NFL Analysis


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NFL Week 14 Power Rankings: 49ers Move to No. 1, Packers Climb Seven Spots

Every Tuesday, we’ll provide updated power rankings. The rankings will be driven by who the teams are at the moment. Those stances will be centered on every team’s talent, reliability and current level of success. 

Betting markets will also influence our stances, as will each team’s path to contention within its conference. We’ll also be aware of each team’s looming schedule difficulty.

NFL Week 14 Power Rankings

1. San Francisco 49ers (9-3)

Previous Rank: No. 2

Last Game: 49ers 42, Eagles 19

The San Francisco 49ers made a statement in their blowout win against the Eagles in Philadelphia. San Francisco can win in any area and is the league’s best, most complete team. That’s why they are back on top of our power rankings.

Week 16’s Monday Night Football matchup against the Ravens is a potential Super Bowl preview. If San Francisco beats Baltimore, it would be no surprise if the 49ers win out.

Next: vs. SEA, at ARZ, vs. BAL (MNF), at WASH, vs. LAR

2. Philadelphia Eagles (10-2)

Previous Rank: No. 1

Last Game: 49ers 42, Eagles 19

Despite last week’s loss to the 49ers, the Philadelphia Eagles remain the NFC’s No. 1 seed. This week’s matchup with Dallas closes out an absolutely brutal five-game schedule run.

To this point, Philadelphia is 3-1 through that stretch with wins against the Cowboys, Chiefs and Bills. If the Eagles can get through their next two opponents unscathed, they close with three very winnable games.

Next: at DAL (SNF), at SEA, vs. NYG, vs. ARZ, at NYG

3. Baltimore Ravens (9-3)

Previous Rank: No. 4

Last Game: Idle

The Baltimore Ravens’ defense and rushing attack have driven most of their success. QB Lamar Jackson’s dynamic athleticism is the reason Baltimore has the league’s most productive running game. 

As a passer, Jackson has been efficient, but the Ravens are 20th in passing yards per game. This week’s matchup against the Rams is an opportunity for Jackson to show some ceiling through the air. Right now, every team the Ravens face the rest of the season is .500 or better.

Next: vs. LAR, at JAX (SNF), at SF (MNF), vs. MIA, vs. PIT

4. Dallas Cowboys (9-3)

Previous Rank: No. 5

Last Game: Cowboys 41, Seahawks 35

QB Dak Prescott’s seven-game tear has put him front and center in the MVP conversation. Prescott prevented the Dallas Cowboys from losing to suddenly desperate Seattle last Thursday. 

The Cowboys have won seven games by at least three scores. They lead the league in points per game while giving up the fourth fewest points. They’ve also lost to the two elite teams they’ve faced — the Eagles and 49ers.

Dallas has no easy outs in the next four games, starting with a rematch against Philadelphia. Ultimately, the Cowboys have torched below-average teams, but they need to do more against playoff-caliber rosters.

Next: vs. PHI (SNF), at BUF, at MIA, vs. DET (Saturday night), at WASH

5. Miami Dolphins (8-3)

Previous Rank: No. 6

Last Game: Dolphins 45, Commanders 15

We all know that the Miami Dolphins have a premium offense, ranking second in points per game. But it’s their ascending defense that makes them a title contender. 

The knock on the Dolphins all year is they haven’t beaten any premium opponents. After games against sub-.500 Tennessee and the Jets, Miami closes the season against three top-10 teams. That Week 17 matchup at Baltimore could determine the AFC’s No. 1 seed.

Next: vs. TEN (MNF), vs. NYJ, vs. DAL, at BAL, vs. BUF

6. Detroit Lions (9-3)

Previous Rank: No. 8

Last Game: Lions 33, Saints 28

After a Thanksgiving Day loss to the Packers, the Detroit Lions’ offense surged early against the Saints. The problem was their struggling defense let the Saints crawl back into the game. What’s worse is that New Orleans has struggled to finish drives all year, but it didn’t against Detroit. 

The Lions are well-coached with a well-rounded offense, but their defense needs to be more consistent. Otherwise, this team’s trip through the playoffs could be short.

Next: at CHI, vs. DEN, at MIN, at DAL (Saturday night), vs. MIN

7. Kansas City Chiefs (8-4)

Previous Rank: No. 3

Last Game: Packers 27, Chiefs 19

That was a bad loss in Green Bay last week. Not only did the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense continue to struggle, but their defense underachieved in both phases. 

The Chiefs have lost three of their past five games, and they next host desperate Buffalo. Even if Kansas City loses to the Bills, it is well-positioned to finish the season with a 12-5 record. That will likely send the Chiefs back up these rankings. But for now, they need to do more to return to the top five.

