While the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers - both of whom are 9-1 - are currently on track to secure the No. 1 seeds in their respective conferences, neither team feels like the prohibitive favorite to appear in the Super Bowl.
In fact, neither team checked in at the top spot on this week's NFL Power Rankings, with another Super Bowl favorite having emerged:
1. Baltimore Ravens (Last Week: No. 1)
As noted in this week's NFL takeaways, not only is Lamar Jackson the MVP favorite, but the Ravens are the Super Bowl favorites. They have the No. 1 rushing offense in the NFL - and No. 2 overall offense - paired with a defense that's limited opponents to just 16 points per game during their six-game winning streak.
2. New England Patriots (Last Week: No. 2)
In Week 11, the Patriots defeated the Eagles 17-10 in Philadelphia to move to 9-1, but there was still consideration to moving them down on this week's power rankings. Ultimately, their defense, which has allowed less than 11 points per game in 2019, kept them at No. 2. But as Tom Brady said Monday, the Patriots offense right now isn't their strength. They are a middle-of-the-pack group offensively, which makes you wonder if they have enough firepower to compete in the postseason.
3. Green Bay Packers (Last Week: No. 3)
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers return from the bye week clinging onto their lead in the NFC North after a comeback win by the division-rival Minnesota Vikings allowed them to move to 8-3. The Packers are 8-2, which puts them very much in the discussion for the No. 1 seed in the NFC. A win this week in San Francisco on Monday Night Football would go a long way in assuring the NFC playoffs run through the frozen tundra.
4. Seattle Seahawks (Last Week: No. 4)
Even after an overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 10, the Seahawks return from their bye week in second place in the NFC West. If they win the NFC West, they may have home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. If they have to settle for a Wild Card, not only will they not have a first-round bye, but they won't host a playoff game. That makes their showdown in Philadelphia with the Eagles this week very important, as Russell Wilson looks to continue to build his MVP case.
5. San Francisco 49ers (Last Week: No. 5)
For the second time in three games, the 49ers pulled out a close win over the upstart Arizona Cardinals in Week 11. They're 9-1, but wedged in between two close games against the 3-7-1 Cardinals was an overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks. It's still fair to be skeptical of whether the 49ers will be able to hold off the Seahawks in the NFC West - and possibly for the No. 1 overall seed in the conference.
6. New Orleans Saints (Last Week: No. 6)
Following an ugly loss at home to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 10, Drew Brees and the Saints rebounded for a statement win in Tampa Bay in Week 11. Not only did Brees toss three touchdown passes, but an opportunistic Saints defense picked off Jameis Winston four times. At 8-2, the Saints are still very much in the discussion for the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and considering they're essentially unopposed in the NFC South, they may have the best path to getting there.
7. Minnesota Vikings (Last Week: No. 7)
Kirk Cousins and the Vikings roared back from a 20-0 halftime deficit to defeat the Denver Broncos 27-23 in Week 11 and move to 8-3 in 2019. For as much slack as Cousins has taken - and deservedly so, in some cases - he's thrown 21 touchdowns and been picked off just three times in 2019. He's at least on the fringes of the NFL MVP discussion. All that said, even at 8-3, the Vikings are second in their own division, a half game back of the 8-2 Green Bay Packers, who they lost to in Week 2. To win the NFC North, the Vikings will almost certainly have to beat the Packers at home in Week 16. In the meantime, if they want to keep their chances of having a first-round bye alive - or at least being the top-seeded Wild Card team - it wouldn't hurt to beat the Seahawks in Seattle in Week 13 on Monday Night Football when they return from their bye week.
8. Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week: No. 8)
Though Patrick Mahomes was limited to just 159 passing yards and led the team in rushing yards in Week 11, the Chiefs improved to 7-4 by edging out the division-rival Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football. A win over the upstart Oakland Raiders in Week 13 would go a long way in terms of helping the Chiefs move towards clinching the AFC West title. It also would keep their slim hopes of a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs alive.
9. Dallas Cowboys (Last Week: No. 11)
After defeating the Detroit Lions, the Cowboys are 6-4, one game ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles, who they have already beaten once in 2019, in the NFC East. The Cowboys have a tough date in New England in Week 12. Ultimately, they will probably have to beat the Eagles in Philadelphia in Week 16 to secure the NFC East, though that may be a bet worth taking at this juncture. Also a bet worth taking? Dak Prescott, who leads the NFL in passing yards, is going to be a much wealthier man at this time next year.
