NFL Power Rankings Week 12: AFC Heats Up
The AFC power struggle continues.
While the Steelers and Chiefs battle for the top spot in the conference, four other AFC teams already have seven wins through 11 weeks.
Here are the HOF Experiences Power Rankings for Week 12 of the 2020-21 NFL season.
WEEK 12 POWER RANKINGS
1. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (10-0)
LAST WEEK RANKING: 1
WEEK 12: VS. BALTIMORE RAVENS (6-4)
“It wasn't perfect, but nothing is perfect about us except our record,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said following the team’s 27-3 win over the Jaguars on Sunday.
The quote is a perfect encapsulation of the team’s season so far. The Steelers have yet to lose a game but haven’t played with the dominance that is assumed with a team inching toward a 16-0 regular season. Five of their 10 victories have been by one score or less, and seven have been within 10 points.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for another 267 yards Sunday, helping cement his Comeback Player of the Year candidacy and furthering his darkhorse MVP campaign.
2. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (9-1)
LAST WEEK RANKING: 2
WEEK 12: @ TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (7-4)
The Chiefs avenged their only loss of the season Sunday, defeating the Las Vegas Raiders, 35-31.
The win was Kansas City’s second consecutive shootout victory, following the back-and-forth tussle with Carolina the previous week.
With the win, the Chiefs move three games ahead of Las Vegas in the AFC West only one game back from Pittsburgh for the all-important postseason bye atop the AFC.
3. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (8-2)
LAST WEEK RANKING: 4
WEEK 12: @ DENVER BRONCOS (4-6)
If the past two seasons have taught us anything, it’s that the Saints can survive temporarily without Drew Brees.
Utility quarterback Taysom Hill stole the show in Brees’ absence Sunday, throwing for 233 yards and rushing for 51 yards and two scores in the 24-9 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
With Brees placed on the injured reserve list, he’ll be absent for at least the next two weeks, forcing the Saints to adjust further to try to keep their top spot in the NFC.
The waters don’t look too bad for New Orleans in that time as the team heads to Denver this week and then faces a return meeting with the Falcons in two weeks.
4. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (7-3)
LAST WEEK RANKING: NR
WEEK 12: VS. TENNESSEE TITANS (7-3)
After defeating the Titans and Packers in back-to-back weeks, the Indianapolis Colts have become unmissable.
While the AFC has several teams contending behind the Steelers and Chiefs, the Colts have stood above the others recently thanks to a resurgent Philip Rivers, rookie running back Jonathan Taylor and the second-best total defense in the league.
The AFC is far from sorted, but the Colts are gelling at the right time and should be a factor when the postseason comes.
5. TENNESSEE TITANS (7-3)
LAST WEEK RANKING: NR
WEEK 12: @ INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (7-3)
The biggest game of the season in the AFC South is this week.
Tennessee and Indianapolis share the same record, but the Colts lead the division thanks to a victory in their first meeting, earlier this month.
Mike Vrabel’s side showed grit in Tennessee’s 30-24 overtime win against the Ravens last week and will look to carry that momentum in the rematch with Indianapolis. Ryan Tannehill will be the factor against the Colts, as his 147 passing yards in the first meeting couldn’t help the Titans’ offense keep up with Rivers and company.
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