NFL Power Rankings: The Chargers continue their rise as the Cowboys plummet

Thanksgiving in the NFL gave us another week of fascinating action as the playoff picture becomes clearer. See how Week 12 effected RealSport's Power Rankings here.

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and with it we were treated to yet another week of NFL action. 

The Rams hosted the red hot New Orleans Saints in LA, coming out victorious and subsequently rising. The Eagles, the 2017 NFL gold standard, continued their winning ways and stayed atop our Power Rankings as their division rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, continued their slide down the rankings after an ugly loss to the Chargers.

Speaking of the Chargers, they continued their rise as they have now overtaken the division leading Chiefs with just five weeks left of the regular season. 

The 2017 NFL playoff picture is taking shape following this weeks slate of games, how have they affected the rest of our Power Rankings? 

1. Philadelphia Eagles (Previous: #1)

The Eagles continue to march on with a win versus the Chicago Bears at home. They are head and shoulders above everyone in the NFL but tests versus the Seahawks and Rams will find out if they are really a Super Bowl contender. (Kyle Reiner Pineda)

2. New England Patriots (Previous: #2)

It was a rather uninspiring win for the Patriots, and yet they handled Miami with ease. They are starting to rack up injuries though, especially at offensive tackle which is a serious problem. However, the defense has quietly been excellent of late, not allowing more than 20 points since Week 4. (Toby Durant)

3. Minnesota Vikings (Previous: #4)

After their Thanksgiving win versus the Lions, Mike Zimmer and the defense look like they could take the Vikings to a bye. Case Keenum is also stepping up when it matters most but questions still hang on whether he is a starter or backup with Teddy Bridgewater waiting on the bench. (Kyle Reiner Pineda)

4. Los Angeles Rams (Previous: #6)

The Rams bounced back from last week’s loss with a solid display against the Saints and re-assert themselves back into the top three teams in the stacked NFC. Tough defensive play kept Drew Brees in check, and Jared Goff had an answer at every turn, picking apart the Saints’ backfield for 354 yards and two scores. (Martin Hill)

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (Previous: #5)

The Steelers have been winning games, but it’s not pretty. They went down the wire versus a shorthanded Packers team at home. They better thank Antonio Brown for those two ridiculous catches to seal the win. Thankfully for them, they will get Juju back next week so the train will continue to roll. (Kyle Reiner Pineda)

6. New Orleans Saints (Previous: #3)

The Saints went into this NFC match-up missing their two starting cornerbacks and it showed as Jared Goff regularly hit his receivers. Alvin Kamara showed yet again why he’s well in the hunt for Rookie of the Year honors, but it wasn’t enough to oust the Rams – the first Saints’ loss in two months. Destiny is still very much in their own hands though with four divisional games in their last five match-ups. (Martin Hill)

7. Carolina Panthers (Previous: #7)

Coming off the bye week, the Panthers just won at the Jets thanks to back-to-back scoring plays via a fumble return by Luke Kuechly and a punt return by Kaelin Clay. Next week will be the biggest game of their season yet as they face the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome to be the leader of the NFC South. (Kyle Reiner Pineda)

8. Atlanta Falcons (Previous: #10) 

The Falcons showed signs of being the offense they were last season, at least in the second quarter they did. Julio Jones was back to his best and the ground game got by just fine without Devonta Freeman in the lineup. If this team can continue that form they could role though the last month of the season. (Remy Cabache)

9. Seattle Seahawks (Previous: #11)

The Seahawks powered their way past the 49ers. The offense did what it had to and the defense completely stifled the CJ Beathard led 49ers offense. Russell Wilson is being asked to do too much, but he is also playing out of his mind on a weekly basis. The injuries on defense have piled up but now, heading into December, is when their experience will be missed most. (Remy Cabache)