Next: vs. BUF, at NE (MNF), vs. LV, vs. CIN, at LAC

8. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-4)

Previous Rank: No. 7

Last Game: Bengals 34, Jaguars 31, OT

The Jacksonville Jaguars are in a difficult position in the wake of Monday night. If QB Trevor Lawrence is out long-term, Jacksonville will be a below-average team. In that scenario, Jacksonville could slide out of the AFC playoffs.

If Lawrence just misses a game or two, the Jaguars close out the season against three teams with losing records. In that event, Jacksonville will remain alive in the AFC South race. 

Regardless of Lawrence’s status, the Jaguars were torched by Bengals No. 2 QB Jake Browning on Monday night. 

Next: at CLE, vs. BAL (SNF), at TB, vs. CAR, at TEN

9. Houston Texans (7-5)

Previous Rank: No. 9

Last Game: Texans 22, Broncos 17

QB C.J. Stroud gets most of the credit for the Houston Texans’ unexpected success, and rightfully so. Stroud is, arguably, the best rookie quarterback in NFL history. That said, the Texans’ defense has driven a number of their wins, including last week’s against Denver. 

If the season ended today, Houston would miss the playoffs. It has a manageable enough schedule to change that.

Next: at NYJ, at TEN, vs. CLE, vs. TEN, at IND

10. Buffalo Bills (6-6)

Previous Rank: No. 10

Last Game: Idle

Josh Allen’s Buffalo Bills are the most dangerous 6-6 team in recent memory. They have little margin for error if they are going to make the playoffs. What’s worse, is they have to get through the Chiefs, Cowboys and Dolphins in their next five games.

That’s a tall task, but Buffalo has the raw materials to go 4-1 or better down the stretch.

Next: at KC, vs. DAL, at LAC (Saturday night), vs. NE, at MIA

11. Green Bay Packers (6-6)

Previous Rank: No. 18

Last Game: Packers 27, Chiefs 19

The Green Bay Packers have knocked off the Lions and Chiefs in the last two weeks, inserting themselves into the NFC playoff picture. The Packers’ talented defense has kept them competitive for most of the season, but QB Jordan Love has been a difference-maker in recent weeks. 

The Packers’ most talented pass catcher, Christian Watson, could miss time due to a hamstring injury. That’s an obstacle for Love, but thankfully Green Bay has a manageable schedule.

Next: at NYG (MNF), vs. TB, at CAR, at MIN (SNF), vs. CHI

>>READ: Packers Have Found Their Franchise QB

12. Indianapolis Colts (7-5)

Previous Rank: No. 14

Last Game: Colts 31, Titans 28

The Indianapolis Colts continue to win games with their unexpectedly high-performing offense. It doesn’t seem to matter who this team loses to injury, Shane Steichen’s group continues to overachieve. 

The Colts have a realistic path to 10 or more wins, given their late-season schedule. If they make the playoffs — and they would if the season ended today — they are the season’s biggest surprise.

Next: at CIN, vs. PIT, at ATL, vs. LV, vs. HOU

13. Los Angeles Rams (6-6)

Previous Rank: No. 19

Last Game: Rams 36, Browns 19

The Los Angeles Rams have scored 73 points during their last two games, with 36 coming against Cleveland’s high-end defense. More importantly, the Rams’ defense has held each opponent below 20 points during its three-game win streak. 

Los Angeles has one of the toughest tests in professional football this week when it heads to Baltimore. The Rams’ next three games against sub-.500 teams will determine their season.

Next: at BAL, vs. WASH, vs. NO (TNF), at NYG, at SF

14. Denver Broncos (6-6)

Previous Rank: No. 12

Last Game: Texans 22, Broncos 17

The Denver Broncos’ five-game winning streak ended last week in Houston. The Broncos’ offense came up short, but their defense put out another rock-solid performance. 

Denver has a difficult path to 10 wins, which looks like the minimum requirement to make the AFC playoffs.

Next: at LAC, at DET, vs. NE, vs. LAC, at LV

15. Seattle Seahawks (6-6)

Previous Rank: No. 15

Last Game: Cowboys 41, Seahawks 35

QB Geno Smith played his best game in two months against the Cowboy’s fourth-best scoring defense. If the Seattle Seahawks’ offensive line can keep Smith clean as it did against Dallas, the offense will start playing closer to its potential. To this point, that hasn't happened with any consistency. 

Games against the 49ers and Eagles are next, and Seattle will need to play at least one close-to-perfect game to avoid being 6-8.

