In the Week 14 NFL Power Rankings, things are starting to get a little crazy. Don’t kill me. I understand it looks weird to have teams ranked below teams they’ve beaten. But, everyone is beating everyone this year. Nothing is clear this year, so lets do the best we can. This is how I see the NFL’s power structure ahead of Week 14.
32. Detroit Lions (1-10-1)
Last Week: 32
I’m so happy for Dan Campbell that he finally got that elusive first win in Detroit. And it came against a division rival vying for a playoff spot no less! Still, the Lions have buried themselves so far behind the pack. One win isn’t going to be enough to get me to change my mind about them being ranked last in the Week 14 NFL Power Rankings.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10)
Last week: 31
Being the “get right” team is never a fun position to be in. The Jacksonville Jaguars are so hard to watch right now. And the last month or so they can’t even feel good about “at least we’re not the Lions.” How long must they endure the obviously poor decision that is the Urban Meyer era? Does he get another season? At this point, it’s about the only thing worth asking about.
30. Houston Texans (2-10)
Last Week: 30
The Texans’ pathetic effort against the Colts this week is worthy of a fall in the Week 14 Power Rankings. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really justify putting them below a Jaguars team they’ve handily beaten this season and a Lions team that literally JUST got it’s first win. But, mark my words, Texans. Another performance like that could have you in the basement before long.
29. New York Jets (3-9)
Last Week: 29
It seems like Week 13 was the week of bad teams actually playing like bad teams. The bright side is Zach Wilson looked decently competent this week. You still don’t like to see his best performances being slightly above league average. But, the Jets have to take their wins where they can get them right now. They’re sure not getting them from their results.
28. Atlanta Falcons (5-7)
Last Week: 26
Our first mover of the Week 14 Power Rankings, the Falcons looked cooked against the Bucs. They kept things close in the first half, partly due to a well-timed pick six. But, they looked absolutely gassed in the second. I thought this could potentially be an upset because of the flashes the Falcons have seen this season. But, any chance of sneaking into a playoff spot took a major hit with this week’s loss.
27. New York Giants (4-8)
Last Week: 25
It’s hard to feel good about anything going on in New Jersey right now. For the Giants specifically, add Daniel Jones to the list of players missing significant time due to injury. Mike Glennon started in his stead this week. But, he didn’t stand a chance behind that sad excuse for an offensive line. Sounds like former Bills practice squad quarterback Jake Fromm is expected to get the start this week. So, that’s not good.
26. Chicago Bears (4-8)
Last Week: 24
Andy Dalton SZN has taken full effect in Chicago. Of course, as a Bengals fan, I’m very familiar with exactly what the Bears are dealing with right now. He looked like a pretty good quarterback this week except the part where he threw four interceptions. Yeah. Four. That reverse bootleg that nearly resulted in a massive sack that Dalton ended up turning into a big play was pretty cool. But, bad Andy always rears his head eventually.
25. New Orleans Saints (5-7)
Last Week: 22
Once a team that I considered to be a likely playoff team, I’m now certain the New Orleans Saints won’t make it. Sure, they’re only a game behind the No. 7 seed San Francisco 49ers. But, Taysom Hill is a disaster. It felt weird to feel like the Saints’ season was over because they lost Jameis Winston. But, it’s looking more and more like that’s an accurate assessment every week.
24. Seattle Seahawks (4-8)
Last Week: 27
With five games left to play in the season, it seems like the Seahawks being two games behind a playoff spot is pretty insurmountable. Then again, the 49ers control that last spot and the Seahawks just beat them. Seattle always gives the Niners trouble. But, crazier comebacks have happened before. No, I don’t think the Seahawks are going to turn things around this year. But, if they were going to, beating the 49ers would be a great way to start.
23. Carolina Panthers (5-7)
Last Week: 23
The Carolina Panthers enjoyed a nice bye week this week, so they’re not moving in the Week 14 NFL Power Rankings. They remain only a game behind in the Wild Card race. So, considering the talent this team has, you wouldn’t be terribly shocked to see them sneak in. Well, other than the fact that they still have to play the Bills and Bucs twice in their last five games.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5-1)
Last Week: 28
Man, you have to give the Steelers credit. Just when you think they’re dead and buried, the corpse of Ben Roethlisberger finds a way to continue haunting the NFL. The Steelers might have been totally embarrassed by the Bengals and are clearly worse than their 6-5-1 record indicates. But, perhaps they’re also a little underrated. They can still beat talented teams like the Ravens when things go right for them. I doubt they’ll end up in the playoffs. But, they’re still very much alive.
