Cover Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images
With the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams on bye in Week 12, that took two of last week's top five teams out of the mix. The New Orleans Saints continued their dominance, meanwhile, stomping the Atlanta Falcons on Thanksgiving night for their 10th straight win. The Pittsburgh Steelers let one get away against the Denver Broncos, dropping them out of this week's top five. The Los Angeles Chargers just can't seem to crack the top of this list, despite their 8-3 record.
Here's are this week's NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 13.
5. New England Patriots (8-3) >> Week 12: NA
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The return of All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski to the field has returned the New England Patriots to the top five of our NFL Power Rankings. The Chicago Bears just missed out, but a loss at home to these same Patriots in Week 8 keeps them on the outside looking in. The Pats are trending toward full strength with the return of Sony Michel to the team's backfield along with James White, and with Rex Burkhead's activation from IR, this all points to the Pats being in title contention again this year.
4. Houston Texans (8-3) >> Week 12: No. 5
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The Texans have won eight straight, including an impressive 34-17 win over their AFC South division-rival Tennessee Titans, a team that has been a bit of a giant killer this season, beating the Patriots, Cowboys, and the Texans back in Week 2. Since that loss, all Houston has done is win eight of nine, including four games on the road. Deshaun Watson looks 100 percent healthy again, racking up 70 yards and a touchdown on the ground Monday night. The dual-threat QB will be a nightmare for opposing defenses heading into the playoffs.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) >> Week 12: No. 3
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The Chiefs remain at No. 3, coming off a bye week and an entertaining 54-51 loss in Week 11 to the Los Angeles Rams. Through 11 games, the Chiefs are one of two teams that has scored more than 400 points this season. The other team is none other than the New Orleans Saints. Both of their losses have come on the road, so as long as they remain the top seed in the AFC, they're a good bet to make the Super Bowl.
2. Los Angeles Rams (10-1) >> Week 12: No. 2
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The Rams had that same Week 12 bye and got to bask in the greatness of their victory over the Chiefs. Their only loss on the year came at the Superdome against the Saints, and they're getting Aqib Talib back which makes their defense as dangerous as their offense. These top three teams are so evenly matched, it seems like home-field advantage could make or break them come playoff-time.
1. New Orleans Saints (10-1) >> Week 12: No. 1
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The Saints' winning streak has hit double digits following their Thanksgiving night domination of the Falcons. With Drew Brees seemingly the favorite to win the NFL MVP after another four-touchdown game, the Saints look unstoppable. And those four touchdowns went to four undrafted free agents. If Brees can keep the Saints winning without even using their top weapons in Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas to score TDs, this is a near-impossible puzzle to crack for everyone else in the league. They're all chasing New Orleans at this point.
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