That snapped an eight-game winning streak for the Saints and shuffled the seeding in the NFC playoff picture. It also sent the Rams into the top five of our power rankings, one spot ahead of the Saints.
With five weeks left to play in the regular season, the top two spots firmly belong to the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, but all the teams in the top 10 — including the Saints — have reason to feel good about where they currently stand.
And that even includes a team with a 5-6 record:
Despite a losing record, the Chargers are in the top 10 after a 28-6 domination of the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving.
The offense is lighting up scoreboards, the defense is creating chaos, and the Chargers are just one game behind the Chiefs for the AFC West lead. They’re also just a game behind the Ravens and Bills for a wild card berth.
The only team left on the Chargers’ schedule with a winning record are the floundering Chiefs, so there’s reason for hopes to be sky high for Los Angeles.
The Vikings are the owners of a seven-game winning streak after beating the Lions, 30-23, on Thanksgiving.
It essentially closed the door on the NFC North race, giving the Vikings a three-game lead with five weeks left in the season. But it also bumped Minnesota into the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
That Week 11 win over the Rams looks even better a week later, and the tiebreaker over Los Angeles could prove important.
They only climb one spot in the rankings this week, but that’s mostly because it’s crowded at the top. What’s important is that the Falcons have one of the NFC Wild Card spots and are beginning to resemble the offensive juggernaut of 2016.
With 34 points in back-to-back games and Julio Jones running wild against the Buccaneers, the Falcons look like a legitimate contender once again.
Kansas City Chiefs
Dropping the Chiefs to the bottom half of the rankings feels a little unfair for a team with a winning record, but Kansas City looks broken right now. That’s four losses in the Chiefs’ last five games, and they’ve come against low competition.
With Ezekiel Elliott suspended and injuries up front, the Cowboys offense has disappeared. For the first time ever, Dallas has been held to fewer than 10 points in three consecutive games.
Jerry Jones thinks the Cowboys can turn things around, but with the Eagles so far ahead in the NFC East and a bunch of teams doing well in the NFC Wild Card race, he’s wrong. It’s over for Dallas in 2017.
Full hope rankings
Weekly disclaimer: These aren’t your average power rankings and are instead an attempt to measure the current state of mind — or “hope” — for each team and fan base.
The NFL can be an emotional roller coaster, and one big week can shoot a team’s spirits through the roof and tank another’s hopes of finishing with the Lombardi Trophy in February or beyond. Teams near the top are feeling great after Sunday, while those at the bottom aren’t feeling too optimistic.
If you’re looking for a ranking of who would beat who, this isn’t always going to be the best gauge:
Hope rankings, Week 13
|New England Patriots
|Los Angeles Rams
|New Orleans Saints
|Los Angeles Chargers
|Kansas City Chiefs
|New York Jets
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers
|New York Giants
|Green Bay Packers
|San Francisco 49ers