NFL power rankings: 49ers, Patriots, Cowboys and Eagles fall; Steelers, Saints surge for Week 14Sporting News — (Vinnie Iyer)
This past week in the NFL was as weird as the superstition attached to the number 13 would indicate. Not only did a few surprising contenders flex their muscles in the week's bigger matchups, but several of the league's doormats got off the mat to deliver confidence-building upsets.
When all that happens, it tends to shake up the power rankings from top to bottom. That's the case going into Week 14 as we take an updated look at how every team stacks up against each other with only one month left in the 2019 NFL regular season.
Starting with the new No. 1 down through No. 32, here's looking at the best, mediocre and worst of the league going into Week 14.
NFL power rankings
1. Baltimore Ravens, 10-2 (previous ranking: 2)
The Ravens won a classic defensive matchup with the right touch of clutch offense and special teams. They had a scoring machine before the 49ers game but proved they can go old-school to win a game, too. They're now the unquestioned best team in the NFL.
2. San Francisco 49ers, 10-2 (1)
The 49ers did their best to hang with the Ravens and did so through the final seconds. San Francisco, with its tough AFC test out of the way, still has two more big NFC challenges — the Saints in New Orleans next week and the Seahawks in Seattle in Week 17 — to either get the top seed or just win the division.
3. New Orleans Saints, 10-2 (5)
The Saints marched into Atlanta to exact revenge on their most shocking loss of the season and did so successfully on Thanksgiving Night. They still aren't clicking everywhere offensively, but their defense and special teams continue to sparkle. They can take over as the NFC favorites should they beat the 49ers at home Sunday.
4. Seattle Seahawks, 10-2 (4)
The Seahawks are in first place in the NFC West by virtue of a head-to-head tiebreaker over the 49ers after they beat the Vikings. Russell Wilson is getting more help from the defense of late, and the running game won't let them down in December, either.
5. New England Patriots, 10-2 (3)
The Patriots stumbled defensively in Houston, and until the fourth quarter, their offense couldn't find a rhythm, either. Was it the illnesses? Was it their playing another dangerous offense in the Texans and their elite QB? Whatever the cause, there has been a regression in New England from unbeatable to very good.
6. Green Bay Packers, 9-3 (6)
The Packers' offense got its get-well game for Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and the passing attack, but it also was important for the defense to show up and make impact plays against the Giants. They still need to take care of the business against the Bears and Vikings to ensure an NFC North title.
7. Minnesota Vikings, 8-4 (7)
The Vikings are still trying to make up ground against the Packers, and they're stuck relying on Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook and the offense to do it. The defense has more holes, especially against the pass, and the Seahawks loss hopefully didn't set the tone for their stretch run.
8. Houston Texans, 8-4 (8)
The Texans got their statement win at home over the Patriots and gave themselves a chance to pull away in the AFC South. Let's also remember they beat the Chiefs but lost to the Ravens.
9. Kansas City Chiefs, 8-4 (9)
The Chiefs returned from a bye with a healthier Patrick Mahomes, and there was a lot less pressure on the QB with Kansas City's running game continuing to churn out key yards. The defense is starting to make monster plays against the pass, too, developments that are well-timed for their shot at the Patriots in Week 14.
10. Buffalo Bills, 9-3 (10)
The Bills got their signature win with their dominance of the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Josh Allen keeps improving with his revamped weapons, and the defense is making it difficult on opponents with its toughness and aggressiveness. They get their shot to take it up a few notches in the AFC against the Ravens in Week 14.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers, 7-5 (13)
Devlin Hodges was what the Steelers needed at quarterback: someone capable of making a few big plays without making any big mistakes, knowing that caretaking is OK with their commitment to the running game and strong overall defense to support him. That's exactly why they remain in good playoff position during one of Mike Tomlin's best coaching seasons.
12. Tennessee Titans, 7-5 (16)
The Titans are emerging as dangerous wild-card contenders because of Ryan Tannehill's command of the offense and Derrick Henry running like a freight train. The offensive explosiveness has created more defensive pop, too.
13. Los Angeles Rams, 7-5 (12)
The Rams needed that dominant performance in Arizona with Jared Goff, Todd Gurley and the defense all getting well with a shot at the NFC playoffs very much alive. The trick is keeping it up against the Seahawks at home Sunday night.
14. Dallas Cowboys, 6-6 (11)
The Cowboys still are looking for their first win over a winning team, which explains why they are all the way down to .500, consistently inconsistent for the season. Through all the Jason Garrett and defensive disappointment, they are still in first place in the division and are a dangerous team with a quarterback in Dak Prescott who can get hot and carry them on a playoff run.
15. Oakland Raiders, 6-6 (14)
The Raiders have fallen apart with poor play from Derek Carr and the defense the past two weeks. All the good vibes they once had as a potential playoff contender with Jon Gruden have quickly gone away. Finishing .500 is the challenge now.
