Last place isn’t what it used to be.
The AFC West — all four teams have winning records — and the AFC North — all four teams have at least a .500 record — have changed how the basement is seen. It no longer is just reserved for teams that look like the Lions, Texans and Jets.
Is it possible that an entire division could make the playoffs (with a champion plus three wild cards) in the expanded era of seven teams per conference? Probably in the future, though the AFC East’s two-horse race probably won’t allow it this year. But it only takes one hot streak or a cold streak to flip the standings on their head.
Here are The Post’s power rankings for Week 13:
1. Arizona Cardinals, 9-2 (1)
Kyler Murray should return after the Cardinals went 2-1 with starting quarterback Colt McCoy before a well-timed bye. Coach Kliff Kingsbury didn’t shoot down rumors that he might be enticed back to the college game at Oklahoma quite as firmly as the Steelers’ Mike Tomlin shot down rumors connecting him to USC.
2. Kansas City Chiefs, 7-4 (2)
The Chiefs come out of the bye with three straight divisional games. Four of the final six are against AFC West rivals, against whom coach Andy Reid is 37-13 since 2013. It’s actually impressive to be 7-4 when the defense was historically poor early on. Steve Spagnuolo’s best defenses often need a half-season to find their footing.
3. Green Bay Packers, 9-3 (4)
A few days after Aaron Rodgers held up his injured toe to reporters on Zoom, he threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns in a playoff rematch against the Rams. A red-hot defense added a pick-six to build a 19-point third-quarter lead and the Packers have not lost consecutive games during coach Matt LaFleur’s three seasons. Toe-gate takes a break for a bye week as Rodgers reportedly declined surgery.
4. New England Patriots, 8-4 (3)
The Patriots have won six straight (with a plus-148 point differential) and are 6-1 against the AFC (Week 1 loss to the Dolphins) after beating the Titans. Mac Jones threw for 310 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Kendrick Bourne for an offense that scored on nine of its first 10 possessions. The defense pitched a second-half shutout.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8-3 (10)
Tom Brady improved to 16-4 all-time against the Colts, who were on the other side of the Deflategate black mark on his career. Leonard Fournette scored four touchdowns, including the tie-breaking 28-yard run with 20 seconds remaining. The NFL’s best rushing defense held up against MVP candidate Jonathan Taylor (16 carries for 83 yards).
6. Baltimore Ravens, 8-3 (8)
The Ravens have an edge in the AFC North because of two of the NFL’s best weapons: Dual-threat Lamar Jackson and automatic kicker Justin Tucker. It wasn’t Jackson’s best game against the Browns, but the Ravens became the first of 53 teams since 2015 to win while throwing at least four interceptions in a game.
7. Buffalo Bills, 7-4 (12)
Chicken wings over gumbo on turkey day. The decoded version of that sentence is: The Bills beat the Saints on Thanksgiving. Josh Allen looked pedestrian in the first half and unstoppable with three touchdown passes in the second half. Next up is the AFC East showdown against the rising Patriots.
8. Tennessee Titans, 8-4 (5)
No Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown or Julio Jones is just the beginning of a long list of injury problems for the Titans, who are minus-9 in turnover differential in back-to-back losses to the Texans and Patriots. This is a reminder of what went wrong in Ryan Tannehill’s days with the Dolphins, when he was forced to do too much.
9. Los Angeles Rams, 7-4 (6)
Make it back-to-back-to-back losses for the Rams, who have committed seven turnovers (including three interceptions returned for touchdowns) in that stretch against the Titans, 49ers and Packers. Matthew Stafford is rightfully under fire, but the defense isn’t living up to expectations, either. Former coordinator Brandon Staley (Chargers head coach) is missed.
10. Cincinnati Bengals, 7-4 (16)
The Bengals beat the Steelers for the third straight time over 11 months and swept the season series for the first time since 2009. And in dominating fashion (41-10), no less. Joe Mixon rushed for a career-high 165 yards. Imagine how much nicer the record would look (and how many more entries would be alive in knockout pools) if the Bengals didn’t lose to the Jets on Halloween.
11. Dallas Cowboys, 7-4 (7)
12. San Francisco 49ers, 6-5 (15)
13. Indianapolis Colts, 6-6 (9)
14. Las Vegas Raiders, 6-5 (20)
15. Denver Broncos, 6-5 (21)
16. Minnesota Vikings, 5-6 (11)
17. Los Angeles Chargers, 6-5 (13)
18. Pittsburgh Steelers, 5-5-1 (14)
19. Cleveland Browns, 6-6 (19)
20. Washington Football Team, 5-6 (22)
21. Atlanta Falcons, 5-6 (25)
22. Miami Dolphins, 5-7 (27)
23. New York Giants, 4-7 (26)
The Giants have won three straight at home (Panthers, Raiders and Eagles) despite not gaining 300 yards of total offense in two of those games under two different coordinators (Freddie Kitchens replaced Jason Garrett). It’s all about red-zone defense, turnover margin and field position for the Giants. Is it a sustainable formula? The schedule is very friendly over the final six games.
24. Philadelphia Eagles, 5-7 (17)
25. New Orleans Saints, 5-6 (18)
26. Carolina Panthers, 5-7 (23)
27. Seattle Seahawks, 3-8 (24)
28. Chicago Bears, 4-6 (29)
29. New York Jets, 3-8 (31)
Zach Wilson’s return from a four-game absence with a knee injury was the pregame story. But the Jets beat the Texans because the offensive line blocked for a season-high 157 rushing yards, and the defense notched five sacks and didn’t allow a point on the Texans’ final seven possessions. Wilson’s blooper-reel interception off a receiver’s back is easier to swallow after a win.
30. Houston Texans, 2-9 (28)
31. Jacksonville Jaguars, 2-9 (30)
32. Detroit Lions, 0-10-1 (32)