2023 NFL Power Rankings, Week 12: Vikings Take a Step Back, Bengals Tumble, Texans Enter Top 10

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Week 11 of the NFL season is officially behind us.

Throughout this past weekend, there were a number of wild matchups that came down to the wire, impacting the NFL power rankings in big ways. As we look ahead to Week 12, here is an updated look at the new list.

The Super Bowl Contenders

Nov 20, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay (2) waves to fans after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

1. Philadelphia Eagles

  • Last Week: 21-17 win @ KC
  • Trending: —
  • This Week: 11/26 vs. BUF

Things looked rough early on for the Eagles on defense, but they made some massive plays during the second half. They held the Chiefs scoreless over the final 30 minutes and made a couple big defensive stops during the fourth quarter to hold onto a win in this Super Bowl rematch.

2. San Francisco 49ers

  • Last Week: 27-14 win vs. TB
  • Trending: +1
  • This Week: 11/23 @ SEA

The 49ers offense has been rolling since their stars got healthy again. In the past two games, Brock Purdy has thrown for 629 yards and 6 TDs while committing no turnovers. Chase Young has made the most of his first two weeks in San Francisco too, recording another sack against the Buccaneers. As long as this team stays healthy, they should be one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl.

3. Kansas City Chiefs

  • Last Week: 17-21 loss vs. PHI
  • Trending: -1
  • This Week: 11/26 @ LV

Kansas City’s defense was impressive throughout most of Monday night, but their receiver room continues to be a bit of a problem. Patrick Mahomes very nearly had a game-winning TD to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, but it slipped through his fingertips. No longer do the Chiefs hold the No. 1 seed in the AFC, either. That honor belongs to the Ravens.

4. Baltimore Ravens

  • Last Week: 34-20 win vs. CIN
  • Trending: —
  • This Week: 11/26 @ LAC

The Ravens’ victory over Cincinnati on Sunday did not come without a few difficult pills to swallow. Mark Andrews likely is out for the remainder of the season with an ankle injury while Lamar Jackson also suffered his own ankle injury. The QB was able to remain in the game, though, and lead Baltimore to a win over their division rivals. There is the caveat of Joe Burrow suffering a season-ending injury of his own, though, so the Ravens stay right where they were last week.

5. Miami Dolphins

  • Last Week: 20-13 win vs. LV
  • Trending: —
  • This Week: 11/24 @ NYJ

It certainly wasn’t the overpowering victory that we’ve become accustomed to from Miami at home, but they were able to capture their seventh win of the season by knocking off the Raiders. Jalen Ramsey had another strong game in the secondary, and overall, the Dolphins defense proved too much for rookie QB Aidan O’Connell.

Strong Playoff Teams

NFL Power Rankings, Week 12
Nov 19, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Za’Darius Smith (99) celebrates after a sack during the second half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

6. Cleveland Browns

  • Last Week: 13-10 win vs. PIT
  • Trending: +1
  • This Week: 11/26 @ DEN

Cleveland lost Deshaun Watson for the remainder of the season, but their success has never been built on an overwhelming offensive attack. This defense continues to be amongst the best in the league behind Myles Garrett, and if they are going to make a deep playoff run, it will have to happen because of the strength of that unit.

7. Dallas Cowboys

  • Last Week: 33-10 win @ CAR
  • Trending: +1
  • This Week: 11/23 vs. WSH

Per usual, the Cowboys found a way to dominate a lesser opponent. We still need to see them come up with a win against a fellow playoff contender before they can hop into the Super Bowl tier, but this offense is clicking right now. For the third time in four weeks since their bye, Dallas totaled over 30 points.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Last Week: 34-14 win vs. TEN
  • Trending: +2
  • This Week: 11/26 @ HOU

This was a great bounce-back win for Jacksonville following the embarrassing loss that they were handed by the 49ers. Outside of a 38-yard rush by Chris Moore, the Jaguars were able to completely snuff out Tennessee’s rushing attack, and Calvin Ridley had his first 100-yard receiving day since Week 5 against the Bills.

9. Houston Texans

  • Last Week: 21-16 win vs. ARI
  • Trending: +3
  • This Week: 11/26 vs. JAX

If you pay attention to my weekly NFL picks over on Vikings Territory, you’ll know that I called Week 11 a potential trap game for the Texans. They were coming off back-to-back emotional wins and could have been looking ahead to Week 12’s game against Jacksonville. This was proven correct, but even despite some mistakes in the red zone that could have been very costly, they found a way to win. Being able to win the ugly games is the mark of a good team, and that is exactly what the Texans are.

