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AP Photo/Don Wright

2020 NFL Power Rankings: Week 14

Bye weeks are over, and the final unbeaten has fallen with just a quarter of the regular season remaining. The 2020 NFL Week 14 power rankings include a new No. 1 team.


1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-1) | Last week: 2 (+1)

Travis Kelce recorded his fifth consecutive 1,000-yard season in the Chiefs’ win over the Broncos, and we all might underestimate how much of a difference he makes for Patrick Mahomes in the middle of the field. Mahomes is difficult to stop regardless, but I’m not sure people understand how fortunate the former league MVP is to have Kelce and Tyreek Hill as his top two options and guys like Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman (along with the talented running backs) in an Andy Reid offense.


2. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-1) | Last week: 1 (-1)

I feel they definitely need to establish a rushing attack leading up to the postseason, but the disrespect for the Steelers has gone a bit too far, with media members celebrating Pittsburgh’s first loss of the season while oddly gloating about how right they were. The Steelers still have a future Hall of Fame quarterback, a stacked group of receivers (they need to focus more and stop dropping passes, though), and arguably the best defense in the conference if not the league.


3. New Orleans Saints (10-2) | Last week: 3

However, with the way the Saints have been playing defensively lately, it’s difficult to say they aren’t the best unit in football right now. That said, the story for me—particularly long-term—has been the play of Taysom Hill. Remember, Hill has barely played full-time quarterback, and the BYU product is clearly getting more comfortable as a passer the more playing time he gets. New Orleans should be in good shape at quarterback when Drew Brees retires. For this week, the Saints are around touchdown favorites according to the latest Week 14 NFL odds, and I anticipate them coming fired up after the Eagles decided to have a rookie quarterback make his first career start against them and their No. 1 defense.


4. Buffalo Bills (9-3) | Last week: 4

It was refreshing to hear Louis Riddick and Brian Griese give Josh Allen major props for the way he played in the Bills’ win over the 49ers on Monday night, which should be a positive for the national conversation and help people realize how great the third-year quarterback is. The fact is that Allen has played so well this season (including some things that only Drew Brees had ever done in a season) that it’s impossible for even the biggest of haters to criticize him. Buffalo won its first Monday Night Football game since 1999, so the organization has come quite a long way since Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane took over.


5. Los Angeles Rams (8-4) | Last week: 6 (+1)

As expected and mentioned last week, Jared Goff responded to the relatively harsh criticism from head coach Sean McVay by playing controlled and efficient against the Cardinals, throwing for 351 yards while completing 78.7% of his passes (his highest of the season) to get the Rams to 8-4 and in a stellar spot in the NFC West and the playoff picture overall. On defense, Los Angeles did a nice job of containing Kyler Murray and the Arizona offense, particularly limiting Murray on the ground.


6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5) | Last week: 7 (+1)

The Buccaneers come off the bye, and it’ll be interesting to see how they look on both sides of the ball. The postseason is by no means a lock for Tampa Bay, but look for them to heat up and find more of an identity on offense leading up to January.


7. Green Bay Packers (9-3) | Last week: 8 (+1)

Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams have been unstoppable, connecting for touchdowns in each of the past seven games (11 total in that span), and Aaron Jones broke a long touchdown run late to basically seal the home win over the Eagles. Also, stud cornerback Jaire Alexander had another very strong outing against Philadelphia. Green Bay no doubt has the star power to make a deep run.


8. Seattle Seahawks (8-4) | Last week: 5 (-3)

The run defense had some trouble in the second half, but overall, the Seattle defense had another solid performance and continues to show promise and progression. It was the Seahawks offense that disappointed in the Week 13 loss to the Giants, as they had trouble finding the end zone. For whatever reason, the Seahawks just sometimes have games like that offensively (typically they occur toward the beginning of the season). Look for Russell Wilson and company to bounce back this Sunday versus the Jets.


9. Cleveland Browns (9-3) | Last week: 13 (+4)

I didn’t think it would happen this season, but the Browns have earned a spot in the top ten of the power rankings after dominating and jumping to a lead early over the Titans. Baker Mayfield obviously played well by throwing four touchdowns in the first half of the victory, but it was strange that people asserted that was the best game of Mayfield’s career, almost like they just looked at the stats and didn’t actually watch the game—receivers were running wide open against Tennessee, and the former No. 1 overall pick has had more impressive showings where he lit up defenses with ultra-accurate throws into tight coverage. This Monday night should be a bigger test for Mayfield and company in the rematch with the Ravens.


10. Indianapolis Colts (8-4) | Last week: 10

After missing one game while on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Jonathan Taylor returned to the lineup for the Colts and is looking like a dangerous runner down the stretch. The game may be slowing down for the rookie running back, who can play at a different speed than most guys when he gets going. The Indy defense was in the right place at the right time with a key fumble recovery late, and Frank Reich has faith in his team (some thought the Colts should have just let the Texans score late to go up one and get the ball back, which is mind-blowing to me).


