The Week 14 schedule featured numerous exciting contests with playoff implications. Baltimore traveled to Buffalo and took part in a hard-fought game. San Francisco and New Orleans dueled until the final seconds. As a result of the big-time matchups, the Week 15 Power Rankings saw a slight shakeup. Who rose and who fell? Today we take a look at our top-10 in the NFL Power Rankings. *Spoiler* No Dallas or Philadelphia this week, again.
31. New York Giants
30. Detroit Lions
29. Miami Dolphins
Chomping at the Bit
The Titans are in a position to steal the AFC South. Tennessee won their fourth consecutive game on Sunday, traveling to Oakland and stopping on the Raiders to a tune of 42-21. Ryan Tannehill is in for a hefty payday this offseason. Los Angeles welcomed the rival Seahawks and effectively smothered them for three hours. The Rams kept their playoff hopes alive with the victory and seem to have rediscovered their offense. Their impressive performance against last week’s second-ranked team is cause for a spot jump over the Steelers. By comparison, Pittsburgh played another close game, this time against the disappointing Cardinals. Fans of the Steelers created a home-field environment for Pittsburgh. Mike Tomlin is the leader for coach of the year.
No. 10 – Houston Texans (8-5, -3)
The Texans are consistently inconsistent. Houston has the largest drop this week as they fall three spots in our latest NFL Power Rankings. The drop comes off a loss to the Broncos, in Houston. Dashaun Watson can only do so much. Through 13 games, the Texans have created a trend of a loss followed by two straight victories. That’s a 10-6 record at the end of the regular season. Is that good enough?
No. 9 – Minnesota Vikings (9-4, +1)
When one team drops, others have a chance to move up in the power rankings. Minnesota does just that after a solid victory against the lowly Lions. The Vikings allowed just 231 yards on defense. Minnesota rebounded well after frustrating loss against Seattle. The remaining three games serve as the toughest stretch of the season. One of those comes against the division-leading Packers, at home.
No. 8 – Green Bay Packers (10-3, +1)
Speaking of the Packers, Green Bay struggled to pull away from a dumpster fire of a team, Washington. Green Bay finished with a 20-15 victory against one of the worst teams in the league. Defensively, the Packers allowed the fewest yards allowed since the season opener against Chicago. Green Bay holds a one-game lead in the division in addition to the tiebreaker. The two teams play in Week 16. Will they still lead the North?
No. 7 – Buffalo Bills (9-4, -1)
Barring a total collapse, the Bills will be in the playoffs. Buffalo welcomed the Ravens to town on Sunday and proceeded to go blow for blow with Baltimore. Josh Allen has become a dependable asset for the Bills, one that will need his supporting step up if they hope to challenge New England for the division crown. A home playoff game in Buffalo would be a sight to see.
No. 6 – New Orleans Saints (10-3, -1)
Inside and outside of the Louisiana Superdome, a sea of red could be found. The 49ers and their fans descended on New Orleans and left a visible impact. The Saints were unable to keep a lead and Sean Payton was outcoached. New Orleans went for two on a pair of point-after attempts and failed. If they had kicked the extra points, the last-second field goal by the 49ers would have sent the game into overtime rather than a loss. New Orleans holds a slim edge on the NFC’s second seed.
No. 5 – New England Patriots (10-3, -1)
There is only so much that Tom Brady can do. It seems like it’s said each week but it is the truth. Aside from Julian Edelman, the leading Patriots wide receiver is Phillip Dorsett with 347 yards receiving on 28 receptions. The lack of offensive playmakers has hobbled the Patriots as they’ve scored 20 points or more just twice since the start of November. During that stretch, they’ve lost three out of five. A stout defense has kept the Patriots in the upper half of the power rankings. New England travels to Cincinnati this week before finishing the regular season with home games against the Bills and Dolphins.
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No. 4 – Kansas City Chiefs (9-4, +4)
Kansas City jumps four spots in our power rankings. Andy Reid and the Chiefs went into Foxborough and beat the Patriots. Granted, New England played with a handicapped offense. Regardless, the Chiefs defense looks to be turning a corner and has held the opposition under 20 points, in each of the last three contests. This has helped to alleviate some of the pressure on the explosive Kansas City offense. Patrick Mahomes has seen some struggles since returning from injury but the offense remains explosive and capable of putting up points quickly. A win this week should clinch the division.
No. 3 – Seattle Seahawks (10-3, -1)
Seattle starts slow and finishes with a flurry. However, slow starts have gotten them in trouble this season as all three losses have followed a similar script. Seattle comes out of the gates, slightly flat, then they’re unable to finish. On Sunday, the Seahawks were grounded against the Rams. Los Angeles put up over 400 yards of total offense. The loss dropped Seattle out of the top spot in both the conference and division. Russell Wilson will need some help if Seattle plans to make a deep playoff run.
No. 2 – San Francisco 49ers (11-2, n/r)
The 49ers Faithful travel well. Reports from inside of the Superdome put the estimate at around a third of the stadium sporting red and gold. The crowd was treated to an electrifying display of offense as the teams combined for 94 points. San Francisco’s vaunted defense saw injuries to multiple starters including Richard Sherman. The defense struggled to slow down the New Orleans passing attack with any consistency and failed to register a single sack on the day. However, Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense were as explosive and put together the game-winning drive with under a minute left in the game.
No. 1 – Baltimore Ravens (11-2, n/r)
Can anyone stop the Baltimore offense? Baltimore remains in the top spot of our power rankings as the Ravens won their ninth consecutive game on Sunday against a tough Buffalo team on the road. Cold temperatures did little to slow down quarterback Lamar Jackson as he passed for three touchdowns. The Ravens are in the driver’s seat for the top overall seed in the AFC and are the heavy favorites to serve as the conference representative in the Super Bowl. Can Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman keep the train moving?