Familiar face back on top
That sound you heard late Monday night was champagne corks popping.
The annual celebration ritual for some members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins — the only undefeated team in NFL history — received the green light when the Philadelphia Eagles became the last team to lose for the first time this season, falling to the Washington Commanders.
The Eagles’ loss combined with the Buffalo Bills’ loss — the two favorites to reach the Super Bowl from their respective conferences for most of the past month — created a shake-up across the NFL.
The familiar face of Patrick Mahomes is back atop the NFL to offer some comfort in this year of wacky quarterback happenings, when much-maligned Kirk Cousins is showing he should be trusted in big games.
Here are The Post’s power rankings for Week 11:
1. Kansas City Chiefs 7-2 (2)
Just another day at the office for the Chiefs, who gained nearly 500 yards of offense despite three turnovers in a 27-17 win against the Jaguars. Mahomes threw four touchdown passes, including one to trade-deadline acquisition Kadarius Toney — the first of the Giants draft bust’s two-year career. Look who is positioned as the No. 1 seed in the AFC again.
2. Philadelphia Eagles 8-1 (1)
Two penalties — one on special teams and one on defense — killed the Eagles’ comeback chances from a late five-point deficit in an eventual 32-21 loss to the Commanders. The offense wasn’t blameless, either, with four turnovers. And the play calling was a throwback to the old Andy Reid-coached Eagles, when he used to forget to run the ball in big games.
3. Minnesota Vikings 8-1 (3)
The Game of the Year featured a nominee for Best Catch Ever. Justin Jefferson’s leaping one-handed grab for a 32-yard gain on fourth-and-18 kept alive the Vikings’ final drive of regulation in a 33-30 overtime win against the Bills. Cousins threw for 357 yards on 50 attempts, and Patrick Peterson sealed the win with an interception on the final play.
4. Buffalo Bills 6-3 (4)
The Bills had the Vikings beat after stopping a fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line to preserve a four-point lead with 50 seconds remaining. But Josh Allen fumbled the snap in the end zone, and it was recovered for a stunning lead change. Allen led the game-tying drive — aided by a blown call to get into field-goal range — before throwing the decisive interception.
5. New York Giants 7-2 (7)
Two upcoming free agents continue to set the tone. Saquon Barkley carried a career high 35 times for 152 yards, victimizing the NFL’s worst rushing defense in a 24-16 win against the Texans. Daniel Jones (153.3) had the highest passer rating posted in any game this season. The defense kept the Texans out of the end zone on five of six red-zone trips.
6. Miami Dolphins 7-3 (9)
Surging MVP candidate Tua Tagovailoa threw three touchdown passes for the third straight game as the Dolphins extended their winning streak to four with a 39-17 pummeling of the Browns that included a double-digit lead for the entire second half. New acquisitions made their mark: Jeff Wilson rushed for 119 yards, and Bradley Chubb had a half-sack.
7. Baltimore Ravens 6-3 (8)
Calling the Ravens “the best team in the league,” as former NFL receiver Brandon Marshall did on “Inside the NFL,” is over the top considering their losses to the Dolphins, Giants and Bills. But the Ravens come off their bye to face the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL: Their final nine opponents had a .357 winning percentage entering Week 10.
8. Dallas Cowboys 6-3 (5)
Head coach Mike McCarthy’s return to Green Bay to face the Packers — who he led to 125 victories and a Super Bowl title — went historically badly in a 31-28 overtime loss. It was the Cowboys’ first-ever defeat when holding a 14-point lead entering the fourth quarter (195-1). CeeDee Lamb tallied 11 catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
9. Tennessee Titans 6-3 (11)
Pedestrian games from Derrick Henry (19 rushes for 53 yards) usually guarantee doom. Not this time for the Titans, who scored the final 17 points of a 17-10 win against the Broncos to improve to 6-1 in their past seven games. Ryan Tannehill returned from a two-game injury absence to throw two touchdown passes to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine.
10. San Francisco 49ers 5-4 (14)
Eight players returned from missing the previous game (or longer absences) to spark a 22-16 win over the Chargers. Elijah Mitchell out-carried (18-14) and outgained (89-38) Christian McCaffrey, but McCaffrey and Jimmy Garoppolo rushed for touchdowns. The 49ers won a third straight game and snapped a six-game losing streak in the head-to-head series by intercepting Justin Herbert in the final minute.
11. Seattle Seahawks 6-4 (6)
12. Cincinnati Bengals 5-4 (12)
13. New York Jets 6-3 (13)
Could the Jets have the Offensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year? Cornerback Sauce Gardner feels like a lock. Receiver Garrett Wilson has a shot — and he was his team’s second-best option until running back Breece Hall’s season-ending injury. The Jets come off the bye with a shot to avenge the win that got away against the Patriots.
14. Los Angeles Chargers 5-4 (10)
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5-5 (16)
16. Washington Commanders 5-5 (19)
17. New England Patriots 5-4 (15)
18. Indianapolis Colts 4-5-1 (21)
19. Arizona Cardinals 4-6 (22)
20. Green Bay Packers 4-6 (25)
21. Los Angeles Rams 3-6 (17)
22. Atlanta Falcons 4-6 (18)
23. Detroit Lions 3-6 (28)
24. Carolina Panthers 3-7 (30)
25. Pittsburgh Steelers 3-6 (31)
26. Jacksonville Jaguars 3-7 (20)
27. Chicago Bears 3-7 (23)
28. Cleveland Browns 3-6 (24)
29. Denver Broncos 3-6 (26)
30. New Orleans Saints 3-7 (27)
31. Las Vegas Raiders 2-7 (29)
32. Houston Texans 1-7-1 (32)
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