NFL Power Rankings Week 13: 1-32 poll, plus checking in on each team's confidence rating

ByNFL Nation ESPN logo
Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Confidence and the NFL Power Rankings go hand in hand. While we're confident (mostly) about how we rank teams each week, we've decided to go further at NFL Nation and give weekly confidence ratings to let the fans know how we're feeling about each team after every game. And with two-thirds of the season gone, it's time to check on the evolution of each reporter's confidence rankings.

We first did this six weeks ago, with the reporters tackling a "how it started vs. how it's going" theme, and we have even more information now (though no meme nearly as convenient). So, we're looking back at how reporters rated their teams after Week 6 and seeing how they compare to how confident they are about them now. Some are feeling pretty good about how the season has evolved (take notice, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs fans), and some aren't feeling too great about the teams they cover (sorry, New Orleans Saints fans). Some others even have similar confidence to what they had six weeks ago but massive variations in between (Raider Nation, we feel ya).

How we rank our Power Rankings: Our power panel -- a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities -- evaluates how teams stack up throughout the season.

Previous rankings: 12 | 11 | 10 | 9 |8|7 | 6 | 5 | 4 |3 |2 |Preseason

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NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF


1. Green Bay Packers (9-3)

Previous ranking: 2

Week 6 confidence rating: 7.5

How it's going now: 8.0

As long as the Packers have Aaron Rodgers -- even with a broken toe -- they're going to be the favorites on most days. The offense has closely resembled the 2020 version that led the NFL in scoring. The Packers have scored over 30 points in each of the past two weeks, and they now have a bye week to get a little healthier for a stretch run that includes only two more road games -- one of which is at winless Detroit. -- Rob Demovsky

2. Arizona Cardinals (9-2)

Previous ranking: 1

Week 6 confidence rating: 9.4

How it's going now: 8.5

Losing two out of three games will cause confidence in a team to take a hit, but Arizona regained a lot of that confidence lost by beating the 49ers and Seahawkswith backup quarterback Colt McCoy. However, the Cardinals' loss to the Packers in Week 8 is a definite cause for concern considering there's a good chance Arizona could see Green Bay at some point in the playoffs. -- Josh Weinfuss

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3)

Previous ranking: 6

Week 6 confidence rating: 8.0

How it's going now: 8.0

The Bucs keep finding ways to win games despite being absolutely decimated by injuries and struggling on the road. On one hand, injuries are bound to happen on a team with several aging veterans. But the experience of players such asTom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Ndamukong Suh, Leonard Fournette and Lavonte David can't be overstated when it comes to come-from-behind wins in double-digit deficits like the one they climbed out of Sunday at the Colts. -- Jenna Laine

4. Baltimore Ravens (8-3)

Previous ranking: 8

Week 6 confidence rating: 9.0

How it's going now:8.0

The Ravens boast the best record in the AFC, but they haven't looked their best in climbing to the top spot. Over the past five games, Baltimore suffered its largest margin of defeat with Lamar Jackson as its starter (a 24-point loss to the Bengals at home) and produced its two lowest point totals under Jackson (10 points in Miami and 16 points against the Browns). With an improving defense and reliable kicker Justin Tucker, the Ravens could become a dangerous team down the stretch if Jackson gets back on track. -- Jamison Hensley

5. New England Patriots (8-4)

Previous ranking: 9

Week 6 confidence rating:5.0

How it's going now:6.6

New England has won six straight games. Bill Belichick often says that no stat correlates more to winning than turnovers, so consider this: After Week 6, when the Patriots were 2-4, they were minus-3 in the turnover differential; now,they are plus-10 on the season -- the second best in the NFL. That's a good place to start when considering how the Patriots have turned their season around and why my confidence rating has gone up. -- Mike Reiss

6. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)

Previous ranking:7

Week 6 confidence rating:6.0

How it's going now:9.0

The Chiefs are winning games with their defense by allowing fewer than 12 points per contest over the past four. Earlier this season, it looked as if it would be years before the Chiefs would be competitive on defense; but if this keeps up, every game they play the rest of the way is winnable. It is troublesome that the offense has one game in the past five with more than 20 points; one bad day for the defense could blow up all the Chiefs' plans if that continues. -- Adam Teicher

7. Buffalo Bills (7-4)

Previous ranking: 12

Week 6 confidence rating:7.8

How it's going now:7.9

Well, the rating hasn't changed that much because the Bills haven't defeated a big-time opponent, outside of a Week 5 win versus the Chiefs. Since the Week 6 loss to the Titans, the Bills have been up and down, losing to the Jaguars and Colts (in blowout fashion) but beating the Dolphins, Jets and Saints.

