As the weather gets colder and crisp autumn leaves begin to fall, the competition in the 2020 National Football League (NFL) season continues to heat up. Not long ago, we wondered if we would even get an NFL season. Now we are careening toward Thanksgiving and December football, and the playoff picture is slowly but surely coming into focus.
In the world of online sports betting, you’re only as good as your next bet. The New York Jets may be 0–9 and the Dallas Cowboys may be 1–8 against the spread, but NFL betting is always about the future, not the past. It’s important to remember everything we’ve learned through 10 weeks of football, but it’s just as important not to dwell on the past.
So exactly what have we learned in 10 weeks, and how does that inform our Week 11 Power Rankings? Which teams are falling out of the playoff picture, and who is starting to rise to the top?
It’s time to count down all 32 teams in the Week 11 NFL Power Rankings…
Tier I — It’s These Two and Everybody Else Now
1. Pittsburgh Steelers 9–0 (Previous rank: 2)
Well, that’s a lot more like it. The Steelers are now 9–0 for the first time in franchise history, but they have been far from dominant thus far. Up until Sunday, the Steelers had beaten only one opponent all season by more than 10 points. Then they went out and dominated the Bengals 36–10 and, even better, got a gift later that evening when the Ravens lost for a third time. Now Pittsburgh has the biggest division lead in football at three games, so at this point, it’s just the Steelers and Chiefs fighting for the AFC 1-seed. Remember, only the 1-seed gets a bye week this year with the playoff reformatting, so Pittsburgh will surely push all the way and hope to give Big Ben and crew a much deserved week off.
2. Kansas City Chiefs 8–1 (1)
The Chiefs are coming off their bye week at 8–1, and this week they have a chance to get revenge for that nasty one in the loss column. The Raiders stunned Kansas City a month ago with a 40–32 victory, shredding the Chiefs pass defense with repeated attacks downfield. If the Raiders win again this week, they would pull within a game of Kansas City in the division. The Chiefs are the best team in football when they bring their best game, but they have flirted with disaster a bit too often this year. With four road games in the next five weeks, Patrick Mahomes will need to have the troops focused so the Chiefs finish strong heading into the playoffs.
<h2>Tier II — The Best of the NFC, At Least For Now</h2>
3. New Orleans Saints 7–2 (5)
Who is the best team in the NFC right now? The Saints crushed the Bucs a week ago, but the Bucs destroyed the Packers earlier in the season, and the Packers beat these Saints back in Week 3. For now, New Orleans gets the top ranking because they look like the hottest team, but we’ll see how long that holds up with Drew Brees sidelined at least a month with cracked ribs and a collapsed lung. New Orleans went out and signed Jameis Winston this offseason for exactly this situation, and if he can keep the Saints afloat, Brees could actually benefit from this month of rest. The Saints face only one more team with a winning record this season, so this injury may have come at just the right time for New Orleans to survive it.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7–3 (7)
The Bucs rebounded from a crushing loss to New Orleans a week ago by taking things out on the poor Panthers. A week after scoring only three points in garbage time, Tampa scored 46 points and probably should’ve scored a lot more. The offense is firing on all cylinders now, and the Brees injury for New Orleans may have given the Bucs new life. Tampa is effectively a game a half behind in the division right now since the Saints swept them, and if they don’t win the division, then they max out as the NFC 5-seed and road games for the entire playoffs. The Brees injury reopens the door, but we’ll see just how good the Bucs are the next two weeks against the Rams and Chiefs. Win both, and they might be in the NFC driver’s seat.
5. Green Bay Packers 7–2 (4)
The Packers have lived a charmed life so far this season. They’ve faced only two teams with winning records, beating the Saints but losing to the Bucs, and Green Bay seems to luck into new key injuries to their opponents every week. Now they’ve seen the bottom fall out on Chicago too, putting the Packers up comfortably in the division, by two and a half games. You’d think that would mean a loaded second half schedule, but that’s not the case either. Only two teams left on the schedule are above .500. One of them is this week’s opponents, Indianapolis. A win this week puts Green Bay on the fast track to the NFC 1-seed while the rest of the competition is beating each other up.
Tier III — The Wild, Wild West
6. Los Angeles Rams 6–3 (11)
So who is the best team in the wild, wild NFC West right now? The Rams stake their claim at the top of the heap after a relatively comfortable win over Seattle. Los Angeles looks like the most balanced team in the division. The defense has been strong and steady, built around superstars Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. The offense looks rejuvenated under Sean McVay, with new motion and misdirection and a whole new run game. The Rams are good enough to beat any team any given Sunday, but the NFC West is far from over. LA still plays the Cardinals twice and the Seahawks, with two of those games in the final couple weeks. This division will come down to the wire.
