NFL power rankings shift from week to week. Week 13’s NFL action will bring about some big changes atop the power rankings of the league.
The playoffs are right around the corner. Who will build momentum down the stretch in order to sneak into them?
Take a look at an outlook and projections for the NFL's power rankings following this week’s matchups.
1. Atlanta Falcons (11-1)
The Falcons knocked off the New Orleans Saints on Thursday Night Football to clinch a playoff berth. They aren’t the most “perfect” No. 1 team, but they find ways to win football games.
They also clinched the NFC South division with this win and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' loss to Denver.
2. Houston Texans (11-1)
The Texans will have a little trouble in the Music City matchup with the Titans. However, their ability to run the ball will help the team burn clock and keep win the game in the fourth quarter.
A loss by the Colts means the Texans clinch the AFC South and a playoff berth in Week 13.
3. San Francisco 49ers (9-2-1)
A quarterback controversy is only a controversy if the backup messes up. Alex Smith certainly didn’t do anything to deserve a demotion, but Jim Harbaugh is going to stick with Colin Kaepernick until he gives him a reason to make a change.
That change won’t come against the Rams. The Niners will make up for settling their last matchup in a tie at Candlestick Park.
4. New England Patriots (9-3)
The Patriots will clinch the AFC East and a playoff berth with this win over the Dolphins. They’ll also be in prime position to possibly overtake the Houston Texans in the rankings after Week 14.
Remember what Aaron Rodgers did to the Texans?
5. Denver Broncos (9-3)
Peyton Manning is going to slice and dice the league-worst pass defense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There’s no question of that. Denver isn’t going anywhere in the rankings anytime soon.
6. Chicago Bears (9-3)
The Bears’ Week 13 win over the Seattle Seahawks is huge for the team as they continue to lead the NFC North division by one game over the Green Bay Packers.
The Pack is coming to Soldier Field in Week 15 and these two powerhouses will get to slug it out with division and playoff implications abound.
7. Baltimore Ravens (10-2)
Another close game against the Ben Roethlisberger-less Steelers does little to boost any confidence in this team despite its 10-2 record.
Inconsistencies on the road and defensive struggles will hurt the Ravens in the playoffs.
8. New York Giants (7-5)
The Giants have been wildly inconsistent this season. It’s been a year of highs and lows and the team’s Monday night loss to the Redskins will be another.
Here we are again wondering if the Giants are for real just one week after shellacking the Packers.
9. Green Bay Packers (8-4)
The Packers and Vikings were both in must-win situations at Lambeau Field in Week 13. Green Bay’s pass rush was just too much for Christian Ponder, and the Pack stayed neck-and-neck in the NFC North while dealing a big blow to the Vikes in the process.
10. Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)
The Bengals get back into the Top 10 by winning their fourth-straight game. After winning three in a row and then dropping four straight, the Bengals have proven to be the most hot-and-cold team in the league.
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6)
The Bucs don’t need to beat the Broncos in Week 13, although a win would put them in the driver seat of the race for the second wild-card berth. Seattle and Minnesota also lose to keep things as they were heading into the week.
12. Seattle Seahawks (6-6)
Chicago’s defense was too much for the Seahawks as they drop their second-consecutive game. Still, despite the struggles on the offensive side of the ball, the Seahawks D will play a great game against the Bears to keep it close.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-6)
A third-consecutive divisional loss isn’t anything to smile about for the Steelers. Still, the team will get Roethlisberger back and have a chance to make a run at a wild-card berth down the stretch.
14. Indianapolis Colts (7-5)
The Colts will play hard against the Lions, but they’re due for a letdown after the great start Andrew Luck has led them to. The Lions will key in on Luck and make the Colts beat them on the ground, something Indianapolis don’t have the personnel to do.
15. Washington Redskins (6-6)
RGIII and the Skins take it to the Giants to continue their own rocky journey to the postseason. They were once an afterthought in the NFC East division race, but have stormed back to come within one game of the division-leading Giants.
16. Dallas Cowboys (6-6)
The Cowboys avoid the wheels falling completely off with a win over the fading Eagles. Is that even an accomplishment at this point, though?
17. Minnesota Vikings (6-6)
Beating Green Bay at Lambeau doesn’t seem likely and it won’t happen this week. Percy Harvin is still hobbled and it’s going to take more than just Adrian Peterson to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense.
18. New Orleans Saints (5-7)
Drew Brees threw five interceptions for the first time in his career and the Falcons dealt a severe blow to their divisional rivals' playoffs chances.
Brees also failed to throw a touchdown pass in the contest. That is the first time that’s happened since the first week in the 2009 season.
19. Miami Dolphins (5-7)
Their season got a jolt of life last week in a big win over the Seattle Seahawks. Tom Brady and the Patriots will temper those expectations and bring the Fins back down to reality in Week 13.
20. Detroit Lions (5-7)
A win over the Colts keeps the Lions in the playoff chase, but it still doesn’t look good for Detroit.
21. Arizona Cardinals (5-7)
A win over the Jets will do some to stop the bleeding of seven straight losses that have overcome the Cards since starting 4-0.
22. San Diego Chargers (4-8)
Philip Rivers won’t have any time to throw and the Chargers will fall to the playoff-bound Bengals. Their defense, like every other NFL defense, will be exposed by A.J. Green.
23. New York Jets (4-8)
Losing to the Cardinals is an all-time low, even for this team.
24. St. Louis Rams (4-7-1)
Can the Rams finish off the Niners instead of letting them escape with a tie? Not likely against a new-look and more explosive San Francisco offense that's led by Colin Kaepernick.
25. Tennessee Titans (4-8)
The Titans are better than some thought, but not good enough to beat the Texans. Both of those statements are facts.
26. Buffalo Bills (4-8)
A loss to the Jaguars should surprise no one here. Buffalo can’t play defense and the Jags have found new life with Chad Henne at quarterback. Meanwhile, Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to melt down.
27. Cleveland Browns (4-8)
The Browns have won two games in a row, but they’ve come against the Ben Roethlisberger-less Steelers and the Oakland Raiders. I’ll be more impressed when they beat a good team.
28. Carolina Panthers (4-8)
Ron Rivera’s Panthers beating the Kansas City Chiefs is more or less the equivalent to a bye week at this point.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-9)
It’s clear that Blaine Gabbert is out as the Jags quarterback. Is Chad Henne the guy to help this team turn it around? He’s looked like it so far and will lead Jacksonville to its second win in three games.
30. Philadelphia Eagles (3-9)
Philadelphia should not be a 3-9 team. Divisional rival Dallas made sure that happened, though, with an easy Week 13 victory over the Michael Vick-less Eagles.
31. Oakland Raiders (3-9)
It can’t get any worse for Carson Palmer and the Raiders. Losing consecutive games to two Ohio teams has to be as disappointing as losing five straight matchups.
32. Kansas City Chiefs (1-11)
Geno Smith is cringing somewhere thinking about how bad this team looks.