NFL Energy Rankings Week 13: 1-32 ballot, plus an important recreation left for every group

The NFL Energy Rankings enter December making an attempt to determine which video games are actually an important. Sure, each NFL recreation counts, however we admit that some simply rely a bit bit extra. Our NFL Nation writers assisted us to find essentially the most significant video games down the stretch, selecting video games as a consequence of playoff implications, future aspirations and a slew of different components.

How we rank in our Energy Rankings: Our energy panel — a gaggle of greater than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities — evaluates how groups stack up all through the season.

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

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

Week 12 rating: 1

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 14 at Buffalo

An undefeated season can be cool, however for the Steelers, the largest purpose is reaching the Tremendous Bowl, and one of the best ways to do this is to clinch the highest seed within the AFC. To do this, the Steelers have to remain forward of a one-loss Chiefs group — which could imply going undefeated. The 2 largest video games left that might trigger them to journey up are at Buffalo — a group that beat the Steelers on “Sunday Evening Soccer” a 12 months in the past and actually began the slide that prevented them from making the playoffs — and towards Indianapolis in Week 16. — Brooke Pryor

Week 12 rating: 2

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 15 at New Orleans

If the Chiefs are to catch the Steelers for the AFC’s No. 1 playoff seed, they could need to win out. 4 of their 5 remaining opponents aren’t on their degree, after which there’s New Orleans. So the Saints might be the group standing between the Chiefs and a first-round playoff bye. Usually, this may be one of many least vital video games of the Chiefs’ remaining schedule as a result of the Saints play within the NFC, however this isn’t a traditional season. — Adam Teicher

Week 12 rating: 3

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 15 vs. Kansas Metropolis

Technically, that is the least vital recreation on the Saints’ remaining schedule, since it’s towards an AFC opponent and will not have an effect on playoff tiebreakers. However each different group on the Saints’ slate has a shedding document. So how might I not spotlight a matchup that may be essentially the most thrilling recreation left in your entire NFL common season? And to not be cliché, however each recreation remaining on the Saints’ schedule is equally vital, since they’d badly like to clinch the NFC’s No. 1 seed — and would lose a tiebreaker to the Packers in the event that they end in a two-way tie for first. — Mike Triplett

Week 12 rating: 4

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 16 vs. Tennessee

The Packers ought to have the NFC North wrapped up by then and with regards to playoff seeding, a recreation towards an AFC foe in all probability will not affect tiebreakers. So why is it so vital? As a result of it will likely be the Packers’ solely likelihood to show they will beat a top-tier opponent heading into the playoffs. After their blowout loss at Tampa Bay and their OT loss on the Colts, they may use a win over a reliable Tremendous Bowl contender to erase any doubts about whether or not they’re legit themselves. — Rob Demovsky

Week 12 rating: 5

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 14 vs. Pittsburgh

The Payments are in good position to win their first AFC East title since 1995, however have faltered towards the most effective groups of their convention this season. With Pittsburgh coming into city probably nonetheless undefeated, it will likely be a primary alternative for Buffalo to throw its hat within the ring of convention title contenders towards arguably the most effective group within the NFL on “Sunday Evening Soccer.” The Steelers’ protection additionally will present a difficult litmus take a look at for the Payments’ upstart passing offense. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Week 12 rating: 7

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 16 vs. L.A. Rams

In all probability, it is a three-team race for the NFC West crown between Seattle, the Rams and Arizona. Because the Seahawks have a two-game lead over Arizona and a break up within the season collection, the Rams appear like their largest challenger. They’re one recreation behind the Seahawks, however beat Seattle at SoFi Stadium. The Seahawks needs to be closely favored of their subsequent three video games (Giants, Jets, at Washington), whereas the Rams have three winnable video games of their very own over that stretch. Which means they may nonetheless be inside one recreation of one another once they meet at Lumen Area within the rematch. — Brady Henderson



Stephen A. Smith is not able to crown Patrick Mahomes MVP but and makes a case for why Derrick Henry needs to be within the dialogue.

