Power Rankings: Week 15
Wow. Week 14 was a week for some to stake their claim, and others to raise concern. Take the teams with the best records in the league, the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans. They didn’t just lose but they both took humiliating defeats that make you question whether they have the arsenal to hack things come the postseason.
Then you have the Patriots. It’s taken them a while longer to get to the level we’ve come to expect of them, but if they’re just hitting form now can anyone stop them?
Let’s see what our analysts think as they bring you their Week 15 Power Rankings.
Rank Khaled Neil Sam Ben Nathan
1 NE DEN NE NE DEN
2 DEN NE HST DEN NE
3 NYG GB DEN SF SF
4 SF HST ATL GB SEA
5 GB SF SF HST GB
6 HST ATL GB ATL HST
7 ATL NYG SEA NYG NYG
8 SEA SEA NYG SEA WAS
9 CHI CHI WAS BLT CHI
10 PIT PIT CHI PIT ATL
11 BLT DAL BLT CHI TB
12 WAS BLT DAL WAS BLT
13 CIN CIN IND DAL DAL
14 DAL WAS CIN CIN CIN
15 IND NO MIN IND CAR
16 TB TB SL TB MIA
17 MIN IND PIT MIN SL
18 SL SL MIA SL IND
19 NO DET TB CLV MIN
20 CAR NYJ NO NO PIT
21 CLV BUF DET MIA NO
22 MIA MIN CAR SD BUF
23 DET MIA NYJ DET CLV
24 BUF CLV BUF TEN SD
25 SD SD SD BUF PHI
26 NYJ CAR CLV PHI DET
27 PHI TEN TEN CAR NYJ
28 TEN PHI PHI NYJ TEN
29 JAX OAK ARZ JAX KC
30 KC JAX JAX OAK JAX
31 OAK KC OAK KC OAK
32 ARZ ARZ KC ARZ ARZ
And now for the overall rankings.
1. New England Patriots (2nd)
When you bully the top ranked team you can be sure for a bump, and that meant only one spot would do for the Patriots. If Vince Wilfork can continue that level of play and the offense can be that balanced, who can stop them?
2. Denver Broncos (2nd)
Well, if you’re looking for a team to stop the Patriots what about Peyton Manning? He’s our top ranked quarterback this year, and in Von Miller they have a real impact player. With plenty of other talent on the roster it’s easy to see why our staff is high on them.
3. San Francisco 49ers (5th)
Back to their winning ways against a solid Dolphins outfit, they’ve got some big games ahead and will need to show they can deliver in them.
4. Houston Texans (4th) and Green Bay Packers (6th)
A big drop for Houston who was embarrassed as the nation watched. That’s twice they’ve buckled under the bright lights of primetime. Joining them are the Packers who haven’t hit the heights of last year but have the kind of ability on the roster that you scare plenty of teams. Especially when Clay Matthews returns.
6. New York Giants (7th)
They weren’t perfect against the Saints but they have discovered a big time playmaker in David Wilson. They’ll need to fix some things and hope Eli Manning can hit a hot streak if they want to repeat.
7. Atlanta Falcons (4th)
The unconvincing Falcons had that coming. They got their backsides handed to them by Carolina with some of the frailties that have been evident all year taking center stage. Will it act as a wakeup call, or are they just too limited?
8. Seattle Seahawks (8th)
No move for Seattle after they destroyed a terrible Cardinals team. You can only beat what is in front of you.
9. Chicago Bears (9th)
They missed Brian Urlacher more than they expected but that was still something of a stunner. Is it time to accept the Bears as an inherently limited team?
10. Baltimore Ravens (10th) and Washington Redskins (13th)
Two big defeats for the Ravens with the end result being Cam Cameron fired and this team searching for a remedy. They seem to be heading in a different direction to the rampaging Redskins — though if this RG3 injury lingers will it prove costly?
12. Dallas Cowboys (14th)
They snuck out of Cincinnati with a big win after a trying week, but let’s not forget how lucky they were that the Bengals’ defensive backs forgot how to catch. They’re in the hunt for the postseason, but you feel like they need to take their game to a level we haven’t seen since Week 1.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers (11th)
Just when you’re touting the Steelers as a dark horse they go and do that. That line looked like a mess, obviously accepting that Roethlisberger returning means they can let him do all the work.
14. Cincinnati Bengals (12th)
A strange defeat for Cincinnati who was in control for the majority of the game but suffered for some crucial drops on both sides of the ball, and an inability to turn red-zone trips into touchdowns. Fix that and they’re a dangerous team.
15. Indianapolis Colts (15th) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (16th)
The Colts keep winning but the manners of those victories aren’t doing much for our analysts. Tampa Bay seemed to be heading in the right direction, but three defeats in a row has halted that.
17. St Louis Rams (19th)
Wins against the 49ers and Bills have given the Rams a shot at the postseason. Who thought we’d be saying that a few weeks ago? A work in progress, you have to be encouraged with the progress so far.
18. Minnesota Vikings (20th)
Just when you’re ready to write off the Vikings they go and knock off the Bears. When you’ve got Adrian Peterson anything is possible.
19. New Orleans Saints (17th)
Unfortunately it’s a case of too many mistakes from the Saints, with fumbles, interceptions and poor special teams dooming them to defeat against the Giants. A horrible year for a team that is more talented than what they’ve shown.
20. Miami Dolphins (21st)
They’re not the finished article but that defense has the makings of something special. They just need to get that offense working with some added playmakers.
21. Carolina Panthers (26th)
If they played every week like they were facing the Falcons they wouldn’t have struggled anywhere near as much as they have. What a tease.
22. Detroit Lions (18th)
A good team until something goes wrong. This week Matthew Stafford highlighted their flaws, starting off on fire but fumbling the ball away and then going into ‘Erratic Matt’ mode. Not good enough for a team that was supposed to be trending upward.
23. Cleveland Browns (23rd)
One of the hottest teams in the league, Cleveland seems a team firmly headed in the right direction. So naturally we should expect wholesale changes in the offseason, right?
24. Buffalo Bills (22nd)
That defeat to the Rams kind of summed up the Bills’ season. Promising at points, ultimately disappointing, and nowhere near enough C.J. Spiller.
25. San Diego Chargers (25th)
So that was nice of the Chargers to finally show up. Shame it’s taken them so long.
26. New York Jets (24th)
Are we really considering the Jets as postseason possibilities because they beat the Jaguars? What a weird year.
27. Tennessee Titans (27th)
They beat up the Colts front but lost on the score sheet, with mistakes once again costing them. Jake Locker is one of a number of sophomore quarterbacks who look a lot rawer than some of the rookies out there right now.
28. Philadelphia Eagles (28th)
The encouraging thing from the win over Tampa Bay was that even with a line that collapsed on the right side, Nick Foles was able to deliver with his most impressive performance to date. Something to build on for 2013.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (29th)
So just what will they do at the quarterback spot come the end of the year?
30. Oakland Raiders (31st)
This year was always going to be about retooling and rebuilding. They at least played the Broncos hard, even if the talent gap was too much to overcome.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (32nd)
2013 can’t come quick enough.
32. Arizona Cardinals (30th)
It can’t get much worse than being humiliated by divisional rivals. Heads should roll for that, and not just in the coaching department. They’ve done a horrible job finding talent in recent years.