NFL Power Rankings Week 14: Chiefs drop down after loss to surging Bengals, Cowboys and Vikings holding strong
The Cincinnati Bengals win over Kansas City had massive implications on how the AFC is going to play out and had a big impact on this week’s Power Rankings.
The Philadelphia Eagles reclaim their spot at the top of our NFL Power Rankings after putting a whooping on the Tennessee Titans. The Chiefs didn’t have as easy of a time against the Cincinnati Bengals and the dropped their first game since Week 6 and the Cowboys and Vikings continue to win to keep the pressure on those at the top of the chart.
There are some seismic shifts at the top of the chart, so take a look at our new Power Rankings going into Week 14.
1) Philadelphia Eagles 11-1, last week 2
How can the Eagles not win it all? That may be way presumptuous, but this is a team that can do everything. They ran for 363 yards against the Packers two weeks ago and then followed it up with an arial display against a tough Titans defense that gave up almost 400 yards and three TDs to Jalen Hurts. There isn’t a team in the league right now that look as polished as the Eagles do heading into the final stretch of the regular season.
2) Dallas Cowboys 9-3, last week 5
The Cowboys are starting to make a habit of blowing out teams. They did it to the Vikings two weeks ago and on Sunday night they posted 33 points in the fourth quarter which is the second most ever in the NFL. Outside of Philadelphia, this looks like the most complete team in the league.
3) Kansas City Chiefs 9-3, last week 1
We are so used to Patrick Mahomes making all the right plays that when he doesn’t lead the Chiefs to a late victory the alarm bells start to ring. No one in KC should be sounding the bells just yet. The Chiefs met a Bengals team that is just hitting stride and they were a 55 yard field goal away from tying the game late in the fourth quarter, plus they were on the road. Their loss on Sunday most certainly makes the race for the one seed in the AFC more interesting now that we see the Chiefs can be beaten.
4) Buffalo Bills 9-3, last week 4
It had been about a month since we saw the Bills look like the Bills team that started the season. On Thursday against the Pats, we finally got a glimpse of that dominant performance that we have been looking for. Von Miller was placed on the IR before the game, but the defense showed up and the run game controlled the NE offense. It may not have been the offensive masterclass we grew accustomed to seeing Allen and the Bills orchestrate early this year, but playoff games are won with defense and this looked like a defense that can win a football game for it’s team in January.
5) Minnesota Vikings 10-2, last week 7
On Sunday against the Jets, the Vikings did what the Vikings always do. They didn’t blow New York out, but they controlled the game and from start to finish. They may not always look like the most comfortable wins, but the Vikings are becoming specialists in finishing games late in the fourth quarter. That will be very useful once this team gets into the playoffs.
6) Cincinnati Bengals 8-4, last week 8
Back-to-back big wins over top AFC teams should tell you all you need to know about this Bengal team that had their rocky patches at the beginning of the season. Burrow is finally getting the protection he needs and that has launched him into the MVP conversation, Ja’Maar Chase back and that will only add to Burrow’s MVP case. Burrow said the win against the Titans was a game great teams win, well what does the win against the Chiefs make them? The big question coming out of the Bengals win over KC, is will that be the last time these two teams meet this season?
7) San Francisco 49ers 8-4, last week 6
It turns out it doesn’t matter who is at quarterback in San Fran, the Niners are a fantastic team with an endless arsenal of weapons on both ends of the ball. Dare I say they are better without Jimmy G? It’s much too early to go claiming that, but it seemed like there was a freedom with the play calling that wasn’t there when Garoppolo is under center. Losing a second quarterback to a season ending ankle injury certainly hurts, but Brock Purdy stepped into the spotlight and shined on Sunday. San Fran went into Week 13 as one of the Super Bowl favorites, and despite the change under center, I don’t think their chances of lifting the Lombardi Trophy dip that much.
8) Miami Dolphins 8-4, last week 3
For the first time all season we saw Tua Tagovailoa look a little unsure of himself going up against one of the fiercest defenses in the league. The 75 yard TD pass on the opening play of the game gave the illusion that the Dolphins were going to cruise to victory, but once the dust settled Tua looked rattled in the short time he was on the field. The Dolphins had less than 20 minutes of possession against a smash mouth defense that roughed up the Fins finesse offense.
9) Baltimore Ravens 8-4, last week 9
It’s been ugly for the Ravens since their bye week, and they had to win ugly against the Broncos on Sunday. They were up against one of the top defenses in the league, and they had to do it without franchise QB Lamar Jackson who went down in the first quarter. They waited 59 minutes to get into the end zone, but defense held on against the abysmal Denver offense, and back up QB Tyler Huntley won it with a two yard TD rush in the final minute. The Ravens have four divisional games over their final five games and now find themselves in a fight for first with the Bengals. If Jackson comes back from his knee injury in time their chances for a playoff spot will obviously greatly improve.
