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NFL Power Rankings: Week 12

Week twelve was highlight by a triple-threat of Thanksgiving games along with another huge injury to an NFL star. The Thanksgiving slate included the Lions/Eagles, Panthers/Cowboys and Bears/Packers. Green Bay retired Brett Favre’s jersey at halftime as he, along with fellow Packer great Bart Starr, made an appearance.

The Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals are STILL red hot: both winners of five straight. The Chiefs snuck by the Bills in a close one, 30-22, while the Cardinals handled the 49ers, 19-13. The NFL has been a revolving door due to injuries and yet another plagued as Jimmy Graham’s season is over. Graham suffered torn patella tendon in Seattle’s 39-32 win over the Steelers. The injury will require surgery.

ICYMI: The Indianapolis Colts defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers behind Matt Hasselbeck’s fourth win as a starter. Hasselbeck, at 40 years old is (4-0) when starting this season — wow. His 315 passing yards and two touchdowns were season highs.

Here is my favorite play of the week:

One team remains undefeated: the Carolina Panthers

  1. Carolina Panthers (11-0): The Panthers defense was optimistic as they scored 17 points off of the Cowboy’s three interceptions. Linebacker Luke Kuechly had himself a bountiful Thanksgiving as he feasted off of Tony Romo picking him off twice: one for a touchdown along with a team-high seven tackles in the win.
  2. New England Patriots (10-1): New England was served their first loss at the hand of the Denver Broncos. The Broncos beat the Patriots 30-24 behind a huge rushing attack led by C.J. Anderson. Denver averaged 5 yards a rush and Anderson rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns; one of which was the 48-yard run to seal the overtime win. New England has now lost; Dion Lewis (torn ACL), Julian Edelman (broken foot), Danny Amendola (knee injury) and Rob Gronkowski (who left this game with a knee injury) The Patriots need to get healthy quickly.
  3. Denver Broncos (9-2): Welcome to NFL, Brock Osweiler. Osweiler was brilliant throwing for 270 yards and a touchdown in the Broncos 30-24 win to beat the undefeated Patriots. Osweiler led a Denver comeback to give the Broncos a 24-21 lead. New England answered with a field goal to tie it, but was beat by one play. C.J. Anderson’s 48-yard touchdown run sealed the overtime win and the Broncos back was huge rushing for 113 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Osweiler is Denver’s future at the quarterback position, which makes you ponder what’s Peyton Manning’s future in Denver when he returns?
  4. Cincinnati Bengals (9-2): Home is where the heart is and so is Bengals win as Cincinnati went to (5-1) destroying the Rams 31-7 at Paul Brown Stadium. Quarterback Andy Dalton passed for 233 yards and three touchdowns while the Bengals defense got back on track forcing three interceptions in the win.
  5. Arizona Cardinals (9-2): The Cardinals snapped a six-game losing streak to the 49ers as they held on for a 19-13 win. Arizona’s last win was at Candle Stick Park in 2008 as they bested San Francisco 23-13 then. As for this game, Carson Palmer was the top performer passing for 271 yards and a rush touchdown.
  6. Minnesota Vikings (8-3): The Viking got back on track with a 20-10 win over the Falcons through Adrian Peterson’s strong game. “All Day” ran over the Falcons all day with 158 yards and two touchdowns. Minnesota was stingy on defense intercepting Matt Ryan twice.
  7. Green Bay Packers (7-4): Offensively challenged could be the best way to describe the Packer’s state right now. Green Bay lost its second straight home game to Chicago, 17-13. These struggled largely are due to the inefficient passing game. Aaron Rodgers averaged 4 yards a pass in the loss while James Jones and Devante Adams had two catches COMBINED.
  8. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5): The Good News: Big Ben was passed for 456 yards and a touchdown this game. The Bad: he threw two interceptions. So did back-up Landry Jones. The Worse: Pittsburgh’s defense as they gave up 345 passing yards and five touchdowns in a 39-30 loss to Seattle.