10. Indianapolis Colts (Last Week: No. 18)
The good news is that with Jacoby Brissett back, the Colts blew out the division-rival Jaguars in 2019, likely ending the Jags' realistic chances of winning the AFC South. Also good news is that star wideout T.Y. Hilton shouldn't be far off from returning from a calf injury that has held him out of three consecutive games. The bad news is that running back Marlon Mack, who has rushed for 862 yards in 2019, fractured his hand in the aforementioned win. That means he'll miss this week's crucial Thursday Night Football tilt in Houston, which could ultimately decide who wins the AFC South. It is worth noting, though, that Jonathan Williams ran for 116 yards on 13 carries in Week 11.
11. Houston Texans (Last Week: No. 9)
It was perhaps predictable that the Texans would lose to the Ravens in Baltimore. It wasn't predictable that they would lose 41-7, with their offense limited to just 232 total yards coming off of the bye. In any event, the Texans will need to have a very short memory, as they host the division-rival Indianapolis Colts, who are also 6-4, on Thursday Night Football.
12. Los Angeles Rams (Last Week: No. 12)
The Rams defeated a Bears team that's in disarray on Sunday Night Football, but Jared Goff's disappointing season continued, as he was picked off for the 10th time, leaving him with just one more touchdown pass than interception this season. Even at 6-4, the Rams don't have a clear path to the postseason - whether it's through the NFC West or one of the two NFC Wild Card slots.
13. Buffalo Bills (Last Week: No. 16)
The Bills have beaten six different teams in 2019, and those teams have a combined record of 13-47, which sounds fake, but it isn't. But, it's Week 12 and Sean McDermott's squad is 7-3 and in position to secure one of the two Wild Card spots in the AFC. They'll host the 3-7 Denver Broncos this week.
14. Oakland Raiders (Last Week: No. 14)
Though the Jets have shown signs of life over the past two weeks, the Raiders have another seemingly winnable game in Week 12 before a crucial divisional showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs in two weeks. Even if they only go 8-8 or 9-7, that would be an overwhelmingly successful season when compared to preseason expectations for a team that dealt with arguably the most tumultuous preseason in NFL history.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week: No. 13)
The Eagles took a 10-0 lead over the New England Patriots in Week 11, only to lose the game 17-10. Whether they back their way into a postseason spot in a weak division or not, it's been an extremely disappointing campaign for a team that entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations. Carson Wentz has stayed healthy, but hasn't rediscovered the form that made him the NFL MVP favorite for much of the 2017 season, and that's largely because he has an unacceptable group of wide receivers.
16. Carolina Panthers (Last Week: No. 10)
While they do appear to have caught the Atlanta Falcons at the worst possible time of the season, the Panthers laid an egg in Week 11, further damaging their already slim playoff hopes. Christian McCaffrey was marvelous - he ran for 70 yards and had 121 receiving yards - but Kyle Allen was picked off four times. Even if the Panthers move on from Cam Newton at the conclusion of the 2019 season, it's not necessarily a guarantee that Allen is who they'll proceed with as their quarterback of the future.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last Week: No. 15)
An ugly brawl aside, Mason Rudolph threw four interceptions in a 21-7 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football. At 5-5, the Steelers feel like a team that has a playoff-caliber defense, but will need to re-tool their offense this offseason as they await on the return of future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger.
18. Tennessee Titans (Last Week: No. 17)
Last we saw the Titans, Ryan Tannehill led the Titans to an upset victory over Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. At 5-5, the Titans are still at least in the postseason picture, and Tannehill has a chance to play himself into being a starting option for the Titans in 2020.
19. Detroit Lions (Last Week: No. 20)
Jeff Driskel was serviceable in Week 11, as he continued to fill in for the injured Matthew Stafford. But while Driskel tossed two touchdowns, the Lions defense wasn't able to slow the Dallas Cowboys offense, with Dak Prescott throwing for 434 yards. The Lions have been competitive in 2019, but they're now 3-6-1, and the fact that they have the 30th-ranked defense reflects poorly upon defensive-minded head coach Matt Patricia.