10. Los Angeles Chargers (Previous: #14)

The Chargers went 0-4 to start the year but are now just a game behind the division leading Kansas City Chiefs. The defense is playing incredibly well and the offense is finding its form from the beginning of the 2015 season. Keenan Allen is balling and this team is rolling. (Remy Cabache)

11. Jacksonville Jaguars (Previous: #8)

The Jaguars got a preview of what is likely to happen when it comes to crunch time for this team: Blake Bortles costs them games. The Jaguars had a great opportunity to win, and Bortles did keep them in the game, but he ultimately cost them. He threw a bad interception in good field position and still had to rely on a defensive touchdown to be in this game. He does not scare opponents and isn’t going to carry this team when they need him to. It’s a shame, because the rest of this team is great. (Remy Cabache)

12. Kansas City Chiefs (Previous: #9)

The Chiefs have slowly begun to crash and burn, especially after losing to a mediocre Buffalo team. The AFC West is now a close race between KC, Oakland and the Chargers. Andy Reid says he’s sticking with Alex Smith but maybe Pat Mahomes could start a fire under this dying team. (David Payne)

13. Tennessee Titans (Previous: #13)

The Tennessee Titans have finally beaten the Colts in Indy. What’s more, they beat them for the second time this season, completing the season sweep for the first time since 2002. However, it was not a flattering game. The offense struggled mightily and that rings alarm bells. Mariota has to start playing better to carry this team where it can go. He is turning the ball over at an uncharacteristically high rate and he is throwing poorly. He has to change that. (Remy Cabache)

14. Detroit Lions (Previous: #12)

The Lions loss on Thanksgiving night was a bad one. The game itself wasn’t a bad loss, but what the was means is the Lions are now in a very tough position in relation to the playoffs. The Seahawks, Panthers, and Falcons are all ahead of them, the latter two also having a head-to-head advantage over the Lions. Matthew Stafford is playing very well, but he needs to do more and get more from the rest of his team to get back in the playoffs. (Remy Cabache)

15. Washington Redskins (Previous: #15)

The Redskins win on Thanksgiving honestly didn’t mean much. They beat a bottom three team in the league in a scrappy game. It wasn’t really every that close, just low scoring and pretty forgettable. The Redskins are big longshots to make the playoffs. (Remy Cabache)

16. Baltimore Ravens (Previous: #16)

The Ravens are somehow in the playoffs as it stands, and they have their special teams and defense to thank for that. Their win on Monday night against the Texans didn’t really show us anything new, apart from the fact the Ravens have someone who will actually throw passed the first down marker… their punter. The Ravens may make the playoffs, but I suspect they’ll lose pretty promptly. (Remy Cabache) 

17. Buffalo Bills (Previous: #18)

The Bills got back in the win column now that Tyrod Taylor is back in the lineup. They handed the Chiefs their fifth loss in six weeks to pull themselves back into playoff contention, sitting just behind the Ravens. (Remy Cabache)

18. Oakland Raiders (Previous: #19)

The Raiders seem to be realizing that the key to their success is handing the ball to Marshawn Lynch as much as possible. The Crabtree ordeal was a mess and embarrassing, but I think the Raiders can survive it if they feed Beast Mode. (Remy Cabache)

19. Green Bay Packers (Previous: #22)

The Packers bounced back in pretty emphatic fashion from their shutout loss to the Ravens. This week they went into Pittsburgh and went toe-to-toe with the Packers, losing to a field goal as time expired. Brett Hundley looked a lot better and Jamaal Williams did a good job setting the pace for the offense. It’s also worth noting that Aaron Rodgers was seen pregame slinging the ball and looking very healthy… (Remy Cabache)

20. New York Jets (Previous: #20)

It’s the same old story for the Jets again coming off a bye week. They keep the game close but cannot seem to win. Josh McCown is actually decent at QB and Robby Anderson looks like a speedy threat with two TDs on the day. (Kyle Reiner Pineda)

