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NFL Power Rankings Week 12: Cardinals Reclaim Top Spot

NFL Power Rankings Week 12: Cardinals Reclaim Top Spot
James Conner #6 of the Arizona Cardinals scores a fourth quarter touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks. Photo by: Abbie Parr/Getty Images via AFP.

Thanksgiving is here, and we take another look at our NFL power rankings. Who is moving up the charts?

Power rankings help us show how teams stack up against each other, but they also show progress. Some skyrocket up the board after a few wins. Others plummet when they lose a star player.

Regardless of how they got there, rankings matter more as the season progresses. We are approaching the NFL playoffs, and teams are running out of time to peak. Which teams are peaking at the right time? Which ones are stuttering? 

Here’s a look at the updated NFL power rankings heading into Week 12:

NFL Power Rankings: Week 12

(1) Arizona Cardinals (⇧4, 9-2 SU, 8-3 ATS)
With or without QB Kyler Murray, this offense is cooking.
(2) Green Bay Packers (⇩1, 8-3 SU, 9-2 ATS)
Once RB Aaron Jones is fully healthy, the Packers should be able to peak at the right time.
(3) Tennessee Titans (-, 8-3 SU, 7-4 ATS)
The loss of RB Derrick Henry caught up to the Titans, who have a pivotal game against the New England Patriots.
(4) Dallas Cowboys (⇩2, 7-3 SU, 8-2 ATS)
The Cowboys have dipped in the past two weeks, but they still have a solid team. Once QB Dak Prescott is back in a rhythm, the team could compete for the NFC title.
(5) Los Angeles Rams (⇧4, 7-3 SU, 4-6 ATS)
This team has added so much talent, and the chemistry has improved over the course of the season.
(6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (, 7-3 SU, 4-6 ATS)
Tampa Bay had another slow start to the year, but the Bucs are back to proving that they are a dominant team in the NFC.
(7) Baltimore Ravens (4, 7-3 SU, 4-6 ATS)
Lamar Jackson is a difference-maker and raises the floor of this team. We’ll see what they look like when he is back.
(8) Kansas City Chiefs (-, 7-4 SU, 4-7 ATS)
The Chiefs had a slow start, but QB Patrick Mahomes looks like he is finally willing to check the ball down.
(9) New England Patriots (⇩5, 7-4 SU, 7-4 ATS)
QB Mac Jones is the frontrunner for Offensive Rookie of the Year, and it is easy to see why. Thanks to his poise, the Pats are back to first place in the AFC East. The fall is more about where they ranked last week.
(10) Los Angeles Chargers (⇧4, 6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS)
The Chargers offense flashed against the Pittsburgh Steelers. If they play anywhere near that on a consistent basis, they will easily make the playoffs.
(11) Indianapolis Colts (⇩1, 6-5 SU, 7-4 ATS)
The Colts had an elite week thanks to RB Jonathan Taylor. Is that style of play sustainable? Time will tell.
(12) Buffalo Bills (⇩5, 6-4 SU, 5-4-1 ATS)
The Bills are one of the most disappointing teams this year, but they still have enough talent on the roster to win the AFC East.
(13) Cincinnati Bengals (⇧4, 6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS)
Cincinnati has been a pleasant surprise. The Bengals won’t win the AFC North, but they are still in the running for a wild-card spot.
(14) Cleveland Browns (⇧1, 6-5 SU, 5-6 ATS)
Cleveland’s offense has sputtered despite the return of QB Baker Mayfield. He needs to get fully healthy for this team to live up to the hype.
(15) San Francisco 49ers (⇧6, 5-5 SU, 4-6 ATS)
The 49ers have a great defense and an offensive mastermind. That raises their floor, but the quarterback play determines their ceiling.
(16) Minnesota Vikings (-, 5-5 SU, 6-4 ATS)
QB Kirk Cousins has been surprisingly efficient this year. With weapons all over the offense, the Vikings have turned some heads.
(17) Philadelphia Eagles (⇧2, 5-6 SU, 6-5 ATS)
QB Jalen Hurts is playing for his job, and he should feel secure at this point. He’s hard to bring down in the open field, and the Eagles control their own destiny in the NFC East.
(18) Carolina Panthers (⇧8, 5-6 SU, 5-6 ATS)
QB Cam Newton changes the outlook of the Panthers. If he can keep up his level of play, they should be competitive in almost every game.
(19) New Orleans Saints (⇩6, 5-5 SU, 5-5 ATS)
The Saints are a good team, but they are proving that you need a quarterback to win. Without Jameis Winston, they can’t keep up in the NFC South.
(20) Pittsburgh Steelers (⇩8, 5-4-1 SU, 4-6 ATS)
RB Najee Harris is great, but QB Ben Roethlisberger can only do so much at this point in his career. The Steelers need an exit strategy.
(21) Washington Football Team (⇧4, 4-6 SU, 3-7 ATS)
Washington has plenty of pieces, but needs to find a solution at quarterback this offseason.
(22) Las Vegas Raiders (⇩4, 5-5 SU, 4-6 ATS)
Despite the countless distractions this year, the Raiders are .500. They can turn things around if they upset the struggling Cowboys on Thanksgiving, but the odds remain low.
(23) Denver Broncos (⇩3, 5-5 SU, 5-5 ATS)
Once Denver finds a franchise quarterback, it will be one of the best teams in the AFC. The Broncos may have the best receiving corps in the conference.
(24) Miami Dolphins (⇧4, 4-7 SU, 5-5-1 ATS)
Miami is on a three-game win streak, and the Dolphins have a chance to extend it against Carolina.
(25) Atlanta Falcons (⇩1, 4-6 SU, 4-6 ATS)
This offense is not the same without WR Calvin Ridley. If he is back and RB Cordarrelle Patterson is healthy, this unit looks a lot different.
(26) Seattle Seahawks (⇩3, 3-7 SU, 5-5 ATS)
QB Russell Wilson is back, but his play has not lived up to the hype. The Seahawks look likely to miss the playoffs.
(27) Chicago Bears (⇩5, 3-7 SU, 4-6 ATS)
Chicago’s quarterback issues remain due to injuries and incompetent playcalling. QB Justin Fields is the future, but the present remains bleak under head coach Matt Nagy.
(28) New York Giants (⇧2, 3-7 SU, 5-5 ATS)
RB Saquon Barkley’s injuries have hurt the Giants this year, but the passing attack hasn’t done much to save them either.
(29) Houston Texans (⇧3, 2-8 SU, 5-5 ATS)
With QB Tyrod Taylor back, the Texans won another game. At this point, fans should be hoping to lose to boost their draft placement this offseason.
(30) Jacksonville Jaguars (⇩3, 2-8 SU, 4-6 ATS)
Jacksonville had 200 yards of offense against San Francisco. The Jaguars aren’t putting QB Trevor Lawrence in a position to succeed, and he’s not ready to carry an inept team as a rookie.
(31) New York Jets (⇩2, 2-8 SU, 2-8 ATS)
Fans will finally see QB Zach Wilson again this week. At this point, he should be where all fans put their energy. If he shows flashes, they can have hope for the future.
(32) Detroit Lions (⇩1, 0-9-1 SU, 6-4 ATS)
The Lions have a chance to win on Thanksgiving against the Bears. After that, their opportunities to find a win are few and far between.