10) Washington Commanders 7-5-1, last week 11
They always say a tie is looking kissing your sister. As unpleasant as that sounds, the Commanders will take a tie in New York. Taylor Henicke continues his impressive resurgence of this Washington side, who have only lost one game in the last seven with the former Old Dominion QB under center.
11) New York Giants 7-4-1, last week 12
The Giants-Commanders tie is going to put a wrench in the playoff race for the next five weeks. Both teams had chances to win the game and take a big step towards the post season, but it was a tense, tight, physical game and in the end both teams shared the spoils. There will most likely be three teams coming out of the NFC East, and this game could go a long way in determining who is playing postseason football come January.
12) Seattle Seahawks 7-5, last week 15
Let the doubters keep doubting. Surely there were plenty casting shade on Seattle for 59 minutes of their game against the Rams. But Geno Smith constructed a game winning drive that could be the difference maker in the Seahawks season. The good news is the Seahawks snapped a two game skid, the bad news is they saw their difference maker in the backfield Kenneth Walker go down. Walker could be out a few weeks with a “jammed ankle” but the way Geno Smith has been playing, he could be able to carry them until their RB1 returns.
13) New York Jets 7-5, last week 13
New York went into Minnesota and put up a dog fight against one of the top teams in the league. Mike White might be the answer to the quarterback problems in New York, but two weeks are not going to tell us if he is ready to take this team to the next level. He had 369 yards in his second start this season, although it’s true his stats were padded because they were battling back for most of the second half. Late in the game he made big throw after big throw against the Vikings and if Braxton Barrios makes that catch in the end zone on 4th down we’d be crowning him the next Namath of New York.
14) Tennessee Titans 7-5, last week 10
Each and everyone of the Titans weaknesses was exposed by the best team in the league on Sunday afternoon in Philly. Their run game was shut down and Ryan Tannehill couldn’t carry the Tennessee offense against an Eagles defense that suffocated the Titans who are on a two game losing skid at the wrong time of the year.
15) Los Angeles Chargers 6-6, last week 14
If the Chargers end up missing the playoffs, they will look back at their loss to the Raiders and cringe. In game that the Chargers needed to win the offense let the team down when it mattered most. Herbert and LA went 0-3 in the red zone and didn’t score a TD until it was too late. It’s not too late for the Chargers to get back into Wild Card position, but at the moment they are on the outside looking in.
16) New England Patriots 6-6, last week 16
The Patriots welcomed the Buffalo Bills to Gillette Stadium on Thursday night, and they might as well laid a red carpet out of them. They got nothing going on the offensive side of the ball. They may have had the lead for a moment early in the first quarter, but the Bills had the game in the bag from the very start. The Pats’ next two games are must wins against the Cardinals and the Raiders, before ending the season against the Bengals, Dolphins and Bills.
17) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-6, last week 18
Tom Terrific was anything but terrific in the first 57 minutes of the Bucs Monday night win against the Saints, but the greatest quarterback of all time needed just three minutes to erase a 13 point lead and construct one of the greatest comebacks of his illustrious career. Tampa Bay still doesn’t look like a good team, but they are finding ways to win and they now are in firm command of the NFC South.
18) Detroit Lions 5-7, last week 21
Four wins in their last five games has the Lions maybe, just maybe, holding on to playoff hope. Dan Campbell and Detroit have turned things around in the blink of an eye. The trust that was instilled in the coaching staff and the players is being paid back in the form of a late season surge. Every week from here on out will be a make or break game for the Lions who will be fighting for survival against the Vikings next week.
19) Green Bay Packers 5-8, last week 20
It doesn’t matter how bad the Packers might be, Aaron Rodgers still owns Chicago. It wasn’t as easy as it used to be for Green Bay against their NFC North arch enemies, but in the end the Packers defense kept Justin Fields in check in the second half. The Packers aren’t completely out of the playoff picture after their win in Chicago, but they can’t afford to lose another game this season. They will head into their Week 14 bye and look to win out and just sneak into the post season.
20) Pittsburgh Steelers 5-7, last week 24
This team needed time to grow after losing Big Ben and entrusting a rookie to fill Roethlisberger’s shoes. The Steelers look like they are finding their groove under Pickett, as the defense continues to lead the way. Their road win in Atlanta tells you this is a team that is on the right direction. It may not always be beautiful, but that’s how they like it in Pittsburgh.
21) Atlanta Falcons 5-8, last week 19
The secret to success couldn’t be more apparent for the Falcons. When they let Cordarrelle Patterson run wild Atlanta has a much better chance of winning and on Sunday that’s exactly what the game called for. He got the ball just eleven times, and the Falcons still had a chance to win the game, but a holding call on a Patterson TD run took seven off the board and the Falcons settled for a field goal. After a surprising start to the season, Atlanta is falling out of contention for the top spot in the NFC South.