Week 12 rating: 10

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 13 vs. Cleveland

The race for an AFC playoff spot is extraordinarily tight. The Titans have the No. 3 seed and are certainly one of three groups with an 8-3 document. The Browns occur to be a type of groups. A win over Cleveland has double worth in that it retains the Titans forward of the Colts and counts as a much-needed win over an AFC opponent. All three of Tennessee’s losses have been towards AFC opponents, so avoiding one other one can be a significant increase for the Titans’ playoff hopes. — Turron Davenport

Week 12 rating: 6

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 14 vs. Minnesota

At 7-5 after back-to-back losses to the Rams and Chiefs, the Bucs are drifting farther from contender standing and nearer to pretender, which implies they should come out of the bye week with an announcement win. Each recreation will matter, however they want a tone-setter. Coach Bruce Arians mentioned they will spend this time going over the whole lot, which ought to embody changes in philosophy and playcalling. The offense has been stagnant a lot of the time. There was no play-action or movement and Tom Brady‘s deep ball has been far too inconsistent. Additional, they should lastly set up an offensive identification, as altering it week to week is not serving to with consistency. — Jenna Laine

Week 12 rating: 8

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 14 at Las Vegas

The Colts misplaced out on with the ability to management their playoff future when Tennessee beat them Sunday to take a one-game lead over Indianapolis for first place within the AFC South. The Colts would have the seventh and last spot if the playoffs began right this moment. The playoffs clearly do not begin right this moment, which implies the Colts cannot afford any extra slip-ups. The Raiders are proper within the thick of issues for a playoff spot too, as they’ve only one extra loss than the Colts. That is why that matchup is massive for each groups. The Raiders beat the Colts in Indianapolis in 2019. — Mike Wells

Week 12 rating: 9

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 13 at Arizona

From prime to backside, the NFC West is essentially the most aggressive division within the league, which implies the Rams’ subsequent division recreation is their most vital. Regardless of dropping the season collection to the 49ers, the Rams stay in a three-team race with the Cardinals and Seahawks to win the division. Caring for their recreation Sunday towards the Cardinals is important to staying within the hunt, particularly with a visit to Seattle in Week 16. The Rams are 6-0 towards Arizona beneath Sean McVay. — Lindsey Thiry

Week 12 rating: 11

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 14 at Cleveland

If the Ravens need to nearly assure a 3rd straight journey to the playoffs, they will must win in Cleveland. The largest impediment standing in Baltimore’s method of 11 wins is the Browns, the one group with a successful document left on the schedule after Wednesday’s recreation in Pittsburgh. The Browns are 8-3, and the opposite remaining 4 groups on the Ravens’ schedule are a mixed 10-33-1 (.238). Baltimore has received 5 of its previous six video games in Cleveland, however this 12 months’s Browns are fairly totally different from these groups. — Jamison Hensley

Week 12 rating: 14

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 14 vs. Baltimore

As a lot enjoyable because it may be to probably knock off Pittsburgh within the regular-season finale, beating Baltimore on Monday Evening Soccer is well the Browns’ most vital remaining recreation. First, it will give Cleveland the signature victory this otherwise breakout season is lacking. Second, the Ravens are a rival, courting to the Artwork Modell relocation 25 years in the past. However most significantly, it will all however clinch a playoff berth, which might snap the league’s longest postseason drought of 18 years. — Jake Trotter

Week 12 rating: 12

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 13 vs. L.A. Rams

If the Cardinals lose this one, their playoff hopes may be dashed. A loss would put them two video games behind the Rams with 4 to play, however with one other recreation towards them and one towards the 49ers left, the Cardinals might run out of time to catch up within the NFC West. And sitting at 6-5, Arizona has three groups nipping at its heels for the seventh and final playoff spot. Coming off a 1-3 stretch, Sunday is as close to a must-win as Arizona has confronted all season. — Josh Weinfuss

Week 12 rating: 15

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 16 at Las Vegas

The Dolphins presently maintain a wild-card spot, however after Sunday’s recreation vs. Cincinnati they are going to be coming into the hardest stretch on their schedule (Chiefs, Patriots, at Raiders, at Payments). The Raiders recreation is most vital as a result of with each groups vying for a wild-card spot, the win and tiebreaker benefit shall be important. It is fairly doable that contest — now a Saturday, day-after-Christmas prime-time recreation — might be a playoff elimination recreation. Miami has goals of the Week 17 recreation in Buffalo being an AFC East championship recreation, but when the Dolphins do not win in Vegas the week earlier than, that Week 17 recreation may not matter. — Cameron Wolfe

Week 12 rating: 13

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 13 at N.Y. Jets

Um, it is this week! After Sunday’s unmitigated disaster in Atlanta — a 43-6 blowout loss to a three-win Falcons group — the Raiders fell to 6-5 and head east once more to face the winless Jets, who upended them final 12 months with a 34-3 beatdown. Lose at MetLife to a sorry Jets group once more and the Raiders’ season, for all intents and functions, is over. Deal with enterprise, and Las Vegas stays within the playoff hunt. No stress, proper? — Paul Gutierrez



Adam Schefter stories that the 49ers will play their subsequent two dwelling video games in Arizona after Santa Clara County’s resolution to limit contact sports activities for a minimum of the subsequent few weeks.

