1. Dallas Cowboys (9-1) defeated Baltimore 27-17. Previously: 1
Last week we summed up Ezekiel Elliott’s outstanding season, so here’s a look at Dak Prescott’s rookie year-to-date, you decide who’s better. Dak is on pace for over 4,200 yards passing, has thrown 17 touchdowns to just two interceptions, and has just had his first two 300-yard passing days.
2. Seattle Seahawks (7-2-1) defeated Philadelphia 26-15. Previously: 2
Seattle welcomed Thomas Rawls back with a team-leading 14 carries, but it was rookie C.J. Prosise who continued to make waves against Philadelphia. Prosise kicked off the scoring with a 72-yard touchdown run. Russell Wilson’s legs looked great, as he was continuously flushed but frustrated the Eagles pass rush by escaping or, more often, finding the open man. Pressured all day, he was sacked once, for zero yards lost.
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3. New England Patriots (8-2) defeated San Francisco 30-17. Previously: 3
It’s hard to find fault with the Patriots performance: 444 yards, four passing touchdowns, and yet somehow you just expected a larger victory by a New England team that had just lost and was visiting the NFL’s resident punching bag. Dion Lewis’ first game back didn’t upstage LeGarrette Blount or James White, but he found his way to 23 yards rushing and 26 receiving. Just another weapon for whenever the Patriots need one.
4. Oakland Raiders (8-2) defeated Houston 27-20. Previously: 5
The Raiders sit alone atop the AFC West, and atop the AFC playoff picture for the moment. While the team ran for just 30 yards against the Texans Monday night, don’t let that fool you into thinking the running backs weren’t contributors. Latavius Murray, Jalen Richard and Jamize Ozalawe combined for 11 catches for 199 yards and two scores.
5. Denver Broncos (7-3) bye. Previously: 6
The Tony Romo rumors can be put on hold for now. The Broncos are concerned with 2016 for the moment, and a monster matchup looms against Kansas City Sunday night. With the Chiefs and Broncos both at 7-3 and a game behind the Raiders in the AFC West, this is the kind of matchup the NFL needs to keep the ratings from slipping further.
6. New York Giants (7-3) defeated Chicago 22-16. Previously: 7
Landon Collins has five picks in four games and still all we can think is: poor Giants fans. It might be weird to say that about a team that’s won five straight, but even at home against the Bears your team refuses to win by more than one score. Next week, at Cleveland, they’ve got this.
7. Kansas City Chiefs (7-3) lost to Tampa Bay 19-17. Previously: 4
Their lack of offense was bound to catch up to them at some point, though at home against Tampa Bay wasn’t the spot anyone would have picked. Despite this being a close game throughout, the Chiefs still got away from what they do best: running the football. Just 17 carries for Spencer Ware and none for any other running back isn’t the path to victory for a team whose number one receiver is a fifth round pick out of West Alabama. That said, he’s quite good.
8. Washington (6-3-1) defeated Green Bay 42-24. Previously: 11
What a revenge for Washington against the team that ended their 2015 season in the first round of the playoffs. With the offense clicking on all cylinders — it seems Rob Kelley has firmly supplanted Matt Jones, and with 137 rushing yards it’s hard to argue — Washington is poised to end the season on the kind of run they did in 2015. In fact, they may already be on it. But something has to give; every team in the NFC East can’t win out.
9. Atlanta Falcons (6-4) bye. Previously: 8
The Falcons have to be sick of playing birds. They’re 0-2 in matchups against the Seahawks and Eagles, and now the Cardinals will try their hand at stopping Atlanta. They can’t let off the gas. The Buccaneers are just one game behind.
10. Detroit Lions (6-4) defeated Jacksonville 26-19. Previously: 9
Two fumbles didn’t do the Lions in against Jacksonville, but they’ll want to have the turnovers sorted out before their Thanksgiving rematch against the Vikings. This game is for the division lead, and it looks like Minnesota’s defense will be as opportunistic as ever come Thursday. Now would be a good time for Marvin Jones (no touchdowns over the last four games and no games above four catches since Week 4) to rediscover his early season form.