11. Las Vegas Raiders (7-5) | Last week: 11

The Raiders lucked out a bit from the all-out blitz by the Jets to end the game and allow Henry Ruggs III to get deep for a game-winner with five seconds remaining, but there should be more focus on the positives—Derek Carr did a nice job of stepping up and delivering an accurate pass on the touchdown, and Las Vegas should get credit for coming through at the end. Darren Waller was on another level for the Raiders, with 13 catches for 200 yards and two touchdowns, as Jon Gruden clearly made it a point of emphasis to get their star tight end the ball. Carr ultimately delivered, but he needs to get his deep ball back to clicking; he missed a couple of big play opportunities, including a would-be touchdown to an open Nelson Agholor on the play before the Ruggs score.


12. Miami Dolphins (8-4) | Last week: 12

Cornerback Xavien Howard has eight interceptions this season and should be getting more serious Defensive Player of the Year consideration. It says a lot about the strength of the Dolphins defense that opposing quarterbacks really can’t shy away from Howard because of other defensive backs like Byron Jones and Eric Rowe with the ability to blanket receivers—though it might be a good idea to stop testing Howard so much. Watching Brian Flores’ defense go up against the Chiefs this weekend should be fun. This was a cool moment to see the closeness of some Dolphins teammates:



13. Tennessee Titans (8-4) | Last week: 9 (-4)

The Titans came out fired up a couple of weeks ago, so maybe we can chalk up their slow start versus the Browns as a letdown. The play of the defense was just perplexing; they did a relatively good job of containing the Browns’ run game, but the pass defense did not hold up at all. At least the Titans have shown they can climb back into games when they’re down big, even with Derrick Henry’s superpowers being limited in such situations.


14. New England Patriots (6-6) | Last week: 16 (+2)

Never, ever count out Bill Belichick and the Patriots. I’ve recently seen stuff about some analytics saying they are the worst defense in the league this season (which I thought was pretty ridiculous and something Belichick would laugh at), but over the past two games, the unit has looked like the group that was elite for much of the year in 2019. Huge plays on special teams, Cam Newton taking care of the football and punching it into the end zone for six, and a suffocating defense—New England can be dangerous if they play their game.


15. Baltimore Ravens (7-5) | Last week: 14 (-1)

The Ravens ran all over the Cowboys last night, totaling nearly 300 yards on the ground (including 94 from Lamar Jackson in his return from COVID-19). However, while the Baltimore defense gave up only 17 points, the play of the defense was a bit of a concern—like Troy Aikman said on the FOX broadcast, the performance wasn’t as dominant as he thought it might be going into the game. This Monday night at Cleveland is a huge one for the Ravens.


16. Minnesota Vikings (6-6) | Last week: 17 (+1)

Mike Zimmer is another coach that shouldn’t be counted out from getting his team to play to the best of its ability, and the Vikings are in the thick of the NFC playoff race after climbing back to .500—the games have been a little too close for comfort the past two weeks, but Minnesota is finding a way to get it done. Rookie receiver Justin Jefferson is already over 1,000 yards this season, and he looks like a home-run draft pick for general manager Rick Spielman. The Stefon Diggs trade has worked out perfectly for both the Bills and Vikings.


17. Washington Football Team (5-7) | Last week: 19 (+2)

The Washington defense was unable to get home for a sack, but they made a massive impact on the game, including on the key goal-line stand all from the one-yard line. No matter what people argue about the strength of the Steelers as an unbeaten team, beating an 11-0 squad is quite the feat for a sub.-500 team in a division that was basically a laughingstock for the first few months of the season. Hopefully Antonio Gibson (toe) doesn’t miss much time, but Alex Smith will keep Washington in games with his play.


18. New York Giants (5-7) | Last week: 20 (+2)

Clearly, Washington and New York are on the rise both this season and into the future. Joe Judge’s defense is playing tough and smart, and the offensive line keeps getting better by the week—finding a rushing attack led by Wayne Gallman has been huge for the offense. The Giants continue a challenging schedule on paper, but with the way they’re playing, I’d argue they should be favored this week versus the Cardinals.


19. Arizona Cardinals (6-6) | Last week: 15 (-4)

Kyler Murray was able to find the end zone through the air three times in the Cardinals’ loss to the Rams, but NFL defenses may have figured out how to best limit Murray and the Arizona offense—if so, it’s now on Murray and Kliff Kingsbury to adapt themselves after the quarterback run game was such a potent part of the team for much of the season. Also keep in mind the Cardinals faced two top defenses the past two weeks, but that’ll again be the case this Sunday.


20. San Francisco 49ers (5-7) | Last week: 18 (-2)

The Niners had some momentum heading into a Monday night matchup with the Bills, but Buffalo is a scary team that was simply a bit too much to handle. Brandon Aiyuk (95 yards, one touchdown) looks like another potential star from an exceptional rookie receiver draft class, so he was a positive from the game. The Niners are in an unideal spot having to move to Arizona because of local California restrictions in the San Francisco area.


