2020 NFL Power Rankings: Week 12

Week 11 provided strong entertainment value with high-profile games in Baltimore, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, and Tampa Bay, all of which either went into overtime, or ended with a score differential of no more than four points.

Let’s see how this week’s action shook up our rankings.

Risers and Fallers

The Miami Dolphins took a plunge in our rankings this week, falling seven spots to 16th and dropping 1.91 points in our nERD ratings. Tua Tagovailoa was pulled in the fourth quarter of Miami’s 20-13 loss to the Denver Broncos.

While Tua did end up on the injury report this week, the move to Ryan Fitzpatrick was not injury-related – rather, the team “needed a spark.” Tua headed to the bench with a Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per Drop Back of -0.24 (third-worst among passers with more than 10 attempts) and an abysmal 4.15 passing yards per attempt.

Derrick Henry’s 29-yard touchdown run in overtime against the Baltimore Ravens sealed the Tennessee Titans’ win in overtime and moved them up seven spots to ninth this week. Henry’s run was the 10th longest overtime touchdown run in NFL history, per Stathead Football.

I know you’re thinking, “Well then, what’s the longest overtime touchdown run in NFL history?” That would be Garrison Hearst of the 1998 San Francisco 49ers channeling a Derrick-Henry-esque-stiff-arm for a 96-yard run against the New York Jets.

Here are our Week 12 NFL Power Rankings:

Teams Ranked 32nd to 23rd

Rank Team nERD Record Playoff Odds Rank Change Off. NEP Rank Def. NEP Rank
32 New York Jets -14.35 0-10 0.00% 0 32 29
31 Jacksonville Jaguars -13.25 1-9 0.00% 0 30 30
30 Detroit Lions -8.46 4-6 0.50% -1 22 32
29 Dallas Cowboys -6.75 3-7 27.00% 1 24 27
28 Houston Texans -5.66 3-7 1.00% -1 15 31
27 Cincinnati Bengals -5.61 2-7-1 0.00% -3 20 28
26 New York Giants -5.58 3-7 26.20% 2 25 22
25 Philadelphia Eagles -5.23 3-6-1 26.90% 0 28 15
24 Denver Broncos -4.35 4-6 0.80% 2 31 7
23 Atlanta Falcons -4.17 3-7 0.10% 0 17 24

With Thanksgiving here, variations on traditional recipes are all over the internet. There are different ways to cook up Total Passing NEP, but you may want to scroll past the Jacksonville JaguarsJake Luton recipe (the Jaguars are currently ranked 31st). A sub-50% completion percentage, 2.08 yards per attempt, and four interceptions mixed together make a Passing NEP of -22.27. Yuck.

With Joe Burrow’s knee going the way of the turkey carcass, the Cincinnati Bengals (ranked 27th) turned to Ryan Finley to cook something up quickly. That also went quite poorly as his 14 drop-backs netted a Total Passing NEP of -14.01. Ewww. Brandon Allen is getting the start at quarterback against the New York Giants instead of Finley.

On the other hand, how about Deshaun Watson’s Week 11 leading Passing NEP per Drop Back of 0.62? The Houston Texans will need more helpings of that to get out of our bottom 10.

Teams Ranked 22nd to 13th

Rank Team nERD Record Playoff Odds Rank Change Off. NEP Rank Def. NEP Rank
22 Cleveland Browns -3.29 7-3 48.00% 0 19 21
21 New England Patriots -1.81 4-6 3.70% -2 21 16
20 Washington Football Team -1.46 3-7 19.90% 1 27 9
19 Chicago Bears -0.98 5-5 30.90% 1 29 5
18 Carolina Panthers 0 4-7 1.80% 0 12 19
17 Minnesota Vikings 0.11 4-6 13.20% -5 13 18
16 Miami Dolphins 0.92 6-4 55.40% -7 26 6
15 Las Vegas Raiders 1.14 6-4 62.30% 2 3 26
14 Buffalo Bills 1.37 7-3 79.90% 0 8 20
13 Indianapolis Colts 1.51 7-3 71.70% 0 23 8

The Las Vegas Raiders hopped up two spots (to 15th) after giving Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs all they could handle proving their Week 5 win in Kansas City was not a fluke.

Derek Carr’s touchdown pass to Jason Witten put the Raiders up three points, but left Mahomes and Co. with 1:43 left on the clock. I’ve seen the argument that the Raiders should have “blown” a coverage to let Kansas City score right away and put the game back into Carr’s hands.

If the Raider’s had gone with that strategy, they could have started a drive from their own 25 with, say, around 80 to 90 seconds left. In that scenario, numberFire’s Win Probability model puts the Raiders’ chances of winning at 14.62%.

Teams Ranked 12th to 1st

Rank Team nERD Record Playoff Odds Rank Change Off. NEP Rank Def. NEP Rank
12 Seattle Seahawks 1.8 7-3 97.50% 3 5 23
11 Los Angeles Chargers 1.85 3-7 1.20% -3 14 13
10 San Francisco 49ers 2.24 4-6 6.60% 1 16 11
9 Tennessee Titans 2.48 7-3 87.90% 7 1 25
8 Arizona Cardinals 2.6 6-4 67.40% 2 7 17
7 Green Bay Packers 5.11 7-3 95.80% 0 4 14
6 Baltimore Ravens 6.32 6-4 88.20% -2 18 1
5 New Orleans Saints 6.86 8-2 99.40% 1 6 10
4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8.01 7-4 92.50% -1 9 4
3 Kansas City Chiefs 8.12 9-1 99.90% -2 2 12
2 Pittsburgh Steelers 8.13 10-0 100.00% 3 11 3
1 Los Angeles Rams 8.62 7-3 94.40% 1 10 2

The Los Angeles Rams are on top of our rankings after edging out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-24 on Monday night. On passes that traveled at least 15 yards in the air, Tom Brady’s Passing NEP per Drop Back of -1.06 was dead last in Week 11 (min four such attempts). That was even worse than Jake Luton.

Interestingly enough, Brady’s replacement in New England, Cam Newton, topped the league with a Passing NEP per Drop Back of 2.17 (passes of 15 or more air yards).

Also interesting: Taysom Hill finished second in this category (1.8). The New Orleans Saints’ first win since Drew Brees has been sidelined due to broken ribs moves them up one spot to fifth.

It looks like Week 12 will give us more football for which to be thankful! I’m looking forward to gobbling up four games – all of which have playoff implications – and are between teams with close nERD ratings (within two points): Baltimore Ravens at the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee at the Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Chargers at the Buffalo Bills, and Kansas City at Tampa Bay.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!