What an interesting Week 13 it was in the NFL, with a pair of six-game winning streaks coming to a close and our first playoff spot officially clinched in the form of the Dallas Cowboys. The top of the league has been set for a while now but the middle class has had so much turnover that it’s hard to keep things straight.
With that in mind and factoring in everything from overall roster strength, to quarterback play, to the coaching staff, to injuries, here is the latest edition of NFL power rankings and where every team stacks up from 1 to 32.
Week 14 NFL Power Rankings
Last week: 1
There was no Thanksgiving hangover for the Cowboys, who got the triple shot of good news this week in the form of a win over Minnesota, the rest of the division going 0-3 and the first official playoff spot getting clinched.
2. New England Patriots
Last week: 2
The Patriots clinched their 14th consecutive season with at least 10 wins and show no signs of slowing down. Throttling the Rams had to be extra sweet as the team celebrated the 2001 title team and Tom Brady’s record 201st victory.
3. Oakland Raiders
Last week: 3
Even if Oakland is behind, these Raiders are never really out of a game as they proved against Buffalo. If Khalil Mack continues to improve each week, that once iffy defense won’t be such a big deal come the postseason.
4. Kansas City Chiefs
Last week: 4
What a homecoming that was for Eric Berry, who had eight points by himself thanks to a pair of interceptions, the latter of which proved to be the deciding points in the fourth quarter. The AFC race for home-field advantage certainly seems like it will come down to the end thanks in part to Kansas City’s winning ways.
5. Seattle Seahawks
Last week: 5
This team isn’t invincible — by any stretch — given that offensive line but when it’s firing on all cylinders, there are few opponents that can stand in Seattle’s way.
6. Denver Broncos
Last week: 7
A nice romp over Jacksonville was a welcome confidence builder heading into the stretch run but it has to be concerning for Denver fans to see this team look further and further behind its division rivals as we hit December.
7. Detroit Lions
Last week: 9
We’re suddenly approaching the point where the Lions are not just going to make the playoffs but, barring something wild, they’re going to host a playoff game. That romp over New Orleans was far more impressive for what the defense did and may be the most encouraging thing for Lions fans going forward.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week: 12
Yes they’re still on the outside looking in when it comes to making the playoffs but this is a team that is heating up at the right time (just like last season) and one nobody wants to face.
9. Baltimore Ravens
Last week: 11
The Ravens passed their first test in one of the most imposing gauntlets in the NFL during December with a win over Miami. If the team plays like that the rest of the way, the AFC North is going to be so much fun the next few weeks.
10. Atlanta Falcons
Last week: 6
They’re still atop the NFC South thanks to tiebreakers but have some real competition in the final few weeks of the regular season. If the Falcons end up missing the playoffs by some wild circumstance, Matt Ryan is going to kick himself for at least two of those throws against Kansas City.
11. New York Giants
Last week: 8
A six-game winning streak coming to a close on the road at Pittsburgh is nothing to get too excited about in New York but it seems pretty clear that hosting a playoff game is probably the only postseason scenario right now.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week: 16
That’s now five wins out of seven games since their bye, including victories over Seattle and Kansas City plus an overtime loss to Oakland. This team is trending upward with at least three winnable games left and a big showdown on Sunday night with Dallas in two weeks.
13. Miami Dolphins
Last week: 10
Losing to the Ravens isn’t a bad thing as Miami saw its long winning streak come to an end but getting boat-raced like that in Baltimore isn’t a good look. Question is, was that a blip on the radar or the team coming back down to earth?
14. Washington Redskins
Last week: 13
There are some bad spots to drop one on the road against struggling teams and Washington was the latest to walk right into one. That puts the Redskins on the outside of the playoff picture thanks to another winnable game they couldn’t come through with.
15. Buffalo Bills
Last week: 14
The team is back to .500 after a disastrous second half against the Raiders and there have to be more questions than answers for the regime at this point.
16. Tennessee Titans
Last week: 18
Talk about a productive bye week (which counts double since it’s a late-season breather), as the Texans’ loss opened the door even further for the Titans to make a move in the AFC South.
17. Green Bay Packers
Last week: 19
The visuals of Lambeau in the middle of snow flurries was a better sight than the two teams playing on the field. Aaron Rodgers said they’re going to have to win out to make the playoffs and that may just be true given where they sit in the postseason picture.
18. New Orleans Saints
Last week: 15
It seems like for every step forward the Saints take, they respond with one step back. Now the team faces the uphill battle of three of its last four away from the Superdome.
19. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week: 17
That early talk of playoffs always did seem a little premature given how this team is constructed. But most concerning from that performance at Cincinnati had to be the defensive lapses suffered in a third straight loss.
20. Arizona Cardinals
Last week: 22
It’s kind of amazing that this team is still in the mix to sneak into the playoffs but that was a quality win over Washington just seven days after an embarrassing trip to Atlanta. The question is can the Cardinals go across the country again and perform better on the road? We’ll see.
21. Houston Texans
Last week: 21
The bad news? That trip to the frozen tundra marked a fifth road loss in six tries. The good news: only two more games away from Houston the rest of the way.
22. Indianapolis Colts
Last week: 23
It’s hard to tell if that performance against the Jets was the start of a late run at the division or simply playing the Jets. Still, it’s hard to stop Andrew Luck when he’s rolling like he was on Monday night and good for him to return with a near-perfect quarterback rating.
23. San Diego Chargers
Last week: 20
If this is indeed a swan song for the Chargers in San Diego, things have certainly been one heck of a roller-coaster ride up and down the standings.
24. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week: 25
Where has that performance against the Eagles been all season? Sadly for Cincy, it won’t matter all that much in a season to otherwise forget.
25. Minnesota Vikings
Last week: 24
6-6 is not where anybody thought this team would be at the start of the season. Still, that was an encouraging effort against Dallas on Thursday night in the face of all those injuries and the fact that their head coach was in the hospital.
26. Carolina Panthers
Last week: 26
On the plus side, everybody in Carolina will be discussing Cam Newton’s non-start/dress code violation against Seattle this week instead of the team’s play on their West Coast road swing.
27. Chicago Bears
Last week: 29
There had to be at least a decent percentage of Bears fans who were not thrilled to sit out in those elements to see their team beat the 49ers — and in the process cost themselves a better position in next year’s draft.
28. Los Angeles Rams
Last week: 27
The NFL’s terrible timing award goes to the Rams, which saw news break of Jeff Fisher’s extension just before there lackluster showing against New England. If there is one bright spot, Jared Goff continued to look better even in the face of yet more drops from his wideouts.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week: 30
Blake Bortles called this season the biggest nightmare possible, which would be one thing if the loss to Houston didn’t clinch six straight seasons of double-digit losses.
30. New York Jets
Last week: 28
It goes beyond the quarterback and beyond the holes on defense. This is a terrible team that is more than ready for the draft process to get revved up.
31. San Francisco 49ers
Last week: 31
Sure the conditions on the road at Soldier Field weren’t great but the line between San Francisco and Cleveland continues to shrink by the week. At least the 49ers remained in the running for that No. 1 pick and kind of won by losing on Sunday.
32. Cleveland Browns
Last week: 32
The bye week was a blessing for Cleveland, which got to see decent NFL football on Sunday for one of the few times this season.
— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.