SEE ALSO: Top 3 Underdogs of Week 12

NFL Week 12 Power Rankings: Biggest Risers

Panthers (+8)

This is because of the previous ranking more than the current one. I value Carolina thanks to its solid run game and potent defense. If Newton can stay healthy, the Panthers should rack up some wins to end the year. Increasing eight spots after a loss is wild, but I valued them higher to begin with.

49ers (+6)

The 49ers will always be able to run the ball. They should be able to generate pressure with their defensive front. If QB Jimmy Garoppolo or Trey Lance can be average, this team could make the playoffs.

Cardinals (+4)

Plenty of teams increased four slots. This is partly due to losses by other top-ranked teams, but the Cardinals are simply a great offense with a rugged defense. They can play tough, and they’ll be even better when Murray is healthy.

Dolphins (+4)

The Dolphins are flawed, but Tagovailoa raises the bar for that team. I realize two of their last three wins were against abysmal teams, but they still have the building blocks to win. They just need to fix the offensive line and remain consistent on defense.

NFL Week 12 Power Rankings: Biggest Fallers

Steelers (-8)

The Steelers have a low ceiling with Big Ben under center. It’s as simple as that. You can talk about how the offensive line has exceeded expectations and how the receivers are talented, but none of that matters if Roethlisberger doesn’t step up.

Saints (-6)

The Saints need RB Alvin Kamara back, but they also need to find a franchise quarterback. Winston showed potential, but his injury makes it hard to evaluate him.

Bills (-5)

We’ve given Buffalo the benefit of the doubt, but another bad loss has knocked it out of the top spot in the AFC East. With the Patriots improving every week, the Bills need to find a solution fast.

Bears (-5)

Fields being hurt is a disappointment, but the flaws of this team go beyond the quarterback position. We’ll see what the future holds, but the present doesn’t look great.

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