16. Indianapolis Colts, 6-6 (15)
The Colts have a shorthanded offense with Jacoby Brissett because of injuries and are doing the best they can with it. Andrew Luck's retirement isn't hurting them nearly as much as Adam Vinatieri still struggling to make money kicks and the defense starting to spring some major leaks.
17. Chicago Bears, 6-6 (20)
The Bears are starting to figure some things out again with and around Mitchell Trubisky, and it's showing up with more competent and explosive offense. The defense is making plays, but it's still paling in comparison to last year's edition.
18. Cleveland Browns, 5-7 (17)
The Browns' defense has been underachieving more than their offense has, and that issue has become even more prevalent without Myles Garrett. They desperately needed that Steelers win for playoff contention. Without it, the dysfunction and disappointment grows under Freddie Ktichens.
19. Philadelphia Eagles, 5-7 (18)
What was that? The Eagles finally found their offensive groove with Carson Wentz in a favorable matchup, and then their defense completely let them down against the Dolphins. Doug Pederson was outcoached, and what was a so-called easy win turned into a costly missed opportunity.
20. Carolina Panthers, 5-7 (19)
What was that? The Panthers needed a win for the sake of coach Ron Rivera, and their defense found new ways to get gashed by a simple power running game. At the same time, their offensive line is crumbling in front of Kyle Allen and Christian McCaffrey. This latest free-fall won't be good for anyone.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 5-7 (22)
The Bucs have outplayed a lot of their issues with Bruce Arians. Jameis Winston has proven to be a resilient passer and has facilitated the running game, while the run defense and pressure up front under Todd Bowles is covering up the team's major secondary issues.
22. Denver Broncos, 4-8 (28)
The Drew Lock era began with a home win over the Chargers, and the rookie QB got plenty of help from his running game, defense and special teams. Lock didn't waste any time in connecting with go-to guy Courtland Sutton, either. Now the trick for Lock is making John Elway believe he can be the longer-term answer over a first-round draft pick in 2020.
23. New York Jets, 4-8 (21)
What was that? The Jets are a much better home team against lesser opponents, especially those from the NFC East. Just when their offense was making real strides, they throw out a poor, too-cute game plan against the Bengals. It doesn't help that Gregg Williams' defense also is on a roller-coaster ride.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars, 4-8 (23)
The Jaguars' defense got ripped apart in one brutal first half with little help from Nick Foles and the offense. Then, finally, they got some life again from Gardner Minshew in the second half. The writing is on the wall for Doug Marrone.
25. Los Angeles Chargers, 4-8 (24)
The Chargers were starting to think about a QB change from Philip Rivers, but the bottom line is they tend to make little mistakes that take away from their big-play capacity. The 180 from their 2018 playoff team is shocking.
26. Arizona Cardinals, 3-8-1 (25)
The Cardinals came off a bye looking worse than they have all season with Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray at the controls. It's difficult to play offense, however, when the defense can't stop tight ends, wide receivers or running backs.
27. Detroit Lions, 3-8-1 (26)
The Lions did their best to stay competitive without Matthew Stafford or Jeff Driskel and with David Blough, but when their defense can't stop the run or the pass, it's difficult for any QB to be successful. Matt Patricia will probably get one more season to try to get it right in Detroit.
28. Washington Redskins, 3-9 (30)
The Redskins are only three games out of first place in the NFC East with four games left to play. Bill Callahan is doing it simply by relentlessly running the ball with Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson and hoping to complement that with strong, swarming defense. Now the key is winning while truly evaluating Dwayne Haskins' passing in the process.
29. Miami Dolphins, 3-9 (31)
The Dolphins aren't going in anyone's tank. Ryan Fitzpatrick, DeVante Parker and their creative offensive play-calling have made that clear. Just imagine what they could be when they get help from a running back and another top wideout in the draft.
30. Atlanta Falcons, 3-9 (27)
The Falcons have gone back to their defensive issues, and the offense is dealing with a different mix of injuries every week. It's a lost season for Dan Quinn, so the question still is: Does the coach lose his job because of the circumstances?
31. New York Giants, 2-10 (29)
Pat Shurmur's offense has had its moments with Daniel Jones, but the now the harsh reality is, with a bad defense, the team has lost eight straight games after getting to .500 early in the season. They have to decide quickly whether they want to keep attaching Jones to Shurmur.
32. Cincinnati Bengals, 1-11 (32)
Coach Zac Taylor put Andy Dalton back in and got a win, so good for him. Funny that the team plays its best leader again and the entire offense responds with some life from the defense, too. Even with that win, the Bengals remain positioned for the top pick with the Redskins and Dolphins "pulling away" from them.