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AP Photo/Joshua Bessex

2023 NFL Power Rankings: Week 15

Eight underdogs won around the NFL last week, and the power rankings get tougher and tougher in a topsy-turvy league. However, the Week 15 NFL power rankings include a clear No. 1.


1. San Francisco 49ers (10-3) | Last week: 1

Brock Purdy was again lights out in the 49ers’ win over the Seahawks, and we continue to see how much of a difference a healthy Trent Williams and Deebo Samuel make in Kyle Shanahan’s attack. San Francisco now controls their ability to get the top seed in the NFC.


2. Baltimore Ravens (10-3) | Last week: 3 (+1)

With the other three division leaders slipping behind them, the Ravens are the lone ten-win team in the AFC following their thrilling overtime win against the Rams on a 76-yard punt return by Tylan Wallace. I’m looking for the Baltimore defense to have a stronger outing this Sunday night after giving up a lot to LA last week.


3. Dallas Cowboys (10-3) | Last week: 4 (+1)

People wanted to see how the Cowboys would play against a winning team like the Eagles, and they answered emphatically to remain unbeaten at home. It’s funny, though, that the people that said weeks ago that Dallas is the same old team that can’t win big games when they barely lost at Philly a few weeks ago are now hopping on the bandwagon.


4. Philadelphia Eagles (10-3) | Last week: 2 (-2)

The Eagles are clearly in a funk right now, and many—particularly in Philadelphia—are questioning how good this team really has been. The defense has simply been subpar all year, and the offense has never really felt in a great rhythm even in victories.


5. Buffalo Bills (7-6) | Last week: 9 (+4)

This might be too lofty of a rise and ranking for Buffalo, but I really like how things are headed for them as of late. The massive win at Arrowhead was certainly much needed, and the team seems to be rallying around the new offensive attack and maligned head coach Sean McDermott. The Bills host the Cowboys this week, and a win to get to 8-6 could potentially set the stage for them to have a shot to win the AFC East.


6. Kansas City Chiefs (8-5) | Last week: 5 (-1)

Who knows what would have happened when the Bills got the ball back, but the Chiefs are almost finding ways to lose at the end of games offensively this season. The behavior from Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid was highly disappointing, but at least they both have backtracked a bit—especially Mahomes in regards to how he acted toward his friend Josh Allen.


7. Miami Dolphins (9-4) | Last week: 6 (-1)

Both sides of the ball sort of fell apart down the stretch in the stunning Monday night loss to the Titans, and the Dolphins must move past the home loss and not think back to their down December in 2022. On the plus side, Miami should now be even more focused when facing the Jets this Sunday.


8. Detroit Lions (9-4) | Last week: 7 (-1)

Aside from a few minutes at the end of the game in the first matchup, the Bears have had the Lions’ number this year. Detroit is still obviously in a comfortable spot in the division, but the entire group must find a way to get back on track this Saturday versus the Broncos.


9. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-5) | Last week: 8 (-1)

Like a bunch of the teams in the top ten, the Jaguars are in a definite slide with two consecutive losses. The Jacksonville defense in particular has had back-to-back surprising performances, and things won’t get easier facing Lamar Jackson and company this weekend.


10. Denver Broncos (7-6) | Last week: 13 (+3)

Bouncing back from their first loss in weeks to the Texans a couple of Sundays ago, the Broncos handled the Chargers to stay in the mix with the plethora of 7-6 teams in the AFC. Ja’Quan McMillian and the defense keep making plays, and Denver will be in an excellent spot if they can upset the Lions.


11. Cleveland Browns (8-5) | Last week: 17 (+6)

Joe Flacco was unsurprisingly named the starter for the rest of the season after leading the Browns to a big win over the Jaguars. The former Super Bowl MVP remains very impressive with the way he can sling the rock. Unfortunately, tackles Jedrick Wills (who had been on IR) and stud rookie Dawand Jones are done for the year due to knee injuries.


12. Houston Texans (7-6) | Last week: 10 (-2)

A week after Tank Dell was lost to a leg injury, receiver Nico Collins left with another calf issue for the Texans—and C.J. Stroud and the offense just couldn’t get anything going in a tough matchup at the Jets. It’ll be interesting to see how Mike Vrabel and the Titans defense play the former Buckeyes quarterback this week.


13. Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) | Last week: 18 (+5)

I can’t say enough about how well Jake Browning is playing at quarterback for the Bengals—as stated last week, it’s looking a lot how Joe Burrow would run the offense. Paired with a defense that made plays versus Indy in last Sunday’s win, the Bengals are not to be discounted. The screen game is working magic for Cincy, and it should be useful against an aggressive Vikings defense in Week 15.


14. Green Bay Packers (6-7) | Last week: 11 (-3)

Jordan Love cooled off and was just a bit off for most of the Packers’ tight loss to the Giants on Monday night, and the defense also had a relatively down night to help end the winning streak. But the Packers return home to host the Bucs this week while looking to get back to .500.