11. Houston Texans (6-4) lost to Oakland 27-20. Previously: 10
It looked like the Texans were about to get their first impressive win since Week 2 against Kansas City before they let Oakland score the last 14 points. Brock Osweiler is trending in the right direction, and broke the 100-yard passing mark this week. Even the four points the refs owe DeAndre Hopkins wouldn’t have been enough to swing this one.
12. Miami Dolphins (6-4) defeated Los Angeles 14-10. Previously: 13
Kiko Alonso seems to have recovered whatever he had with the Bills as a rookie and lost in Philadelphia last season. A week after returning an interception 60 yards against the Chargers, he forced and recovered a fumble from Lance Kendricks, the Rams’ only turnover on the day. In a terrible blow to fantasy owners, Jay Ajayi has now gone three straight games without running for 200 yards.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (5-5) lost to Seattle 26-15. Previously: 12
Drops plagued the Eagles again against Seattle, while at the same time Dorial Green-Beckham had his best game of the season: five catches for 54 yards and a score. If anyone was hoping the Eagles running back committee would get less confusing, Ryan Mathews is listed day-to-day and Darren Sproles has a broken rib but should play against the Packers Monday night. So yeah, good luck with that.
14. Minnesota Vikings (6-4) defeated Arizona 30-24. Previously: 14
Nothing like a date with the Cardinals to remind the Vikings what got them where they are. Well, where they were five weeks ago. Defensive touchdowns, special teams touchdowns and none of it could have come at a better time for Minnesota, who are about to head to Detroit and face the Lions for control of the NFC North.
15. Indianapolis Colts (5-5) defeated Tennessee 24-21. Previously: 15
It’s looking less and less likely that Andrew Luck (concussion) will play Thursday night, which is too bad, as Colts-Steelers had all the makings of a shootout to keep us awake after too much turkey. With Luck out, Scott Tolzien would be the quarterback for the Colts. He’s thrown one pass (it was completed!) since 2013, but he is facing Pittsburgh’s defense.
16. Baltimore Ravens (5-5) lost to Dallas 27-17. Previously: 17
After Steve Smith reneged on his retirement planning in 2015, the Ravens are hoping they can get a similar result from the ageless wide receiver in 2016. The Ravens are 5-3 when Smith starts this season, and in two of those losses to Dallas and Oakland, he had 16 catches for 210 yards and a score in each, so we won’t blame him.
17. Buffalo Bills (5-5) defeated Cincinnati 16-12. Previously: 18
Percy Harvin got involved on the offense for the first time since his unretirement began, finishing Sunday’s game with two catches for 6 yards and a rush for 11. LeSean McCoy is expected to play after leaving the game against Cincinnati with a thumb injury because of course he is. The Bills rolled up 183 yards rushing against the Bengals despite McCoy exiting in the first quarter and lead the league with 157.5 yards per game.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5) defeated Cleveland 24-9. Previously: 20
It’s been a banner week for Pittsburgh. Gifted with a game against Cleveland and the following win and a Ravens game against Dallas and the following loss, it looks like they now won’t have to face Andrew Luck when they take on Indianapolis on Thanksgiving night. They should be good to go against the Colts offensive line, coming as they are off an eight sack effort in Cleveland.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5) defeated Kansas City 19-17. Previously: 24
Jameis Winston has been on a tear since the team’s Week 4 loss to Denver, and it’s no coincidence the team is 4-2 since then. He has thrown 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions over that span after beginning the season with eight interceptions in four games. Most impressive: getting his third 300-yard game of the season at Arrowhead against the Chiefs defense, not to mention a win.
20. Tennessee Titans (5-6) lost to Indianapolis 24-21. Previously: 16
The Titans have taken some major steps forward this season, but none of them have been against the Colts, who they have dropped their last 11 division matches to. DeMarco Murray reached exactly 1,000 rushing yards Sunday and is on pace for 1,454 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. Not a bad acquisition considering all the Titans had to do was drop back 13 spots in the fourth round of the draft.