Week 12 rating: 17

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 13 vs. Buffalo

It isn’t a lot concerning the Payments as the truth that an important recreation for the Niners proper now’s at all times going to be the subsequent one. An upset towards the Rams pushed the 49ers again into the NFC playoff image, however they do not have a lot margin for error in the event that they intend to sneak into the postseason. Which means the subsequent recreation goes to be the one which holds essentially the most that means just because one other loss will make that process exceedingly troublesome. — Nick Wagoner

Week 12 rating: 18

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 13 at L.A. Chargers

“The Subsequent One.” When Tom Brady was once requested which Tremendous Bowl ring was his favourite, that was at all times his reply. Within the case of the Patriots’ remaining schedule, it additionally applies as a result of at 5-6 they seemingly cannot afford one other loss in the event that they need to maintain their long-shot playoff hopes alive. The ultimate 5 video games unfold this fashion — at Chargers, at Rams, at Dolphins, vs. Payments, vs. Jets. — Mike Reiss

Week 12 rating: 19

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 14 at Tampa Bay

The simple reply can be “all of them” given the Vikings are the No. 8 group within the NFC and one recreation out of the ultimate wild-card berth. Minnesota acquired this far after a 1-5 begin by beating up on unhealthy groups, with solely one of many Vikings’ 5 victories coming towards a group with a successful document (Week 8 on the Packers). A win on the highway towards 7-5 Tampa Bay is important. As a way to be taken severely as a postseason contender, Minnesota wants to indicate it might probably defeat higher competitors. A win towards the Bucs would up the Vikings’ playoff odds considerably. — Courtney Cronin

Week 12 rating: 16

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 13 vs. Detroit

The Bears have dropped 5 straight and desperately need a victory to maintain their fading playoff hopes alive. Shedding Sunday’s recreation to the Lions at dwelling can be the last word embarrassment after Detroit simply fired coach Matt Patricia and basic supervisor Bob Quinn. The Lions clearly are bracing for one more rebuild. The Bears may be on the identical highway except they snap out of it over the ultimate 5 video games and do sufficient to save lots of Matt Nagy’s and Ryan Tempo’s jobs. — Jeff Dickerson

Week 12 rating: 20

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 14 vs. Denver

In different phrases, the subsequent recreation coming off the bye. It is vital as a result of it’ll present how the gamers and employees bounce again from a fourth-quarter collapse in Sunday’s 28-27 loss to Minnesota that all but ended any hopes of a playoff berth. It is vital as a result of realistically it may be the one winnable recreation left on the schedule, with Inexperienced Bay, Washington and New Orleans after that. All three of these groups shall be combating for a playoff spot. It is also vital as a result of it seemingly will mark the return of operating again Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) and set the tone for 2021. — David Newton

Week 12 rating: 25

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 13 vs. New Orleans

Briefly, the subsequent recreation on the docket. The Falcons have been a far more durable out beneath Raheem Morris, given they are 4-2 since Morris was named interim head coach. They’re coming off their finest effort of the season in Sunday’s rout over the Raiders and may see the place they actually stand towards the division chief. They’ll additionally research what the Broncos did towards Saints QB Taysom Hill, who completed with 78 yards passing Sunday. If the Falcons can provide Hill comparable issues, it will not solely give them back-to-back wins over groups with successful data, however can be the form of win that helps Morris’ candidacy for the everlasting job. — Jeff Legwold



Dan Orlovsky sounds off on Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles in spite of everything of them needed to be positioned on the reserve/COVID-19 checklist for not following league protocol.

Week 12 rating: 21

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 13 at Kansas Metropolis

In an injury-ravaged season during which the Broncos simply performed a recreation without any of their quarterbacks in uniform, an important measuring stick of progress shall be how the Broncos fare towards the defending Tremendous Bowl champions. The Broncos have misplaced 10 in a row to the Chiefs and 4 in a row at Kansas Metropolis, three of these coming by double digits. Patrick Mahomes is not going wherever and the Broncos cannot actually say they’ve progressed till they present it towards the group that’s on observe to win the AFC West. — Jeff Legwold

Week 12 rating: 22

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 17 vs. Washington

The Soccer Staff is tied with the Giants atop the division at 4-7 — with the Eagles proper behind — and needs to be in rivalry the remainder of the best way regardless of a fairly difficult schedule. Any individual has to win this dreadful division, and this recreation in Philadelphia might determine which group goes to the playoffs. — Tim McManus



Dan Orlovsky says there have been too many moments the place the teaching has failed the Chargers this season and expects the group to maneuver on from Anthony Lynn.

