Welcome back to NFL Power Rankings
It’s been a long and chaotic season, but there are just 3 weeks to go. Two divisions have been clinched, and three playoff spots are secured, but there is still plenty to be decided, including 17 teams fighting for the remaining 9 postseason tickets. Some like the Patriots and Packers might have an easier path than the Broncos and Bears, but there is still a ton to play for. Count seeding for those teams already in the playoffs, and things get even more interesting. It should be a fun finish.
Biggest rise: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (up 5 spots)
Biggest fall: Carolina Panthers (down 7 spots)
1. Baltimore Ravens (PR: 1)
Record: 12-2 (1st in AFC) | Week 15 opponent: New York Jets (home); won
One more win or one more Patriots loss and the Ravens clinch home field advantage for the AFC playoffs. Lamar Jackson broke Mike Vick’s rushing record for a QB, continuing a legendary season; he’s the prohibitive favorite for MVP.
2. San Francisco 49ers (PR: 2)
Record: 11-2 (1st in NFC) | Week 15 opponent: Atlanta Falcons (home)
Last week was their most impressive win of the season, and Jimmy G has quietly put together a very nice season to compliment the run game and defense. It’s coming together.
3. Seattle Seahawks (PR: 3)
Record: 10-3 (5th in NFC) | Week 15 opponent: Carolina Panthers (away)
This will have to be one of those losses that refocuses the entire team, because Seattle looked pretty, pretty bad against the Rams.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (PR: 8)
Record: 9-4 (3rd in AFC) | Week 15 opponent: Denver Broncos (home)
The refs might have helped them win last Sunday, but KC has looked stronger and stronger as the season goes on, even if teams have found ways to limit Patrick Mahomes.
5. New Orleans Saints (PR: 5)
Record: 10-3 (3rd in NFC) | Week 15 opponent: Indianapolis Colts (home)
The Saints are 3-2 since their bye week, and their defense has allowed over 300 yards each game. I’m not as confident in them as I was after they beat the Bears.
6. New England Patriots (PR: 4)
Record: 10-3 (2nd in AFC) | Week 15 opponent: Cincinnati Bengals (away)
The issue continues to be chemistry on offense, and the overall talent of the unit. Brady is still good, but someone needs to step up and earn his trust. The defense and special teams cannot be relied on to win EVERY game.
7. Green Bay Packers (PR: 7)
Record: 10-3 (2nd in NFC) | Week 15 opponent: Chicago Bears (home)
Green Bay beat another weak NFC East team last week, but their next two games will be against divisional opponents who have a lot at stake; things could get real interesting if they lose these games.
8. Buffalo Bills (PR: 9)
Record: 9-4 (5th in AFC) | Week 15 opponent: Pittsburgh Steelers (away)
Even in defeat the Bills played the Ravens very close. A win next week would put them even close to clinching a playoff spot.
9. Houston Texans (PR: 7)
Record: 8-5 (4th in AFC) | Week 15 opponent: Tennessee Titans (away)
Every time I saw Denver score I couldn’t believe it, what a turn of events from their win against the Patriots. Suddenly their game against Tennessee became even more important.
10. Minnesota Vikings (PR: 10)
Record: 9-4 (6th in NFC) | Week 15 opponent: Los Angeles Chargers (away)
Winning out would give the Viking a shot at winning the division, but would also keep the Rams off their tails. Cannot let up now.
11. Tennessee Titans (PR: 11)
Record: 8-5 (7th in AFC) | Week 15 opponent: Houston Texans (home)
Tennessee continues to win, Tannehill continues to impress, and now the Titans have a chance to take control of the AFC South with a win tomorrow. I’m a card-carrying member of this fan club now.
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (PR: 12)
Record: 8-5 (6th in AFC) | Week 15 opponent: Buffalo Bills (home)
With Baltimore clinching the AFC North, the 6th seeded Steelers only path to the playoffs is through the Wild Card. They’ll need to finish the season as well as they’ve played following Week 3.
13. Los Angeles Rams (PR: 14)
Record: 8-5 (7th in NFC) | Week 15 opponent: Dallas Cowboys (away)
The Rams have suddenly found themselves, and are slowly making me look stupid for calling them frauds all season. It might be too little too late, but having something to play for at this stage is better than nothing.
14. Chicago Bears (PR: 17)
Record: 7-6 (8th in NFC) | Week 15 opponent: Green Bay Packers (away)
Maybe it’s due to their schedule, but the Bears are still in contention for a playoff spot. Even if it’s unlikely, the coach and QB might be playing for their jobs, so the urgency is there.
