NFL Power Rankings Week 15: Eagles flying on top, Cowboys, Chiefs stay up as 49ers and Purdy make a statement
Philadelphia crushed the Giants as the Cowboys squeaked past the Texans and the Chiefs had to hold off a second half surge against Denver in Week 14.
There is less than a month left in the NFL regular season and the playoff races in the NFC and AFC are wide open. Despite the uncertainty, there are two clear favorites in each of the conferences, as the Chiefs and the Eagles solidified their positions as the top seeds and the most likely sides to get an opening round bye with Week 14 wins. Don’t look now, but Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers are quickly rushing up the list as the offense looks better and better with each passing week.
Here is our newest edition of NFL Power Rankings after Week 14:
1) Philadelphia Eagles 12-1, last week 1
As if we needed any more assurance that the Eagles are the best team in the league, their win against the Giants told us all we need to know. Their defense kept Saquon Barkley in check, while the run game went for 253 yards. They have scored 35 or more points in each of their last three games, doing it both in the air and on the ground and the only reason over 20 points a game over that time is because they have the game in hand that they can afford to put it on cruise control.
2) Dallas Cowboys 10-3, last week 2
Of all the teams that were going to give the Cowboys problems during this impressive run over the last month, it was the measly Texans. You can’t blowout every team you play, but you would have expected Dallas to make light work of Houston in the battle of the Lone Star State. In the end it took a 98 yard drive that was capped off with an Ezekiel Elliott TD with under a minute to go in the game to seal the Cowboy’s fourth straight win. Sunday’s win over Houston won’t win any style points, but It’s another W for a Dallas team who continue to nip at the Eagles heels in the NFC East. What a showdown it’s going to be when the Cowboys play the Eagles in two weeks time.
3) Kansas City Chiefs 10-3, last week 3
It looked way too easy for the Chiefs in the first 20 minutes of their win over the Broncos on Sunday. The defense was shutting down Russell Wilson and Denver, who went three and out and threw a pick six in their first four possession of the game. Mahomes took his foot off the gas, and threw three picks to allow the Broncos to get back in the game, but late in the fourth the defense came to Mahomes and the Chiefs aid.
4) Buffalo Bills 10-3, last week 4
The sleet and snow didn’t make things easy for the the Bills in a division match up against the Jets, but touchdowns on both ends of the halftime break was enough to down New York. Their lead in the AFC East has now been extended to two games over the Miami Dolphins, and they are level with the Chiefs at 10-3 for the one seed in the AFC. The Bills look like they have overcome their rough patch of the season and still have a chance at the top seed and a bye in the playoffs.
5) Cincinnati Bengals 9-4, last week 6
Burrow and the Bengals finally ended their losing spell against the Browns to rattle off their fifth straight win. The Bengals now look like one of the best teams in the league and sit just a game behind the Bills and Chiefs for the top spot in the AFC. This is a team that is hitting stride at just the right time and with Ja’maar Chase back healthy, the Bengals are serious contenders to get back to the Super Bowl this season.
6) San Francisco 49ers 9-4, last week 7
Brock Purdy is for real. We may have been questioning him after the Niners shocking win over the Dolphins last week, but that win over Miami doesn’t seem that shocking after watching Purdy calmly lead San Fran to a blowout win over Tom Brady and the Bucs. Seeing Deebo Samuel go down stopped the hearts of Niners nation, but apparently the injury won’t keep him out too long. The QB position has been the biggest question mark in the Bay Area all season, could Mr. Irrelevant really be the answer to all of the Niners needs on the offensive end. If so, this team is more of a Super Bowl favorite than ever.
7) Minnesota Vikings 10-3, last week 5
Minnesota ran into an unstoppable force in the Lions on Sunday at Ford Field. There are some cracks that are starting to show for the Vikings, and many of them are on the defensive side of the ball. They are 2-2 in their last four games, but their defense is giving up more than 30 ppg in those games. Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson might be one of the top QB/WR combos in the league, but no offense in the league can carry a team that gives up that many points on defense.
8) Baltimore Ravens 9-4, last week 9
After losing Lamar Jackson last week, you had to think the Ravens game against the Steelers was going to be a low scoring, defensive struggle. For the second straight week, the defense was up to the task allowing just 14 points after giving up 9 points to Denver the week before. The Ravens ground game carried the offense going for 245 yards on 42 carries. Reports out of Baltimore say Jackson may not be back until Week 16, so it will be up to the defense and the run game to keep up with the Bengals until they meet Cincy on the last week of the season.