7. Arizona Cardinals 6–3 (13)
The Cardinals punctuated Week 10 with the play of the season thus far. Arizona fell behind Buffalo early, battled all the way back to take the lead, but then gave up what looked like the winning Bills touchdown with under a minute left. That’s when Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins made magic. Murray made a few throws to get the Cardinals within range, then rolled around, bought time and uncorked a rainbow into the end zone, where Hopkins went up over three Buffalo defenders and caught it to save the game with one second left. The “Hail Murray” may have saved Arizona’s season, even if it didn’t quite cover NFL betting lines. Without it, the Cards would be on a two-game losing streak and on a short week heading to Seattle. Instead, they’re tied for the division lead.
8. Seattle Seahawks 6–3 (9)
As great as these last few weeks have been for the Rams and Cardinals, they’ve been equally bad for the Seahawks. After starting 5–0, the Seahawks have now lost three of four games, two of them to their top division foes. Russell Wilson was the midseason MVP and might still be, but he’s being asked to do too much right now, and lately he hasn’t been enough. Wilson has thrown seven interceptions over the past four games, and Seattle’s once proud defense has been impossibly porous. Can Russ right the ship in time to get the season back on track, or does this terrible defense mean the ship is already going down?
Tier IV — The Incredible AFC Imbroglio
9. Buffalo Bills 7–3 (8)
This is the biggest tier we’ve ever had, with seven AFC teams with three losses. The AFC playoff picture is an absolute mess right now. The Steelers and Chiefs have some separation at the top, but these seven teams are all competing for the final five playoff spots. The Bills were one second away from staying above the fray, but the Hail Murray stole a win out from under their noses. Now they’re only a half game up on the red-hot Dolphins. Only the Bills could finally pass the Patriots in the division after two decades of failure, only to be passed by the surging Dolphins in the same season.
10. Indianapolis Colts 6–3 (10)
When we last saw the Colts, they had their most impressive win of the season. Indianapolis went to Tennessee on a Thursday night and absolutely dominated the division-leading Titans, 34–17. The defense was particularly good, like they have been all season. That’s the only Colts win against a team that still has a winning record right now. Now Indianapolis goes back home for a visit from the Packers and then a rematch against the Titans. It still feels like we don’t know exactly how good this team is yet, but we’re about to find out.
11. Miami Dolphins 6–3 (12)
The Dolphins may be the hottest team in football. After starting 1–3, Miami has reeled off five straight wins, and rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is a perfect 3–0 after taking the job during the bye week. Those three wins have come against the Rams, Cardinals, and Chargers too, so they’re quality wins. Tua has been fine, but Miami is winning these games with defense and special teams. Life is about to get a bit easier for the Dolphins with the Broncos, Jets, and Bengals up next. That means it’s time to unleash Tua and the offense and see just how good this team can be. The road to 9–3 is shockingly clear in Miami, so keep the Dolphins in mind when you check out NFL betting odds.
12. Baltimore Ravens 6–3 (3)
Oof. The Ravens are this week’s biggest faller after a shockingly bad performance Sunday night in front of a national crowd. Baltimore looked lifeless against a Patriots team that had barely beaten the 0–9 Jets only a few days earlier. Lamar Jackson looks like anything but an MVP right now, and the Ravens defense was worryingly awful against a pretty mediocre Pats attack. Baltimore is a long way from the 1-seed that rolled through the NFL a year ago. These Ravens are not even a lock to make the playoffs. With the Titans and Steelers up next, the season could get away from Baltimore in a hurry if they can’t figure things out.
13. Tennessee Titans 6–3 (6)
The Titans are moving in the wrong direction quickly. Remember when the Titans were 5–0 and one of the last unbeaten teams in the NFL? Tennessee has lost three of four games since then and didn’t look particularly competitive in any of them. The offense has slowed way down, and those Ryan Tannehill play-action passes haven’t been nearly as effective lately. It’s not going to get any easier with road trips to Baltimore and Indianapolis next. The Titans must play on the road in five of their remaining seven games.
14. Las Vegas Raiders 6–3 (14)
The Raiders weren’t supposed to be in this cramped AFC playoff picture, but they’re just sort of quietly taking care of business. Vegas has won three games in a row with relative ease, and they still have four games left against sub-.500 opponents. Jon Gruden has this offense in great shape, a balanced attack with Josh Jacobs pounding the rock on the ground while Derek Carr takes care of business in the air. Carr has thrown 16 touchdown passes and only two interceptions. He and the Raiders are just taking care of what’s in front of them, and it’s starting to feel like NFL betting odds are in their favor.
15. Cleveland Browns 6–3 (15)
If someone told you before the season that Cleveland would be 6–3 heading toward Thanksgiving, you would have probably thought that sounded pretty exciting. The Browns have been anything but exciting. Cleveland’s game was delayed a half hour Sunday and still nearly beat the rest of the early afternoon games to the finish line, a lifeless 10–7 victory. That’s the fourth time this season Cleveland has scored 10 or fewer points, though the first time they’ve won. Browns fans couldn’t care less as long as the team keeps on winning, and with the Eagles and Jaguars up next, they just might.