15. Cleveland Browns (PR: 18)
Record: 6-7 (8th in AFC) | Week 15 opponent: Arizona Cardinals (home)
The Browns did their job last Sunday to keep their playoff hopes alive, but their margin for error remains zero, and they still need a lot of help.
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (PR: 21)
Record: 6-7 (10th in NFC) | Week 15 opponent: Detroit Lions (away)
The Bucs are also surging late in the season, and Jameis Winston continues to play his roller coaster brand of football. They aren’t in the playoff picture anymore, but I promise they will still be a thrill to watch.
17. Oakland Raiders (PR: 15)
Record: 6-7 (9th in AFC) | Week 15 opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars (home)
I doesn’t seem that long ago where the Raiders had a path to possible take the AFC West, but last week the Chiefs won the division and Oakland is all but certain to miss the playoffs. Still, a step in the right direction for the franchise.
18. Indianapolis Colts (PR: 13)
Record: 6-7 (10th in AFC) | Week 15 opponent: New Orleans Saints (away)
The Colts continue their downward spiral and a playoff birth is unlikely. It was a wild season even before it began, and given the circumstances it could’ve gone a lot worse.
19. Denver Broncos (PR: 22)
Record: 5-8 (11th in AFC) | Week 15 opponent: Kansas City Chiefs (away)
Who knew Drew Lock was the answer to all of Denver’s problems?
20. Dallas Cowboys (PR: 18)
Record: 6-7 (4th in NFC) | Week 15 opponent: Los Angeles Rams (home)
I truly think Dallas should bench their starters and treat tomorrow like a Week 17 game with nothing at stake. It would not change the fact of the winner of their game against the Eagles takes the lead in the NFC East.
21. Philadelphia Eagles (PR: 21)
Record: 6-7 (9th in NFC) | Week 15 opponent: Washington (away)
The Eagles won their first game since November 3 last Monday, but it took overtime to defeat the Eli Manning-led Giants… hurray?
22. Los Angeles Chargers (PR: 23)
Record: 5-8 (12th in AFC) | Week 15 opponent: Minnesota Vikings (home)
Even in victory the Chargers were officially eliminated from the playoffs last week. Could be a franchise-altering offseason.
23. Carolina Panthers (PR: 16)
Record: 5-8 (11th in NFC) | Week 15 opponent: Seattle Seahawks (home)
As Ron Rivera left, so did the 2019 Carolina Panthers. Last week clearly showed the focus is the now on the future.
24. Atlanta Falcons (PR: 27)
Record: 4-9 (12th in NFC) | Week 15 opponent: San Francisco 49ers (away)
Like the Saints, Atlanta is 3-2 since their bye week… problem is New Orleans was 7-1 before their bye, and Atlanta was 1-7.
25. New York Jets (PR: 28)
Record: 10-3 (13th in AFC) | Week 15 opponent: Baltimore Ravens (away); lost
The Jets rebounded from a loss to Cincy with a win against Miami… and then got beat with ease by Baltimore. Don’t worry, it’s almost over.
26. Arizona Cardinals (PR: 24)
Record: 3-9-1 (14th in NFC) | Week 15 opponent: Cleveland Browns (home)
Kyler Murray has not been good the last 2 games, and given their opponents to finish the season, he might not look any better.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars (PR: 25)
Record: 4-9 (14th in AFC) | Week 15 opponent: Oakland Raiders (away)
The Jaguars are 6-18 since starting the 2018 season 3-1… this is the same franchise that was less than a quarter away from appearing in the Super Bowl 23 months ago.
28. Miami Dolphins (PR: 26)
Record: 3-10 (15th in AFC) | Week 15 opponent: New York Giants (away)
At least Jason Sanders is having fun.
29. Washington (PR: 29)
Record: 3-10 (15th in NFC) | Week 15 opponent: Philadelphia Eagles (home)
The team has been competitive the past 3 games, and with rumors that Bruce Allen might be fired, maybe… no, nothing’s changing.
30. Detroit Lions (PR: 30)
Record: 3-9-1 (13th in NFC) | Week 15 opponent: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (home)
Just keep losing and get a better first round draft pick, there’s no point in trying to win.
31. New York Giants (PR: 31)
Record: 2-11 (16th in NFC) | Week 15 opponent: Miami Dolphins (home)
Just when I thought Eli would do it, Eli remembered he was Eli. I’m gonna miss that guy, even if he still gives me nightmares.
32. Cincinnati Bengals (PR: 32)
Record: 1-12 (16th in AFC) | Week 15 opponent: New England Patriots (home)
The tapes will tell the truth.
Credit to photo above goes to Erik S. Lesser
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