Buffalo has not been able to stack wins since the beginning of October. The offense needs to establish more of its identity and show that it can be effective game after game. Two upcoming matchups against the Patriots and a contest in Tampa will be telling. -- Alaina Getzenberg

8. Tennessee Titans (8-4)

Previous ranking: 3

Week 6 confidence rating:7.5

How it's going now:7.5

The major change for the Titans has obviously been injuries. They've now rostered 86 players this season, which is an NFL record. The "next man up" approach can only go so far. The past two weeks have been brutal. Zero takeaways paired with nine turnovers is a recipe for back-to-back losses. However, there is still reason to be confident because of how well the Titans ran for 270 yards against the Patriots. Even without Derrick Henry, Tennessee's foundation is running the ball. And getting wide receiversA.J. Brown and Julio Jones back down the line will help in a major way. Also, the defense has shown it can be game-changing, even more so once Bud Dupree returns. -- Turron Davenport

9. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)

Previous ranking: 13

Week 6 confidence rating:7.0

How it's going now:6.7

Cincinnati went from one of the hottest teams in the AFC to one with big question marks again after an upset loss to the Jets and a blowout defeat delivered by theBrowns. It was a legitimate wobble for a team with playoff aspirations. But after an off-week, Cincinnati has cobbled together back-to-back wins and seems to havefound its early-season form again. Coach Zac Taylor recognizes exactly that: "We've kind of got that momentum back that we had earlier in the season that we knew we could have. We had that little stumble, but these guys have a ton of confidence." -- Ben Baby

10. Dallas Cowboys (7-4)

Previous ranking: 5

Week 6 confidence rating:9.1

How it's going now:7.9

The confidence drop is what happens when you lose three of four games. Good thing the Cowboys don't play in the AFC West, with losses to Denver, Kansas City and Las Vegas. The offense has stagnated, especially the ground game. Defenses have interrupted the pass game with aggressive play outside, which has led to Dak Prescott holding the ball longer.

The Cowboys' defense has given up too many big plays all season, but now, itcan't come up with key stops and has too many penalties. Greg Zuerlein missed a PAT versus the Raiders, and a 59-yard field goal attempt hit the upright. He needs to be more consistent. All of the good feelings coming out of a Halloween win at Minnesota without Prescott have slowly leaked out of the balloon.-- Todd Archer

11. Los Angeles Rams (7-4)

Previous ranking: 4

Week 6 confidence rating:8.4

How it's going now:7.0

The Rams are 1-4 against teams with winning records and 6-0 against everyone else. They're in the midst of a three-game losing streak for the second time in Sean McVay's five seasons as coach. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown three passes that have been intercepted and returned for touchdowns in the losing streak and has committed six turnovers in that same span. On defense, opponents have schemed their way to avoiding any Aaron Donald, Von Miller and Leonard Floyd rush while also keeping plays away from cornerback Jalen Ramsey. And special teams continues its season-long streak of underwhelming, if not costly, play. A roster built for a Super Bowl is without question trending in the wrong direction with six games remaining. -- Lindsey Thiry

12. San Francisco 49ers (6-5)

Previous ranking: 14

Week 6 confidence rating:5.8

How it's going now:6.5

The 49ers hit rock bottom against Arizona in Week 9, but that loss is long forgotten. The Niners have won three in a row and four of their past five, and they now sit at the No. 6 spot in the NFC playoff picture. Given their schedule and the way things are breaking around them, it would be a surprise if they don't make the postseason, which means this confidence rating should only continue to rise. -- Nick Wagoner

