This week’s power rankings dragged on a bit longer than they have in previous weeks, but a lot has happened around the league. Here’s where I see all 32 teams standing ahead of Week 14.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (11-1) | Last week: 2 (+1)
Jalen Hurts won back-to-back NFC Offensive Player of the Week awards, and what’s most impressive is that he did it in different ways each time—running for 157 yards in Week 12 and throwing for 380 yards in Week 13. Hurts connected with A.J. Brown for two of his three passing touchdowns against Brown’s former Titans team, and the Philly run defense continues to improve and impress after shutting down Derrick Henry.
2. Buffalo Bills (9-3) | Last week: 3 (+1)
With the win over the Patriots on Thursday night and the Chiefs’ loss at Cincinnati, the Bills are back in the driver’s seat for the top seed in the AFC postseason. However, losing star pass rusher Von Miller—brought in as the “closer” in big games—to an unexpected torn ACL is a terrible blow to the squad’s high-end Super Bowl chances. All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White will continue to get more acclimated on defense, and Buffalo plays two consecutive home divisional matchups against teams they lost to (Jets and Dolphins) the next two weeks.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (9-3) | Last week: 1 (-2)
Travis Kelce was contained for most of the afternoon, and the underrated Bengals defense also did a nice job on just about everyone else on offense, making it a relative struggle for Patrick Mahomes. The situation with Justin Reid talking trash ahead of the game didn’t sit well with Andy Reid, and it’s noteworthy that the safety Reid continues to talk after the loss.
4. Dallas Cowboys (9-3) | Last week: 4
After being in a surprising battle for the first three quarters against the Colts on Sunday night, the Cowboys had one of the best quarters in NFL history by pouring on 33 points in the final 15 minutes of a 54-19 victory. Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup are all playing at the level Dallas expected in a stacked offense under Dak Prescott.
5. Cincinnati Bengals (8-4) | Last week: 7 (+2)
Following the third straight win over the Chiefs, it’s clear the Bengals are very confident and have Kansas City’s number to some extent. Well, Joe Burrow and company are confident against anyone they face, so this Sunday against a Browns team they’ve surprisingly struggled with is very interesting for the defending AFC champs.
6. Minnesota Vikings (10-2) | Last week: 6
The Vikings could have moved up to No. 5 this week after coming away with yet another close victory (Minnesota is 9-0 in one-score games in 2022), but they remain at No. 6 for now. The numbers were solid, but Kirk Cousins was way off with his accuracy and timing for much of the Week 13 win against the Jets, so we’ll see how the veteran quarterback bounces back at Detroit this Sunday.
7. San Francisco 49ers (8-4) | Last week: 5 (-2)
The Niners won their fifth consecutive game in dominant fashion against the high-powered Dolphins—with the San Fran defense overwhelming Mike McDaniel’s attack—to improve to 8-4. But the Niners drop a couple of spots in the power rankings after Jimmy Garoppolo’s foot injury, which he thankfully has a shot to return from at some point this postseason if the team can make it far enough. Now, the attention turns to seventh-round rookie Brock Purdy, who should have been drafted much higher than he was after showing his ability at Iowa State. The San Francisco defense and talent on offense are good enough to make a championship run despite the uncertainty at quarterback.
8. Baltimore Ravens (8-4) | Last week: 10 (+2)
The Ravens survived a close game against the Broncos, but it almost felt like a loss—probably because they lost Lamar Jackson for likely at least a week or two with a knee injury, and Tyler Huntley had to step in and eventually run for the game-winning touchdown late to beat the struggling Broncos. Overall, Huntley was impressive filling in for Jackson last season, but he didn’t play well against the Steelers—the team Baltimore matches up with in Week 14.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6) | Last week: 11 (+2)
Tom Brady in close games is like the Night King at Hardhome. You knew when Brady, who has ice in his veins, and the Bucs got the ball back on Monday night that there was a great chance they’d complete the 13-point comeback and win. Having Brady at quarterback gives Tampa Bay as good of a shot as anyone to win in the playoffs. And credit to head coach Todd Bowles for playing things perfectly with the late punt and trusting his defense to get a couple of quick stops.
10. Tennessee Titans (7-5) | Last week: 8 (-2)
The firing of Titans general manager Jon Robinson was a bit surprising, but it wasn’t a total shock to me after A.J. Brown went off and the Titans were demolished by the juggernaut Eagles. As seen by the glimpse at the war room on draft night, it’s been obvious that head coach Mike Vrabel wasn’t thrilled with trading Brown. I said recently that Vrabel basically gets the most out of his team, and while Robinson did a fine job (including adding Treylon Burks after the AJB trade), Tennessee has some work to do to become an elite squad in terms of talent.
