Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen celebrates his touchdown with tight end Dawson Knox (88) and offensive tackle Spencer Brown, behind, during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

Troy Aikman said it more than once during “Monday Night Football” as minds around America were numbed by the matchup of Mac Jones vs. Colt McCoy.

“Let’s be honest — there’s been a lot of bad football this year,” the MNF analyst declared during the Patriots’ 27-13 victory over the Cardinals in which the top highlight was a 23-yard fumble return for a touchdown.

The truest words of this NFL season had to be spoken. And the viewing public likely nodded in agreement.

Thursday night games were the butt of everyone’s jokes (and rightly so), but the poor product hasn’t been limited to the short-week fiascos. Sundays have been difficult to watch as well due to so many inept offenses, not just the confusion created by New England’s coordinator by committee.

The low-grade football has made it easy to identify the bottom half of these NFL Power Rankings. The top half — after the No. 1 Eagles — is becoming more of a challenge in the final weeks of the regular season.

Just last Sunday, the No. 2 Cowboys nearly lost to the league-worst Texans, and the sixth-ranked Chiefs survived a scare from the No. 31 Broncos. Also, the downward spirals continued for the Giants, Seahawks and Jets — three teams that were fixtures in the top 10 earlier this season.

This week, Buffalo’s consistency gets rewarded with the No. 2 ranking behind Philadelphia. Thanks to their defense, the Bills have steadied themselves with four straight wins. The Bengals, winners of five in a row, move up to fourth behind the third-ranked Cowboys, who fell one spot for their near-miss against Houston.

Just outside the top 10 are the Lions — yes, the Lions — who are playing like a completely different team from the one that started 1-6. Dan Campbell’s troops have forced their way into the playoff conversation with five wins in their last six games. Also, five of Detroit’s losses this season have been one-possession deals against teams over .500 (Philadelphia, Minnesota, Seattle, Miami, Buffalo).

On to this week’s rankings.

NFL Power Rankings

1. Philadelphia Eagles (12-1, Last week: 1): They’re this season’s model of consistency. They just need to prove they can be this tough on both sides of the ball in the playoffs.

2. Buffalo Bills (10-3, LW: 4): For the second straight week, they’ve shown that their defense is Super Bowl caliber, too.

3. Dallas Cowboys (10-3, LW: 2): They averted the most embarrassing defeat of 2022 by rallying in the final minute against the tanking Texans.

4. Cincinnati Bengals (9-4, LW: 5): Since Zac Taylor put more trust in Joe Burrow after a 2-3 start, the reigning AFC champs are 7-1.

5. Kansas City Chiefs (10-3, LW: 6): Divisional matchups — even games against a disaster like Denver — are never easy. But how concerned should Andy Reid be after the Chiefs nearly blew a 27-0 lead and Patrick Mahomes threw three interceptions?

6. San Francisco 49ers (9-4, LW: 7): Go ahead and say it, Niners fans — Brock Purdy is the second coming of Joe Montana.

7. Baltimore Ravens (9-4, LW: 9): Until Lamar Jackson returns from a knee injury, the Ravens figure to rely on J.K. Dobbins, who ran for 120 yards in his first game back from knee surgery.

8. Minnesota Vikings (10-3, LW: 3): Vegas bookmakers listed Minnesota as underdogs in Detroit for a reason, and that reason was a defense that has now allowed 400 or more yards for five consecutive games and ranked 32nd in the NFL (403.7 yards allowed per game).

9. Miami Dolphins (8-5, LW: 8): One week after struggling against San Francisco’s zone scheme, Tua Tagovailoa had more timing and accuracy issues in the passing game against the Chargers’ man coverage.

10. Washington Commanders (7-5-1, LW: 11): They had a very productive bye week, moving into the NFC playoff picture as the No. 6 seed.

11. Los Angeles Chargers (7-6, LW: 17): Has their defense, despite being injury-plagued, finally turned a corner under Brandon Staley?

12. Detroit Lions (6-7, LW: 18): You know a team is confident when it pulls off a third-down pass completion to a receiver-eligible tackle to set up a victory-clinching field goal.

13. New York Giants (7-5-1, LW: 10): The optimism of a 6-1 start has dissipated with another loss, the Giants’ fourth in their last six games.

14. New England Patriots (7-6, LW: 13): Patriots offensive coordinator Matt Patricia on Mac Jones’ in-game blowups: “You love to see it.

15. New York Jets (7-6, LW: 14): Despite a second straight loss, Mike White has the support of his teammates and Jets faithful.

16. Seattle Seahawks (7-6, LW: 12): They got steamrolled by Carolina’s running game, and during the recent rough stretch of three defeats in four games, the defense has given up 441 yards per game — 222.3 yards coming on the ground.

17. Tennessee Titans (7-6, LW: 15): Derrick Henry had 119 rushing yards in the first half but only TWO after halftime in a dispiriting defeat to Jacksonville.

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7, LW: 16): They’re “good” enough to win an awful NFC South, but they’re dangerously bad enough to get embarrassed in the playoffs.

19. Green Bay Packers (5-8, LW: 19): Jordan Love reportedly doesn’t want to be a backup to Aaron Rodgers next season.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-8, LW: 27): They’ve reached five victories in a season for the first time since 2019. With one more game against Houston in Week 17, doubling their 2021 win total is certainly achievable.

21. Arizona Cardinals (4-9, LW: 20): The misfortune of Kyler Murray’s knee injury clinches what’s been apparent for weeks — Arizona’s season is doomed.

22. Los Angeles Rams (4-9, LW: 28): You can be sure that the full-length feature film of Baker Mayfield’s whirlwind L.A. arrival and miracle comeback against the Raiders is already in production and should reach a streaming platform by Christmas.

23. Las Vegas Raiders (5-8, LW: 21): When Josh McDaniels finally has time in the offseason to review all of the Raiders’ late implosions, maybe he will realize how much his poor play-calling made so many stunning collapses possible.

24. Carolina Panthers (5-8, LW: 29): They’ve won three of four under interim coach Steve Wilks to move within a game of the Bucs for the NFC South lead. Incredible.

25. Atlanta Falcons (5-8, LW: 22): With the benching of Marcus Mariota, the Desmond Ridder era officially begins this Sunday in New Orleans.

26. Cleveland Browns (5-8, LW: 23): Deshaun Watson’s rusty play proves that the hope he could lead the Browns on a late playoff run was wishful thinking.

27. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-8, LW: 24): What did Steelers fans do wrong to be forced to watch the return of Mitch Trubisky at quarterback?

28. Indianapolis Colts (4-8-1, LW: 25): Things have gotten so bad that there’s an actual outcry for Nick Foles to start at QB.

29. New Orleans Saints (4-9, LW: 26): It was an expensive bye week for head coach Dennis Allen, defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen and defensive end Cameron Jordan, as all three were fined for a fake injury in Week 13.

30. Chicago Bears (3-10, LW: 30): They currently hold the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 draft, courtesy of Baker Mayfield rallying the Rams to a fourth victory.

31. Denver Broncos (3-10, LW: 31): At least they rallied from a 27-0 deficit against Kansas City to bring joy to Mile High for a moment.

32. Houston Texans (1-11-1, LW: 32): There’s tanking, and then there’s the embarrassment of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory — which is what the Texans did in failing to turn Dak Prescott’s gift interception into points and then surrendering a winning Cowboys TD in the final minute.

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