21. Houston Texans (Previous: #24)

The Texans lost a physical battle with the Ravens on Monday night and it is hard not to think about what this team could have done if JJ Watt, Deshaun Watson, and others hadn’t been lost for the season. Clowney is a beast, as is Hopkins, but Tom Savage isn’t going to get this team anywhere. This season is now about surviving until next year. (Remy Cabache)

22. Dallas Cowboys (Previous: #17)

How ‘bout them Co… oh, wait. They suck. The Cowboys could not have looked much worse on Thanksgiving night against the Chargers. Dak looked spooked and carried on turning the ball over while the defense seemed to give up. They let Keenan Allen dance through them for a long touchdown and on countless other routes. Jason Garrett has to be on thin ice. (Remy Cabache)

23. Arizona Cardinals (Previous: #25)

Blaine Gabbert really looks like he fits this team very well. Against one of the best defenses of the last decade (yes, the Jags defense is that good) Gabbert put up 27 points. He isn’t a franchise QB, but he seems to be a good placeholder if nothing else. It’s also worth noting that this defense, particularly Tyrann Mathieu, are starting to fly around the field like they used to. Unfortunately, this is all too late for the Cardinals. (Remy Cabache)

24. Cincinnati Bengals (Previous: #27)

The Bengals got their third win in five games but I don’t think that means much. It came against the Browns and they have a pretty tough remaining schedule. This season has now become about saving jobs for Andy Dalton and Marvin Lewis. (Remy Cabache)

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Previous: #21)

With a win, the Bucs could have put themselves just a few games back from the playoffs. Instead, Julio Jones dominated them. If I were the Bucs, I would just sit Jameis Winston down for the season to avoid any further injury in what is a lost season. (Remy Cabache)

26. Miami Dolphins (Previous: #26)

The Dolphins suck. It seems that all their defense tries to do now is hurt the other teams’ players. On a weekly basis there seems to be a late lunge at a player or a low hit on QB. The offense is putrid no matter the QB and Adam Gase has lost this team. (Remy Cabache)

27. Denver Broncos (Previous: #23)

Paxton Lynch is not ready and now the Broncos organisation is looking bad. They seem to have hired the wrong coaches and John Elway has definitely mishandled the QB situation. To make matters worse, Elway has failed to build a good offensive line and has subsequently wasted two more years of Super Bowl play from their defense. (Remy Cabache)

28. Chicago Bears (Previous: #28)

The Bears got stomped by the Eagles, though, who hasn’t been? This team has a lot of work to do to fix this roster, and the first move should be to fire John Fox. They need to completely rebuild with Mitch Trubisky in mind. (Remy Cabache)

29. Indianapolis Colts (Previous: #29)

The Colts kept it close with the Titans, but they couldn’t hold on for long enough. Eventually, after giving up eight sacks, the offense couldn’t stay ahead as the Titans overcame a ten point deficit to win. Pagano has to be gone following the season, he has been given poor rosters, but he has seemingly done very little to help apart from being popular. (Remy Cabache)

30. New York Giants (Previous: #30)

The Giants lost in an ugly game to the Redskins on Thanksgiving but it really doesn’t mean much. They were already a bad team, this game does nothing to change that. Ben McAdoo’s time in New York has to be over. (Remy Cabache)

31. San Francisco 49ers (Previous: #31)

The 49ers finally got a look at Jimmy Garoppolo, albeit for about a minute, but they saw him escape pressure and scramble and then escape pressure and throw a touchdown. Surely now is the time to switch to Garoppolo, whether Beathard is out or not. (Remy Cabache)

32. Cleveland Browns (Previous: #32)

What more can be said about the Browns? They suck and they are heading towards yet another rebuild. Cleveland really is a factory of sadness. (Remy Cabache)

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Remy Cabache

I have written with RealSport since 2015, covering a variety of sections on the site as it grew, with a focus on American sports titles like Madden and NBA Live, but I dive into any game I can get my hands on.