NFL power rankings: Chiefs still ahead of Steelers, Packers; Patriots, Browns climb for Week 14
Week 13 in the NFL was pretty good to the best teams in the league. That means there isn’t much change at the top in Sporting News’ power rankings for Week 14.
That’s not the same story for several teams in the muddle middle, however, as a string of upsets did cause some considerable shakeup. As the playoff picture comes more into focus, there’s a little separation but also a bigger clump of mediocrity.
Adding all that up, here’s how SN sees all the team stacking up against each 1-32:
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NFL power rankings
1. Kansas City Chiefs 11-1 (last week: 1)
The Chiefs had a division grind against the Broncos with Patrick Mahomes coming down to earth but it prompted the defense to find closing championship form, an asset for the playoff Super Bowl repeat run.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers 10-0 (2)
The Steelers are trying to win their second game in six days when they host Washington, coming off beating the Ravens at home in Week 12. Mike Tomlin has a done good job reminding them they are really not perfect.
3. New Orleans Saints 10-2 (3)
The Saints keep marching with better offense from Taysom Hill and their defense keeps bringing it with run stopping and pass rushing. They’re peaking at the right time as NFC favorites.
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4. Green Bay Packers 9-3 (4)
Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams are playing like the best quarterback-wide receiver combination in the NFL. The defense still can be gashed against running backs, but the offense puts it in very comfortable leading positions.
5. Buffalo Bills 8-3 (6)
The Bills make another trip to Arizona for a very tough interconference game against the 49ers. The pressure remains on to try to win their first division title in 25 years with the Dolphins and Patriots not relenting.
6. Cleveland Browns 9-3 (8)
The Browns have got their passing revved up with Baker Mayfield and a healthy Jarvis Landry to better supplement the running game. The defense still is an issue, but the run stopping gives it a strong baseline.
7. Los Angeles Rams 8-4 (9)
The Rams handled the Cardinals well with their defense and offense, trying to prove again they are the best team in the NFC West, despite the 49ers results. They can’t be ruled out as a threat to win the NFC.
8. Seattle Seahawks 8-4 (6)
What was that? The Seahawks’ defense did its part, but had some problems against the run against the Giants. The real concern is another late-season cooldown for Russell Wilson and the offense.
9. Tennessee Titans 8-4 (7)
The Titans’ defensive woes put them on the edge every week. They really need to play from ahead with Derrick Henry rolling in the running game, or their games can get out of their hands quickly.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7-5 (10)
The Bucs needed a bye to figure out what’s going on between Tom Brady and Bruce Arians and also get healthier at various positions. Expect them to be more put together and ready to make a run in the playoffs.
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11. Miami Dolphins 8-4 (11)
The Dolphins keep taking advantage of their favorable schedule and playmaking defense. Brian Flores has pushed the right buttons, down to knowing how to handle his delicate quarterback situation.
12. Indianapolis Colts 8-4 (12)
The Colts are finding more of a balanced offense at the right time with their defense starting to struggle for various reasons. Philip Rivers has turned to a steady hand and they are winning smartly with good situational football.
13. Las Vegas Raiders 7-5 (15)
The Raiders were fortunate that their Jets game didn’t end like the Falcons one to stay alive and well in the playoff hunt. They know everything is ahead of them as they play both the Dolphins and Colts.
14. Baltimore Ravens 6-4 (13)
The Ravens should have a get-well game against the Cowboys at home with Lamar Jackson and J.K. Dobbins set to return to bring offensive normalcy. They need to hope they can get healthy defensively in a hurry.
15. San Francisco 49ers 5-6 (16)
The 49ers are getting healthier and they’re just trying to get in to buy time for Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle to be a different, more dangerous team in January. They’ve been one of the league’s better-coached teams again to be even in this position so late.
16. Minnesota Vikings 6-6 (17)
The Vikings don’t get any style points for another crazy home escape as heavy favorites. Their offense needs to clean up mistakes because the defensive issues leave them little margin for error.
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17. New England Patriots 6-6 (18)
The Patriots are a hard team to read. Their defense is suddenly starting to play better overall for Bill Belichick, and if they can run the ball with Cam Newton and their backs, they can win against anyone at this critical point. They still are likely out of time to make the playoffs, however.
18. Arizona Cardinals 6-6 (14)
After losing three straight, the Cardinals are about where they should be in the second year with Kyler Murray as his sophomore slump was on delay and the defensive issues are coming to the forefront against better balanced defenses.
19. New York Giants 5-7 (22)
The Giants played some massive defense against the Seahawks to pull off a stunner with Colt McCoy and the running game carrying the day. Throw Joe Judge into the coach of the year conversation if the Giants stay hot and can win the NFC East.
20. Detroit Lions 5-7 (25)
The Lions played a lot more inspired offensive football with Darrell Bevell and got a few defensive breaks to avenge a shocking Week 1 loss to the Bears.
21. Chicago Bears 5-7 (19)
The Bears put in a much better effort with offense, despite one key mistake, but their defense disappearing of late has really cost them.
22. Washington Football Team 4-7 (26)
Washington has shown some good fight with Ron Rivera and steadier offense with Alex Smith to complement some defensive strengths. The lacking overall talent still puts WFT closer to the bottom of the East than the top.
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23. Houston Texans 4-8 (20)
The Texans are doing their best to stay highly competitive with Deshaun Watson but their defensive limitations always rear their ugly heads.
24. Atlanta Falcons 4-8 (21)
The Falcons’ offense has gone too one-dimensional with Matt Ryan, which isn’t good complementary football for a still-struggling defense.
25. Denver Broncos 4-8 (24)
The Broncos found some fight with their running game and defense in Kansas City, but their quarterback play with Drew Lock doesn’t come close to comparing with what the Chiefs have.
26. Carolina Panthers 4-8 (27)
The Panthers had a bye, hoping to finish strong offensively and defensively to give Joe Brady and Matt Rhule something on which to further build in 2021.
27. Philadelphia Eagles 3-8-1 (23)
So much for the Eagles digging deeper into their December magic with Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz. Now both are on the hot seat in the coldest month.
28. Dallas Cowboys 3-8 (29)
The Cowboys do have a win against the Giants and a favorable schedule after the Ravens in Week 13. If they can somehow put things together, they can still steal the division in Week 17.
29. Los Angeles Chargers 3-9 (28)
The Chargers’ effort against the Patriots was downright inexcusable, even with Justin Herbert facing a defense that can confuse rookie quarterbacks. Anthony Lynn needs some inspired play to close.
30. Cincinnati Bengals 2-9-1 (30)
To the Bengals’ credit, they keep fighting hard for Zac Taylor without Joe Burrow. They are well positioned for a good turnaround in 2021 if Burrow can return sometime in the first month.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars 1-11 (31)
The Jaguars keep showing plenty of offensive bright spots with James Robinson and others. Just imagine when they have a true young franchise quarterback in 2021.
32. New York Jets 0-12 (32)
The Jets confirmed they will lose no matter what, no matter how, no matter against whom with Adam Gase and Gregg Williams.