NFL power rankings entering Week 13 of 2022 season (previous rank in parentheses):
1. Eagles (1): You might not want to bet your mortgage – you shouldn’t – that they’ll win Super Bowl 57, but an uneven stretch of games has also served reminder that Philadelphia can beat you in a lot of ways. Physical, versatile and deep, a week after a second-ranked defense held the fort at Indy, the offense hung 40 points and 500 yards on Green Bay – MVP candidate Jalen Hurts topping 150 yards both through the air and on the ground. But the stretch run won’t be a cakewalk, four of Philly’s final six matchups against teams currently with winning records.
2. Chiefs (3): It may seem like the Mahomes-to-Kelce show every week, but a club on the verge of a seventh straight AFC West championship is steadily getting more juice from rookies like RB Isiah Pacheco and WR Skyy Moore. And the rich could get richer with veteran RB Melvin Gordon apparently set to join the league’s top offense.
3. Cowboys (4): A team that’s won eight of 10 should only continue trending up with its next three games against the dregs of the AFC South. (And who needs OBJ when you can deploy a three-headed tight end monster?)
4. Bills (2): OLB Von Miller was supposed to be Buffalo’s difference-maker in 2022. Now his knee injury might mean the difference between a Super Bowl – and maybe even the AFC East crown – and another Lombardi-less winter in Western New York.
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5. 49ers (6): Their growing array of offensive weaponry the past few weeks has been awfully tough to ignore. But the strength of this squad is a top-ranked defense that hasn’t given up a point after halftime since Week 7.
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6. Dolphins (5): The good news? Pro Bowl LT Terron Armstead’s pectoral injury apparently isn’t season ending. The bad news? Miami is hitting the road to face pass rushers Nick Bosa, Khalil Mack and whomever Buffalo throws at them over the next three weeks.
7. Vikings (8): With a win over the Jets on Sunday, coupled with a Detroit loss, Minnesota will become the first team to win a division title in 2022.
8. Ravens (7): For a team that tends to settle at the level of competition, playing its next five against teams with sub-.500 records may not be all that much of an advantage … as we saw Sunday in Jacksonville.
9. Bengals (9): Conversely, Cincinnati, which sits atop the AFC North with Baltimore thanks to a shared 7-4 record, will face four clubs with winning marks over the next six weeks. The Bengals and Ravens will meet in Week 18, possibly for the divisional marbles.
10. Patriots (11): They’ve topped the century mark in terms of rushing yards just once in their last six games … though, on the flip side, they’ve only allowed more than 100 yards on the ground one time in that span.
11. Titans (10): They pretty much go as their best player does. Tennessee is now 1-3, Sunday’s loss included, when RB Derrick Henry doesn’t rush for at least 85 yards.
12. Jets (14): Among the reasons benched QB Zach Wilson is now riding the pine? He hasn’t developed a connection with first-round rookie WR Garrett Wilson, whose four TD grabs have been supplied by backups Joe Flacco and Mike White. In fact, while Wilson-to-Wilson languished, White-to-Wilson provided the NYJ their first opening-drive TD of the season in Sunday’s win.
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13. Buccaneers (12): QB Tom Brady had been 218-0 in his career when his team was ahead by at least seven points with two minutes remaining in regulation. Now he’s 218-1.
14. Seahawks (13): As much as we like to cite stout defense as an element of coach Pete Carroll’s winning formula, Seattle’s D will finish outside the league’s top 10 for the sixth consecutive season … and will almost certainly rank worse than 20th overall for the fourth straight year.
15. Giants (15): Of the NFC’s seven projected playoff teams, only one doesn’t own a divisional win … not great for the G-Men given they’re in the midst of a four-game stretch against NFC East foes.
16. Commanders (16): Hopefully Washington never builds a “memorial” to RB Brian Robinson, but the inspirational rookie did earn his inaugural game ball Sunday after topping the 100-yard rushing plateau for the first time as a pro.
17. Chargers (17): More context for the historically good start to QB Justin Herbert’s career – he needs 11 more TD passes this year to overtake Hall of Famer Dan Marino (98) for the most in a player’s first three NFL seasons.
18. Jaguars (22): Sunday’s win over Baltimore made Jacksonville 1-183 when trailing by at least seven points with a minute left in regulation. Easier to buck such a trend when WR Zay Jones unexpectedly explodes for career highs in catches (11) and yards (145).
19. Browns (27): Sunday will be reinstated QB Deshaun Watson’s first regular-season game in 700 days. If he can beat his former Houston teammates, Watson will notch his first win in 738 days.
20. Falcons (18): They’re on pace to rush for 2,720 yards this season, which would place them among Atlanta’s four best running teams in franchise history – the other three all featuring QB Michael Vick.
21. Lions (19): QB Jared Goff might be in the MVP conversation if he could play all his games at Ford Field – where he’d be projected to throw for nearly 4,400 yards and 43 TDs over 17 games with a 102.6 passer rating.
22. Packers (20): How much longer before you can get betting odds on Aaron Rodgers vs. Jordan Love as Green Bay’s starting quarterback for 2023?
23. Bears (23): They’ll need QB Justin Fields back in the lineup, but Chicago has a decent shot of breaking Baltimore’s league record for rushing yards (3,296) in a season. Chicago, which would benefit from the 17-game schedule, is on track for 3,264.
24. Steelers (28): They’re definitely playing better but still need to win five of their final six to ward off HC Mike Tomlin’s first losing campaign.
25. Cardinals (24): Partially because they’re apparently schematically, uh, screwed, Arizona is also officially 0-1 in games when WRs DeAndre Hopkins and Marquise Brown both play.
26. Colts (21): Cool to see Jeff Saturday has made NFL history as the head coach with the most ever games (211) as a player. Otherwise, he’s saddled with a fool’s errand.
27. Saints (25): Now 4-8, they’re headed for double-digit losses in a season for the first time since 2005, the year ruined by Hurricane Katrina and the season before former coach Sean Payton and QB Drew Brees arrived.
28. Raiders (29): RB Josh Jacobs, whom Las Vegas opted not to pay in 2023, is now hurtling (and sprinting) toward free agency as the NFL’s leader in rushing yards (1,159) and yards from scrimmage (1,484).
29. Panthers (30): They managed a middling 19 first downs in QB Sam Darnold’s first start of 2022 … but that’s much better than their league-worst average of 14.9.
30. Rams (26): Their 3-8 record equals the 1987 Giants for the worst 11-game start by a defending Super Bowl champion … and some of those Giants were scabs used in a strike season. LA doesn’t figure to rebound, either, with DT Aaron Donald (ankle) joining QB Matthew Stafford and WR Cooper Kupp among the wounded.
31. Broncos (31): DL Mike Purcell to QB Russell Wilson, “Hey, buddy, congratulations on that 300th touchdown pass. You’ll overtake Elway with the next one!”
32. Texans (32): Now that we’ve established this wasn’t all QB Davis Mills’ fault, what’s next?
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.
Story Credit: usatoday.com