Week 12 rating: 23

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 17 at Kansas Metropolis

The primary go-around was Justin Herbert‘s first begin and he threw for 311 yards, took the sport to OT and misplaced, largely as a result of Anthony Lynn determined to punt on fourth-and-short in additional time as a substitute of going for it, giving the ball to the Chiefs, who drove for a game-winning discipline purpose. Maybe a extra skilled Herbert, together with a wholesome Austin Ekeler, can provide you with an effort that gives momentum for subsequent season and maybe saves Lynn’s job. — Shelley Smith

Week 12 rating: 27

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 13 vs. Indianapolis

At 4-7, the Texans need to win their remaining video games for a shot on the playoffs. That begins Sunday once they host the 7-4 Colts. Houston has three remaining AFC South video games and is 2-1 within the division (each wins coming towards the Jaguars). This can be very unlikely the Texans will run the desk, however with how effectively quarterback Deshaun Watson is enjoying, anticipate them to stay aggressive in each recreation. — Sarah Barshop

Week 12 rating: 26

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 17 vs. Dallas

To ensure that the Giants to win the division and make the playoffs they’re going to must beat the Cowboys in Week 17. There isn’t any method round it. The Giants are going to have a tough time over the subsequent 4 weeks once they face 4 groups (Seattle, Arizona, Cleveland and Baltimore) with a successful document, starting with the Seahawks in Week 13. That seemingly leaves the matchup with Dallas, which has overwhelmed them seven straight occasions, as an absolute must-win. — Jordan Raanan

Week 12 rating: 24

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 13 at Chicago

That is an important recreation solely as a result of it is Darrell Bevell’s debut as a head coach and it’d start to reply the query of whether or not it was the expertise on the roster or the teaching of Matt Patricia that brought on lots of Detroit’s issues this season. So it is intriguing from that side to see how the gamers reply to a regime change. In any other case, an important recreation for Detroit is the final one as a result of it might probably actually push ahead on its plan for the future as soon as it concludes. — Michael Rothstein

Week 12 rating: 29

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 17 at Philadelphia

As a result of it is the NFC East, Washington doesn’t need to be perfect down the stretch even with a 4-7 document. Nevertheless it should win a minimum of two extra video games if it desires to win the division. Which means Washington should win one recreation within the subsequent 4 — a troublesome stretch that features Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle and Carolina. If it might probably get to 5-10 coming into the finale, it has a shot. To be protected, if Washington wins two of its subsequent 4 video games it will enter the final recreation seemingly with the ability to clinch with a win, which might give Washington a 4-2 division document. That would show key in a tiebreaker state of affairs. — John Keim



Bart Scott asserts that Mike McCarthy wants to vary his teaching model if he desires to stay a head coach within the NFL.

Week 12 rating: 28

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 17 at N.Y. Giants

It isn’t as a result of there shall be an opportunity for the Cowboys to win the NFC East towards the Giants. It isn’t as a result of they will prolong their seven-game successful streak towards New York. No, it is an important recreation as a result of that can mark the top of 1 the franchise’s most disappointing seasons and permit it to show its consideration to 2021. From accidents to poor play to questionable teaching selections, this season has been one to overlook. The faster it is over for the Cowboys, the higher. They usually can flip their consideration to a possible top-five choose within the upcoming draft. — Todd Archer

Week 12 rating: 30

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 14 vs. Dallas

For the second straight 12 months, December is all about losing for the Bengals. Cincinnati and Dallas are within the combine for the No. 3 draft choose. Whereas the Bengals are certainly making an attempt to win, a loss will seemingly clinch the rights to pick the most effective participant within the 2021 draft not named Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields. Which means probably taking Oregon’s Penei Sewell, a dominant sort out who might fortify the sting and shield Joe Burrow for years to return. Whereas one other loss may be lots for Zac Taylor and the Bengals to abdomen, no one mentioned rebuilding was going to be enjoyable. — Ben Child

Week 12 rating: 31

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 13 at Minnesota

The Jaguars have misplaced 10 consecutive video games (a franchise document for a single season) heading into Sunday’s matchup with the Vikings. The streak wants to finish now as a result of the Jaguars have Tennessee and Baltimore the next two weeks. Three extra losses ties the longest shedding streak in franchise historical past (final 5 video games of 2012 and first eight of 2013). — Mike DiRocco

Week 12 rating: 32

Most vital recreation remaining: Week 17 at New England

There is a good likelihood the Jets shall be 0-15, which units up a captivating angle if the Patriots are eradicated: Would Invoice Belichick need to beat the Jets handy them the dreaded 0-16, or would he be higher served with a loss if it prices the Jets a shot at Trevor Lawrence? Belichick actually does not need to see the Clemson star and presumptive No. 1 choose within the division for the subsequent 10-plus years. This might be the sport nobody desires to win. — Wealthy Cimini

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