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My 2021 Week 12 NFL Power Index

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

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2021 NFL Power Rankings Week 12

Another week and another top team goes down. It’s just a revolving door atop the NFL this season. I mean, honestly, who is the best team out there? I feel like there’s been a dozen different answers to that throughout the season. I can’t remember a year like this where it seems like there isn’t a clear cut front-runner in either conference. Should make for an interesting stretch run, that’s for sure.

1. Green Bay Packers (9-3) ~ One thing I know for sure is that I trust Aaron Rodgers. If he is under center for the Packers they have a chance every week. He’s about to get some backup as well as his left tackle David Bakhtiari, star corner Jaire Alexander and pass rusher Za’Darius Smith could return to the lineup after the bye week. An already good Green Bay club is about to get that much better. (Last Ranking 2)

2. Arizona Cardinals (9-2) ~ I’m curious to see who will take the field when the Cardinals return from their bye week. Will Kyler Murray be back under center? Will DeAndre Hopkins be running routes? It’s hard to judge this team without those two in the lineup. (LR 3)

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3) ~ Playoff Lenny was on display in Indianapolis. Leonard Fournette scored not one, not two, not three but four touchdowns in Tampa’s win over the Colts. He really lived up to his name in that one. (LR 7)

4. Baltimore Ravens (8-3) ~ Speaking of things that come in fours, Lamar Jackson threw a career-high four interceptions against Cleveland Sunday night. The Ravens somehow still won that game. The last time a team won a game in which their starting quarterback threw four interceptions was back in 2013 when Andy Dalton and the Bengals took down, you guessed it, the Ravens. (LR 8)

5. New England Patriots (8-4) ~ Six straight wins for the Patriots and all of a sudden they are the number two seed in the AFC and atop the AFC East. They play in Buffalo Monday night in what will be a huge game. The winner will emerge as the favorite for the division title. I’m an NFC guy but I’ll try and watch as much of that one as possible. (LR 9)

6. Tennessee Titans (8-4) ~ Injuries happen and they’ve happened in Tennessee. This team just isn’t the same without Derrick Henry, Julio Jones and A.J. Brown. Ryan Tannehill has struggled as he has thrown one or fewer touchdowns in ten of Tennessee’s twelve games this year. If they can get healthy they will be a dangerous team, but that’s a big if at this point. (LR 1)

7. Buffalo Bills (7-4) ~ The Bills have alternated wins and losses in each of the last six weeks. They’ve looked good in dismantling New Orleans, but have also looked terrible while losing at Jacksonville. They’ll need to put it all together for the aforementioned Monday night showdown against their hated rival New England to avoid a 7th straight week of alternating those wins and losses. (LR 5)

8. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4) ~ New England may have the longest current win streak in the league, but let’s not forget about the Chiefs. They’ve won four straight to climb back from under .500 to be a full game up on the rest of the AFC West. It’s certainly a tighter division race than most of us assumed at the beginning of the year, but the Chiefs are right where we thought they’d be. (LR 10)

9. Dallas Cowboys (7-4) ~ The Cowboys lost more games in November than the Detroit Lions. (LR 4)

10. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) ~ If you were looking for a statement win from the Bengals, that wait is now over. They absolutely took apart the Pittsburgh Steelers while building a 31-3 halftime lead. It’s the first time the Bengals have swept the season series from the Steelers since 2009. That 2009 team was led by Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson so, yeah, it’s been a while. (LR 13)

11. Los Angeles Rams (7-4) ~ They say things happen in threes and that’s exactly what is happening to the Rams. Three straight losses. Three straight games in which Matthew Stafford has thrown a pick-six. They need things to turn around they need that to happen sooner rather than later. Perhaps Odell Beckham Jr. will provide a boost as he gets more and more acclimated to the playbook. He did have five catches for 81 yards and a score in the loss to Green Bay. (LR 6)

12. Indianapolis Colts (6-6) ~ Let’s stick with the things that happen in threes shall we? Sunday’s loss to Tampa marked the third game this season the Colts lost after having a double-digit lead. Had they not squandered those games they’d be 9-3 and we would be talking about them as Super Bowl contenders. (LR 14)

13. Las Vegas Raiders (6-5) ~ DeSean Jackson had his first 100-yard receiving day as a member of the Raiders and scored a vintage Jackson TD. Just as important was that the threat of him taking the top of the defense opening things up underneath for Hunter Renfrow who also topped 100 yards against the Cowboys. Now they await news on their stud tight end Darren Waller who exited Thursday’s game with a knee injury. (LR 15)

14. San Francisco 49ers (6-5) ~ Once again, the 49ers have lost their top running back. Deebo Samuel will miss 1-2 weeks with a groin injury that he suffered in Sunday’s win over Minnesota. Don’t try and tell me he isn’t a running back. Over the last three games Samuel has 19 carries for 181 yards and four touchdowns. Here’s hoping he only misses one game as my fantasy team really needs him for my potential playoff run. (LR 21)