Next: at SF, vs. PHI, at TEN, vs. PIT, at ARZ

16. Cleveland Browns (7-5)

Previous Rank: No. 13

Last Game: Rams 36, Browns 19

As crazy as this may sound, the Cleveland Browns are better off with Joe Flacco than their other quarterback options. The path for Cleveland is to play consistently elite defense while Flacco does just enough to close out games. If Cleveland wins its three remaining games against sub-.500 teams, it can make the playoffs.

Next: vs. JAX, vs. CHI, at HOU, vs. NYJ (TNF), at CIN

17. Atlanta Falcons (6-6)

Previous Rank: No. 17

Last Game: Falcons 13, Jets 8

Finally, someone looks like they want to win the NFC South, as the Atlanta Falcons have won back-to-back games coming off their bye. If Atlanta beats the Buccaneers and Panthers in the next two weeks, it is in the driver’s seat to win the division.

Unfortunately, Atlanta has been an inconsistent team led by one of the league’s most unreliable quarterbacks.

Next: vs. TB, at CAR, vs. IND, at CHI, at NO

18. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5)

Previous Rank: No. 11

Last Game: Cardinals 24, Steelers 10

Not only did the Pittsburgh Steelers suffer a brutal loss to the Cardinals last week, but Kenny Pickett is out for the foreseeable future due to ankle surgery. Pickett has underwhelmed to this point in his career, but he’s better than Mitch Trubisky

On the bright side, the Steelers’ defense is allowing the sixth-fewest points per game. That group has largely carried Pittsburgh to its 7-5 record. The Steelers’ running game also has been very productive in recent weeks. Pittsburgh’s power rankings slide is largely attributed to Trubisky taking over at quarterback.

Next: vs. NE (TNF), at IND, vs. CIN, at SEA, at BAL

19. Minnesota Vikings (6-5)

Previous Rank: No. 16

Last Game: Idle

Brian Flores’ defense has overachieved, and it is a major reason why the Minnesota Vikings remain in the playoff picture. The trade for Josh Dobbs kept the Vikings alive in the NFC. 

Coming off its bye and Dobbs’ brutal performance against Chicago, Minnesota could make a quarterback change this week. If the Vikings move to Nick Mullens or rookie Jaren Hall, they would slide down this list. If they stick with Dobbs, the Vikings’ still shouldn’t be considered reliable, but they have a better ceiling.

Next: at LV, at CIN, vs. DET, vs. GB, at DET

20. Los Angeles Chargers (5-7)

Previous Rank: No. 20

Last Game: Chargers 6, Patriots 0

You could argue the Los Angeles Chargers defense is the best it has been under Brandon Staley. Before shutting out New England last week, it limited Lamar Jackson on Sunday Night Football.

QB Justin Herbert’s offense has been the problem the past two weeks. A big reason is WR Keenan Allen is the only Chargers skill player who is making a real impact. If that doesn’t change, Los Angeles could wrap up a down year with a rocky finish.

Next: vs. DEN, at LV (TNF), vs. BUF (Saturday night), at DEN, vs. KC

21. New Orleans Saints (5-7)

Previous Rank: No. 21

Last Game: Lions 33, Saints 28

Derek Carr is in the concussion protocol for the second time in a month, which means Jameis Winston likely will take over at quarterback. The New Orleans Saints’ offense has struggled to finish drives all season with Carr, but he’s at least kept them competitive. Winston has his moments, but he’s been a turnover machine throughout his career.

With Carr, the Saints likely get to 7-7 with games against bottom-tier teams in the Panthers and Giants. With Winston, New Orleans is more vulnerable to an upset. All of that said, if the Saints start playing to their potential, they can catch Atlanta for the NFC South crown.

Next: vs. CAR, vs. NYG, at LAR (TNF), at TB, vs. ATL

22. Chicago Bears (4-8)

Previous Rank: No. 22

Last Game: Idle

After an 0-4 start, the Chicago Bears are 4-4 over their past eight games. Chicago is a couple of bounces away from being 6-6 and very much alive in the NFC Wild Card race. 

The Bears’ defense has been consistently solid since Week 6, and Montez Sweat has been a difference-maker. Justin Fields is not a consistent passer, but his dynamic athleticism raises the ceiling of Chicago’s offense. Consider the Bears a dangerous underdog for the rest of the season.

Next: vs. DET, at CLE, vs. ARZ, vs. ATL, at GB

23. Cincinnati Bengals (6-6)

Previous Rank: No. 26

Last Game: Bengals 34, Jaguars 31, OT

You have to give Jake Browning a lot of credit for absolutely shredding the Jaguars. The Cincinnati Bengals have an excellent skill group, and Browning got the most out of them Monday night. 