13. Indianapolis Colts (6-6)

Previous ranking: 10

Week 6 confidence rating:4.8

How it's going now:3.7

Give the Colts a team with a losing record and they likely won't have a difficult time winning. Have them face a team with a winning mark and things are drastically different. Five of the Colts' six victories have been against teams with a losing record. Buffalo is the only team with a winning record that Indianapolis has beaten this season. The Colts have blown double-digit leads against Baltimore, Tennessee and,most recently, Tampa Bay. Making the playoffs is becoming less and less likely as the weeks pass, especially since three of the Colts' final five games are against teams with a winning record. -- Mike Wells

14. Las Vegas Raiders (6-5)

Previous ranking: 20

Week 6 confidence rating:7.5

How it's going now:7.0

Sure, the Raiders are coming off a feel-good Thanksgiving win at Dallas -- a game in which QB Derek Carr seemed to emerge from a post-bye funk, as he was more aggressive in attacking the Cowboys' defense. But while the NFL season truly is a week-by-week proposition, Carr and the Raiders, who looked more and more lost as their three-game losing streak grew, need to string together a few more positive weeks to get the confidence level up again. Washington should provide that opportunity next. Again, should. -- Paul Gutierrez

15. Denver Broncos (6-5)

Previous ranking: 22

Week 6 confidence rating:5.5

How it's going now:5.5

The Broncos were 3-3 after Week 6, headed for 3-4 in Week 7. They are now 6-5 after winning three of their past four. Whether this team keeps itself in the playoff mix now depends on whether Denver continues to keep the quarterback under center close to half of the time, uses more play-action and commits to the run game. Thewin Sunday over the Chargers was just another example.

The Broncos are 6-0 when the quarterbacks are under center 50-50 as compared with the shotgun -- as well as averaging just over 30 rushing attempts. They also have all of their pass completions of at least 40 yards on the season in those games. The team is 0-5 when it lines up in the shotgun most of the time and runs the ball an average of 18 times a game. -- Jeff Legwold

16. Los Angeles Chargers (6-5)

Previous ranking: 11

Week 6 confidence rating:5.7

How it's going now:5.5

The up-and-down Chargers can't string together wins. One week they're great; the next week they're awful. They beat Philadelphia 27-24, then they lost to Minnesota 27-20, then they beat Pittsburgh 41-37, and then theylost Sunday to the Broncos 28-13. One need that is apparent is someone to step up at running back. When Austin Ekeler was in the concussion protocol, there was nobody to fill in. On the season, Justin Jackson has 14 carries for 103 yards, and Larry Rountree III has 36 carries for 87 yards. QBJustin Herbertis their second-best rusher with 243 yards. He need options. They might make the playoffs, but it is iffy for them to go far. -- Shelley Smith

17. Cleveland Browns (6-6)

Previous ranking: 15

Week 6 confidence rating:6.0

How it's going now:4.9

The offense has fallen off a cliff. From Week 6 on, the Browns' offense ranks 24th in efficiency, 25th in expected points added (EPA), 19th in yards per play, 24th in third-down conversion rate and 26th in first downs per game. Baker Mayfield'sinjuries have clearly impacted his performance all season. Now, the running game is beginning to sputter, as well. Cleveland, mathematically, is still alive in the playoff race. But the way this offense is playing, it's difficult to see the Browns making a serious push. -- Jake Trotter

18. Minnesota Vikings (5-6)

Previous ranking: 16

Week 6 confidence rating:5.0

How it's going now:6.0

Minnesota's 34-26 loss at San Francisco dropped its playoff chances from 78% to 40%, according to ESPN's FPI. My confidence rating in Week 12 is a point higher than it was in Week 6 because the Vikings have surpassed the hardest stretch of their schedule and are in good position for the No. 7 seed -- with games left against the Lions, a downward-sliding Steelers team and two meetings with the Bears. But even with a manageable stretch to close out the schedule, nothing feels completely stable with a team whose narrative flip flops from playoff contender to a group in need of a complete overhaul with every win and loss, respectively. -- Courtney Cronin

19. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5-1)