20. Arizona Cardinals (Last Week: No. 22)
While it's mildly concerning that the Cardinals have lost as many close games in 2019 as they have, they were the worst team in the NFL a season ago, and seem to have been greatly rewarded with the chance to draft Kyler Murray No. 1 overall. Murray has tossed 14 touchdowns and been picked off just five times in his rookie season, while mixing in over 400 rushing yards. The Cardinals appear to have solidified the quarterback position for at least a decade.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Week: No. 21)
Nick Foles may have left his late-season magic in Philadelphia, as the Jaguars were blown out 33-13 by the Indianapolis Colts in his return from a broken collarbone. At 4-6, the remainder of the Jaguars season will serve as a way for the organization to evaluate how they proceed at the quarterback position.
22. Chicago Bears (Last Week: No. 19)
Mitchell Trubisky has a $9.23 million cap hit in 2020, the final year of his rookie deal. But with how the 2019 season has played out, it feels like it would be in the best interests of all parties involved for him to have a change of scenery. Of course, unless the Bears are prepared to move forward with Chase Daniel as their quarterback, moving on from Trubisky may be easier than finding a solution at the most important position in sports.
23. Los Angeles Chargers (Last Week: No. 24)
Philip Rivers was picked off four more times in the Chargers Monday Night Football loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, upping his total on the year to 14. As the team prepares to move into a new stadium, it is beginning to feel like it may be time to go in another direction at the quarterback position, with Rivers having one of the worst seasons of his career shortly before he celebrates his 38th birthday.
24. Atlanta Falcons (Last Week: No. 26)
Since Dan Quinn turned over defensive coordinating responsibilities to Jeff Ulbrich, the Falcons have won two consecutive games and outscored the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers by a combined score of 55-12. It will be interesting to see if the Falcons have a strong finish to 2019 if Quinn is retained for a sixth season as head coach.
25. Cleveland Browns (Last Week: No. 25)
Even in a comfortable win over a division-rival on a national stage, the Browns still left Week 11 with the worst taste in their mouths possible. Myles Garrett, who has 23.5 sacks since the start of the 2018 season, won't return for at least the remainder of 2019. Right now, it feels hard to imagine Freddie Kitchens getting a second year as Browns head coach.
26. Denver Broncos (Last Week: No. 27)
The Broncos blew a 20-0 lead in Minnesota in Week 11. Even if the Vikings are a much better roster than them, there's not much of a way to put a positive spin on that. If there's any silver lining in the Broncos 2019 season, it's that Courtland Sutton, who has 49 catches for 805 yards in 10 games, has emerged as a legitimate NFL receiver.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last Week: No. 23)
Jameis Winston was intercepted four times in a 34-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 11. Even if you acknowledge that Winston has at times looked like an elite quarterback in 2019, those stretches have been few and far between, and they're overshadowed by the 18 interceptions he's thrown this year. It's unclear how the Buccaneers will proceed at quarterback with Winston's rookie contract set to expire after the season.
28. New York Jets (Last Week: No. 29)
The 2019 season has largely been a lost year for Sam Darnold, though it was encouraging to see him toss four touchdowns in Week 11, even if it was against a Washington Redskins team that's "competing" for the No. 1 pick. The Jets will host the surprising 6-4 Oakland Raiders in Week 12, before two very winnable games against the Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins.
29. Miami Dolphins (Last Week: No. 28)
Perhaps no team is more impacted by the season-ending hip injury that Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered than the Dolphins. Not only did they build a roster designed to get the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and probably draft him, but if they end up with a pick below that LSU quarterback Joe Burrow may now be off the board as well. The Dolphins haven't had a franchise quarterback since Dan Marino retired at the conclusion of the 1999 season. The 2019 season hasn't gone in an ideal way if their goal is to end that streak.
30. New York Giants (Last Week: No. 30)
The Giants have lost six consecutive games, but if you're looking for an encouraging sign, rookie quarterback Daniel Jones has thrown nine touchdowns to just one pick over the last three games. The Giants offense will have a tough task against a stout Bears defense in Week 12, though given their offensive struggles in 2019, this is seemingly a winnable game for the Giants.
31. Washington Redskins (Last Week: No. 31)
Dwayne Haskins tossed two touchdowns in Week 11, but the Redskins were blown out in a loss to the New York Jets, who aren't exactly a Super Bowl contender. Their roster is so poorly constructed, it feels almost unfair to try to evaluate Haskins, though with the prospects of another top-five pick, the Redskins need to do that.
32. Cincinatti Bengals (Last Week: No. 32)
With two matchups remaining against the Cleveland Browns, along with games against the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets, it still feels like the Bengals will win at least one game. But make no mistake, the injury of Tua Tagovailoa highlights the need for the Bengals to secure the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.