That said, the Bengals’ defense continues to struggle, and Browning’s offense scored 10 points against the Steelers in his first start. The Bengals will host the overachieving Colts in Week 14.

Next: vs. IND, vs. MIN, at PIT, at KC, vs. SEA

24. Las Vegas Raiders (5-7)

Previous Rank: No. 23

Last Game: Idle

The Las Vegas Raiders have exceeded expectations since Antonio Pierce took over as coach in Week 9. Their defense has overachieved, while QB Aidan O’Connell’s offense has been very unreliable. O’Connell’s struggles aren’t a surprise, but they are the Raiders’ biggest weakness.

Next: vs. MIN, vs. LAC (TNF), at KC, at IND, vs. DEN

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7)

Previous Rank: No. 24

Last Game: Buccaneers 21, Panthers 18

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers escaped with a three-point home win against the Panthers last week. The Buccaneers’ defense continues to be a good, but not quite great unit. QB Baker Mayfield’s offense is 22nd in the league in scoring. 

The biggest positive for Tampa is it is only one game out in the NFC South race with looming games against the Falcons and Saints. If Atlanta and New Orleans falter, Tampa has a path to winning the division.

Next: at ATL, at GB, vs. JAX, vs. NO, at CAR

26. Tennessee Titans (4-8)

Previous Rank: No. 25

Last Game: Colts 31, Titans 28

Last week’s loss to the Colts was a tough one for the Tennessee Titans because it was their most winnable game left on the schedule. That’s not necessarily a bad thing long-term because top-five picks are positives for rebuilding teams.

Next: at MIA (MNF), vs. HOU, vs. SEA, at HOU, vs. JAX

27. Arizona Cardinals (3-10)

Previous Rank: No. 30

Last Game: Cardinals 24, Steelers 10

Similar to their Week 3 upset over Dallas, the Arizona Cardinals ramped up the physicality in Pittsburgh last week. Surprisingly, Arizona’s three wins have all come against teams that are .500 or better. As things stand today, the Bears are the only team with a losing record remaining on Arizona’s schedule.

Next: BYE, vs. SF, at CHI, at PHI, vs. SEA

28. New York Giants (4-8)

Previous Rank: No. 27

Last Game: Idle

The New York Giants entered their bye on a two-game winning streak beating bottom-tier teams: Washington and New England. Those wins likely pushed New York out of contention for the first overall pick. 

The Giants are scoring the second-fewest points per game, which means their defense drives their success. New Orleans is the only sub-.500 team left on New York's schedule. Chances are the Giants will not win another game for the rest of the season.

Next: vs. GB (MNF), at NO, at PHI, vs. LAR, vs. PHI

29. Washington Commanders (4-9)

Previous Rank: 28

Last Game: Dolphins 45, Commanders 15

The Washington Commanders desperately needed their bye week after losing to the Cowboys and Dolphins by a combined score of 90-25. Those were preceded by a Week 11 loss to the Giants and third-string QB Tommy DeVito.

Washington has the worst pass defense in the league. That puts a lot on quarterback QB Sam Howell’s plate against three potential playoff teams down the stretch.

Next: BYE, at LAR, at NYJ, vs. SF, vs. DAL

30. New York Jets (4-8)

Previous Rank: No. 29

Last Game: Falcons 13, Jets 8

The story remains the same for the New York Jets. They have a premium defense with a non-functioning offense. They have no answer at quarterback unless Aaron Rodgers returns to action, which he shouldn’t considering the Jets’ record.

Next: vs. HOU, at MIA, vs. WASH, at CLE (TNF), at NE

31. New England Patriots (2-10)

Previous Rank: No. 31

Last Game: Chargers 6, Patriots 0

Bailey Zappe started at quarterback last week, and his offense was shut out by the Chargers at home. Bill Belichick’s defense has given up just 26 points in the past three weeks, but the New England Patriots’ offense is impossibly ineffective.

Next:  at PIT (TNF), vs. KC, at DEN, at BUF, vs. NYJ

32. Carolina Panthers (1-10)

Previous Rank: No. 32

Last Game: Buccaneers 21, Panthers 18

The Carolina Panthers showed some fire against the Buccaneers last week, but they still fell short. Perhaps the firing of Frank Reich and several members of his staff will pay dividends for Carolina. But so far, it’s more of the same.

Next: at NO, vs. ATL, vs. GB, at JAX, vs. TB