21. Denver Broncos (6-6)
Last Week: 20
Ok, so maybe the rumors of the Broncos’ demise haven’t been greatly exaggerated. They looked lost against the Kansas City Chiefs in a game that was obviously worthy of the primetime flex. You know. For all those fans who love one-sided low-scoring games. I’m not ready to give up on the Broncos’ playoff hopes just yet. But, they’re currently the No. 12 seed in the AFC. They have a lot of catching up to do.
20. Minnesota Vikings (5-7)
Last Week: 16
You’re telling me the Vikings followed up arguably their best win of the year with a choke against the 49ers and a complete dud against the worst team in football? Yeah that checks out. The Vikings are so inconsistent, I don’t even know if they know who they are. Mike Zimmer is going to need to figure it out real quick or he’ll be back to a defensive coordinator role somewhere in the NFL next season.
19. Miami Dolphins (6-7)
Last Week: 21
I’m not terribly impressed by the quality of opponent the Dolphins have been beating lately as they try to make an improbable playoff run. Luckily for them, their schedule stays easy over the next three weeks. They’ll likely need to win out to have any legitimate hope at stealing the No. 7 seed away in the AFC. But, they’re currently on a 5-game win streak. Stranger things have happened. Although, beating both the Titans and Patriots in the final two games of the season would definitely be up among the weirdest things I’ve seen.
18. Cleveland Browns (6-6)
Last Week: 18
The Browns got a little bit of help on their bye week with the top two teams in the AFC North both losing. They’re still very much alive in the playoff race and it sounds like they’re getting some of their better players back. That’s not what you want to see if you’re one of their upcoming opponents.
17. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)
Last Week: 20
Gardner Minshew once again proved to be one of the best non-franchise quarterbacks in the league this week as he led a Jalen Hurts-less Eagles team to a dominating win over the Jets. He was efficient and unflappable, finishing with a 133.7 passer rating. His career might end up looking like Ryan Fitzpatrick’s when it’s all over, but that’s not a bad thing at all.
16. Las Vegas Raiders (6-6)
Last Week: 13
The Raiders are now losers of three out of four since the bye week. I don’t know if the distractions from a few weeks ago are still to blame for the inconsistent performances. But, they’ll need to pull off a strong finish if they want any hope of turning this broken season into something worth remembering. For now, they fall to the mid-point of the Week 14 NFL Power Rankings.
15. San Francisco 49ers (6-6)
Last Week: 14
Just when I started to believe the 49ers might have found something special they go out and fail to get it done against the Seahawks. Then again, they tend to do that a lot throughout their history. So, I’m not reading too much into this loss yet. Lets see how they come to play the next few weeks. Games against the Bengals and Titans in two of their next three will tell us what this team is really made of.
14. Washington Football Team (6-6)
Last Week: 17
The Taylor Heinicke renaissance is real. Even if Ryan Fitzpatrick was expected to play again in 2021, I don’t think he would get his job as the starter back. Heinicke has helped this team go from bottom feeders to the top 14 of the Week 14 NFL Power Rankings. You read that right. The Washington Football Team is now a playoff team based off of 14 weeks of action. They don’t have much breathing room behind them. But, they do control their own destiny and could end up one game behind the division championship with an upset over the Cowboys next week.
13. Indianapolis Colts (7-6)
Last Week: 15
Jonathan Taylor and co. were expected to beat the Texans, but sutting them out on the road by 31 points is still impressive. Also, yes, it’s definitely Jonathan Taylor and co. He’s an MVP candidate for a reason. His 143 yards and two touchdowns probably weren’t the difference in this specific game. But, he has been in so many for the Colts this year. They’re 7-6, in the thick of the playoff race, and in the top 14 of the Week 14 NFL Power Rankings because of him.
12. Baltimore Ravens (8-4)
Last Week: 9
Have you ever seen a more wishy washy team with a record among the best in the NFL? I have. It was the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers. But, aside from that, the 2021 Baltimore Ravens are a prime example. They don’t really deserve to be 8-4 the way they’ve been playing this year. To their credit, they are, and that’s what will matter to the final standings. But, games like this stinker against the Steelers show why many struggle to consider them a serious contender.
11. Buffalo Bills (7-5)
Last Week: 10
A few weeks ago it looks like the Bills were poised to run away with the AFC East this year. Then, the sleeping giant that is the New England Patriots woke up. The Bills were unable to maintain their course despite the hot start and now they’re decidedly in second place. How could this have happened? I thought the years of Patriots domination was over. This was supposed to be a new era in Buffalo! Nope. Just more bowing to Bill Belichick.
10. Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)
Last Week: 6
Two steps forward, one step back. Bengals fans shouldn’t be completely dejected after that game. After all, coming back from a 24-0 deficit to almost retake the lead was pretty impressive. But, they didn’t, and getting down 24-0 in the first place is a symptom of a greater problem for the Bengals right now. For now, they’re right on the edge of the top 10 in the Week 14 NFL Power Rankings.
9. Los Angeles Rams (8-4)
Last Week: 11
I can’t say blowing out the Jaguars isn’t exactly a reason for a boost in the Week 14 NFL Power Rankings. But, a win’s a win no matter who the opponent is. Plus, with other teams falling out of the top 10, the Rams had nowhere to go but up. I want to see what they can do in their final five games, which look decently tough. Cardinals, Seahawks, Vikings, Ravens, 49ers isn’t exactly a juggernaut schedule. But, we should learn if this Rams team is legit or not based on what they can do with that.
8. Los Angeles Chargers (7-5)
Last Week: 12
The Chargers end their exile from the top 10 of the Week 14 Power Rankings with a win over last week’s No. 6 Cincinnati Bengals. They went into Cincinnati with what turned out to be a pretty good gameplan. They almost chargered it up in the middle of the game by blowing a 24-0 lead. But, they took advantage of some key opportunities in clutch moments and came away with a pretty convincing 41-22 victory.
7. Tennessee Titans (8-4)
Last Week: 7
The Titans probably did enough early in their season to be comfortably in control of the AFC South. With a relatively easy schedule to finish the season, they shouldn’t feel any pressure from the suddenly hot Colts for the division title. Anything is possible, but the Colts are a game and a half back so it would take a pretty surprising collapse at this point for the Titans to not run away with their division. Then again, maybe they should be focusing on the No. 1 seed right now and not being remotely healthy could cause issues with that.
6. Dallas Cowboys (8-4)
Last Week: 8
It’s been a rough month for this Cowboys team that has only won two games since their hot 6-1 start. They look like they may have taken advantage of an opportunity to get right against a struggling Saints team. But, all of the sudden the Washington Football Team is knocking on the door for the NFC East title. For now, the Cowboys remain in an elevated position in the Week 14 NFL Power Rankings. But, it could be different going into Week 15 if they don’t handle business against Washington.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3)
Last Week: 5
Tom Brady threw four touchdowns against a Falcons team that I thought might be poised to give them some trouble this week. They didn’t. They seemingly had no answer for Russell Gage. But, other than that, the Bucs went ahead to 9-3. No. 5 might actually be too low considering they’re one of only four teams with no more than three losses.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (8-4)
Last Week: 4
The Chiefs convincingly beat the Broncos on Sunday Night Football and are now in pretty clear control of what has been a wonky year for the AFC West. Unfortunately, it’s tough to give them a boost in the Week 14 NFL Power Rankings because they’re already up so high. I think their results are finally starting to catch up to where I’ve had them on the Power Rankings all year. This is why I never knocked them down too low. You can never count Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs out to completely fall off the map. Now that they’ve hit their stride, the rest of the AFC should be taking notice.
3. Arizona Cardinals (10-2)
Last Week: 3
Not much movement here at the top of the Week 14 NFL Power Rankings. The Cardinals beat Andy Dalton and the Bears pretty convincingly. Which was nice. But, I can’t say they deserved to displace any of the other top 3 teams for that performance. The good thing is Kyler Murray is back and the Cardinals appear to be getting healthy at the right time. Personally, I’m really excited to see what this team can do in the playoffs.
2. Green Bay Packers (9-3)
Last Week: 2
A nice bye week to sit back, reflect, and get healthy is really what the Packers needed at this point. That said, they’ve proven they don’t need all of their starters to find success this year. That’s why they’ve been so high in the Power Rankings all season. And, that’s why they continue to feature so highly in the Week 14 NFL Power Rankings.
1. New England Patriots (9-4)
Last Week: 1
The Patriots head into their bye week with a really nice win over the Buffalo Bills. It wasn’t super high scoring, but they proved they can be the better team in all phases of the game against anyone. I really don’t think there is any team currently looking better in the NFL. For that reason, they’re at the top spot in my Week 14 NFL Power Rankings. They will continue to stay here until someone gives me a reason to believe that will change.