21. Carolina Panthers (4-6) defeated New Orleans 23-20. Previously: 26
The Panthers paid dearly for their win Thursday night, losing Leonard Johnson, Mario Addison, Ryan Kalil and most notably Luke Kuechly to injuries during the game. Kalil had just been activated for this game. Kuechly is in the concussion protocol. At least a late hit on Cam Newton finally drew a flag.
22. Arizona Cardinals (4-5-1) lost to Minnesota 30-24. Previously: 19
Never bring Carson Palmer to a defense that feasts on turnovers. Make it seven in the last three games for Palmer, and two seasons (Carolina and Minnesota) rejuvenated by dates with the Cardinals. Don’t blame David Johnson, who’s had over 100 total yards in every single game this season. Wow.
23. New Orleans Saints (4-6) lost to Carolina 23-20. Previously: 21
It’s unclear if Mark Ingram suffered a concussion Thursday night against the Panthers, but the Saints are saying he might still be ready to go in Week 12. New Orleans has room to be cautious if they want to: Tim Hightower, Ingram’s sort-of-backup, has 456 total yards in the last four contests.
24. Green Bay Packers (4-6) lost to Washington 42-24. Previously: 22
One of the few bright spots in Green Bay this season had been their run defense. No more. Rob Kelley gashed the Packers for 137 yards and three touchdowns, and Washington wasn’t hard done by through the air either. All-in-all a brutal game for the Packers, who allowed 515 yards and fell so far behind they let Brett Hundley enter the game for experience.
25. San Diego Chargers (4-6) bye. Previously: 23
The Chargers return from their bye to face Houston on the road, who will no doubt feel hard done by after their Monday night loss. The Chargers are coming off their ugliest loss of the season — at home against a Dolphins team that had crossed the country, and on the back of four Philip Rivers interceptions.
26. Cincinnati Bengals (3-6-1) lost to Buffalo 16-12. Previously: 25
You can point out that the Bengals are a game-and-a-half-and-however-a-tie-affects-that-equation out of first place in their division, but at a certain point they’re going to have to win a football game, something they haven’t done since Oct. 23 against, of course, the Browns.
27. Los Angeles Rams (4-6) lost to Miami 14-10. Previously: 27
Jared Goff didn’t turn the ball over in his debut, which is basically what the Rams could have asked from him. And Todd Gurley had already had his best day of the season after his 24-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. It’s a win-win- … loss.
28. New York Jets (3-7) bye. Previously: 28
Bye week blues for the Jets, who watched the rest of their division go 3-0 over the weekend. Even the Giants got in on the fun. The Jets will turn back to Ryan Fitzpatrick against New England this weekend. They will still not be favorites. Not by a long shot.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8) lost to Detroit 26-19. Previously: 29
With 44 carries going Chris Ivory’s way over the last three games compared to just 20 for T.J. Yeldon, it looks like the No. 1 RB spot is Ivory’s to lose. Of course, with 2.3 yards per carry and a fumble against Detroit, he may have just done that.
30. Chicago Bears (2-8) lost to New York Giants 22-16. Previously: 30
Jay Cutler might be done for the season, and might be done in Chicago. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. For what it’s worth, we’re still waiting to hear how all of the Bear’s problems will magically be solved once Cutler isn’t there anymore.
31. San Francisco 49ers (1-9) lost to New England 30-17. Previously: 31
The 49ers have to spend next week travelling to the East Coast to play Miami at 1 o’clock. Not fun, although the Rams did pull out a victory over the Jets last weekend in this situation. The good news in San Fran revolves around Colin Kaepernick, who has seven touchdown passes and two interceptions since reclaiming the starting job.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-11) lost to Pittsburgh 24-9. Previously: 32
Can someone please give Cleveland a bye? The team that needs one most won’t get one for another week yet. After that they face what might be their best opportunity for a win in this quickly fading season: at home against the Bengals