11. Miami Dolphins (8-4) | Last week: 9 (-2)
Like Kirk Cousins in Minnesota, Tua Tagovailoa was just off with his accuracy—but Tua’s team couldn’t overcome it in their loss to the Niners. It didn’t help that Miami couldn’t—and didn’t try to much—get the run game going, so I’d look for that to be more of an emphasis on Sunday night while looking to get back on track.
12. Seattle Seahawks (7-5) | Last week: 16 (+4)
The Seahawks were basically down to no healthy running backs on Sunday when Tony Jones Jr. left the game with a contact issue (and then returned to the game without being able to see well), but DeeJay Dallas toughed out a high-ankle injury and returned despite being called doubtful. It took every bit of toughness for Seattle to get the win at the Rams, capped by DK Metcalf’s game-winning touchdown on one of his big rivals in Jalen Ramsey. Geno Smith again showed off the accuracy he’s shown all season, throwing for 367 yards and three touchdowns in the comeback victory.
13. New England Patriots (6-6) | Last week: 12 (-1)
The Patriots have simply had a tough time matching up with Buffalo recently, and seeing how Josh Allen and the Bills can light it up on offense might be a source of frustration for Mac Jones and the New England offense, which is voicing frustration. Still, I think the Pats—after going toe-to-toe with the Vikings on Thanksgiving Night—can match up with just about any other team in the league with the way the defense can play.
14. Los Angeles Chargers (6-6) | Last week: 13 (-1)
The injuries on the offensive line proved to be a massive issue for the Chargers in their loss to the Raiders, with Justin Herbert going down five times and not having much time when Vegas couldn’t get to him for sacks. LA racked up yardage and had a shot to come back late, but duo of Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams proved to be too much, so the Chargers were unable to make a move in the standings with other teams losing in front of them.
15. New York Giants (7-4-1) | Last week: 14 (-1)
Ties aren’t fun, but it could work out well for the Giants, who currently hold the second wild-card spot in the tight NFC. The defense giving up the lead to force overtime was disappointing, but the unit was key in helping get the tie in the back-and-forth OT. With all the talk of the Giants overperforming, this Sunday versus the Eagles will be a major test.
16. New York Jets (7-5) | Last week: 15 (-1)
The Jets defense had a hand in giving Kirk Cousins some trouble last week, but the offense struggled to finish drives with touchdowns—including with a couple of chances to take the lead in the fourth quarter. The good news is the Jets players have a ton of confidence in Mike White at quarterback. This weekend at Buffalo is critical for White after he threw four interceptions versus the Bills last year.
17. Washington Commanders (7-5-1) | Last week: 17
The Commanders are now on the bye week, which gives teams like the Lions opportunities to make a move in the NFC wild-card race, but the tie might also work out for them. Taylor Heinicke and Jahan Dotson, who caught the game-tying touchdown on a smooth catch-and-run, were super clutch at the end of regulation. And rookie Brian Robinson Jr. (110 total yards) continues to impress at running back for Washington.
18. Detroit Lions (5-7) | Last week: 18
I’ve given the rookie class for the Seahawks major props this season, but the Lions and general manager Brad Holmes also deserve a ton of recognition for the job they appear to have done last spring on the defensive side of the ball. Detroit shut down a Jags team that had been playing well, and the Lions offense is clicking with Jared Goff at the controls.
19. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7) | Last week: 21 (+2)
Again, as has been said a lot the past two seasons, Mike Tomlin’s Steelers are not a group to bet strongly against. The AFC is tough, but Pittsburgh is back in the wild card mix after two consecutive wins and three of the past four. Now they’ll host the Ravens with a chance to get to 6-7 before matchups with the Panthers and Raiders.
20. Las Vegas Raiders (5-7) | Last week: 22 (+2)
The Raiders have also climbed back into the AFC playoff picture, quieting a lot of the talk about Josh McDaniels’ job status after things were looking disastrous in Vegas just last month. As mentioned above, Josh Jacobs (144 yards, one touchdown) and Davante Adams (8 receptions, 177 yards, two touchdowns) went off in the win over the Chargers; and on defense, offseason acquisition Chandler Jones finally got going with three sacks in Week 13.