10. Detroit Lions

  • Last Week: 31-26 win vs. CHI
  • Trending: -1
  • This Week: 11/23 vs. GB

Detroit got an ugly win against the Bears as well, but this one feels very different from how the Texans got their win. The Lions couldn’t establish anything offensively through the first 56 minutes of the game, reaching the red zone on just two of their first eight drives of the game. Still, they were able to get it done at the end, so they deserve some credit for their resiliency.

11. Buffalo Bills

  • Last Week: 32-6 win vs. NYJ
  • Trending: +4
  • This Week: 11/26 @ PHI

If the Bills look like this version of themselves more often, there aren’t many teams that can beat them. The problem is that they played the Jets this weekend and haven’t looked this good against the better teams in their conference. They move up this week but could be on the way back down if they can’t hang with the Eagles this weekend.

12. Minnesota Vikings

  • Last Week: 20-21 loss @ DEN
  • Trending: -1
  • This Week: 11/27 vs. CHI

The Vikings could have and should have won on Sunday night in Denver. Instead, a few turnovers cost them their chance at moving up the NFC standings for a week. There was a questionable hit on Josh Dobbs to force the first turnover of the game, but still, this was a game that Minnesota let slip through their fingers. They sorely missed Justin Jefferson against the Broncos secondary, and they need to get a win on Monday night against the Bears now.

The “Swing” Teams

Nov 19, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) reacts after the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

13. Cincinnati Bengals

  • Last Week: 20-34 loss @ BAL
  • Trending: -7
  • This Week: 11/26 vs. PIT

The Bengals take a big tumble this week for two reasons. Not only did they lose big to the Ravens, but Joe Burrow is out for the season because of a wrist injury that will require surgery. Perhaps Jake Browning can lead this offense, but it will be a tall task that begins with a tough test against the Steelers.

14. Denver Broncos

  • Last Week: 21-20 win vs. MIN
  • Trending: +3
  • This Week: 11/26 vs. CLE

The Broncos kept the good times rolling on Sunday night against Minnesota, and Russell Wilson made just enough plays down the stretch to get this win. Their defense has been legit during this winning streak and once again propelled them to another victory by forcing three turnovers.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Last Week: 10-13 loss @ CLE
  • Trending: -2
  • This Week: 11/26 @ CIN

The Steelers simply need to make Jaylen Warren the focal point of their offense. The running back had nine carries which resulted in 129 yards and a touchdown. Every time he touches the ball something good happens. Until they buy into that, we’ll continue to see results like what happened this weekend.

16. Seattle Seahawks

  • Last Week: 16-17 loss @ LAR
  • Trending: -2
  • This Week: 11/23 vs. SF

If Geno Smith hadn’t gotten hurt, there is a solid chance that Seattle would have pulled this game out. Smith did come back at the end of the game, but by then, the Rams had captured a lead and taken over all momentum. Now, the Seahawks face a pivotal Thanksgiving game against the 49ers to potentially save their chances at winning the NFC West.

17. New Orleans Saints

  • Last Week: Bye
  • Trending: +1
  • This Week: 11/26 @ ATL

New Orleans rested up on their bye, but Derek Carr remains in concussion protocol heading into the week. It could be Jameis Winston time when the Saints take on the Falcons this Sunday.

18. Los Angeles Chargers

  • Last Week: 20-23 loss @ GB
  • Trending: -2
  • This Week: 11/26 vs. BAL

This loss goes entirely on the Chargers receiver room. It was missed opportunity after missed opportunity from that group as they continuously dropped balls that could have resulted in touchdowns or at least big gains. This team needs their offense to play efficiently if they have any hopes of rejuvenating their season, but it just hasn’t been working that way recently.

19. Indianapolis Colts

  • Last Week: Bye
  • Trending: —
  • This Week: 11/26 vs. TB

Indianapolis got a chance to take a breather after a pair of wins in back-to-back road games. This team remains in the thick of things in the AFC, sitting just one game out of the Wild Card. They have a chance to move up this weekend if they can beat the Buccaneers.

20. Las Vegas Raiders

  • Last Week: 13-20 loss @ MIA
  • Trending: +1
  • This Week: 11/26 vs. KC

The Raiders showed why they were 5-5 going into this game against the Dolphins. Their defense has been one of the best units in football over the past month, and they delivered another strong performance by limiting Miami to just 20 points at home. This isn’t a very good football team until they figure things out offensively, but they aren’t going to roll over against any opponent.