  9. Kansas City Chiefs (6-5): Five. Straight. Wins. On a day where the Chiefs lost star linebacker Justin Houston and running back Charcandrick West. Players stepped up: running back Spencer Ware rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown filling in for West. Linebacker Tamba Hali recorded a strip-sack on Tyrod Taylor late in the fourth quarter. The sack led to a Cairo Santos field goal to seal Kansas City’s 30-22 win over Buffalo.
  10. Seattle Seahawks (6-5): Russell Wilson was a Steeler killer as he sliced Pittsburgh’s defense in half passing for 345 yards and five touchdowns in a 39-30 win over the Steelers. His favorite target: Doug Baldwin was pretty good too hauling in six catches for 145 yards and three touchdowns in the win.
  11. Indianapolis Colts (6-5): The Colts went to 4-0 with Matt Hasselbeck starting at the quarterback position as Indianapolis defeated the Bucs, 25-12. The Colts vet threw for a season-high 315 and two touchdowns. Hasselbeck at 40 years old is one of the oldest quarterbacks in the game still schooling the young-ins.
  12. New York Jets (6-5): The Jets took flight against the Dolphins especially through the air as Ryan “Fear My Trimmed Beard” Fitzpatrick passed for 277 yards and four touchdowns in an old-fashioned 38-20 beat down of the Miami Dolphins. Jets receiver Brandon Marshall had himself a day as well hauling in nine receptions for 131 yards and two touchdowns. Marshall has scored a touchdown in all but two games this year.
  13. Houston Texans (6-5): Houston is red-hot as they beat down New Orleans 24-6. The Texans have quietly won four straight through a shutdown defense and optimistic offense. Houston silenced Drew Brees and the Saints, sacking him twice and forced an interception where the offense was lead by Brian Hoyer who passed for 205 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
  14. Buffalo Bills (5-6): The Bills defense has ignited the past few outing, now they need their defense to back them up. Buffalo has only 16 total sacks this year compared to their 52 around this time period. No pass rush equals big offensive performances as Kansas City amassed 413 yards in their 30-22 win. Tyrod Taylor, LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins can’t do it all.
  15. Oakland Raiders (5-6): Hey, I found Oakland’s offense! All they needed was to play an awful Titans team. They did and won 24-21 behind the AC/DC combo pack. Amari Cooper set a rookie receiving record as he surpassed the most receiving yards for a Raiders rookie with 851. He hauled in seven catches for 115 yards and a touchdown in the win. While Derek Carr passed for 330 yards and three touchdowns. Somewhere out there, Al Davis is smiling.
  16. Atlanta Falcons (6-5): The Falcons have migrated south for the winter, now losers of their last four. A big reason is the massive digression of Matt Ryan who threw a pair on interceptions in Atlanta’s 20-10 loss to Minnesota. Ryan has 10 interceptions to just 15 touchdowns this year: ouch.
  17. Washington Redskins (5-6): Desean Jackson is a Giants killer. The receiver hauled in a pair of catches for 66 yards and a touchdown in the Redskins 20-10 win. Kirk Cousins was good too passing for 302 yards and two total touchdowns. Washington is now tied for first place in the NFC East.
  18. Chicago Bears (5-6): The Bears picked u a big road win sidelining the rival, Packers, 17-13 on Thanksgiving night. Jay Cutler passed for 200 yards and a touchdown in the win. His main target: Alshon Jefferey hauled in seven receptions for 90 yards in the win. Chicago channeled their defenses of old as they held Aaron Rodgers to just 4 passing yards a clip. Wow.
  19. New York Giants (5-6): If you were to tell me, Eli Manning threw three interceptions and the Giants still had a chance to beat the Washington Redskins, I would have called you crazy. They did have a chance but fell short losing 20-10 to the Redskins. The shining star was the gem Odell Beckham Jr. hauled in the fourth quarter. Beckham finished with 142 yards and a touchdown in the loss.
  20. New Orleans Saints (5-6): If you have Drew Brees, you should be able to score more than six points. New Orleans didn’t in their 24-6 drubbing at the hands of the Texans. Also, why did Mark Ingram only receive nine touches? He is New Orleans best option outside or Brees…. Speaking of running, Houston rushed for 4 yards a clip as they controlled the game in their win.
