At one point, it looked as if the Chiefs were going to roll through the AFC West. While they still have a two-game lead in the division, they’re 6-4 and have lost four of five since a 5-0 start. Kansas City’s first two wins of the year were over the Patriots and Eagles, who might be the two best teams in the NFL. Sunday’s 12-9 overtime loss to the lowly Giants defies logic.
Meanwhile, the Patriots (8-2) and Steelers (8-2) appear to be pulling away in the AFC, with a Dec. 17 meeting between the two looming large for home-field advantage in the playoffs.
The NFC starts to look like a three-team race after the Vikings (8-2) dispatched the Rams (7-3) with a convincing 24-7 victory. The Eagles (9-1) have the NFL’s best record, but the Vikings and Saints, also 8-2, are just a game back for the NFC’s top seed.
Omnisport’s Week 12 NFL power rankings
1. Philadelphia Eagles (9-1): Shaking off a slow start in Dallas, the Eagles crushed the Cowboys and have a healthy four-game lead in the NFC East with only six games remaining.
2. New England Patriots (8-2): The Patriots are well on their way to a ninth straight AFC East title.
3. New Orleans Saints (8-2): The first team in NFL history to win eight straight after an 0-2 start, the Saints will try to extend that record Sunday against the Rams.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-2): The Steelers’ fourth-ranked defense has to be licking its chops after watching the Packers’ inept offense Sunday against the Ravens.
5. Minnesota Vikings (8-2): A win Thursday in Detroit not only would avenge an earlier loss to the Lions but also all but wrap up a division title for the Vikings. However, a loss would give the Lions a season sweep and open the door for Detroit.
6. Carolina Panthers (7-3): Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen should be back for Sunday’s game against the Jets, a boost for the Panthers offense.
7. Los Angeles Rams (7-3): The surprising Rams have hit the most difficult stretch of their schedule. After losing in Minnesota, they play host to the Saints on Sunday.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars (7-3): The Jaguars took over the AFC South lead, but three of their final six games are against division opponents.
9. Atlanta Falcons (6-4): They held on to beat an injury-depleted Seahawks team Monday, but we still don’t know how good these Falcons are.
10. Seattle Seahawks (6-4): About that 12th man … the Seahawks’ air of invincibility at CenturyLink Field is gone.
11. Detroit Lions (6-4): As they did all last season, the Lions are skating by with close victories. They’ll have to put together a complete game Thursday to beat the Vikings.
12. Tennessee Titans (6-4): Hammered by the Steelers last Thursday in one of their worst games of the season, the Titans have had a couple extra days to stew while getting ready for Sunday’s game in Indianapolis.
13. Baltimore Ravens (5-5): The Ravens have three shutouts this season and three of the previous four teams to accomplish the feat during that span won the Super Bowl in that season.
14. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4): The 2017 Chiefs are looking like the 2016 Vikings, who started 5-0 only to miss the playoffs. Kansas City looks to snap its skid Sunday against the Bills.
15. Dallas Cowboys (5-5): Dallas just isn’t the same team without Tyron Smith and Ezekiel Elliott.
16. Washington Redskins (4-6): After letting one slip away in New Orleans, the Redskins try to regroup Thursday against the Giants.
17. Los Angeles Chargers (4-6): It sure does help when the opposing team throws five interceptions — in the first half. The Chargers probably need more turnovers to beat the Cowboys on Thursday.
18. Green Bay Packers (5-5): Like it or not, the Packers are stuck with Brett Hundley at quarterback.
19. Oakland Raiders (4-6): Because of the Chiefs’ slump, the Raiders’ playoff hopes aren’t yet dashed — but they might have to win out to reach the postseason.
20. New York Jets (4-6): The Jets host the Panthers on Sunday in a rare late-season matchup of teams coming off byes.
21. Arizona Cardinals (4-6): Larry Fitzgerald moved into fifth place in career receiving yards, another milestone in another loss in what is becoming a lost season for the future Hall of Famer.
22. Buffalo Bills (5-5): If the Bills lose this week in Kansas City, you might as well stick a fork in their playoff hopes.
23. Cincinnati Bengals (4-6): After winning in Denver for the first time in more than 40 years, the Bengals play host to the winless Browns as they try to keep alive their playoff aspirations.
24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6): The Bucs beat the struggling Dolphins, but they won’t have Jameis Winston for a third straight game when they play the Falcons in a key NFC South matchup.
25. Houston Texans (4-6): The Texans rallied to beat the Cardinals but lost running back D’Onta Foreman in the process. Now they have to face a red-hot Ravens defense.
26. Chicago Bears (3-7): After nearly pulling off an upset of the Lions, the Bears see things get even more difficult this week: a trip to Philadelphia.
27. Miami Dolphins (4-6): When will Adam Gase realize Matt Moore is a better option than Jay Cutler at quarterback?
28. Indianapolis Colts (3-7): The best the Colts can do at this point is play spoilers in the AFC South.
29. Denver Broncos (3-7): Inner turmoil has begun in Denver, which is never a good sign.
30. New York Giants (2-8): No one is quite sure how, but the Giants knocked off the Chiefs ahead of Thursday’s game against the reeling Redskins.