The Coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the 2020 National Football League (NFL) season, but Week 12 was the weirdest one yet. Three Thanksgiving games were reduced to two, with both traditional home teams getting blown out, while the third has been rescheduled four times already. What does it all mean for the Week 13 Power Rankings?
The world of online sports betting does not wait for pandemic schedules to sort themselves out. NFL betting is a fast moving game, and one week’s games are scarcely wrapping up before teams and bettors alike are already looking ahead toward another week of games. And now that Thanksgiving has passed and we’ve hit December, the stretch run is here and the playoffs are just around the corner.
Week 12 gave us a wild slate of games with many close fights down to the finish and a few big upsets, as always. So what do the newest results mean for the Week 13 Power Rankings, and how is the playoff picture shaping up as we head to December? Let’s start at the top.
Tier I — The clear favorites
1. Pittsburgh Steelers 10–0* (Previous rank: 1)
By the time you read this, the Steelers may be 11–0, or they might have dropped a game to the Ravens. What an unlucky season for Pittsburgh, who had two semi-bye weeks ruined by opponent Coronavirus tests now. The Steelers should have had a marquee Thanksgiving night game and 10 days off before a fairly easy closing schedule. Instead, this game has been rescheduled four times now, and suddenly the Steelers might play three games in a 12-day window. This could kill a dream season. Even one schedule loss at this point ends the unbeaten season and could also drop Pittsburgh out of the 1-seed and seriously hurt their Super Bowl hopes. This is just unfortunate for everyone involved, and the Steelers were just really hitting their stride too.
2. Kansas City Chiefs 10–1 (2)
The Chiefs feel like they’re just toying with teams at this point. You’d never know it from the final score at 27–24, but Kansas City went on the road and dominated a very good Tampa Bay team. Tyreek Hill had over 200 yards in the first quarter alone, and it felt like he could have had 500 if the Chiefs wanted it. It sort of feels like Patrick Mahomes can do anything he wants right now. The Chiefs got down to the goal line early in the game, put Mahomes in motion, had him catch the snap on the run, and tried a double reverse tight end throwback to the QB… just because? It didn’t work, but who cares? It feels like anyone that wants a ring has to get through Mahomes right now.
Tier II — Some Separation at the Top of the NFC
3. New Orleans Saints 9–2 (3)
This is the second straight season in which the Saints have lost Drew Brees for a real chunk of the regular season and then run into a great string of luck that offset the games Brees was out. This was the perfect soft spot in the schedule for the Saints to miss Brees for a month, but that was before Denver literally lost every quarterback on the roster. This was as close to a free win as it gets in the NFL, and this is a league that features the New York Jets. Taysom Hill was not impressive though, and it’s worrying that it felt like neither team really had a quarterback in an ugly game that felt straight out of the 1930s. Get well soon, Drew.
4. Green Bay Packers 8–3 (6)
It feels like Aaron Rodgers is the only serious threat to Patrick Mahomes for MVP at this point. One of the three teams in this tier is almost certain to end up as the NFC 1-seed, and if it’s the Packers or maybe the Seahawks, that quarterback will have the best case against Mahomes as MVP. What an incredible season for Rodgers. We didn’t know if he still had this in him, but he has the entire game under his control again. It’s easy to focus on how putrid the Bears were Sunday night on offense, but don’t overlook how easily Rodgers picked apart an excellent Chicago defense.
5. Seattle Seahawks 8–3 (7)
Russell Wilson is just unfair. And what’s really unfair is that DK Metcalf is starting to feel almost as unfair himself, and when you combine the two on one of those moonshot deep balls, it really feels like Metcalf is open on every play if Russ just chucks it up and gives DK a shot. Seattle took care of business with relative ease against the Eagles, and suddenly the schedule really opens up. The Seahawks have a real shot at the NFC 1-seed if they just take care of things going forward now, and Seattle is always impossible to beat at home in the playoffs. Things could be trending their way.