15. Los Angeles Rams (6-7) | Last week: 14 (-1)

They couldn’t complete the win, but the Rams put up a heck of an effort in the loss at Baltimore. It was impressive how they started the game with Kyren Williams grinding out yardage on the ground, and Cooper Kupp (eight receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown) finally got going again.


16. Seattle Seahawks (6-7) | Last week: 15 (-1)

Drew Lock did some nice things with Geno Smith (groin) out, but the 49ers took advantage of a few defensive lapses to continue their recent dominance versus the NFC West foe. The Seahawks must play their best game of the year in front of the home crowd this Monday against the Eagles.


17. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6) | Last week: 12 (-5)

Two weeks ago, the Steelers looked to be in an outstanding spot at 7-4 with home games versus the two-win Cardinals and two-win Patriots, but they’ve dropped two straight. Injuries have hurt, but the results are a prime example of how crazy and competitive the NFL is right now.


18. Indianapolis Colts (7-6) | Last week: 16 (-2)

Perhaps the Colts lost a bit of energy after the shootout overtime win over the Titans a couple of weeks ago, because the Bengals handled them in surprising fashion. Getting the ground game going again and stopping Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren will be huge on Saturday.


19. Minnesota Vikings (7-6) | Last week: 19

Justin Jefferson’s return to the lineup was a short one, but thankfully it appears he should be OK after the chest injury forced him out of last week’s 3-0 win over the Raiders. Cincy’s offense should be a bigger challenge this week.


20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7) | Last week: 23 (+3)

It has not been pretty at times, but Baker Mayfield has made some clutch plays this year at the end of games to keep the Bucs squarely in the NFC South (and wild card) race. With the misdirection the Packers can run, hopefully linebacker Devin White (foot) can return after missing two straight games.


21. Atlanta Falcons (6-7) | Last week: 20 (-1)

The Falcons lost another heartbreaker and were unable to keep the division lead, and now they must play three of their final four games on the road. The connection between Desmond Ridder and Drake London in last week’s loss (ten receptions for 172 yards) could be something to build on.


22. New Orleans Saints (6-7) | Last week: 24 (+2)

A blocked punt returned for a touchdown sparked a blowout home victory over Carolina for New Orleans, and the rest of their schedule includes below-.500 teams—though they themselves also are one and must play sound football themselves.


23. Chicago Bears (5-8) | Last week: 25 (+2)

With how well the Bears have played as of late—and with how insane this year has been—I wouldn’t be shocked if they are playing extremely meaningful games as December progresses. First order of business is finding a way to beat a Browns team that is 6-1 at home in 2023.


24. New York Giants (5-8) | Last week: 27 (+3)

Similarly, the Giants suddenly find themselves a game back of a playoff spot after three consecutive wins. They play the Eagles in two of the final four games, but it would be fun if they could beat the Saints this week to get to 6-8 ahead of a Christmas Day matchup with Philly.


25. New York Jets (5-8) | Last week: 26 (+1)

You’ve got to feel good for Zach Wilson and the way he went out there last week to light up the Texans. The former No. 2 pick responded exceptionally well to his benching (which clearly should not have occurred), but it’s not the first time he’s shown those flashes this season (most notably in the Chiefs loss).


26. Tennessee Titans (5-8) | Last week: 28 (+2)

The playoffs do not appear to be in the cards, but Mike Vrabel finds a way to have his team compete—and, as they just showed by upsetting the Dolphins, they can be a scary spoiler over the final four games.


27. Las Vegas Raiders (5-8) | Last week: 22 (-5)

I said this when it first happened and believe it even more strongly now: I can’t square having an experienced and accomplished quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo on the bench for a team that was looking to compete for a playoff spot. Vegas needs to get Davante Adams going.


28. Los Angeles Chargers (5-8) | Last week: 21 (-7)

Justin Herbert (right index finger) is done for the season, and a big question becomes whether he’s playing for a new head coach in 2024. Brandon Staley has four games to somehow salvage what has been arguably the most disappointing campaign of any team.


29. Arizona Cardinals (3-10) | Last week: 29

The Cardinals are back from the bye and have gone 2-2 in the four Kyle Murray starts—but now they must take on the NFL-best Niners. It’s difficult to see Arizona stopping all the weapons San Fran has.


30. New England Patriots (3-10) | Last week: 31 (+1)

People on the outside are going to be thinking about draft position, but the Patriots just want to win some games. I like seeing how hard the team is playing for Bill Belichick, and New England would probably be one of the best teams in the league if the offense was just average.


31. Washington Commanders (4-9) | Last week: 30 (-1)

The Commanders did previously beat the Patriots in Foxboro and could remain at No. 30 in the power rankings, but they haven’t inspired much confidence as of late. Maybe the bye week helped Ron Rivera figure some things out defensively.


32. Carolina Panthers (1-12) | Last week: 32

Bryce Young was beat up again in the loss to the Saints. It’s been extremely challenging for Young, but at least he’s not alone in No. 1 picks that have had rough starts to their careers due to play around them.