Previous ranking: 17

Week 6 confidence rating:5.0

How it's going now:2.5

The Steelers' flaws dominated the Week 12 blowout lossto Cincinnati. They can't run the ball, and they can't stop the run. The Steelers weren't stopping the run well in Week 6, but they still found a way to beat the Seahawks, thanks to a big game from running backNajee Harris. Since holding the Browns to 96 rushing yards in Week 8, the Steelers have given up an average of 180 yards per game to their next four opponents. The Steelers' own run game is disappearing too. They have the fourth-fewest rushing yards in the league and the third-worst yards per carry average. With six tough games left -- including two against the division-leadingRavens -- there's not much confidence they can turn it around.-- Brooke Pryor

20. New Orleans Saints (5-6)

Previous ranking: 18

Week 6 confidence rating:7.0

How it's going now:4.5

Silly me, I thought the Saints had survived the toughest stretch of their season at this point. And they did climb to 5-2 with a win over the Buccaneers. But then New Orleans lost Jameis Winston to a season-ending ACL tear, found out Michael Thomas wouldn't be coming back all year from an ankle injury, lost Alvin Kamara for three games and suffered several other key injuries that led to their current four-game losing streak. The one constant all season has been a lackluster passing attack (27th in the NFL). However, the roster is getting healthier, and the schedule isn't too daunting down the stretch -- so there is still a glimmer of hope. -- Mike Triplett

21. Miami Dolphins (5-7)

Previous ranking: 25

Week 6 confidence rating:4.0

How it's going now:8.0

Look at what a four-game winning streak does. Tua Tagovailoa said after the Dolphins' dominant victory over Carolina that they're finally looking like the team they expected to be. After allowing the most yards in the NFL during its seven-game losing streak, Miami has rebounded into one of the league's elite defenses. It is second in the NFL in defensive EPA over the past four weeks, trailing only New England. The Dolphins will likely need some help to make the playoffs, but they should handle the Giants and Jets over their next two games. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques

22. Washington Football Team (5-6)

Previous ranking: 23

Week 6 confidence rating: 3.7

How it's going now: 5.9

The run game and the defense showed up. Neither was consistent early in the season, and the defense was just plain awful. But Washington has won three straight by using a formula of strong defense and a physical run game. In fact, the defense has held each of the past four opponents to less than 300 yards of total offense. And in the past two weeks, the run game has compiled 334 yards. Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke has done a good job managing the game during this stretch, as well. The confidence level is growing. -- John Keim

23. Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)

Previous ranking: 21

Week 6 confidence rating:3.9

How it's going now:4.1

The Eagles have discovered an offensive identity since the last check-in, based largely around a dominant rushing attack. They have racked up 1,078 yards on the ground since Week 8, by far the most in the NFL. (The Colts are second with 841.) TheEagles had won three of four using that formula before a costly 13-7 loss to the Giants on Sunday in which Jalen Hurts threw a career-high three interceptions. Philadelphia's playoff chances dipped to 26% with the defeat, according to ESPN's Football Power Index. But the Eagles have the easiest closing schedule in the NFL, and they should have more good Sundays than bad to finish the regular season -- so long as they can keep the turnovers down. -- Tim McManus

24. Carolina Panthers (5-7)

Previous ranking: 19

Week 6 confidence rating:5.0

How it's going now:4.4

The Panthers are 2-4 since Week 6 despite getting key players such as RB Christian McCaffrey and LB Shaq Thompson back. The biggest issue -- among many -- has been poor quarterback play. First it was Sam Darnold, who had no touchdown passes and four interceptions during a three-game span before going on injured reserve. And he was looking shaky before that. Then Cam Newton entered the equation. After a solid start, his game fell apart on Sunday at Miami. Until that position stabilizes, the confidence level will continue to drop. -- David Newton

25. Atlanta Falcons (5-6)

Previous ranking: 24

Week 6 confidence rating:5.0

How it's going now:3.6

The Falcons continue to hang around .500 and the wild-card race, but much of that has been because of whom Atlanta has beaten. The Falcons' five wins have all come against teams currently with records of under .500 -- including two that would be drafting in the top 5 if the season ended today. Consistency has been a problem, and when Atlanta plays good teams, it has led to bad results. Plus, the schedule the rest of the way is not very kind, with games against Tampa Bay, San Francisco and Buffalo among the final six. -- Michael Rothstein

