NFL Week 14 Power Rankings: Patriots reclaim top spot

The Vikings, Eagles, Steelers and Rams still round out the top 5.
Patriots, dominance, AFC East

1. New England Patriots (10-2) Def. Buffalo 23-3. Last Week: 2

 

The Patriots continue displaying the disparity between themselves and the rest of the AFC East, and shouldn’t do any different next week against the Dolphins even without the services of Rob Gronkowski, suspended for his dangerous late hit on Tre’Davious White. A win against Miami would clinch the division for New England regardless of what happens in the rest of the league, with no other division team able to reach 11 victories.

 

2. Minnesota Vikings (10-2) Def. Atlanta 14-9.  Last Week: 3

 

While the Eagles and Saints have dropped games Minnesota goes right on beating the top competition the NFC has to offer: the Rams, Lions, Falcons for their last three tricks. That strength of schedule has them above Philadelphia for home field advantage right now and if they knock out another top contender this week, the Panthers, they'll have clinched their division with 11 wins.

 

3. Philadelphia Eagles (10-2) Lost to Seattle 24-10. Last Week: 1

The Eagles looked vulnerable for the first time in weeks, losing a fumble out of the endzone and failing to challenge an important play late. They're still just one win shy of their first division title since 2013 and are making the interesting choice of staying on the road for the week before they try to get it against the Rams. Guess the commute from Seattle to LA isn't as bad as it sounds.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-2) Def. Cincinnati 23-20. Last Week: 4

Good news out of Cincinnati: Ryan Shazier appears to be okay. The Steelers linebacker scared the nation when he was carted off after delivering a tackle early in Monday night's contest. The dangerous plays didn't stop there however, with Juju Smith-Schuster penalized for laying out Vontaze Burfict and Antonio Brown weathering a penalized hit while making the game tying touchdown catch.

5. Los Angeles Rams (9-3) Def. Arizona 32-16. Last Week: 5

The Rams completed the sweep of the Cardinals to stay ahead of the Seahawks in first place in the NFC West. It’s hard to see this division coming down to anything but the second meeting between the two teams, but this week, they’ll attempt to repeat the Seahawks feat of beating the Eagles when two of the biggest surprises in the NFL and two of its best offenses play in Los Angeles.

6. New Orleans Saints (9-3) Def. Carolina 31-21. Last Week: 7

The Saints rebounded from their first loss since Week 2 with their second dismantling of the Panthers. Alvin Kamara had two more touchdowns Sunday, giving him 10 on his rookie season. Not to be outdone (by very much, anyway), Mark Ingram scored his ninth. The Saints have set themselves apart atop the NFC South, but done so without yet facing last year’s champion Falcons. That changes this week.

7. Seattle Seahawks (8-4) Def. Philadelphia 24-10. Last Week: 9

Sunday night the nation saw just how far the Russell Wilson scrambles for his life offense can carry a team. The Seahawks banged up secondary looked vulnerable to the big play, but that only matters if their pass rush gets held up longer than it did Sunday. The Eagles had put up 30 points in five straight, and Seattle just shut them down. They’ll face a different challenge this week in Jacksonville.

8. Carolina Panthers (8-4) Lost to New Orleans 31-21. Last Week: 6

The Panthers defense wasn’t able to shut down the New Orleans offense, the offense wasn’t able to take advantage of a banged up Saints defense, and Carolina lost a four game win streak and the season series to New Orleans. They’re still in a playoff spot, but have a dangerous matchup this week with the Vikings. Their season finale with the Falcons could wind up determining much.

9. Atlanta Falcons (7-5) Lost to Minnesota 14-9. Last Week: 8

It had been two years since the Falcons last went a game without scoring a touchdown. A week after topping 250 receiving yards Julio Jones was held under 30 while the Vikings defense shut down the entire Falcons offense. Now on the outside of the NFC playoff picture looking in, the Falcons have no time to waste getting it together with the Saints visiting this Thursday.