Tier III — Getting hot at the right time
6. Tennessee Titans 8–3 (10)
The Titans have played three different seasons so far. They started out 5–0 and were flying high, but then Tennessee lost three of four and fell off of everyone’s radar. The third season began last week when the Titans got their biggest win of the season in overtime in Baltimore, and then Tennessee doubled down with their new biggest win of the season in Indianapolis to take the division lead. Yet again, as the weather starts to get cold, Tennessee starts to heat up and Derrick Henry really gets rolling. This week against the Browns could be a potential playoff preview. Can Tennessee keep the good times rolling?
7. Buffalo Bills 8–3 (8)
It’s still hard to know what to make of the Bills. Buffalo beat the Chargers relatively comfortably, even though LA probably should have closed the gap to a field goal late if not for horribly mismanaging the game down the stretch. That was only Buffalo’s third win this season by double digits, and they’ve yet to win by more than 10 this season. The Bills have a pretty rough schedule to end their season, starting with this week when they hit the road to play a revived 49ers team on Monday Night Football. They still have games against the Steelers and Dolphins too, plus a Monday night game in New England, so we’ll find out soon just how real this Josh Allen attack is.
8. Los Angeles Rams 7–4 (4)
Just when the Rams were really getting going with back-to-back wins over the Seahawks and Bucs, they laid an egg again, falling at home to the 49ers. LA has been swept by San Francisco now, and Kyle Shanahan simply has Sean McVay’s number at this point. The Rams look like a well-rounded team, maybe the most rounded team in the NFC… some of the time. But LA has yet to win more than two games in a row at any point this season. They also haven’t lost two in a row, but news flash: it only takes one loss to end a postseason, and it takes a lot more than two straight wins. Can Jared Goff string and this offense string together four straight good games?
Tier IV — Wildcards in Every Sense of the Term
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7–5 (5)
What do we make of the Bucs at this point? Tampa looks as good as any team in football at times, but other times they are a complete whiff. Heck, sometimes they manage to pull off both of those in the same game. Against the Chiefs this week, the Bucs had no shot of stopping the Chiefs and looked utterly outmatched, but then got the offense going in the second half and ended up losing by only three to the hottest team in the league. The Bucs still feel like one of the best teams in football, but they’ve lost five times now and can’t seem to stack up against the league’s top teams. At some point, it doesn’t matter exactly how good you look if you can’t get the wins.
10. Indianapolis Colts 7–4 (9)
The Colts just faced their toughest stretch of the season over the last four games. They started with a discouraging home loss to the Ravens in which they looked mostly punchless, then responded with a big Thursday night win in Tennessee and a huge overtime comeback to beat the Packers. But now they’ve book-ended the stretch with another loss, this one to the division foe Titans. In the end, going 2–2 against that stretch of opponents is a pretty fine outcome for Indianapolis. Now the Colts need to take care of business against the worse division opponents, with two Texans games and a Jaguars game remaining. As long as Indy wins those games, they should still make the playoffs and could even win the division too if Tennessee stumbles again.
11. Miami Dolphins 7–4 (15)
The Dolphins really have become one heck of a story. Midway through last season, most of us wondered if the Dolphins might just not win again for another few seasons. They were barely even able to stop the opponent from scoring a couple times a game. Suddenly one year later the Dolphins have allowed the second fewest points in football, including just three points total allowed in a pair of Jets games. The Jets are not particularly good, but three points allowed in 96 minutes leaves very little doubt. And with the terrible Bengals up next, those defensive numbers might just keep getting better.
12. Cleveland Browns 8–3 (13)
Who could possibly have guessed the Browns might have the fourth best record in football entering December? Even the most optimistic Cleveland fans probably wouldn’t have guessed anything quite that good. The Browns are undefeated this season when they score more than seven points, and they continue to do the thing they don’t normally do: beat the bad teams without blowing it. Cleveland is 7–0 against teams below .500, and this week in Jacksonville was the exact sort of game this team would have blown in past seasons. Instead, the Browns held on to win by two, and at this point, the wins are really starting to stack up. Now we’ll see how good the Browns can do against the top teams – they play the Titans and Ravens during the next two weeks.