21. Los Angeles Rams

  • Last Week: 17-16 win vs. SEA
  • Trending: +3
  • This Week: 11/26 @ ARI

Cooper Kupp left this game early on with an ankle injury, but it didn’t matter in the end. Los Angeles roared back in the fourth quarter to steal a win from their division rivals behind 10 fourth quarter points.

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Last Week: 14-27 loss @ SF
  • Trending: -2
  • This Week: 11/26 @ IND

It feels like I say this every week at this point, but Tampa Bay just continues to prove exactly who they are in each game that they play. Their offense is good enough to make a few plays to make games interesting, but overall, this is just not a very good group. Still, they are somehow in the mix for the NFC South.

23. Green Bay Packers

  • Last Week; 23-20 win vs. LAC
  • Trending: +2
  • This Week: 11/23 @ DET

Despite all the weird drops from Los Angeles that allowed the Packers to hold onto a win, this was a very positive game for Jordan Love. The QB threw for nearly 300 yards and had a pair of touchdown passes during Green Bay’s victory. Most importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over, which had become an issue over the past month and a half since Green Bay’s hot start to the year. These are steps in the right direction.

On the Outside Looking In

Nov 19, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) passes against the Houston Texans in the second half at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

24. Tennessee Titans

  • Last Week: 14-34 loss @ JAX
  • Trending: -2
  • This Week: 11/26 vs. CAR

Tennessee just couldn’t generate any sort of rushing offense once again, and Derrick Henry is on pace for his worst season since 2018 across the board in terms of his production. With the weaknesses on defense, this group might be done for the year.

25. Arizona Cardinals

  • Last Week: 16-21 loss @ HOU
  • Trending: +3
  • This Week: 11/26 vs. LAR

The Cardinals hung tough against the Texans this weekend, and their defense came up with a couple huge plays. However, there still aren’t enough playmakers around Kyler Murray to make this team truly competitive in this league.

26. New York Giants

  • Last Week: 31-19 win @ WSH
  • Trending: +5
  • This Week: 11/26 vs. NE

Tommy DeVito has three times as many passing TDs this season as Daniel Jones. That about sums things up for the Giants this season, but hey, they got to enjoy a win this weekend, which is more than what can be said of any of the teams behind them.

27. Chicago Bears

  • Last Week: 26-31 loss @ DET
  • Trending: —
  • This Week: 11/27 @ MIN

Justin Fields returned to the field on Sunday, and the offense actually looked pretty decent throughout most of the game. However, a few really ugly drives down the stretch allowed Detroit to steal this game away.

28. New York Jets

  • Last Week: 6-32 loss @ BUF
  • Trending: -5
  • This Week: 11/24 vs. MIA

The Jets defense is still a good group, but man, this offense is horrendous to watch. Zach Wilson has been benched for Tim Boyle, and with a game against the Dolphins coming up, there is very little hope for this team right now.

29. Atlanta Falcons

  • Last Week: Bye
  • Trending: —
  • This Week: 11/26 vs. NO

Coming off their bye week, the Falcons have a huge opportunity in front of them to somehow take over the lead in the NFC South. If they defeat the Saints on Sunday, they will lead the division at 5-6.

30. Washington Commanders

  • Last Week: 19-31 loss vs. NYG
  • Trending: -4
  • This Week: 11/23 @ DAL

Washington sacked Tommy DeVito nine(!!) times during this game, and still, they were completely outmatched by the Giants in this game. Sam Howell threw three interceptions throughout the afternoon, and the Commanders offense just looked horrendous overall.

31. New England Patriots

  • Last Week: Bye
  • Trending: -1
  • This Week: 11/26 @ NYG

For probably the first time in about 20 years, Patriots fans let out a sigh of relief when they looked at the schedule and saw that New England had a bye this week. Now, the team has to go on the road and face off with the league’s latest phenom, Tommy DeVito.

32. Carolina Panthers

  • Last Week: 10-33 loss vs. DAL
  • Trending: —
  • This Week: 11/26 @ TEN

Frank Reich is on the hot heat in Carolina. The Panthers just cannot get anything going on either side of the ball right now. They’ve scored 15 or fewer points in each of their four games since the bye, and the defense stood no chance against Dallas.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.