10. Los Angeles Chargers (6-6) Def. Cleveland 19-10. Last Week: 10

It wasn't the most impressive way to beat Cleveland, but Keenan Allen had his third straight 100-yard game, Travis Coons nailed four field goals, and the Chargers are locked into a three way tie for first place in the AFC West with by far the best momentum of any of the three contenders.

11. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4) Def. Indianapolis 30-10. Last Week: 11

Jacksonville swept the Colts for the first time in an AFC South series, signifying how things have changed after almost two decades of Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. Leonard Fournette is still struggling to match his early season pace - 20 carries for just 57 yards Sunday, but he did find the endzone. The Jaguars now have a tough challenge waiting when the Seahawks visit.

12. Baltimore Ravens (7-5) Def. Detroit 44-20. Last Week: 12

The Ravens dominated early and late on their way to their third straight win. The offense that has struggled all season mildly broke out with four touchdowns and 370 total yards, mostly through the passing game. It was a costly victory for Baltimore, as well as an impressive one: cornerback Jimmy Smith may be done for the season.

13. Tennessee Titans (8-4) Def. Houston 24-13. Last Week: 15

The Titans have made this season out of beating the teams they’re supposed to, and that includes most of their division. They’ve won six of seven and with a trip to Arizona upcoming should be progressing that streak. No matter what happens, the Titans Jaguars rematch is looming heavily.

14. Detroit Lions (6-6) Lost to Baltimore 44-20. Last Week: 13

Every week we talk about the hole Detroit puts themselves in and struggles to climb out of. This was no different, as they fell behind 20-0 by halftime and even 20 consecutive completions by Matthew Stafford couldn’t draw them back level. It’s just not how you win games.

15. Dallas Cowboys (6-6) Def. Washington 38-14. Last Week: 22

The Cowboys rebounded from several poor streaks Thursday night. They got their first win in four tries and their first during Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension. Dez Bryant caught his first touchdown in six games, and it happened to be his franchise record 72nd. There are several teams above Dallas in a crowded playoff race, but their performance Thursday was worlds above their previous three outings.

16. Green Bay Packers (6-6) Def. Tampa Bay 26-20 (OT.) Last Week: 20

Brett Hundley was unable to follow his performance against Pittsburgh with another good day through the air, but the Packers didn’t need the passing game with their defense racking up seven sacks and a score of their own and Hundley and Jamaal Williams combining for 179 yards on the ground. With only the Browns standing between Green Bay and whispers of an Aaron Rodgers return, there may still be life in this season.

17. New York Jets (5-7) Def. Kansas City 38-31. Last Week: 16

The Jets kept the Chiefs misery rolling, and they even got former Jet corner Darrelle Revis benched for good measure Sunday, throwing for 331 yards. Josh McCown scored twice on the ground, including the game winning quarterback sneak. If the Jets enjoyed piling onto a struggling team, they’ll get another chance this week against Denver.

18. Oakland Raiders (6-6) Def. NY Giants 24-17. Last Week: 19

With the Chiefs in the middle of losing every game and the Chargers in the middle of winning every one, the Raiders are somehow getting lost...in the middle. But they’re right there at 6-6 with a chance to complete the season sweep over Kansas City this weekend. Marshawn Lynch repeating his first 100-yard game of 2017 would help.

19. Washington (5-7) Lost to Dallas 38-14. Last Week: 14

Washington dug themselves a big hole with turnovers at the start of Thursday night's game and there wasn't any climbing out of it afterwards. For once it wasn’t Dallas, but their opponent plagued with offensive line injuries. They're officially out of the division race and - unofficially - out of the wild card one as well.

20. Arizona Cardinals (5-7) Lost to LA Rams 32-16. Last Week: 17

Larry Fitzgerald is the fourth leading receiver in NFL history after passing Isaac Bruce Sunday. Fitzgerald is 25 yards behind Randy Moss for third place. With 10 catches for 98 yards and a score in this game, and on pace for his ninth 1,000-yard season, Fitzgerald is a consistent bright spot in bad days and weeks for the Cardinals.

