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2021 NFL power rankings heading into Week 13

We use point differential against the spread to see where the value lies in our Week 13 NFL power rankings.

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) evades Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) in the third quarter of the NFL Week 12 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

The NFL wrapped up Week 12 and it was a busy one for playoff implications. The Patriots thumped the Titans and the Bengals had no problems with the Steelers. Neither is going to clinch a playoff berth for another few weeks at least, but both are impressing as the calendar turns to December.

We’re back once again with our weekly NFL power rankings. We rank out the teams based on spread differential rather than subjective feel. We took the pre-game point spread at DraftKings Sportsbook and added in the point differential from the game. For example, the Giants closed as 4-point underdogs against the Eagles and won the game by 6 points. For the Giants spread differential, we added 6 to +4. For the Eagles spread differential, we added -6 to -4.

Point differential is a helpful tool for figuring out the best and worst teams. However, point spread can offer a little more context to how good or bad teams might be. There’s volatility in these rankings thanks to blowout wins, but the top seven or eight teams have settled down to some degree.

The Patriots have held the top spot for three straight weeks. The big mover up top is the Bengals, who moved from No. 6 to No. 2 with their blowout of the Steelers. Pittsburgh saw a big drop from 18 to 28. The biggest increase was the Dolphins, who moved from 28 to 17 on the back of a blowout win over the Panthers.

NFL Power Rankings ahead of Week 13

2021 NFL power rankings, Week 13

Rk Team Record Spread differential Point differential LW
Rk Team Record Spread differential Point differential LW
1 New England Patriots 8-4 +113.5 +146 1
2 Cincinnati Bengals 7-4 +70.0 +83 6
3 Arizona Cardinals 9-2 +69.0 +108 2
4 Indianapolis Colts 6-6 +57.0 +57 5
5 Buffalo Bills 7-4 +51.5 +144 7
6 Philadelphia Eagles 5-7 +51.5 +31 3
7 Dallas Cowboys 7-4 +50.5 +76 4
8 Denver Broncos 6-5 +23.0 +32 13
9 Green Bay Packers 9-3 +23.0 +41 11
10 Tennessee Titans 8-4 +17.5 +14 8
11 Minnesota Vikings 5-6 +10.5 +5 10
12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8-3 +9.0 +94 14
13 New Orleans Saints 5-6 +7.5 +8 9
14 New York Giants 4-7 +5.0 -51 16
15 San Francisco 49ers 6-5 +2.5 +32 15
16 Carolina Panthers 5-7 -13.5 -17 12
17 Miami Dolphins 5-7 -14.0 -45 28
18 Houston Texans 2-9 -18.0 -128 17
19 Washington 5-6 -18.0 -53 20
20 Baltimore Ravens 8-3 -20.5 +23 22
21 Las Vegas Raiders 6-5 -24.0 -36 27
22 Seattle Seahawks 3-8 -25.5 +17 21
23 Kansas City Chiefs 7-4 -27.0 +31 24
24 Chicago Bears 4-7 -29.0 -75 25
25 Detroit Lions 0-10-1 -29.5 -115 26
26 Los Angeles Rams 7-4 -33.5 +36 23
27 Los Angeles Chargers 6-5 -35.0 -20 19
28 Pittsburgh Steelers 5-5-1 -39.5 -43 18
29 Cleveland Browns 6-6 -47.5 -13 30
30 Jacksonville Jaguars 2-9 -49.0 -110 29
31 Atlanta Falcons 5-6 -78.0 -103 31
32 New York Jets 3-8 -79.5 -135 32