9) Miami Dolphins 8-5, last week 8
For the first time this season, we are seeing the Dolphins look vulnerable with Tua under center. Before their loss against the Niners, Miami could do no wrong with their QB1 as their signal caller. After throwing two INTs last week, Tua connected on under 35% of his passes in LA on Sunday night. This is an offense that revolves around the passing game, and those numbers won’t cut it as the season goes on. This two game losing skid currently has the Dolphins at 8-5, but the rest of the pack chasing the Wild Card positioning is right on their tails.
10) Washington Commanders 7-5-1, last week 10
The Washington Commanders will come out of their bye having not lost a game in over month. Their monumental surge up the NFC standings has them in prime position to secure a Wild Card spot in the in the next few weeks, and it can all start with a win over the Giants this weekend.
11) Los Angeles Chargers 7-6, last week 15
It was a playoff type game in LA, as the Chargers chances to reach the postseason hung by a thread at Sofi Stadium. They needed a win and they got by limiting one of the top offenses in the league to just 17 points s the defense stepped up in one of the most important games of the year. How big could that win prove over a Miami team that is most likely vying for one of the three Wild Card spots that the Chargers trying to wrap up?
12) New York Jets 7-6, last week 13
The Jets failed to beat the Bills on a cold, soggy day in Buffalo but it wasn’t Mike White’s fault. White showed a big pair of huevos, coming back not once but twice from brutal blows. Two second half fumbles, one by Flacco, who came in when White was on the sideline getting checked out, and one by Michael Carter who up coughed the ball late in the fourth quarter cost the Jets the game. White is having tests run this week to see the extent of the brutal beating he took in Orchard Park, and if the last few weeks have proven anything, it’s this team needs White under center.
13) New York Giants 7-5-1, last week 11
The wheels are falling off for the Giants, and you could see it coming from miles away. They haven’t won a game in a month after a 7-2 start, and now their one time certain playoff spot is in serious jeopardy. Their upcoming game in Washington this weekend could be what determines if they Giants will be playing postseason football this year.
14) Detroit Lions 6-7, last week 18
The Lions look like one of the most dangerous teams in the league right now. If, and I realize it’s a big if, but IF they make the playoffs, this teams is going to create a lot of problems for whoever is paired with them in the postseason. Detroit are sitting on the outside looking in, and will most likely have to win out to get a Wild Card in the NFC. If they can get a win against the Jets in New York this weekend, their final three games are very winnable against teams with losing records.
15) Seattle Seahawks 7-6, last week 12
The Seahawks are in a fight for survival in the final stretch of the season, and their chances of winning the NFC West might have just diminished with their home loss to the Panthers on Sunday. If you want to make the playoffs these are the games you have to win. The Seahawks are now two games behind the Niners in the division and are currently out of the Wild Card picture. Needless to say, this Thursday’s game is without question the game of the season for Pete Carroll’s men.
16) New England Patriots 7-6, last week
The Patriots know what they do well. They play great defense, and they don’t do anything to lose the game on the offensive end. Mac Jones was a perfect “game manager” against the Cardinals on Monday Night, but it was the defense that came through on a night in which the Pats jumped back into Wild Card position with a month to go in the regular season.
17) Tennessee Titans 7-6, last week 14
The Titans have been on top of the AFC South essentially all season long, but that doesn’t mean they deserve to be in the same discussion as rest of the best in the conference. Their three game losing streak has the Jaguars within striking distance in the AFC South, and the Titans have two tough games out of the conference before meeting the Jaguars again on the final game of the season.
18) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-7, last week 17
When will it end? Week after week I’m guilty of thinking that perhaps, this might be the week that the Buccaneers offense snaps out of their funk. Every week they fail to impress, but still somehow remain at the top of the NFC South. Brady and the Bucs were held to just 7 points against the Niners in San Fran, and now Tampa Bay leads the Panthers and the Falcons by just a game.
19) Jacksonville Jaguars 5-8, last week 28
The Jags struggles against the Titans in Tennessee are finally over, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. After a terrible middle portion of the season, they look like they are starting to right the ship and maybe, just maybe, they have a chance to sneak up on the sliding Titans and take the division from them in the final weeks of the season. Trevor Lawrence had a career day, in a game when the defense forced the four Tennessee turnovers. They have a long way to go, but the Week 18 game against the Titans could be a do or die situation for the AFC South rivals.
20) Green Bay Packers 5-8, last week 19
Green Bay is going to need a miracle to get into the postseason after a dismal start to the campaign. They can not afford to lose a single game coming out of their bye, and they will need some help from outside but they somehow still have hope coming out of their bye and heading into the final stretch of the season.
