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Week 13 NFL power rankings: Packers, Steelers and 49ers rise, Eagles stay at No.1

Week 12 of the 2023 NFL season delivered plenty to be thankful for. From three Thanksgiving games to a phenomenal finish between the Buffalo Bills vs Philadelphia Eagles, it all led to plenty of shakeups in our Week 13 NFL power rankings.

It all started with a big surprise as the Green Bay Packers stunned the Detroit Lions. That set the table for Sunday, delivering a surprising Denver Broncos’ victory over the Cleveland Browns followed by Buffalo taking Philadelphia to overtime in a game for the ages.

Related: Week 13 fantasy rankings

Let’s dive into our latest Week 13 NFL power rankings, evaluating all 32 teams entering December.

Week 13 NFL power rankings: Worst NFL teams in 2023

32. Carolina Panthers

  • Previously: 32nd in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Carolina Panthers are the worst team in the NFL. Not only that but there are no real signs of progress from this offense. It’s rarely wise to overreact and fire a head coach after one season, but Frank Reich has put himself in that situation. Carolina likely also needs a new general manager, but its biggest problem is even higher in the organization.

Related: Carolina Panthers coaching candidates

31. New England Patriots

  • Previously: 31st in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Los Angeles Chargers

Mac Jones never had a high ceiling, but Bill Belichick ruined the young New England Patriots quarterback by burning a development year by pairing Jones with Joe Judge and Matt Patricia. In 2023, Jones brought in a better offensive staff but put Jones behind a porous offensive line with the worst pass-catchers in the NFL. The Patriots are a multi-year rebuild and Belichick shouldn’t have any involvement with the offense if he’s kept around.

Related: New England Patriots coaching candidates

30. Arizona Cardinals

  • Previously: 30th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Pittsburgh Steelers

The Arizona Cardinals have been competitive in a lot of games this season, giving us a little confidence that Jonathan Gannon and Kyler Murray could pull off the upset in Week 12. So much for that. With the looming schedule, it seems Arizona’s focus has shifted toward improving its draft picks.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft order, picks by team

29. Washington Commanders

  • Previously: 29th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Miami Dolphins

It’s become painfully apparent that the Washington Commanders need to clean house. Sam Howell has proven enough to be the starting quarterback in 2024, but Ron Rivera is headed for another losing season. Change is desperately necessary and the rest of the Commanders’ season will not be a fun watch for the fans, but better years are ahead.

Related: Washington Commanders coaching candidates

28. Cincinnati Bengals

  • Previously: 25th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars (Monday Night Football)

Without Joe Burrow, the Cincinnati Bengals are one of the worst NFL teams in 2023. Jake Browning is an anchor on an offense with an offensive line that allows pressure like turnstiles and this defense has taken a massive step back. Honestly, Cincinnati might be two years away from Super Bowl contention again.

27. New York Jets

  • Previously: 24th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Atlanta Falcons

Before the Black Friday game, New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh suggested Tim Boyle could “maybe” be the next Kurt Warner. This is the same head coach who kept praising Zach Wilson, one of the biggest draft busts of all time. Between Saleh’s comments, general manager Joe Douglas’ alarming track record as a decision-maker and the amount of organizational control ownership gave Aaron Rodgers, the Jets are a dumpster fire again.

Related: Why the New York Jets’ hubris is responsible for their 2023 season

26. New York Giants

  • Previously: 28th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Week 13 Bye

That’s a win, although, it doesn’t feel like one. The New York Giants offense managed just 220 total yards on 50 plays, needed a takeaway to score a touchdown and hurt their draft positioning which likely means another year of Daniel Jones. Again, it’s a win in the standings but it shouldn’t feel good.

Related: Top NFL free agents 2024

25. Tennessee Titans

  • Previously: 27th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Indianapolis Colts

It would be a massive mistake for the Tennessee Titans to fire Mike Vrabel. With that said, it’s also obvious to even the casual passerby that this roster needs to be overhauled from top to bottom. Will Levis can have another year as the Titans’ starting quarterback, but this multi-year rebuild might ultimately end with Levis being replaced.

Related: Highest-paid NFL players

24. Las Vegas Raiders

  • Previously: 26th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Week 13 Bye

We’re still not sure we’d choose Antonio Pierce to be the head coach in 2024, but the Las Vegas Raiders have fought for him far more than they ever did even at the start of the Josh McDaniels era. When Las Vegas returns from its Week 13 bye, it’s probably looking at five straight losses to end the regular season. It’ll hurt Davis’s chances, but Las Vegas needs premium draft picks for blue-chip talent on both sides of the ball.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders coaching candidates

23. Los Angeles Chargers

  • Previously: 19th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: New England Patriots

It’s become fairly apparent what the situation is for the Los Angeles Chargers. Despite Brandon Staley losing the locker room and the Chargers not playing like anything close to a playoff contender, money seems to be the reason Staley gets to finish out the season. He’ll be gone in January, but the fact that money is already a problem doesn’t bode well for the upcoming coaching search.

