Power Rankings, Week 15

As the season nears completion, there's still jockeying going on at the edge of the Top 10 and the 49ers are pushing to get back to their preseason top spot.

| 3 years ago
power-rank-2013-WK15

Power Rankings, Week 15


power-rank-2013-WK15In the Top 5, San Francisco is reclaiming early-season praise and pushing to complete their climb back as the Saints and Patriots continue to leave questions unanswered.

Just outside of the Top 10, the Ravens and Dolphins bring their wild card battle to the rankings, each moving up a couple spots while the Eagles step back and Lions are tumbling. And, in the fight for the Bottom 5, the Jaguars find their way back in as Cleveland makes a serious push to join.

Here’s how our analysts see the league after 15 weeks, and the cumulative rank (below) that comes of their ballots.

 

  BEN GORDON KHALED NATHAN NEIL RICK SAM STEVE
1 SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA
2 DEN DEN DEN DEN DEN DEN DEN DEN
3 NE NO SF CAR SF SF CAR NE
4 KC NE NO SF NO NE KC NO
5 NO SF CAR NO NE KC NO SF
6 SF CAR KC KC KC CAR SF CAR
7 CAR KC NE ARZ CAR NO NE KC
8 CIN CIN BAL NE CIN CHI ARZ CIN
9 CHI BAL CIN CIN BAL CIN CIN PHI
10 IND ARZ MIA CHI CHI ARZ IND ARZ
11 PHI CHI IND PHI ARZ PHI BAL BAL
12 GB PHI ARZ MIA MIA DET CHI CHI
13 SD DET PHI STL PHI BAL MIA DET
14 BAL MIA SD SD DET MIA PHI MIA
15 ARZ SD DET GB SD SD GB IND
16 MIA IND CHI BAL IND IND DAL GB
17 DET DAL GB MIN PIT DAL DET DAL
18 DAL GB DAL PIT GB GB SD SD
19 PIT PIT STL IND DAL PIT NYJ PIT
20 TEN NYG PIT DET STL NYG STL STL
21 STL STL TEN TB TB TB PIT TEN
22 CLE TEN NYG DAL MIN STL BUF TB
23 BUF TB TB TEN TEN TEN NYG NYG
24 MIN NYJ NYJ ATL ATL MIN TEN CLE
25 NYG CLE MIN NYG NYJ NYJ MIN NYJ
26 NYJ BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF ATL BUF
27 JAX JAX ATL NYJ NYG CLE CLE JAX
28 OAK MIN JAX JAX OAK OAK JAX MIN
29 TB OAK CLE CLE JAX JAX TB OAK
30 ATL ATL OAK OAK CLE WAS OAK ATL
31 WAS WAS WAS HOU WAS ATL WAS WAS
32 HOU HOU HOU WAS HOU HOU HOU HOU

 

With the votes tallied, here’s how the list looks after Week 15: (last week’s rank and change in rank in parentheses)

The Top 10

1. Seattle Seahawks (1, 0)
A road trip to the site of the Super Bowl provided the setting for a rebound game to follow Seattle’s stumble in San Francisco. A 23-0 shutout kept them on track for the NFC’s top seed and in the top spot here. Refocused: Seattle at NY Giants

2. Denver Broncos (2, 0)
Refusing to stay out in front of things, Denver dropped the Thursday-Nighter to San Diego and kept the Chiefs’ hopes alive for a division title and a playoff bye. With Houston and Oakland remaining, the Broncos’ road home appears smooth, though. Refocused: San Diego at Denver (TNF)

3. San Francisco 49ers (5, 2)
Clawing their way back toward preseason expectations, San Francisco is up to third in the ranks and riding their second make-good win streak of the season. Up two spots this week, they havve Atlanta up next before the looming trip to Arizona in Week 17. Refocused: San Francisco at Tampa Bay

4. New Orleans Saints (3, -1)
Trouble on the road again for the uneven Saints leads them into Part 2 of the New Orleans-Carolina NFC South battle with this upcoming edition taking place in Charlotte. Losing to St. Louis in Week 15 sends them down a spot here. Refocused: New Orleans at St. Louis

5. New England Patriots (4, -1)
How many desperation endings has it been for the Patriots this year? Seems every few weeks the magic falls short. This loss in Miami kept the Dolphins within reach and robbed Brady & Co. of a share of the AFC’s top spot. Refocused: New England at Miami