Tier V — Hanging onto the Faintest of Hopes
16. Minnesota Vikings 4–5 (19)
The Vikings are officially the seventh best team in the NFC after reeling off three straight division wins against the NFC North. Normally that would be great news in a conference with seven playoff spots. Unfortunately, these nasty NFL rules are sending one of the garbage NFC East teams to the playoffs, which means the Vikings are now one spot out of the race, and the six teams they’re chasing are all ahead by at least two games. The good news is that Minnesota only faces two more teams with a winning record, and one of them might be a Christmas Day present if Drew Brees is still out. Minnesota may have clawed their way back into this.
17. New England Patriots 4–5 (27)
The Patriots are the biggest risers this week after a shockingly dominant Sunday night win over the Ravens. That was quite a change from just six days prior, when New England barely even escaped with a win against the horrible Jets. So which Patriots are the real ones? The team that lost four games in a row and barely beat the Jets, or the team that dominated the Ravens? The answer probably lies somewhere in between, and perhaps the Boston monsoon was just the assist New England needed to get its season back on track. Don’t count out Bill Belichick until the credits roll.
18. San Francisco 49ers 4–6 (17)
No team in football needs this bye week more than the 49ers. San Francisco’s Super Bowl loser curse is in full swing, and injuries have crushed the Niners on both sides of the ball. Some of the big injuries are long term and won’t be helped by the bye week, but there are whispers that Jimmy Garoppolo and maybe George Kittle could be back sooner than expected. The 49ers still face the entire NFC West again, which is good in this case since it means an opportunity to beat the teams they’re trying to catch in the playoff hunt. San Francisco may need to be perfect down the stretch at this point.
19. Chicago Bears 5–5 (18)
The Bears started out 3–0 and things were looking pretty good. Since then, they’ve been an underdog in seven straight games and, apparently, rightfully so because they’ve lost five of their last seven. Chicago finally hits the bye week and needs it badly now that Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky are both injured. When the Bears emerge from the week off, they’ll travel to Lambeau for a Sunday night game with the season on the line. We’ll see if they have a quarterback or any semblance of offense when they get there.
20. Detroit Lions 4–5 (23)
The Lions never make things easy on themselves, do they? Detroit looked like it was coasting up 24–3 against a quarterback making his first start in a couple of years but then nearly blew its 589th straight double-digit lead, allowing Washington to come all the way back to tie things up with 16 seconds left. But Washington out-Detroited the Lions and gave the game away in those final seconds when Matt Stafford pulled another rabbit out of his hat. Three of the four Lions wins this season have come by a field goal or less. Like usual, Detroit is hanging around just under the Mendoza line.
21. Atlanta Falcons 3–6 (22)
Don’t count out the Falcons just yet. It looks impossible at 3–6, but sometimes you need a little luck to go your way, and Atlanta may have just rolled snake eyes. The Falcons are rested and while coming off their bye and play the Saints twice in the next three weeks, almost certainly with Jameis Winston now instead of Drew Brees. Let’s just say Atlanta is more than familiar with how to beat Famous Jameis after all these years of facing him in the division. Atlanta has won three of four, and now they have a path back to relevance if they can take advantage of this bit of luck that’s befallen them.
Tier VI —Not Going Anywhere Anytime Soon
22. Los Angeles Chargers 2–7 (21)
It seems impossible that the Chargers are 2–7, but then again, don’t we say some version of that sentence with some other forlorn record pretty much every season? Luckily for LA fans, the Bolts didn’t wait until the final minutes to break their hearts this week. The Chargers finally lost a game by more than one score, so I guess that’s something. The season feels like a loss, but the important thing now is keeping Justin Herbert healthy and making sure he doesn’t get too indoctrinated in the Chargers’ losing ways.
23. Carolina Panthers 3–7 (20)
The season has officially gotten away from the Panthers after a fifth consecutive loss, but Carolina is not as bad as their record looks. Sure, they’ve gotten curb stomped in Tampa both meetings, losing by a combined score of 77 to 40. Sometimes a particular team is just a bad matchup. In Carolina’s eight other games, the Panthers are 3–5, with all five losses by one score. The Panthers aren’t going to make the playoffs this year, but this is still a feisty team that’s going to ruin a couple teams’ chances down the stretch.
24. Houston Texans 2–7 (25)
The Texans aren’t as bad as 2–7 makes it look, but they probably needed to pull out a win in that stormy mess of a game in Cleveland to make a real run at this thing. Houston has a winnable enough schedule that they’d have an outside shot of running the table, and doing so would mean beating Indianapolis twice and Tennessee once. Neither of those AFC South opponents is unimpeachable by any stretch, so is it possible that the division is still on the table, maybe just a little tiny bit? The Texans can’t lose again.
