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Bedard’s Top 12: Ravens strengthen hold on top spot with Rams rout

Updated November 27, 2019 - 5:33 am

Projecting the 12 teams most deserving of a playoff berth and ranking them heading into Week 13:

1. Baltimore (9-2)

This could be the last real test — the Bills’ defense is pretty good next week — before the end of the season. The Ravens need to win out and have New England lose again to grab the AFC’s top seed.

This week: versus San Francisco (10-1). Last week’s ranking: 1.

2. New England (10-1)

Bill Belichick has not lost to former offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, and that doesn’t figure to change now.

This week: at Houston (7-4). Last week’s ranking: 2.

3. San Francisco (10-1)

If there’s any defense that can slow Lamar Jackson, it’s a 49ers unit that absolutely smothered Aaron Rodgers on Sunday.

This week: at Baltimore (9-2). Last week’s ranking: 3.

4. New Orleans (9-2)

Don’t think Sean Payton will be sending a gift this holiday season to director of officiating Al Riveron, who nearly cost the Saints a game with a pass interference overturn. Ironic.

This week: at Atlanta (3-8), Thursday. Last week’s ranking: 4.

5. Seattle (9-2)

With Russell Wilson scuffling, RB Rashaad Penny put the Seahawks on his back with 129 yards on 14 carries to beat the Eagles.

This week: versus Minnesota (8-3). Last week’s ranking: 6.

6. Green Bay (8-3)

Most disappointing aspect of the blowout loss to the Niners? A defense, off a bye, that yielded 5.1 yards. Hard to stop that offense that way.

This week: at Giants (2-9). Last week’s ranking: 5.

7. Minnesota (8-3)

The Vikings predictably feasted off the easy part of their schedule, but this is a true litmus test at the Seahawks.

This week: at Seattle (9-2). Last week’s ranking: 7.

8. Kansas City (7-4)

Expect Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid to get real pass-happy against a Raiders secondary that was torched by the Jets’ Sam Darnold.

This week: versus Raiders (6-5). Last week’s ranking: 8.

9. Houston (7-4)

Bill O’Brien and Deshaun Watson have scored points on the Patriots in the past, but Romeo Crennel never has an answer for Tom Brady.

This week: versus Patriots (10-1). Last week’s ranking: 9.

10. Dallas (6-5)

The Bills’ defense is going to give the Cowboys a lot of trouble … if you thought Jerry Jones was mad at Jason Garrett on Sunday, wait until Dallas struggles at home on Thanksgiving.

This week: versus Buffalo (8-3), Thursday. Last week’s ranking: 10.

11. Oakland (6-5)

Steelers are still technically the sixth seed in the AFC, but the Raiders get a reprieve for a week. I might be more worried about the Titans than Pittsburgh or Indianapolis.

This week: at Kansas City (7-4). Last week’s ranking: 11.

12. Buffalo (8-3)

The Bills still, deservedly, get no respect. That could change with a win at Dallas on national TV.

This week: at Dallas (6-5). Last week’s ranking: 12.

Dropped out: None.

Knocking on the door: Titans (6-5), Colts (6-5), Rams (6-5), Eagles (5-6), Panthers (5-6), Browns 5-6).

More Raiders: Follow at vegasnation.com and @VegasNation on Twitter.

Greg A. Bedard covers the NFL for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at gbedard@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GregABedard on Twitter.

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