6. Carolina Panthers (6, 0)
The Panthers fought off the hopeful Jets to remain in a tie atop the South standings. Their chance to break that tie comes this week as they welcome in the Saints to decide once and for all the division’s lead and a place in the Top 5 of these rankings. Refocused: NY Jets at Carolina

7. Kansas City Chiefs (7, 0)
Making short work of the Raiders, the Chiefs backed up their Week 14 stomping of Washington with another decisive win. A five-touchdown day from Jamaal Charles was more than enough to have Kansas City feeling good again after their recent three-game slide. Refocused: Kansas City at Oakland

8. Cincinnati Bengals (8, 0)
Unable to separate from the determined Ravens chasing them, the Bengals dropped one they had to have on Sunday Night in Pittsburgh. The Vikings stand between them and what could be a division-deciding game against Baltimore in the finale. Refocused: Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (SNF)

9. Arizona Cardinals (10, 1)
Perhaps the quietest push up the rankings this season, the Cardinals have moved up incrementally in seven of the last eight weeks and now find themselves in the conversation with the top group. Still in danger of missing the playoffs, their Week 17 game against SF will be huge. Refocused: Arizona at Tennessee

10. Chicago Bears (11, 1)
Handing control back to Cutler, the Bears notched another win to stay just ahead of the fading Lions and the won’t-go-away Packers in the North. Climbing to a Top 10 rank, a trip to Philly sits between Chicago and the Week 17 showdown with Green Bay.  Refocused: Chicago at Cleveland

The Pack 

11. Baltimore Ravens (13, 2)
Sometimes field goals are enough, as it proved to be on Monday Night in Detroit. The Ravens moved to within a game of the division lead with their touchdown-less win and, despite the limited offensive output, are gaining steam in hopes of defending their crown. They move up for the third week running. Refocused: Baltimore at Detroit (MNF)

12. Philadelphia Eagles (9, -3)
A three-spot drop comes from Week 15’s surprise loss, pushing the Eagles – who had been climbing for six straight weeks – down to No. 12. Fortunate to remain alone atop the East for now, they could see the season finale in Dallas become a win-and-get-in affair. Refocused: Philadelphia at Minnesota

13. Miami Dolphins (15, 2)
Feels like I’ve got the same to say for Miami each week – on the edge of things, capable, tough to predict. Well, it all may be coming into focus for them now as they’ve knocked out three straight wins to stay in stride with the also 8-6 Ravens and they move two spots closer to the Top 10. Refocused: New England at Miami

14. Indianapolis Colts (14, 0)
Riding an early lead to an uneventful win, the Colts head to KC for a possible playoff preview with a division title already sewn up. Having slid down the ranks in each of the three previous weeks, Indy halts the slide and settles at No. 14, one spot ahead of their preseason rank. Refocused: Houston at Indianapolis

15. Detroit Lions (12, -3)
From 6-3 to 7-7 in a snap, the Lions have given up ground in the mediocre North and now find themselves looking up at a pair of foes ahead of them with just two games to go. They fall another three spots as faith in them leaks away. Refocused: Baltimore at Detroit (MNF)

16. San Diego Chargers (17, 1)
Winners of three of their last four – including a nice game of keep away against Manning and the Broncos on Thursday — the Chargers are on the cusp of the AFC playoffs but need some help. They’ve moved up in small steps the past two weeks, but still settle in the middle of the pack. Refocused: San Diego at Denver (TNF)

17. Green Bay Packers (18, 1)
As their division has waited for them to heal, the Packers have found a way to wrangle 1-point wins in consecutive weeks and have fingers crossed that Rodgers’ clavicle allows him back in soon. At 7-6-1, the North title is within reach. Refocused: Green Bay at Dallas

18. Dallas Cowboys (16, -2)
Down six spots in the ranks in two weeks, the Cowboys gave up a big lead to Green Bay, have surrendered the East lead, and now have to hope to be in position for a last-game opportunity to reel the Eagles back in. Refocused: Green Bay at Dallas

19. Pittsburgh Steelers (19, 0)
Missing out on chances to salt playoff hopes for their previous two opponents, the Steelers managed to sting Cincinnati, handing the Bengals a loss that could factor in to a late-season shift at the top of the North. Going nowhere themselves, a win like that has to make Steeler fans happy. Refocused: Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (SNF)