Related: Los Angeles Chargers coaching candidates

22. Chicago Bears

  • Previously: 23rd in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Week 13 Bye

The Chicago Bears have been, dare we say, a pretty good football team in the last few weeks. The defensive turnaround out of Chicago is impressive and there are still a lot of flashes from Fields to buy into him as a franchise quarterback. Of course, the final result at the end of the 2023 season will likely be a new coach and QB.

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Previously: 18th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Carolina Panthers

The Baker Mayfield experiment was fun while it lasted, but it’s apparent the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will need a new quarterback and head coach in order to compete next season. For fans looking for a silver lining, Tampa Bay should at least be able to beat the worst team in the NFL next weekend. If they can’t do that, then a more serious discussion is needed.

Related: NFL coaching hot seat

NFL power rankings after Thanksgiving:

20. New Orleans Saints

  • Previously: 16th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Detroit Lions

This just isn’t working. Derek Carr, Alvin Kamara (3.6 ypc in last 6 games) and Dennis Allen. Those are just three of the problems the New Orleans Saints have, but they’re big enough to have cost this team multiple games. If the Saints don’t win the division, fans will know why and the front office must be accountable.

19. Los Angeles Rams

  • Previously: 22nd in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Cleveland Browns

Kyren Williams, Matthew Staffor and Cooper Kupp are back together, so the Los Angeles Rams are a quality football team again. After decimating the Cardinals in Week 12, with Los Angeles improving to 5-6, just a few wins (CLE, WAS, NO, NYG) could push the Rams into the playoffs. No, we did not see that coming before the season began.

Related: Best NFL dynasties ever

18. Atlanta Falcons

  • Previously: 20th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: New York Jets

In Week 12, it certainly seemed like the Atlanta Falcons were the only team that wants to win the NFC South. The pick-six from Jessie Bates, a phenomenal free-agent signing, was critical. Of course, we’ll highlight the fact that the Falcons are just a better team when they feed Bijan Robinson 18-plus times per game. Maybe, just maybe, Arthur Smith is learning in the nick of time.

Related: Atlanta Falcons coaching candidates

17. Indianapolis Ccolts

  • Previously: 17th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Tennessee Titans

Shane Steichen is quickly becoming one of our favorite coaches in the NFL. Starting a backup quarterback and star running back Jonathan Taylor ineffective early, Steichen makes it work with Zack Moss, Josh Downs and Marvin Harrison Jr. The Colts are already ahead of schedule and we’re even more excited for 2024 with Anthony Richardson.

16. Green Bay Packers

  • Previously: 21st in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Kansas City Chiefs

No one should proclaim Jordan Love as the next Hall of Fame quarterback. However, his last two games have at least suggested he could be the Green Bay Packers franchise quarterback. We still don’t expect Green Bay to make the playoffs – too many injuries and inexperience – but the Packers’ future looks very bright.

Related: NFL QB rankings

14. Minnesota Vikings

  • Previously: 13th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Week 13 Bye

The fun with Joshua Dobbs was going to end eventually, there was just never quite enough there to be a quality starting quarterback over a sustained period of time. Still, Minnesota gets Justin Jefferson back out of the bye week and the NFC is chaotic enough for the Vikings to sneak into the playoffs.

Related: NFL coaches fired

14. Seattle Seahawks

  • Previously: 12th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Dallas Cowboys (Thursday Night Football)

The simple fact is the Seattle Seahawks aren’t remotely as good as the San Francisco 49ers when their NFC West rival is healthy. Coaching, quarterback, defense, offensive line and just about everything in between, San Francisco is better. For the Seahawks, the only hope is earning a Wild Card spot. Unfortunately, this team isn’t good enough to beat the Cowboys (Nov. 30), 49ers (Dec. 10) or Eagles (Dec. 17). That would already be eight losses, meaning Seattle can’t slip up once against Pittsburgh or Arizona.

Related: Highest buyouts in college football

13. Cleveland Browns

  • Previously: 8th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Los Angeles Rams

It’s the quarterback. At least with Deshaun Watson there were small stretches of solid play, which is really all the Cleveland Browns needed with an elite defense and solid ground game to earn a playoff spot. Unfortunately, the upcoming schedule (Rams, Jaguars, Texans) could put this team at seven losses and while that might sneak you into the AFC Wild Card, it’ll be a short stay. A team that desperately needed good news received it, though, with Myles Garrett being cleared of a serious shoulder injury.

Related: NFL defense rankings

12. Denver Broncos

  • Previously: 13th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Houston Texans

No one will sleep on the Denver Broncos any longer. After dismantling the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, Sean Payton’s team is riding a five-game winning streak. The stretch includes victories over the Chiefs (24-9), Bills (24-22) and Vikings (21-20). While a single play could’ve flipped the outcome against Denver and Minnesota, this run deserves recognition.

Related: NFL expert picks

11. Houston Texans

  • Previously: 10th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Denver Broncos

Close, but just not enough. You can chalk up the Week 12 loss to a mix of inexperience in big games, small mistakes and just youth. Still, Sunday also showed why the Houston Texans will be competitive in every game they play moving forward and could still make the playoffs.