15. Los Angeles Chargers (6-5) ~ Last season Justin Herbert threw ten interceptions. On Sunday he reached ten for the year and we still have half a dozen games to play. It’s easy to forget that it’s just his second year in the league. (LR 12)

16. Cleveland Browns (6-6) ~ They were the darlings of last season, but that seems like a decade ago at this point. Cleveland started the year 3-1, but has gone 3-5 since and are limping into their bye week. In a weird twist of the schedule, Cleveland will play the Ravens in back-to-back games with the aforementioned bye separating the games. (LR 17)

17. New Orleans Saints (5-6) ~ When is it time to hand the offense to Taysom Hill? Four straight losses with Trevor Siemian under center have the Saints season very close to careening over the edge. They’ll play their second straight Thursday game when they host Dallas in two nights. One more loss and the fat lady might be singing in the Superdome. (LR 11)

18. Denver Broncos (6-5) ~ To me, this all comes down to the health and availability of Teddy Bridgewater. If he is good to go, then Denver can be a solid team. Without him, well, we all know the quarterback troubles the Broncos have endured since Peyton Manning called it a career. Bridgewater has been a much needed stabilizing force in the lineup. (LR 20)

19. Minnesota Vikings (5-6) ~ Remember kids, when lining up as the quarterback, you want to be sure you are behind the center. Something tells me Kirk Cousins won’t like that this will be replayed for a long, long time. (LR 18)

20. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5-1) ~ Since Mike Tomlin came to the Steelers in 2007, the team has not had a losing record. They finished at .500 in 2019, but, with the addition of the 17th game this season, a .500 record seemed unlikely to happen again. Then you look at that tie. Then you look at how they are sitting at exactly .500 right now. I’m almost kind of rooting for them to finish .500 with an uneven number of games. (LR 16)

21. Washington Football Team (5-6) ~ The Football Team was left for dead after starting the year 2-6. Three straight wins have changed that a bit. Their run game is back. The defense is playing well. Is this going to be a mirror image of last year when they came out of nowhere to take the NFC East title? Maybe not, but they do have two games left against the Cowboys. Just sayin’. (LR 25)

22. Miami Dolphins (5-7) ~ Four straight wins for the fins. Quite impressive after their disastrous 1-7 start. That said, it bums me out since their first round draft pick belongs to my Philadelphia Eagles. (LR 29)

23. Philadelphia Eagles (5-7) ~ That one hurts. Four turnovers on the road in a divisional game. One clear miscalculation at the end of the first half that cost the team points. Multiple dropped passes that could have given the team the lead. Penalties that took big plays, and even points, off the board. And they somehow still had a shot to pull off the win. This was a loss the Eagles simply could not afford. (LR 23)

24. Carolina Panthers (5-7) ~ Christian McCaffrey is out for the year. Again. This guy simply cannot stay healthy. One has to wonder how far his stock drops in fantasy drafts next year. Does he last through the first round? (LR 19)

25. Atlanta Falcons (5-6) ~ They found the end zone for the first time in three games and picked up their first win in those games. Hard to pick up a W without a TD or two. (LR 24)

26. New York Giants (4-7) ~ Saquon Barkley returned to the lineup, but was largely ineffective. He did manage to rip off a 32-yard run, but his other 12 carries went for a combined 8 yards. I expect him to perform just a bit better when the Giants take the field in Miami on Sunday. (LR 26)

27. Seattle Seahawks (3-8) ~ Is this it? Is this the end of the Russell Wilson era in Seattle? The Seahawks have lost at least eight games for the first time since Wilson was drafted back in 2012. The team has scored a total of four touchdowns in their last three games. (LR 22)

28. Chicago Bears (4-7) ~ Did you watch the game on turkey day? I did. And what I saw was a Bears team that, for the most part, was outplayed by the still winless Lions. It took a last-second chip shot field goal to win this game for Chicago. Not exactly inspiring. (LWR 27)

29. New York Jets (3-8) ~ Three wins for the Jets in Robert Saleh’s first year as head coach. That’s more wins than they had last year with Adam Gase. Progress! (LR 30)

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) ~ With their ninth loss the Jags have clinched yet another losing season. That is the 14th time in the last 16 years Jacksonville will finish below .500. I’d say I wonder what it’s like being a Jaguars fan, but I’m not exactly sure I want to subject my mind to that type of torture. (LR 28)

31. Houston Texans (2-9) ~ So, they went in to Tennessee and thoroughly handled the Titans. Then they host the Jets and lose by a touchdown? What? (LR 31)

32. Detroit Lions (0-10-1) ~ That’s now three games this season in which the Lions have lost on a walk-off field goal. That is pain. (LR 32)

And that is that. That's all I've got this week. You're now free to go about the rest of your day. Or night. Whatever it may be. If you want more of me, leave a comment below or follow me on social media via the link in my bio.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Rich

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