called on third-stringer Taysom Hill over backup Jameis Winston. It’s almost like it doesn’t matter who is under center for the Saints. I just hope that, come playoffs, Brees will be back for one more run at a ring. (LWR 4)

4. Green Bay Packers (7-3) ~ Aaron Rodgers returning to MVP form. Last year Rodgers didn’t have a typical Rodgers-like year. It’s understandable. He’s not getting any younger. That’s probably what led the Packers to trade up in last year’s draft to grab Jordan Love in the first round. It might also have lit a fire under the former MVP who has turned back time and looks like the man who discount double-checked his way to two MVP awards earlier this decade. (LWR 3)

5. Buffalo Bills (7-3) ~ Tom Brady taking his talents close to south beach. The Bills have a one game lead in the AFC East and a clear path to their first division title since 1995. Part of that is because Brady left the division that he and the New England Patriots have ruled since the turn of the century. (LWR 6)

6. Seattle Seahawks (7-3) ~ A renewed pass-rush. Most of this can be attributed to Carlos Dunlap coming to town as he leads the defensive line with 3.5 sacks while only playing in three games. When you think about Seattle you think about defense. At least until this year. Perhaps Dunlap’s presence will help them get back to what took them to back-to-back Super Bowls earlier this decade. (LWR 9)

7. Los Angeles Rams (7-3) ~ Aaron Donald. The man is simply a beast. He is third in the NFL in sacks (9), third in forced fumbles (3) and may be on his way to a third NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. He constantly commands double, and sometimes triple-teams which helps open things up for his teammates to wreak havoc. That secondary, led by Jalen Ramsey, isn’t too shabby either. (LWR 10)

8. Indianapolis Colts (7-3) ~ Rodrigo Blankenship. Rodrigo Blankenship? Yes, Rodrigo Blankenship. The undrafted rookie had the unenviable task of taking over for future hall of famer Adam Vinatieri. All he has done is rack up 94 points which is second in the NFL and he booted the game-winner in overtime against the Packers. In a season in which a lot of teams have questions in the kicking game, the Colts don’t have to concern themselves with theirs. (LWR 11)

9. Tennessee Titans (7-3) ~ Derrick Henry. Just like Mahomes was the obvious choice for Kansas City, Henry fits the bill in Tennessee. Henry leads the NFL in carries (229) and yards (1,079). He’s third in touchdowns with his ninth coming in overtimes to take down Baltimore. Up next is a must-win game against the Colts which will go a long way towards determining the winner of the AFC South. (LWR 11)

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4) ~ Tom Brady. Another easy choice, yes, but think about it. If Brady doesn’t go to Tampa, Rob Gronkowski doesn’t come out of retirement to follow him there. Antonio Brown? Doubtful he winds up in Tampa. Heck, maybe they don’t even get Leonard Fournette or LeSean McCoy. Basically, the Bucs are in position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007 because the goat took a little trip to Tampa. (LWR 7)

11. Baltimore Ravens (6-4) ~ Backfield depth. Let’s be honest, Baltimore’s best running threat is Lamar Jackson. Well, he can’t hand off to himself. For Thursday’s game it looks like Gus Edwards will get the call as Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins have tested positive for Covid-19. That’s OK though, as Edwards has averaged nearly 4.5 yards per carry on the season. (LWR 5)

12. Arizona Cardinals (6-4) ~ Steve Keim. That’s right. A general manager. In 2018 the Cardinals drafted quarterback Josh Rosen with the 10th overall pick. A year later, with the number one pick in hand, the Cardinals selected another quarterback. This time, it was Kyler Murray. Rosen was dealt away for peanuts, but the stones on Keim and the Cardinals to take Murray first overall is enough to warrant him being mentioned as what the Cardinals should be most thankful for. Without Murray, are the Cardinals on the brink of a playoff berth? Do they make that trade for DeAndre Hopkins? I’m thinking no. (LWR 8)

13. Cleveland Browns (7-3) ~ Head Coach Kevin Stefanski. Everyone, myself included, was in on the Browns last year. This was finally it. They acquired Odell Beckham Jr. and paired him with Jarvis Landry. After a promising rookie season from Baker Mayfield it looked like the Browns were ready to take it to the next level and snap the NFL’s longest playoff drought. Seems we were a bit early. Stefanski has come in this year and given the Browns the stability and guidance needed. They trail only the undefeated Steelers in the division. (LWR 15)

14. Las Vegas Raiders (6-4) ~ The NFL owners, SoFi and even Vegas itself. Yes, the Raiders left Oakland for greener pastures in Las Vegas. Their stadium looks beautiful and I have to imagine it will be packed once this pandemic is behind us. If I can time it correctly, maybe it will be the third NFL stadium I ever visit. (LWR 14)

15. Miami Dolphins (6-4) ~ Hootie and the Blowfish. I admit, this is a throwaway and that’s almost a disservice to what Brian Flores has done with this franchise. I just can’t ignore the signs. The signs that Hootie came on the radio just when I was about to right about the Dolphins. I’m such a baby ‘cause the Dolphins make me cry. Ain’t nothing I can do. (LWR 13)

16. Chicago Bears (5-5) ~ Their bye week. The Bears are hurting at quarterback with Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky uncertain for this weekend’s must win game against Green Bay. Their bye week allowed the quarterbacks more time to get physically healthy, but the Bears were also in need of a mental break as they are mired in a four-game losing streak. (LWR 17)

17. Minnesota Vikings (4-6) ~ Justin Jefferson. During the offseason the Vikings traded away stud receiver Stefon Diggs to Buffalo. In an effort to replace his production, they used a first round draft pick on Jefferson. All the rookie has done is lead the team with 848 yards receiving which is good for seventh in the NFL. Can a receiver win Rookie of the Year? Jefferson has a real shot at it. (LWR 16)