20. St. Louis Rams (21, 1)
With a defense befitting their division, the Rams are proving themselves no walk-over though their pair of down division games sandwiched between impressive recent wins keeps them from challenging in the bigger picture. They get back the rank they lost a couple weeks ago. Refocused: New Orleans at St. Louis

21. Tennessee Titans (22, 1)
A frantic late-game comeback attempt brought the game even before an overtime turnover spelled the end and gave Tennessee their third loss in a row. They moved up a spot to make room for the Giants’ drop, but the Titans are left looking at the group of 4-10’s sitting ‘ahead’ of them in the draft order. Refocused: Arizona at Tennessee

22. New York Giants (20, -2)
Five more picks for Eli highlighted the latest Giant meltdown and their third loss in four games set the four-game win streak of last month firmly into the past. Mired in the middle, the 5-9 Giants are involved in neither the playoff race nor the hunt for a top pick. Refocused: Seattle at NY Giants

The Bottom 10

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (23, 0)
Catching the 49ers coming down from a big win over Seattle, there were hopes for a surprise but the Bucs couldn’t keep up and lost their second matchup with a serious contender in three weeks. Holding firm at 23, they’re right where they were in the preseason ranks. Refocused: San Francisco at Tampa Bay

24. Minnesota Vikings (28, 4)
Jumping up to bite the Eagles despite missing the services of Adrian Peterson, the Matt Cassel-led Vikings took one that not many saw coming. 2-1 in their last four, Minnesota can further wrench playoff plans with Cincinnati and Detroit on the schedule to end the year. Refocused: Philadelphia at Minnesota

25. New York Jets (24, -1)
With not quite enough to get by the Panthers in Carolina, New York falls to 6-8 and two games out with two to go. Surprisingly, given what was expected of them and their 1-4 post-bye record, they’re not yet eliminated — thanks to the AFC’s late-to-sift-out nature. Refocused: NY Jets at Carolina

26. Buffalo Bills (26, 0)
The late-season ‘win’ for Buffalo has them looking to fall out of the draft’s Top 10, though the continued positive play of Jerry Hughes was something to take from it. Refocused: Buffalo at Jacksonville

27. Cleveland Browns (25, -2)
Making a game of it again, the Browns failed once more in finding the final edge. This loss to Chicago marks their fifth straight and has them thinking what kind of QB they might get with that Top-5 pick in May. Refocused: Chicago at Cleveland

28. Atlanta Falcons (30, 2)
Wins over fellow Bottom 10’s Buffalo and Washington in recent weeks have given glimpses of what might have been. The Falcons will finish with San Francisco and Carolina, though, so a 4-12 is what might be. Refocused: Washington at Atlanta

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (27, -2)
Jacksonville saw their three-game win streak snapped but in the process kept hope alive for a high draft pick. Since moving up from the bottom spot in Week 12, this is the first week they stumble back. Refocused: Buffalo at Jacksonville

30. Oakland Raiders (29, -1)
Repeatedly beaten by screen passes to Jamaal Charles, Oakland climbed back in for a moment only to see the Chiefs pull away and roll up 56 on a defense that has tired of the long NFL season. Hungry San Diego and Denver teams await. Refocused: Kansas City at Oakland

31. Washington Redskins (31, 0)
‘Cousins time’ in Washington opened with a narrow loss to the equally sick-of-2013 Falcons in what turned out to be a rather entertaining game. The Redskins will have to hand wins to Dallas and the Giants in their final two in order to keep the heat on Houston.  Refocused: Washington at Atlanta

32. Houston Texans (32, 0)
With 12 straight losses and Denver up next, the Texans are primed to stay in front of Washington in the draft order. Their downward drive netted them the No. 32 spot they’ve held now for four weeks. Refocused: Houston at Indianapolis

 

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  • Chris

    Mind-boggling that Ben and Steve have the Patriots at #3 coming off a loss, not to mention barely beating the Texans/Browns. The 49ers, Panthers, and Chiefs have more than doubled their point differential. I understand power rankings are subjective in nature, but it’s hard to take an “analyst” serious when he does something like rank the Patriots as the 3rd best team in the NFL.

    • snich82

      Don’t be jealous.

    • Scott Humphreys

      Never underestimate the power of cheating.