21) Atlanta Falcons 6-7, last week 21
The Falcons will be gearing up for a final playoff push coming out of their bye, despite being just 5-8 this season. They play the Saints, Ravens, Cardinals and have a potentially huge matchup with division leaders, the Tampa Bay Bucs in Week 18.
22) Pittsburgh Steelers 5-8, last week 20
Kenny Pickett going down early in the first quarter completely changed the dynamic of the Steelers game plan against the Ravens. It was a game that was begging Pittsburgh to run the ball, but they handed the ball of just 20 times all game. Mitch Trubisky went 22/30 for 276 yards but threw three interceptions in the two point loss to Baltimore. Pickett should return before the end of the season to get a few more reps to wrap up his rookie year.
23) Carolina Panthers 5-8, last week 27
It couldn’t have been a better start for Sam Darnold and the the Panthers in Seattle in Week 14. A field goal, a defensive interception and a touchdown on the first three drives put them in the drive seat early in the first quarter but they still had to hold off a comeback bid from Geno Smith and Seattle. It could have gone south in a hurry when Carolina was stuffed on a 4th and Goal, but on the next possession Chuba Hubbard and Raheem Blackshear ran the Panthers into the end zone for what would be the game winning TD. It’s been an ugly season for CAR, but it looks like this teams is finally finding some sort of direction for the seasons to come.
24) Arizona Cardinals 4-9, last week 22
Nothing has gone right for this team that had high hopes coming into this season. As if the season hasn’t gone bad enough, they saw the face of their franchise, Kyler Murray go down with what could be a serious injury. The loss to the Patriots shuts the door on their slim playoff hopes, and this loss could sting all the way into next season depending on the severity of Murray’s injury.
25) Las Vegas Raiders 5-8, last week 23
Just when you start to believe in the Raiders, they go ahead and do the most Raiders thing possible. Their three game win streak was snapped in the final three minutes of Thursday Night’s game against Baker Mayfield and the Rams. They shutdown the Rams for 57 minutes and, but collapsed against in the final moments of the game giving up two TDs to LA. Their late game debacle could be the final nail in the coffin to their post season chances.
26) Indianapolis Colts 4-8-1, last week 26
Jeff Saturday took over the Colts a few weeks ago, and by the time he was on the sidelines for Indy there is no way he knew the names of everyone on his team. This bye will at least give him a chance to get to know this team a little better, and look to finish off the season strong.
27) Cleveland Browns 5-8, last week 25
In the eight quarters that the Browns have had Deshawn Watson under center they have scored just one offensive touchdown. There hasn’t been much to get excited about in Cleveland since their starting QBs debut, but you have to take into account Watson is learning on the fly after being away from the team more than half the the season.
28) Los Angeles Rams 4-9, last week 30
If Baker Mayfield’s first two days are any indication of what is to come for him and LA, that the future of the franchise could be in great hands. Matthew Stafford was and will be the Rams starting QB until he decides to hang it up, but Mayfield’s patented brand of swag and cockiness might fit LaLa Land perfectly. He plugged right into Sean McVay’s offense and looked like he had been running it for ages. The Rams season is all but over, but Mayfield may be able to give LA fans a few more moments of joy before heading into the offseason.
29) New Orleans Saints 4-9, last week 24
The Saints bye came much too late in the season for them to sort things out, but somehow they are still in the race for the NFC South even at 4-9 going into Week 15. They have no margin for error, so let’s see the desperation they play with over the next four weeks.
30) Chicago Bears 3-10, last week 29
Justin Fields may be young, but boy did his body need a break. He has been the only bright spot of the Bears season, but he has taken a beating doing so. There are four more weeks left in the season and all eyes will be on Hurts to give Chicago fans something to hang their hat on this offseason.
31) Denver Broncos 3-10, last week 31
The Denver Broncos offense finally came to life, but it took them going down 28-0 to the Chiefs to see Russell Wilson and the offense turn on for maybe the first time this season. Wilson went down with a scary concussion and the Broncos couldn’t complete the comeback with Brett Rypien under center. Denver need this season to come to a close ASAP, but the question is will, they be able to end their now five game losing streak before the end of Week 18?
32) Houston Texans 1-11-1, last week 32
The Texans hung tight with the Cowboys for 60 minutes in Dallas, but in the end the same thing that has haunted the Texans all season long came back to bite them in the final minutes. They have stayed in most of the games they have played this year, but this is a team that hasn’t figured out how to win those games yet. You have to give it to Lovie Smith, up by three with a chance to bury the Boys, the Texans went for it on 4th and Goal from the DAL 3, but once again Houston couldn’t make the game winning play. They then went on to allow a 98 yard TD drive to drop their eighth straight game in the final seconds.