Each week during the NFL season, Tiebreaker.com will present our conference power rankings. The AFC will be on Tuesday, the NFC on Wednesday.
This week in the NFC, the 49ers take control after crushing the Packers. And now everyone is waiting to see how they handle the Ravens.
1). San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers methodically disassembled a very good Packers team in one of the most convincing wins of the season. They sacked Aaron Rodgers five times, keeping him off-balance the entire night. Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns. And best of all, tight end George Kittle played for the first time since Halloween and scored on an electrifying 61-yard pass and run. And now come the Ravens.
2). Seattle Seahawks
Every week we try to provide another interesting tidbit about the wonderful Russell Wilson. Here’s one for you: Wilson is the first quarterback in league history to have a winning record in each of his first eight seasons. We thought that might impress. The Seahawks are 9-2 and 6-0 on the road.
3). New Orleans Saints
A win is a win, right? The Saints came close to another division loss, this time to the Panthers. But they caught a few breaks, took advantage of an errant kicker and won the game at the gun on a 33-yard field goal by Will Lutz. Meanwhile, we continue to keep an eye on Michael Thomas, who had 10 catches for 101 yards. He’s on pace for 151 receptions and 1,806 yards.
4). Green Bay Packers
We’ve already detailed what happened to them in San Francisco. It wasn’t pretty. But everyone is entitled to a bad day. It’s just that the Packers have had two – both in California. Remember their loss to the Chargers? Matt LaFleur admitted that his coaching staff was a step behind the 49ers all night. Seems so. His offense was 0-for-14 on third down until late in the game.
5). Minnesota Vikings
This continues to be the year of Kirk Cousins. The Vikings so desperately needed a big season from their well-compensated quarterback and he has complied in a big way. Cousins has completed 70.6 percent of his passes and has the second highest passer rating (behind only Wilson) in the league. And once Adam Thielen returns, those numbers should improve even more.
6). Dallas Cowboys
This is not a good time to be Jason Garrett. The loss to the Patriots inspired cryptic commentary from Jerry Jones about how his coaching staff was outworked by Bill Belichick. The Cowboys have lost five of their last eight and are 0-4 against teams with records better than .500. Another one – Buffalo – visits Dallas on Thanksgiving. By the way, Vegas odds predict Urban Meyer will be the next Cowboys coach.
7). Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz has been taking a lot of heat in the Philadelphia media this week after the loss to the Seahawks. Most of it has to do with his cavalier approach to ball control. He has fumbled five times in the last two weeks and lost three of them. The thing is, he really isn’t getting a lot of help. He has no receivers and he played last week without 40 percent of his offensive line. He’s no Wilson, but he’s not Ryan Finley, either.
8). Los Angeles Rams
Admit it, when was the last time you saw a game between two contenders in which one team was totally outclassed? The Rams had no business being the same field with the Ravens. It was hard to watch them getting physically destroyed along the line of scrimmage. The Rams offense, so lethal last season, actually went three-and-out on its last two drives of the game. They are 6-5. Playoffs? Don’t think so.
9). Chicago Bears
Good thing the Bears were playing the Giants last week. Chicago did all it could to give the game away and the Giants simply refused to take it. Aside from that, there were a few bright spots. Mitchell Trubisky threw for 278 yards and scored a touchdown. Allen Robinson had 131 receiving yards. And Khalil Mack had a strip sack that led to a touchdown. But this is a very average team.
10). Carolina Panthers
The problems continue. This time it was all about the kicker. Joey Slye missed a 28-yarder with 1:56 left after missing two extra points in a game they lost by three points. More bad news: Pro Bowl defensive tackle Dontari Poe is out for the season with a torn quad. Cam Newton said he wants to return to Carolina next season. The bigger question is whether ownership will want Ron Rivera back.
11). Tampa Bay Buccaneers
As always, the focus is on Jameis Winston. Last week against the Falcons, he threw for over 300 yards for the sixth straight game. He also had three touchdown passes, two to Chris Godwin, who had seven catches for 184 yards. But Winston also threw another two interceptions. Something always seems to get in his way. Still, the guy is always under pressure to perform. No team has allowed more points since Winston debuted in 2015.
12). Detroit Lions
If its Thanksgiving, that must mean the Lions are hosting another game of inconsequence. Yes, the Bears are in town. Detroit’s stunning loss to the Redskins was their seventh in the last eight games. They had only 63 yards rushing and Jeff Driskel threw three interceptions. If you think that’s bad, what are they going to do if Driskel can’t play Thursday because of his hamstring?
13). Arizona Cardinals
We are choosing to look at the bright side this week. Rookie quarterback Kyler Murray has played pretty well. He has completed 64.4 percent and has fumbled only twice despite the ball being in his hands for just about every positive play the team has made this year. They play the Rams this week. Maybe Murray and Chandler Jones (12 ½ sacks, five forced fumbles) can keep the defending NFC champions tumbling.
14). Atlanta Falcons
This team was in such a nice place until Tampa Bay came into town and slapped them back. The Falcons defense, which had 11 sacks in its two previous weeks, did not get to Winston once. When it’s a Yale kid – tight end Jaeden Graham – who makes the best play of the game, you know there’s something wrong with their offense. This week they play the Saints, who the Falcons beat 26-9 a few weeks ago. Good luck with that.
15). Washington Redskins
We’re still not certain Dwayne Haskins will be the answer at quarterback and we likely won’t know until the Redskins build a team around him. But we do know he can’t be taking selfies with fans while the game is still going on, forcing his coach to put the backup in to take the game’s last snap. We know he was happy the Redskins finally won. But first things first, right?
16). New York Giants
This is a complete disaster. The Giants have lost their last seven, their longest losing streak in five years. They are 2-9 and now their fans are wishing they drop into the first or second draft slot so they can take Ohio State defensive end Chase Young. Against the Bears, the normally reliable Aldrick Rosas missed two field goals. And rookie quarterback Daniel Jones lost a fumble for the firth straight game. This no longer is the proud team of Parcells and Coughlin.