18. Carolina Panthers (4-7) ~ Mike Davis. It’s easy to say Teddy Bridgewater, and that’s probably the right answer for the long term, but this is the NFL. This is the most “what have you done for me lately” league in any of the four major American sports leagues. Carolina boasts perhaps the best all-purpose back in the NFL in Christian McCaffrey. Well, CMC has missed most of the season and his backup, Davis, has filled in admirably. He has averaged four yards per carry and nearly five receptions per game, and that includes games in which CMC has played. I don’t think Carolina has four wins without Davis. (LWR 19)

19. San Francisco 49ers (4-6) ~ The opportunity to evaluate young and/or unproven players. If you’ve been following the NFL this year, I don’t need to tell you that the 49ers have been ravaged by injuries. In fact, I’m not even sure ravaged quite sums it up. It’s been that bad. The silver lining is that they get to see what kind of talent they have a bit further down the depth chart. There are worse scenarios to be in during a lost season. (LWR 18)

20. New England Patriots (4-6) ~ The last twenty years. Let’s not sugarcoat this. The Patriots dynasty may be over, but what a glorious dynasty it was. Since the turn of the century, New England has won 17 division titles and appeared in nine Super Bowls. They won six of those which is the most of any team in the league. Think about that. Nine Super Bowl appearances means the Patriots basically averaged a Super Bowl appearance every 2-3 seasons for two decades. I don’t think we will see that sort of sustained excellence again. (LWR 20)

21. Los Angeles Chargers (3-7) ~ Justin Herbert. If Justin Jefferson of the Vikings doesn't win Rookie of the Year, I'd be Herbert takes home that hardware. In fact, I'd be on it but it isn't showing up in my DraftKings app. Anyway, Philip Rivers just left town and it already looks like the Chargers have found their quarterback for the next 15 years. Hat tip to the team doctor that punctured Tyrod Taylor's lung opening the door for Herbert. (LWR 24)

22. Denver Broncos (4-6) ~ Rookie receivers. Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler have both proven that they can be reliable receivers. Jeudy actually leads the team with 589 yards receiving. Not a lot has gone right for Denver this year, but these two can be penciled into the lineup for Drew Lock or whoever else might be under center next year. (LWR 25)

23. Philadelphia Eagles (3-6-1) ~ The rest of the NFC East. Reality check. The Eagles, despite their best efforts, are still leading the NFC East. As a fan, I can say that it looks like this team has given up. If the rest of the division wasn't a dumpster fire, we'd be talking about potential coaching changes in Philly. Maybe we should discuss them anyway. (LWR 21)

24. Atlanta Falcons (3-7) ~ A potential top five draft pick. The Falcons have beaten themselves a lot this year. Like, a real lot. This team could easily be 7-3. They aren't 7-3 though. They are 3-7 and have a brutal final six games. If they lose out, odds are they would have a top five pick and might use it on a quarterback as they could be forced to think about life after Matt Ryan. (LWR 22)

25. Detroit Lions (4-6) ~ Their annual Thanksgiving day game. There's not much else to get excited about in Detroit. The team just got shut out for the first time in Matthew Stafford's career which began 45 years ago. At least they get a turkey day game. (LWR 23)

26. New York Giants (3-7) ~ The players buying in to Joe Judge's system. These Giants started the season 0-5 and, were it not for two close losses to Tampa Bay and Philly, they would be on a five game winning streak. They'll face the Joe Burrow-less Cincinnati Bengals this weekend where they could extend their actual winning streak to three. It could put them atop the NFC East as well. (LWR 27)

27. Washington Football Team (3-7) ~ Alex Smith. If you disagree with this, you need to reevaluate things. It's Smith's team for the rest of the season and if he doesn't win the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award, well, the NFL needs to reevaluate things too. (LWR 28)

28. Houston Texans (3-7) ~ Bill O'Brien getting fired. He wasn't all that bad as a coach. In seven plus seasons, he led the Texans to a 52-48 record which seems underwhelming, but they did win four AFC South titles. O'Brien as a GM, however? Brutal. We all know they traded away DeAndre Hopkins for pennies on the dollar. But O'Brien loved to trade away draft capital. The Texans, for all their struggles this year, will send their first round pick to Miami. (LWR 29)

29. Dallas Cowboys (3-7) ~ The Falcons flubbing away an onside kick. Back in Week two, Dallas needed a miracle to come back and get the victory against Atlanta. They got just that when all any Falcons player had to do was fall on an onside kick before it went 10 yards. Instead, they waited until it went 10 yards which opened the door for Dallas to recover. They did and the rest, as they say, is history. (LWR 30)

30. Cincinnati Bengals (2-7-1) ~ Joe Burrow's medical team. I'm getting ahead of myself, but all the Bengals can do is hope their franchise quarterback's doctors can repair his knee. That injury sets the team back another year in their rebuilding process. (LWR 26)

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) ~ James Robinson. How can it be anyone else? The Jags are a mess, but they appear to how found a diamond in the rough with Robinson who is third in the NFL with 762 yards on the ground. (LWR 31)

32. New York Jets (0-10) ~ That lone Jags win. The Jets have the inside track on the number one overall pick and right now they can thank Jacksonville for getting that win way back in the first week of the season. The Jets are officially focused on next year as they have become the first team to be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. (LWR 32)

Well, that’s it. All 32 NFL teams. All in one little list that can cause a reader a bevy of emotions. Do you like where your team is ranked? Do you hate it? Do you think I have no clue what I’m talking about? Maybe you should tell me about it. Leave a comment below or reach out to me on Twitter. Handle is in the profile. See you next time kids.