21. Detroit Lions (5-7) | Last week: 29 (+8)

The Lions actually make the biggest leap in this week’s power rankings after their comeback win over the Bears. The hopes are slim, but Detroit remains alive in the postseason—it’s 2020, so something crazy like the Lions coming out of nowhere to make the postseason would be fitting. The Lions do have some dangerous players if they can get D’Andre Swift (illness) and Kenny Golladay (hip) back soon, and Darrell Bevell has freedom to open up the offense and do whatever he thinks will help the team compete.


22. Chicago Bears (5-7) | Last week: 21 (-1)

I have to admit, I didn’t think the Bears were getting enough respect when they were at 5-1; but after six straight losses, it’s clear the offensive line issues are too difficult to overcome. But the big issue from last week was that the defense could not put the game away. The Bears acquired Khalil Mack in a move that was universally praised as a steal (I think the Raiders feel pretty good about the then-widely panned moves that they’ve made under Jon Gruden), and they paid Robert Quinn a huge contract this offseason, but it has not worked out like they anticipated.


23. Atlanta Falcons (4-8) | Last week: 22 (-1)

New Orleans has a top-tier defense, and Atlanta was just unable to get much of anything going in their two matchups this season. Aside from those two games, the Falcons have played pretty well since Raheem Morris took over as the interim head coach; but things will get very tough down the stretch. This Sunday at the Chargers is probably the Falcons’ best chance to get another win this year.


24. Denver Broncos (4-8) | Last week: 23 (-1)

The talk is that the Broncos were brought closer together by having to go through an arguably unfair situation of playing with no prepared NFL quarterbacks a couple of weeks ago, and Vic Fangio got his team to play a close game against the Chiefs on Sunday night. Rookie receiver Jerry Jeudy has not been able to get much going lately, so we’ll see if he can turn it on over the final quarter of the season.


25. Carolina Panthers (4-8) | Last week: 25

Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) will be back as the Panthers return from their bye, but now the team is dealing with a COVID-19 situation that will likely keep out receiver D.J. Moore and others this Sunday. We’ll see how Matt Rhule’s team comes out following the promising head coach’s first bye week.


26. Houston Texans (4-8) | Last week: 24 (-2)

Deshaun Watson took his late fumble pretty hard, and it likely ended the Texans’ chances of potentially going on a long winning streak with a shot at the postseason in the AFC. Houston has an important offseason ahead, but they’ll look to get something positive going over the final four games and potentially get to 8-8.


27. Philadelphia Eagles (3-8-1) | Last week: 27

The Eagles looked like a totally different team when Jalen Hurts took over the offense, and Doug Pederson almost had to stick with him if he wants to save his job (which, despite his denials, he may not be worried about if he’s unhappy with Howie Roseman and the front office—as has to be the case). I normally don’t criticize too much, but the ineptitude Roseman has shown is pretty mind-blowing. Unbelievably, the contract extension the franchise signed Carson Wentz to hasn’t even kicked in yet. Why the Eagles wouldn’t wait it out (for a player that was hurt often before signing the extension) and use the franchise tag if needed? You’ll have to ask Roseman.


28. Dallas Cowboys (3-9) | Last week: 26 (-2)

Andy Dalton played well against one of the best defenses in the league last night, and Ezekiel Elliott showed some late-season juice for the Cowboys. Now back two games in the NFC East with four games to go and both Washington and the Giants playing well, Dallas has an uphill climb to get back into the playoff mix over the final four weeks of the season.


29. Los Angeles Chargers (3-9) | Last week: 28 (-1)

If Anthony Lynn wasn’t on the hot seat before, he is now. The former Coach of the Year had his team get shut out by the Patriots, stopping any momentum he had going by potentially being able to point to the play of rookie quarterback Justin Herbert as a reason to get another year. I believe maybe the only way Lynn can save his job is if Herbert lights it up over the final four games, as he can then argue you don’t want to put Herbert in an entirely new offense after a record-breaking first season.


30. Cincinnati Bengals (2-9-1) | Last week: 30

The Bengals roster isn’t in a great spot to win many games, especially with the injuries they’ve sustained throughout the year. But second-year head coach Zac Taylor is getting his team to respond and play competitive football, which is key for another coach that could potentially be on the hot seat. Cincinnati plays three of its final four games at home.


31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-11) | Last week: 31

The Jaguars continue to come up just short, so credit to potential lame duck head coach Doug Marrone for getting his team to play hard. They’ll look to play some spoiler over the final stretch. Anything can happen in the NFL, but Jacksonville looks poised for at least the second overall pick in this springs draft, though I’m not sure Justin Fields is the can’t-miss “consolation” to Trevor Lawrence like others believe.


32. New York Jets (0-12) | Last week: 32

Adam Gase almost had no choice but to fire defensive coordinator Gregg Williams after the Jets’ late-game defense, and it’ll be very tough to get over if New York is unable to get a win and has the mark of a winless season (even if people will pin the latest loss solely on Williams). I don’t like all the talk about the Jets actually “winning” by losing and keeping position for the first overall pick. I like Trevor Lawrence as much as anyone, but no team wants to go 0-16, and it’s a loser mentality to think that way.


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