21. Cleveland Browns (5-7) | Last week: 23 (+2)
Deshaun Watson looked rusty in his first action in two years, but the Browns defense and special teams (three touchdowns combined) paced Cleveland to coasting at Houston. I just hope Cleveland knows Nick Chubb must keep getting fed the ball for them to have a chance to make a run.
22. Green Bay Packers (5-8) | Last week: 24 (+2)
The mind-blowing run for rookie wide receiver Christian Watson continued in the Packers’ win at Soldier Field, with the ultra-fast weapon running for a 46-yard score and catching a key touchdown on fourth down from Aaron Rodgers. Watson now has eight touchdowns over his past four games, and I am also encouraged by AJ Dillon’s usage (18 carries, 93 yards, one touchdown in Week 13) the past couple of games.
23. Atlanta Falcons (5-8) | Last week: 20 (-3)
The Falcons head into their bye at 5-8 after another close loss (six of their eight losses have come by one possession), and despite it not leading to a good record, they are another team that I feel is getting the most out of their roster. There’s talk about a quarterback change in giving rookie Desmond Ridder experience after the bye week, but Marcus Mariota is a reason the Falcons have competed this season. The former Heisman Trophy winner has a ton of respect around the league:
— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) November 28, 2022
24. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8) | Last week: 19 (-5)
The on-field performance obviously was not encouraging, but I like the way the Jaguars responded post-game in that they were angry about the way they played in what Trevor Lawrence called a playoff-type game for them:
3.#Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence: “We just got our asses kicked. It’s embarrassing, honestly, what we put out there in such a big game for us. This is a playoff game for us, and we go out there and laid down….“
— John Oehser (@JohnOehser) December 5, 2022
It looked like Lawrence suffered a serious leg injury in the loss, so it was great to see him able to somehow return to the game. But the former No. 1 pick’s status is uncertain for this week.
25. Arizona Cardinals (4-8) | Last week: 26 (+1)
The postseason is a long shot, but this final stretch for the Cardinals coming off their bye is huge for the direction of the team moving forward. Arizona hosts New England on Monday night, and remember you can get some insight on their season via Hard Knocks on HBO.
26. Carolina Panthers (4-8) | Last week: 27 (+1)
The Baker Mayfield experiment is over after less than a season, with the Panthers set to keep rolling with Sam Darnold and PJ Walker after the bye week. Interim head coach Steve Wilks can look to get his guys to play one week at a time (and play spoiler) over the final five games.
27. Indianapolis Colts (4-8-1) | Last week: 25 (-2)
The wheels obviously fell off a bit in the fourth quarter at Dallas, and it’s a frustrating time for the Colts heading into their bye week. Matt Ryan has been understandably not happy with how things have gone all season, and it’s notable that Jonathan Taylor was visibly mad about his team’s lack of success on plays on a few occasions on Sunday night.
28. New Orleans Saints (4-8) | Last week: 28
The Monday night loss to the Bucs was one of the worst for the Saints in a while. They looked to be in total control and could not ice the game on either side of the ball, and it hurts even more knowing that Philadelphia owns their first-round pick this spring. Dennis Allen’s club will now have the week off to regroup and see if they can string some wins together.
29. Los Angeles Rams (3-9) | Last week: 29
The defending champion Rams are now at 3-9 after six consecutive losses, and we’ll be watching them in standalone windows the next three weeks (Thursday Night Football, Monday Night Football, then Christmas Day). At least Baker Mayfield being claimed by the Rams should make things a little more interesting.
30. Chicago Bears (3-10) | Last week: 30
The consistency still must improve, along with the play at the end of games, but Justin Fields showed solid things as a passer in the loss to the Packers. And Fields again took off for a 50+ yard touchdown on the ground, as he’s quickly becoming the ultimate rushing weapon among quarterbacks. Chicago now has their bye week before the final four games.
31. Denver Broncos (3-9) | Last week: 31
The Broncos essentially feel like a lame duck team right now, with a serious overhaul undoubtedly coming in some shape or form this offseason. It’s been the same story most weeks, with the offense being unable to do much of anything. Rookie tight end Greg Dulcich (six receptions for 85 yards against the Ravens) is one of the bright spots.
32. Houston Texans (1-10-1) | Last week: 32
The Texans are going back to second-year quarterback Davis Mills after he had a couple of games on the bench which might have given him another perspective and the chance to recharge. But Mills is being thrown right back into the fire facing a dynamic Cowboys defense. Houston was somehow just 3/25 (12%) on third down the past two games.