22) Arizona Cardinals 4-8, last week 22
Arizona’s bye came much too late in the season for them to be able to turn things around. That’s not to say if they had an earlier bye than all of their problems would have been solved, but this has been a team with no sense of identity that has at many times lacked a sense of pride. If Kingsbury makes it through the bye week, he’ll most likely make it through the rest of the season, but the winds of change may be sweeping through the desert shortly after the Cardinal’s disappointing season ends.
23) Las Vegas Raiders 5-7, last week 28
The Raiders’ season has been a disaster, but it’s amazing what a three game win streak can do. Let’s face facts. Las Vegas isn’t going to the playoffs, but this team is finally starting look like the side we expected to see all season. They will be playing spoiler for the rest of the season, but they will also be building a team that can come out and complete in the AFC West next year. The recent success may have just bought Josh McDaniels some tranquility over the offseason as the leash has loosened in Las Vegas for the time being.
24) New Orleans Saints 4-9, last week 23
The Saints blew a perfect opportunity to get right back into the thick of the division race against the Bucs on Monday Night. Their inability to put the ball in the end zone and close out Tampa Bay cost them the game, and maybe their playoff chances. They were up by 13 with five minutes left, and after a rock solid performance from their defense all night, Tom Brady shredded the Saints secondary on the final two drives. This loss will hurt even more considering New Orleans will have to let this stew for the next two weeks as they enter their bye week.
25) Cleveland Browns 5-7, last week 25
Deshaun Watson may have returned for Cleveland, but he wasn’t why the Browns beat the Texans. They won inspite of Watson’s underwhelming number and his inteception in the end zone. The defense and special teams came through with a punt return, a fumble return and an interception return for a TD on a day in which Watson went 12/22 and the offense didn’t score a single point.
26) Indianapolis Colts 4-8-1, last week 17
Up until the fourth quarter on Sunday night, the Jeff Saturday era in Indy was defined by a new coach taking control of a bad team and trying to make them competitive. Thats what he did for the first couple games. A late win over LV and almost knocking off the Eagles made you believe in this team. That belief seems to be wearing off after a loss to the Steelers last week and a primetime blowout against the Cowboys on Sunday night. In the fourth quarter Indy looked like a team that flat out quit, and that won’t fly in Saturday’s house. Let’s see how they bounce back for the rest of the season, because it could determine wether Saturday sticks around next season or is kicked to the curb in Indy.
27) Carolina Panthers 4-8, last week 27
The Panthers should be wondering if they have to come out of their bye and finish off the rest of the schedule, or can they just call it a season and start focusing on next year? They have just off loaded their summer time acquisition Baker Mayfield so the final five weeks should serve as a stepping stone towards the future as the QB situation in Carolina is as fuzzy as ever.
28) Jacksonville Jaguars 4-8, last week 26
If the Jags were being realistic, they would have entered this season hoping to have a season similar to the one the Lions are having. Unfortunately, the difference between the teams was evident in Ford Field on Sunday. It didn’t help that Trevor Lawrence was injured right before halftime. He returned to the game, but it didn’t make much of a difference. Jacksonville was already down 23-6, and they extended their lead as the game went on. This game served a good measuring stick to where each team was at this point in the season, and it’s quite clear they Lions are a head about the Jags.
29) Chicago Bears 3-10, last week 30
This one has to hurt if you are a Bears fan. Not only did Justin Fields and Chicago have a great chance to defeat Aaron Rodgers in what could… possibly.. maybe… be his last game at Soldier Field. The stars seemed to aline as Fields was having maybe his best game as a QB in the NFL. He went 20/25 for 254 yards, but his two fourth quarter interceptions handed Rodgers and the Pack the win.
30) Los Angeles Rams 3-9, last week 29
You have to hand it to Sean McVay’s men. They had nothing to play for. There was no Matthew Stafford, or Cooper Kupp, or Aaron Donald but the Rams came out and showed heart, passion and a will to win. It still wasn’t enough to beat the Seahawks, but at least the LA played for pride something that we haven’t seen very much of lately.
31) Denver Broncos 3-9, last week 31
The atrocity continues in Denver. Another week, and another touchdownless game for Russell Wilson and the Broncos. It’s getting laughable at this point, but no one in the Mile High City will be amused. It’s hard to blame just Russell Wilson, who went 17/22, but the Broncos have a fundamental problem. They can not move the chains. They had just 12 first downs all game, and didn’t get into the red zone once.
32) Houston Texans 1-10-1, last week 32
The poor Texans. They have had a lot of disappointing games this season but you would have thought they would rise to the occasion against their one time franchise quarterback. That was not the case in Houston on Sunday. For the second straight game, Lovie Smith went with Kyle Allen under center and for a second straight week the result was far from favorable. A pick six and a fumbled snap for a TD allowed the Browns to run away with the game without even scoring a point on the offensive end. The Texans may not have been winning with Davis Mills, but at least it was bearable to watch, the Browns game on Sunday was like watching a train wreck.
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