Tier V — The edge of a suddenly cloudy playoff picture
13. Baltimore Ravens 6–4* (14)
What do we do with the Ravens at this point? Their presumed Thanksgiving game was pushed back nearly a week, and perhaps that was the sort of mental and physical break this team needed. Baltimore began the season as a Super Bowl favorite and looked the part enough with a 5–1 start, but they’ve lost three of four and have only one win since October 18 now. The Ravens have lost to their three best opponents, and another loss in Pittsburgh — whenever they finally play — could put them on the brink of missing the playoffs. Hopefully this break got the team right. The good news is that four of their final five games are against the Cowboys, Jaguars, Giants, and Bengals, so there’s still a clear path to the playoffs if they can get the team right.
14. Arizona Cardinals 6–5 (12)
The Cardinals are another team that is reeling a bit, and they’re close to reeling a whole lot. Arizona has lost three of their last four, and their two most recent wins took near miracles to get there. Kliff Kingsbury has raised more questions than answers this season, and suddenly the breakout season isn’t looking as good. Arizona has fallen back to the pack and is only one game up in the race for the final NFC playoff spot now, and every game left on the schedule is against a team within one game of the playoffs. If the Cards don’t get their act together soon, they may blow this.
15. Las Vegas Raiders 6–5 (11)
Just when we were starting to believe in the Raiders, they went and laid down like that. And isn’t that just like Jon Gruden’s Raiders? This is why you should never believe in this team. Las Vegas was absolutely embarrassed by the Falcons, losing 43–6 in a game where they never really had a chance. The offense had only 13 first downs and turned it over five times, and the game completely got away from the team. The playoffs might be next, if Vegas isn’t careful. The Raiders would be on the outside looking in, if the playoffs started today. This was the first really bad Raiders loss this season, but they can’t afford another one.
16. San Francisco 49ers 5–6 (16)
All credit to Kyle Shanahan and these 49ers. No team has had more injuries than San Francisco, but you won’t catch the Niners complaining. They fought through a brutal stretch of the schedule even with half the team missing and swept the Rams to keep faint playoff hopes alive. Suddenly, San Francisco is in this, maybe even still in the NFC West division, though they’ll need some help. Coaching really matters, even at this level. The 49ers have gotten almost nothing from quarterbacks or running backs all season, have missed half their defense, and are still just one game out of the playoffs entering the final month. They have a real shot, so keep an eye on their long shot NFL odds now. They’ll have to play their home games on the road in Arizona the next two weeks too now because of the pandemic.
17. Minnesota Vikings 5–6 (18)
The Vikings should be in a great position right now. If they had just taken care of business against the Cowboys a week ago, Minnesota would be 6–5 right now, tied for the final playoff spot and on a five-game winning streak. Then again, it looked for a minute like the season was over in a horrible five-minute stretch against the Panthers. Minnesota fumbled for a defensive touchdown on consecutive plays and looked like they lost Dalvin Cook in the process. But Cook wasn’t hurt as bad as he looked, and the Vikings bounced back to steal a win late. Minnesota plays Jacksonville next before a huge road trip to Tampa. If they win both, they’ll leapfrog the Bucs and move into the playoff picture. The schedule has broken Minnesota’s way. Now they need to take care of business and take advantage of second and third chances.
Tier VI — Hoping for a late season run or an 8th playoff spot
18. Houston Texans 4–7 (23)
When the Texans finally fired Bill O’Brien after an 0–4 start, it looked like a lost season. But Houston has gone 4–3 since that move and looked like a potential playoff contender if they could just get rid of that first month. The Texans looked like the whole package on Thanksgiving afternoon, but just as quickly as Houston fans started to get their hopes up, they may have been dashed with the news that star receiver Will Fuller has been suspended for six games. Fuller had a monster Thanksgiving game and has always been a go-to target for Deshaun Watson, but he’ll miss the rest of the season now and may never suit up for the Texans again. Poor Houston’s roster and margin of error get even thinner.