25. Denver Broncos 3–6 (26)
The Broncos are officially in no man’s land. When you only put up 12 points on a bad Raiders defense and give up 37 on the other end, it’s definitely time to try something new. And in this case, Something New should be the name of the new quarterback, because it almost certainly isn’t Drew Lock. Lock threw four interceptions against the Raiders and was even worse than that sounds. Denver isn’t married to Lock after spending only a second round pick on him, and it might be time for Broncos fans to root for losses and a high draft pick at this point.
26. Cincinnati Bengals 2–6–1 (23)
Well, so much for Joey Covers. The Bengals have looked perfectly competent for seven games this season, but things have fallen apart completely in two games against the Ravens and Steelers. It turns out you can only pretend to have an offensive line for so long, and even the number one pick rookie quarterback can’t do everything on his own against an elite defense. Joe Burrow will have better days ahead. There’s no shame in getting dominated by the 9–0 Steelers.
Tier VII — The NFC East Is a Flaming Trash Can of Muck
27. New York Giants 3–7 (28)
The good news for the Giants is that they have three wins now, all of them against NFC East foes. The bad news for New York is that they haven’t beaten anyone outside the division yet and have only one NFC East game remaining on the schedule now. The Giants have quietly been more mediocre than bad lately. Since September, they’re 3–4, with all four losses by one score. A win against the Eagles leaves a good taste in New York’s mouth heading into the bye. They’re the highest team in the NFC Least power rankings now, after all.
28. Philadelphia Eagles 3–5–1 (16)
When the season winds down, we may look back on Sunday as the beginning of the end for the Eagles’ playoff hopes, and maybe even for Carson Wentz or Doug Pederson’s time leading Philadelphia. Philly’s next five opponents are all 6–3 or better right now. This game against the Giants was their chance to put the division away. They’re still ahead somehow, but it’s going to be an absolute dogfight to the finish line now. The NFC East is an abysmal 2–18–1 against non-division opponents. Philadelphia is still leading the division because they have two of those three non-losses.
29. Washington Football Team 2–7 (30)
Moral victories don’t count in the wins column, but Sunday was a heck of a story either way. When Alex Smith’s leg was mangled two years ago, no one ever thought he’d play football again. For a while, the infection was so bad there was serious concern that he’d even keep his leg or walk again. On Sunday, Smith made his first start since the injury and threw 55 times for 390 yards, both career bests. He also led Washington back from a 24–3 deficit to tie the game with 16 seconds left, but Washington being Washington, they lost the game anyway in regulation.
30. Dallas Cowboys 2–7 (30)
Don’t laugh, but the Cowboys still have a realistic path to winning the division. Dallas didn’t lose this week thanks to a bye, so that’s a start. In the NFC East, any week without a loss is a good one these days. But it’s the upcoming schedule that gives Dallas a faint glimmer of hope. The Cowboys have seven games left, and six of them are against teams under .500, including one against each NFC East team. If the Cowboys can even win four more games and get to 6–10, they could have a shot.
Tier VIII — See You Soon, Trevor Lawrence
31. Jacksonville Jaguars 1–8 (29)
The Jaguars have remained surprisingly competitive under sixth-round rookie quarterback Jake Luton. Luton led Jacksonville to within a failed two-point conversion of overtime against the Texans, scoring the would-be tying touchdown in the final minutes. Then this week he did one better, hanging with the mighty Packers all the way before coming up just short again. The Jaguars are playing hard, but that may not be enough. They’ll probably be at least a touchdown underdog in every remaining game.
32. New York Jets 0–9 (32)
The Jets didn’t lose this week, so at least that’s something new. They’re probably also feeling even better about their near win against the Patriots last Monday now that they watched New England go out and thump Baltimore on national television. Coming out of the bye, the Jets have seven games left to make a decision on Sam Darnold. Or to put it another way, Darnold has seven weeks left to save his job. If he doesn’t win at least twice, he’s about to lose his job to a Clemson kid named Trevor.
Place all of your Week 11 bets at BetMGM
Halfway through November, the NFL big picture is finally starting to become clearer. The contenders are rising to the top and separating themselves from the pack, while the bad teams are settling in at the bottom of the heap.
As you think about NFL betting picks in Week 11, you’ll want to keep in mind the entire season thus far. Last week’s games can seem so meaningful, but they’re only one-tenth of what we know now, so don’t fall victim to recency bias. We’ve learned a lot more this season than just one week of games, so be sure to consider all of the evidence at hand when sports betting.
Take everything you know into account, check the Week 11 Power Rankings one more time, and then head on over to BetMGM sportsbook casino to make your picks for the week. Good luck!