21. Buffalo Bills (6-6) Lost to New England 23-3. Last Week: 18

The Bills’ celebrating a victory over the Chiefs was short lived, but with the Colts visiting this week, so may be their mourning a defeat. With season’s end nearing, it doesn’t look like the Buffalo playoff drought is in any danger. Forever 8-8.

22. Cincinnati Bengals (5-7) Lost to Pittsburgh 23-20. Last Week: 23

Another Bengals Steelers matchup marred by brutal and illegal hits came down to the wire Monday night to close out Week 13. Count the play where Le’Veon Bell took a swing pass along the sideline for a touchdown as a microcosm of the game - the Bengals didn’t finish either, giving up and letting Bell score, and giving up a 17-0 lead.

23. Kansas City Chiefs (6-6) Lost to NY Jets 38-31. Last Week: 21

If anyone knows what’s wrong with the Kansas City Chiefs, write us. And then get on a plane and explain it to Andy Reid. The NFL’s last undefeated team was just swept by the state of New York. What we thought was the problem - unexplosive offense - was available in spades from Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce Sunday. Alex Smith threw for 366 yards and four touchdowns and had a 70 yard run. And they lost.

24. Miami Dolphins (5-7) Def. Denver 35-9. Last Week: 27

For all their struggles, the Dolphins don’t appear to be missing Jay Ajayi. Kenyan Drake ran for 120 yards Sunday, and has made the running back spot his own since Ajayi was traded. Julius Thomas scored a touchdown against his old team as the Dolphins got their first win since they were 4-2.

25. Houston Texans (4-8) Lost to Tennessee 24-13. Last Week: 24

Tom Savage had his most prolific day in Houston, with 365 passing yards. But with 11 penalties and a one-for-three record in the red zone, and two missed field goals, those yards weren’t transformed into points.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-8) Lost to Green Bay 26-20 (OT.) Last Week: 25

Jameis Winston had a rough welcome back behind an injured offensive line. Winston was sacked seven times, fumbled twice, and had one loose ball returned for a Packers score. This is a lost season for Tampa Bay, but if anyone’s still hoping this offense has fantasy value, Winston’s return brought Cameron Brate back into the picture with two touchdown receptions.

27. Indianapolis Colts (3-9) Lost to Jacksonville 30-10.  Last Week: 26

Frank Gore passed Jerome Bettis and Ladainian Tomlinson on the all time rushing list, but the rest of the day was pretty unnotable for the Colts. The NFL’s new fifth leading rusher finished with 61 yards. Without a 100-yard game in 2017, the 34-year old is on pace for just over 800 rushing yards, his lowest total since his rookie season.

28. San Francisco 49ers (2-10) Def. Chicago 15-14. Last Week: 29

Robbie Gould, the Bears’ franchise leader in points scored and everything kicking, scored all of the 49ers’ points on five field goals against the team that moved on from him last summer. Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t star in his first start, but he’s 1-0.

29. Chicago Bears (3-9) Lost to San Francisco 15-14. Last Week: 28

A week after they put up 140 total yards against the Eagles, Chicago barely surpassed that with 147 against the NFL’s 25th ranked defense. The Bears led 7-3 after an interception and 14-6 after a Tarik Cohen punt return touchdown, but could muster nothing else offensively.

30. Denver Broncos (3-9) Lost to Miami 35-9. Last Week: 30

Two safeties. Three interceptions. Eight losses in a row, bookended by losses to the Giants and Dolphins. The Broncos are the last team the Chiefs beat. 

31. New York Giants (2-10) Lost to Oakland 24-17. Last Week: 31

It's a tough call between moving the Giants up a few spots for firing Ben Mcadoo or dropping them behind the Browns for waiting until the damage was done and he'd benched Eli Manning.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-12) Lost to LA Chargers 19-10. Last Week: 32

The Browns one win last season came at Christmas against the Chargers. This year's Chargers, with first place in the division on the line, weren't quite so giving. Josh Gordon was a pleasant surprise in his debut however, leading Cleveland with four catches for 85 yards.

 
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