26. New York Giants (4-7)

Previous ranking: 26

Week 6 confidence rating:1.8

How it's going now:4.0

Hey, the Giants have won three of five games, with victories over the Panthers, Raiders and Eagles. That's not bad, even if it hasn't been pretty. The Giants' only two losses since Week 6 have come on Monday nights in Tampa Bay and Kansas City. How? They have the second-highest defensive EPA, at 36.96, during that time. -- Jordan Raanan

27. Chicago Bears (4-7)

Previous ranking: 27

Week 6 confidence rating:4.8

How it's going now:3.5

As you can see, my confidence rating for the Bears is rather low. The Bears are 4-7 and mathematically still alive for the playoffs, but they rank 14th out of 16 NFC teams when you factor in tiebreakers. I would give the Bears a slight bump whenever they won, but based on the quality of opponent (or lack thereof), the Bears never received a high number on the weekly confidence ratings. Am I supposed to throw a parade for the Bears barely beating winless Detroit? -- Jeff Dickerson

28. Seattle Seahawks (3-8)

Previous ranking: 28

Week 6 confidence rating: 5.0

How it's going now: 2.0

At 3-8 with a broken offense and a 1% chance to make the playoffs, according to ESPN's Football Power Index, not much is inspiring confidence with the Seahawks. They couldn't finish on offense against the Rams when Geno Smith replaced an injured Russell Wilson, then the same thing happened in their two losses with Smith as starter. The thought then was how much they were missing Wilson, one of the NFL's best closers. But their offense has been just as bad since his return from finger surgery, scoring only 28 combined points in three straight losses. Wilson said his finger is fine and there's no rust, but he is missing throws he usually doesn't miss. Their defense is playing well, but that's not enough to rescue this lost season. -- Brady Henderson

29. New York Jets (3-8)

Previous ranking: 31

Week 6 confidence rating:3.0

How it's going now: 4.0

The Jets have made strides on offense, going from 31st to 21st in total yards. But the problem is, rookie QB Zach Wilson--who missed four games during this window -- had nothing to do with the improvement. They have to get him up to speed, simply because he is their future. On the downside, the defense dropped from 22nd to 32nd, which included a historically bad funk of four games. The defense took a couple of baby steps in the 21-14 win at the Texans on Sunday, but it has a long way to go. -- Rich Cimini

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9)

Previous ranking: 30

Week 6 confidence rating:3.0

How it's going now:1.5

The Jaguars' offense has gotten significantly worse -- and it wasn't great in the first six weeks, either. The Jaguars are averaging a league-worst 11.4 points per game and have managed just 283 yards (176 passing) in their past five games. Rookie QB Trevor Lawrence has thrown two touchdown passes and two interceptions with a QBR of 25.6 (second worst) over that span. -- Mike DiRocco

31. Houston Texans (2-9)

Previous ranking: 29

Week 6 confidence rating:1.0

How it's going now:0.8

Not much has changed for a Texans team that has only won one game since Week 6 and that already had a low confidence rating. Houston got a surprise win in Nashville in Week 11 but couldn't build on it Sunday, losing by a touchdown to the Jets. Now, the biggest question remaining for the Texans is where they pick in the draft, after having just one first-round pick since 2018. Houston is currently projected by ESPN's FPI to have an average draft position of 2.6 and has a 97.3% chance of having a top-5 pick. -- Sarah Barshop

32. Detroit Lions (0-10-1)

Previous ranking: 32

Week 6 confidence rating:2.5

How it's going now:2.0

I honestly don't have much confidence at all in this team. Winning a single game is still a question mark. It has a lot to do with the offensive playcalling since coach Dan Campbell has taken over and just the overall talent on the roster. The Lions continue to play hard, even being 0-10-1, but I don't trust them to close out a game. Even quarterback Jared Goff acknowledged after the Thanksgiving Day loss to Chicago that this team has to "learn how not to lose," with self-inflicted mistakes and penalties in crucial moments. -- Eric Woodyard

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