Related: NFL playoff predictions

NFL power rankings: Best NFL teams right now

10. Pittsburgh Steelers

Syndication: The Enquirer
Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Previously: 15th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Arizona Cardinals

The Pittsburgh Steelers had a top-10 defense, quality special teams and an outstanding head coach. Of course, it was the offense that held this team back from catapulting up the NFL power rankings. If the Steelers’ offense is just league average, Pittsburg can bet Arizona, New England, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Seattle to finish the season at 12-4. That seems ridiculous considering how this offense has performed all year, but that’s how well-coached Pittsburgh is.

Related: NFL Defensive Player of the Year race

9. Buffalo Bills

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 11th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Week 13 bye

That is the best version of the Buffalo Bills we’ve seen in months. Yes, Josh Allen had a costly second-half interception and the defense really lost control of things in the second half, but Buffalo went toe-to-toe with the best NFL team entering Week 12. If all-around performances like that can be replicated with a little more consistency in the second half, Buffalo can be. atop-10 team in December and January.

Related: NFL offense rankings

8. Detroit Lions

Syndication: Detroit Free Press
Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Previously: 5th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: New Orleans Saints

The Detroit Lions are not a Super Bowl contender. You need at least one of two things to compete for the Lombardi Trophy, an elite defense or a quarterback who can carry your offense. Clearly, the Lions don’t have either and it’s not even a conversation. Detroit is still a very good NFL team, but no one should mistake them moving forward as a threat to make a playoff run or win the NFC.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans
Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 9 in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Cincinnati Bengals (MNF)

The Jacksonville Jaguars needed a signature win and they delivered. What made the Week 12 victory over Houston even more impressive was the fact that Trevor Lawrence left a few points on the field. We’re still not calling the Jaguars (8-3) of the top. 5 NFL teams and it’s not under consideration right now, but it changes if they beat Cleveland (Dec.10) and Baltimore (Dec. 17).

Related: NFL Rookie of the Year candidates

6. Miami Dolphins

NFL: Miami Dolphins at New York Jets
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 7th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Washington Commanders

Friday’s win over the New York Jets isn’t going to change the narrative for the Miami Dolphins. However, this defense has been trending in the right direction long before it faced Boyle and this offense is capable of exploding at any time. It’s really that balance, which Miami hasn’t had in this era, that makes the Dolphins a threat to make a playoff run. Unfortunately, this penchant for turnovers by the offense is now becoming a problem and edge rusher Jaelan Phillips is done for the season.

Related: NFL offense rankings

5. Dallas Cowboys

NFL: Washington Commanders at Dallas Cowboys
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 6th in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Seattle Seahawks (Thursday Night Football)

Too easy for the Dallas Cowboys. They’re the perfect example of a team that never plays down to their opponent. Against lesser competition, Dallas dominates like no other team in the league. Incredibly, the Cowboys have never trailed at home this year. All of this bodes well for making the playoffs, but Dallas still has to prove it can beat great teams. We’ll see what happens against the Seahawks and Eagles.

Related: Dak Prescott playing his best football

4. Baltimore Ravens

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 4 in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Week 13 Bye

The Baltimore Ravens’ biggest enemy this season is themselves. A baffling number of drops, dumbfounding mistakes and a few bad decisions are the entire reason why the Ravens aren’t undefeated. Of course, these self-inflicted wounds and fourth-quarter collapses have been a thing for three years now. All of this is to say, the Ravens are the very reason they aren’t No. 1.

3. Kansas City Chiefs

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 3 in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Green Bay Packers

The Kansas City Chiefs needed that. Down 14-0 to Las Vegas, a little bit of panic had to start settling in for Chiefs Kingdom. Fortunately for them, Andy Reid put the football in Isiah Pacheco’s hands and once the ground game established a little momentum, the passing attack and Rashee Rice (107 yards, 1 TD) took care of the rest. If the Chiefs can just do this, they’ll finish the regular season 14-3.

Related: NFL MVP race

2. San Francisco 49ers

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 3rd in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: Philadelphia Eagles

At their best, the San Francisco 49ers are the best team in the NFL. Brock Purdy executes and elevates Kyle Shanahan’s system like no quarterback has since Matt Ryan. Combine that with an excellent defense and the best roster in football, you’ve got a club that can beat anyone and even do it in dominating fashion. 49ers vs Eagles in Week 13 is must-see TV.

Related: Best NFL dynasties ever

1. Philadelphia Eagles

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 1 in NFL power rankings
  • Next Opponent: San Francisco 49ers

The Philadelphia Eagles are the best team in the NFL and Jalen Hurts proved why he should be the MVP right now. In the second half against the Bills, Hurts pulled out the level of performance we saw in the Super Bowl. It also marked another second-half comeback for this offense, largely led by Hurts. Buckle up for Week 13, the two best teams in the NFL are going head-to-head.

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