  21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6): Jameis Winston was sacked five times along with throwing an interception in the Bucs 25-12 loss the Colts. That was the bad; the good was Doug Martin rushing for 97 yards and the emergence of the forgotten Vincent Jackson who hauled in four catches for 76 yards. Tampa Bay also held the Colts to just 27 rush yards in the loss.
  22. Detroit Lions (4-7): Three wins in a row for the Motor City. This time a Thanksgiving gift from the Philadelphia Eagles as they annihilated the Eagles, 45-17. Quarterback Matthew Stafford passed for 337 yards and five touchdowns, three of which went to Megatron.
  23. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7): R.I.P Jaguars defense. Jacksonville made Phillip Rivers look like 2013 Phillip Rivers, as they were shredded for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air. The Jaguars offense put up a fight scoring 13 late but fell short, in the 31-25 loss to the Chargers.
  24. Philadelphia Eagles (4-7): The Eagles wings were clipped as their Thanksgiving was served cold in a 45-17 loss to the Lions. Quarterback Mark Sanchez was sacked six times where their defense gave up 337 yards and five touchdowns at the hands of Matthew Stafford.
  25. San Diego Chargers (3-8): Phillip Rivers channeled his 2013 form against the Jaguars passing for 300 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-25 win over Jacksonville. San Diego still struggled to run the football and stop anyone defensively but they did just enough to secure a big road win. On to the Broncos.
  26. Baltimore Ravens (4-7): A blocked field goal return, walk-off touchdown on the final play of the game wins it for the Baltimore Ravens, 33-27 over the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football. Kamar Aiken stepped up in a big way hauling in six catches for 80 yards and a touchdown in the win. Back-up quarterback Matt Schaub threw another pick-six in his first start but we’ll let it slide this time.
  27. Dallas Cowboys (3-8): Dallas woke to a Thanksgiving nightmare to the hands of the Carolina Panthers. Especially, Tony Romo. Only a week after his return the Dallas star, threw three interceptions, two for returned touchdowns while re-injuring his collarbone sidelining him for the season. The Cowboys got smashed 33-14 at home to the Panthers.
  28. Miami Dolphins (4-7): The Good News: Ryan Tannehill still has a heartbeat. At least for this week as he passed for 351 yards and three touchdowns in Miami’s 38-20 loss to the Jets. Which brings us to the main subject: The Dolphins defense surrendered 411 yards to the Jets.
  29. St. Louis Rams (4-7): The Rams very well may have the worst group of quarterbacks the eye has ever seen. St. Louis quarterbacks have thrown for seven total touchdowns along with six interceptions. Needless to say the group lost big to the Bengals, 31-7. Foles helped the interception cause throwing for three in the loss.
  30. San Francisco 49ers (3-8): Too much of everyone’s awe Blaine Gabbert looks solid at the 49ers starting quarterback position. Unfortunately he only plays one position and that’s not anywhere on defense where San Francisco is pitiful. The 49ers surrendered 337 yards to the Cardinals, in their 19-13 loss.
  31. Tennessee Titans (2-9): Can anyone name a starting running back for the Tennessee Titans? I’ll wait…. That’s right, the Titans don’t have a run game making life for rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota’s life a living hell. Mariota threw two interceptions and was sacked twice in a 24-12 loss to the Oakland Raiders.
  32. Cleveland Browns (2-9): Cleveland may be the most cursed sports city outside of Philadelphia. A blocked field goal return, walk-off touchdown on the final play of the game wins it for the Baltimore Ravens, 33-27 over the Browns. What stings the most though? Cleveland had one of its best games of the season. Quarterbacks Josh McCown and Austin Davis both played solid throwing for a touchdown each, wide receiver Travis Benjamin and tight end Gary Barnidge had 90 yards apiece and Cleveland’s defense forced two interceptions, one being a pick-six. Well there’s always next year, Cleveland.