The Patriots continue to win ballgames in their first year with Mac Jones.
The Patriots haters are furious.
When Tom Brady departed for the Sunshine State, many believed the success in Foxborough was over for at least a few years.
The quarterback was gone; the dynasty was done.
But after a seven-win 2020 campaign, the Patriots seem to be back to their old ways with their new hopeful franchise quarterback (rookie Mac Jones). The Bill Belichick-led squad has won six straight games and now sits as the No. 2 seed in the AFC.
Bill won’t stop though — the greatest coach of all time is never comfortable. Will New England end up as the top team in the conference by the end of the regular season?
32. Detroit Lions ( → )
The Lions lost…again.
I can’t believe a league that’s so obsessed with maximizing ratings continues to put this franchise on national television every single Thanksgiving.
At what point will the NFL say “the hell with tradition” and change the Turkey Day lineup?
31. Jacksonville Jaguars ( ↓ 1 )
The Jaguars lost yet again in Week 12, this time to the Atlanta Falcons.
Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed just 54.8% of his throws for 228 yards, one touchdown, and one interception with a 68.4 rating.
Right now, the Jaguars would have the No. 3 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
30. Houston Texans ( ↓ 1 )
The Texans drop one spot after losing to…the Jets?
That’s right — that’s how putrid Houston has been this year. The Texans couldn’t even defeat a struggling Jets squad with a rookie quarterback (Zach Wilson) who just experienced a four-game absence due to a knee injury.
Houston should be in full tank mode; time to look to the future.
29. New York Jets ( ↑ 2 )
The Jets found themselves back in the win column for the first time since Week 8.
Zach Wilson notched his second victory at the professional level and ran for his first career touchdown. Regardless, the first-year signal-caller wasn’t strong, completing just 58.3% of his throws for 145 yards, no touchdowns, and one pick.
28. Chicago Bears ( ↓ 1 )
I can’t believe Roger Goodell approved the Bears playing in a national game on Thanksgiving. Against the Lions, no less.
The two-point victory over Detroit did save Matt Nagy from being fired though, so congrats to him…I guess.
27. New York Giants ( ↑ 1 )
The Giants offense was still inefficient though even after the firing of coordinator Jason Garrett, gaining just 264 total yards in the win.
26. Atlanta Falcons ( → )
The Falcons remain at No. 26 after notching an expected victory over Jacksonville.
Atlanta is now 5-6, which puts it right in the mix for a playoff spot (that’s how awful the NFC is).
25. Seattle Seahawks ( ↓ 1 )
Boy, are the Seahawks bad or what?
Seattle is now 3-8 and it’s clear Russell Wilson may not be 100%. The veteran quarterback threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns but couldn’t conjure up enough offensive success to defeat the Washington Football Team on Monday night.
24. Carolina Panthers ( ↓ 2 )
Cam Newton is back in Charlotte, but he’s not the Cam Newton of old.
The former NFL MVP completed just five of 21 passes — yes, you read that right — for 92 yards, two picks, and a 5.8 quarter rating — yes, you also read that right.
The Panthers suffered a 33-10 loss to Miami in Week 12.
And speaking of the Dolphins…
23. Miami Dolphins ( ↑ 2 )
Tua Tagovailoa is improving and put together a decent performance against Carolina Sunday. The second-year quarterback threw for 230 yards and one touchdown while completing 87.1% of his throws.
Miami has now won four straight. Can the Dolphins keep the streak going against the Giants this Sunday afternoon?
22. Washington Football Team ( ↑ 1 )
Washington in the final NFC Wild Card spot?
Yes — the Football Team have quietly won three straight and are now the No. 7 seed in their conference.
They have a few tough opponents coming up, however. Washington plays the Raiders and Cowboys in Weeks 13 and 14.
21. Pittsburgh Steelers ( ↓ 2 )
The Steelers are falling apart.
They somehow tied the Lions and have lost two consecutive games to the Chargers and Bengals.
In the most recent loss, it looked as if a JV high school team was going up against Bergen Catholic. Cincy won 41-10 and was up 31-3 at halftime.
20. Cleveland Browns ( → )
Cleveland could be a good team, but at this point, the jury needs to be out on Baker Mayfield.
I understand the fourth-year quarterback is hurt, but no one is 100% at this point in the season. Mayfield completed just 48.7% of his throws and lost a fumble in what was an ugly loss to the Ravens (it was an ugly game overall).
19. Philadelphia Eagles ( ↓ 1 )
The Eagles drop one spot after suffering a close loss to the below-average Giants.
Philly may need to be in the quarterback market after this year — Jalen Hurts threw a trio of interceptions in the defeat.
18. Denver Broncos ( ↑ 3 )
Denver is another weird team that I can’t figure out.
The Broncos lose to the Eagles by 17 points in Week 10 but then beat the Chargers by 15 in Week 12?