19. New England Patriots 5–6 (19)
The Patriots are like the villain in a horror movie. We keep counting New England out, and they just keep on coming back. First, it was a four-game losing streak and a near loss to the Jets, but the Patriots responded by beating the mighty Ravens to save their season. Then New England lost in Houston and we gave up just as quickly, with NFL betting lines making the Pats a home underdog to the Cardinals. But Bill Belichick’s crew was up to the task again, winning an ugly game on a late field goal. The Patriots aren’t very talented, and Cam Newton can barely pass anymore, but the coaching is so good that the Pats just keep hanging around.
20. Atlanta Falcons 4–7 (25)
Games like Sunday are exactly what make these Falcons so incredibly frustrating. Atlanta absolutely thrashed a pretty good Raiders team, beating them 43–6 and dominating from wire to wire. And they did that without Julio Jones or Todd Gurley too. The Falcons are 4–2 now after an 0–5 start, and this season is starting to look a lot like the last one. Atlanta is so talented but they keep digging huge holes early and blowing huge leads late. The Falcons have blown sure wins against the Cowboys, Bears, and Lions. They could be right in the NFC playoff mix right now if they’d won even two of the three, and they probably should be. That’s what makes it so hard to tear this team down and start over, when they have performances like that.
21. Carolina Panthers 4–8 (20)
The Panthers have lost six of seven now, though the one win was a shutout and they should’ve won Sunday too but gave the game away late. Then again, Carolina didn’t really do a whole lot on either side of the ball but got back-to-back fumble recovery touchdowns in a fluke third quarter minute. The win or loss is mostly irrelevant to the team at this point, and a loss is arguably better so the team can improve their draft pick. The Panthers head into a late bye week now, one of the last two teams to do so. They still play the Packers, Washington, and Saints down the stretch and are going to be a pesky out against three teams pushing to make the playoffs.
22. Chicago Bears 5–6 (17)
The only good news about the Chicago Bears is that we don’t have to watch them in prime time again this season. Somehow, four of the last seven Bears games came in a night prime time spot, and America has seen enough of Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles to last a lifetime at this point. The 4–1 Chicago start feels like multiple pandemics ago, and it’s pretty clear by now that neither Trubisky or Foles is the answer. The question now is whether Matt Nagy or Ryan Pace still are either. Chicago looks like it needs a hard reset, and they need it soon.
Tier VII — The Fightin’ NFC East
23. Washington Football Team 4–7 (27)
Suddenly, Washington has won two games in a row and sits tied atop the NFC East after a Thanksgiving afternoon drubbing of the Cowboys. It’s starting to feel like Washington could really have a shot at this with the defense playing so well and Alex Smith starting to find his sea legs, but it won’t be easy. Washington hits the road for games against the Steelers and 49ers the next two weeks before coming home for the Seahawks. Every win is huge at this point, so even winning one of those three could be enough in the NFC East.
24. New York Giants 4–7 (26)
The Giants are somehow on a three-game winning streak now, and they haven’t lost by more than one score since September. That has given New York the best NFL betting odds to win the NFC East, but now they face a new problem. Daniel Jones got hurt in a close win against the Bengals, so now Colt McCoy will have to keep the team afloat. The next four Giants games are all against teams currently in the playoffs. Let’s just say if the G-Men keep the winning streak going, they will certainly earn their playoff spot.
25. Philadelphia Eagles 3–7–1 (29)
The Eagles have lost three in a row now and trail in the NFC East for the first time in awhile after falling behind both Washington and New York. Philadelphia feels broken. The defense is finally getting things in order and did their job against Seattle, but the offense just doesn’t look on the same page right now. Doug Pederson’s play calling isn’t working, the offensive line is a sieve, the receivers aren’t getting open, and Carson Wentz just isn’t right. It’s starting to feel like it's a long overdue time to make a change, but how much can you change when you’re only a half a game out of the division lead?
Tier VIII — The Thanksgiving leftovers
26. Los Angeles Chargers 3–8 (22)
The Chargers didn’t get to play on Thanksgiving, but they sure feel like the turkey at this point. How does Anthony Lynn still have a job? He and the Chargers create new ways to blow games every week. Los Angeles continues to have very strong metrics, and Justin Herbert is having an outstanding rookie season, but does all that stink of losing start to seep into the players at some point? How many more times can Lynn and the coaching staff screw things up and look like the turkey?
27. Dallas Cowboys 3–8 (28)
The Cowboys may or may not still be America’s Team, but we are stuck watching them on Thanksgiving, whether you like it or not. Dallas is now 1–9 against the spread over the past decade of Thanksgiving games, so store that little tidbit away the next time you make NFL betting picks before Uncle Rico comes over for Thanksgiving dinner next year. Just when the Cowboys started to have a little hope after a win against the Vikings, they fell even further out of the picture with an ugly Turkey Day showing.
28. Detroit Lions 4–7 (24)
We’re stuck watching the Lions on Thanksgiving too, but at least we won’t have to watch Matt Patricia anymore. Patricia was finally, mercifully relieved of his duties as head coach after a second straight embarrassing loss, first a shutout to the Panthers and then a national TV beat down by the Texans while everyone stuffed their bellies full of turkey. Patricia finishes with a final Lions record of 13–29–1 which, sadly, is pretty much par for the course for a Detroit coach. We’ll see where this team heads next.
29. Denver Broncos 4–7 (21)
The Broncos were the league’s biggest embarrassment of the weekend when they somehow had to play a game without a single quarterback. No one thought much of it when Jeff Driskel tested positive for COVID. After all, he’s the backup and Drew Lock was healthy again and ready to go. But when it was discovered that every Denver QB had been exposed to Driskel without a mask, the NFL ruled all of the quarterbacks ineligible. Suddenly, without any warning or practice and only about 24 hours to get ready, rookie wide receiver Kendall Hinton out of Wake Forest would be the starting QB. It went about as badly as expected. Hinton completed only three passes all game, and two of them were to the other team. Denver scored three points, and even that field goal was quite an accomplishment. This was an embarrassment for everyone involved.
Tier IX — Tank for Trevor
30. Cincinnati Bengals 2–8–1 (30)
The Bengals turned over the offense to Brandon Allen with Joe Burrow out for the year, and Allen was predictably terrible. Cincinnati stayed in the game anyway and ended up losing by only two, though of course that loss was to the Giants, who aren’t exactly good. Every remaining Bengals opponent is within one game of the playoff race right now. It would be a surprise to see them add a third win, but they might be locked into the #3 draft pick now either way.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars 1–10 (31)
The Jaguars continue to push all the way, even without much talent on the roster. Sunday was their fourth loss this season by four points or less. Even as a big underdog, Jacksonville continues to face long NFL odds and push better opponents all the way to the finish line. They’re the exact sort of opponent that could ruin some team’s playoff hopes down the stretch. You’ve been warned, Vikings, Titans, Ravens, and Colts.
32. New York Jets 0–11 (32)
After two close losses, the Jets were back to their old ways on Sunday. With Sam Darnold finally back under center, New York managed a whopping three points. Darnold has started seven games this season and thrown only three touchdowns with eight interceptions. It looks like a lock that the Jets will have a high draft pick and replace Darnold at quarterback going forward. Can they rehab his value enough to get anything out of him in a trade?
Place your Week 13 bets at BetMGM
As we head to December, the NFL playoff picture is starting to take shape. So as you get ready for some online sports betting in Week 13, make sure to double-check the Power Rankings and think about the big picture. It’s time to consider what’s at stake for each team and place your bets. Whatever sports betting you’re doing, you can always count on BetMGM to be the best online sportsbook casino to have all your odds and promotions. Be sure to place all your NFL bets at BetMGM today.