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NFL power rankings coming out of Week 11, broken down by tier

The Steelers are a cut above everybody else as long as they remain undefeated.

Minkah Fitzpatrick #39 celebratews with Terrell Edmunds #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers after Edmunds’ interception during the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on November 22, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The NFL has one more game to go to close out Week 12 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football. In the meantime, we’re trying a little something different with our power rankings. Rather than rank teams 1-32, we’ve broken them down into tiers. They’re ranked in their respective tier by record, but teams with the same record are not purposely situated one over another. It’s just to group teams with similar teams in terms of where they stand.

Undefeated tier

Pittsburgh Steelers (10-0)

When you’re undefeated, you get your own tier in these power rankings. The degree of difficulty takes a step up in Week 12 with a Thanksgiving matchup against the Ravens.

Top tier — not undefeated edition

Kansas City Chiefs (9-1)
New Orleans Saints (8-2)
Seattle Seahawks (7-3)

I’m still not sold on Taysom Hill, but the Saints have too many weapons on both sides of the ball that if they get Brees back by the playoffs, they’ll be in good shape. Meanwhile, Seattle was a tough one, but Russell Wilson leaves them a notch above the next tier of teams.

Going to the playoffs tier

Buffalo Bills (7-3)
Los Angeles Rams (7-3)
Green Bay Packers (7-3)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-4)

UPDATE: The Rams got a huge road win over the Bucs on Monday Night Football to give their playoff chances a big bump headed into the home stretch. They hold the tiebreaker for now over the Seahawks, but still have to play in Seattle, which is why I have them a tier below.

These teams could certainly blow it, but they’re looking fairly locked into a playoff berth. The Bills and Packers will probably win their divisions, while the Bucs can settle things further when they face the Rams on Monday.

In good shape for the playoffs tier

Indianapolis Colts (7-3)
Tennessee Titans (7-3)
Cleveland Browns (7-3)
Arizona Cardinals (6-4)

None of these teams are guaranteed a playoff berth, but they have all put themselves in position to get at least a wild card berth. And all but the Browns still have a legit shot to win their division.

Got their work cut out for them tier

Las Vegas Raiders (6-4)
Baltimore Ravens (6-4)
Miami Dolphins (6-4)
Chicago Bears (5-5)

The added playoff spot leaves all of these teams firmly in the playoff picture, but they are either clearly behind or dealing with tiebreaker concerns.

Not out of the playoff race, but too many questions tier

Minnesota Vikings (4-6)
Detroit Lions (4-6)
San Francisco 49ers (4-6)
Carolina Panthers (4-7)

All four of these teams remain decently alive for the NFC wild card spots, but it would be a surprise if any of them made the playoffs. The 49ers are dealing with an assortment of injuries but could still get back in gear if they can get healthy. The Vikings were surging, but a stunning loss to the Cowboys might sink their chances.

AFC is harder than the NFC tier

Denver Broncos (4-6)
New England Patriots (4-6)

If these squads were in the NFC, they’d be in better shape for a run at the playoffs. They’re probably playing out the string at this point, but for one more week we’ll give them a little love.

Playing out the string tier

Los Angeles Chargers (3-7)
Houston Texans (3-7)
Atlanta Falcons (3-7)
Cincinnati Bengals (2-7-1)

They’re just bad teams without much left to play for this season. The Chargers get to see more of Justin Herbert, but all of these teams are starting to look to 2021. The Panthers are on the periphery of the playoff picture, but I don’t think they’re at the level of the “got their work cut out for them” tier, even with the win over the Lions.

NFC East tier

Philadelphia Eagles (3-6-1)
New York Giants (3-7)
Washington Football Team (3-7)
Dallas Cowboys (3-7)

The NFC East is so bad it deserves its own tier in power rankings. It’s the reasonable thing to do.

Trevor Lawrence tier

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9)
New York Jets (0-10)

They’re playing for the No. 1 pick and that’s it.