I don’t get it — but kudos to them.
17. New Orleans Saints ( → )
The Saints remain at No. 17 after losing what many expected to be a lopsided game on Thanksgiving night.
New Orleans couldn’t stir up much offensive production in a 31-6 loss to Buffalo.
16. Indianapolis Colts ( ↓ 1 )
The Colts outplayed the Buccaneers in the first half of their Week 12 matchup but still couldn’t pull off the win, which is why they move down one spot. Indianapolis is now 6-6 and on the outside looking in as far as the AFC playoff picture is concerned.
15. Las Vegas Raiders ( ↑ 1 )
The Raiders pulled off a big Thanksgiving Day win over the Cowboys but are still outside of the AFC playoff picture.
Can they defeat the Football Team for their second straight victory over an NFC East ballclub?
14. Minnesota Vikings ( ↓ 1 )
I told everyone not to sleep on Minnesota, but the Vikings lost a big game against the 49ers this past Sunday, so I apologize. A win over San Fran would’ve kept the Vikings in the NFC playoff picture but they’re currently out of it at 5-6.
13. Los Angeles Chargers ( ↓ 3 )
The Chargers are another inconsistent ballclub. They followed up a big Week 11 win over Pittsburgh with a tough loss to Denver this past Sunday.
Los Angeles needs to finish the regular season strong, or else it could be in danger of missing the playoffs during a year in which many had high hopes for the Justin Herbert-led squad.
12. San Francisco 49ers ( ↑ 2 )
The 49ers are red hot and have won four of their last five games.
The season was starting to look like a lost cause for San Fran at one point, but ahead of Week 13, it occupies one of the NFC Wild Card spots. Not to mention, the 49ers are just one game back of the Rams for the second-place spot in the NFC West.
11. Cincinnati Bengals ( ↑ 1 )
Cincinnati additionally needs to finish strong. The Bengals previously fell out of the AFC playoff picture but are back in following a blowout win over the Steelers in Week 12.
Consistency down the stretch will be required for the Bengals to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2015 season.
10. Baltimore Ravens ( ↑ 1 )
What an ugly win it was for the Ravens on Sunday night — Lamar Jackson threw four interceptions in a 16-10 victory over the Browns.
Nonetheless, Baltimore is the current No. 1 seed in the AFC, so it would feel weird not to include the Ravens in our top 10.
9. Dallas Cowboys ( → )
The Cowboys stay at No. 9 after suffering an overtime loss to the Raiders on Thanksgiving.
Dallas needs to get back on the right track though. Dak Prescott and his teammates have lost three of their last four games.
8. Los Angeles Rams ( ↓ 6 )
What in the world is going on with the Rams?
This was arguably the top team in football at one point but Los Angeles has now lost three straight.
Luckily, a get-right game could be en route — the Rams face the Jaguars this Sunday afternoon.
7. Kansas City Chiefs ( → )
The Chiefs sit tight at No. 7 following their Week 12 bye.
6. Tennessee Titans ( ↓ 3 )
The Titans are also weirdly struggling right now. They’ve lost two straight (to the Texans and Patriots) and most recently suffered a 23-point defeat to New England.
Say what you want about the loss to the Patriots, but Tennessee needs to beat Houston. There’s no excuse for that goose egg.
5. Green Bay Packers ( ↑ 3 )
The Packers remain near the top of the league. They’re the No. 2 seed in the NFC and outplayed the Rams in Week 12.
Aaron Rodgers threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns (and ran for another score) in the 36-28 win.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers ( ↑ 1 )
The Buccaneers quickly put two consecutive losses behind them with two straight wins over the Giants and Colts.
Unless they somehow commit various costly mistakes, expect the Bucs to notch a third consecutive victory against Atlanta this Sunday.
3. New England Patriots ( ↑ 3 )
The hottest team in football remains on fire.
The Patriots have won six straight games and are now the No. 2 seed in the AFC.
Did you really think it was going to take Bill Belichick that long to find success again? New England sports the top scoring defense in the league (15.8 points allowed per game) and Mac Jones is completing 70.3% of his throws with 237.5 passing yards per game and a 97.1 quarterback rating.
Next Monday night, the Pats will have a huge test against an AFC East rival and our next team…
2. Buffalo Bills ( ↑ 2 )
The Bills are in second place in the AFC East behind the Pats but I would still trust Buffalo in a matchup with New England since it employs the superior quarterback in Josh Allen.
Our questions will be answered next Monday night though — this would be an enormous victory for either organization.
1. Arizona Cardinals ( → )
The Cardinals remain the top team in football following their Week 12 bye.
They sport the best record in the NFL and quarterback Kyler Murray might be returning from injury in Week 13, which would be huge for Arizona.
— Kyler Murray (@K1) November 29, 2021
Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY