NFL Power Rankings: Teams Rising and Falling Going into Week 14
Four NFL teams—a third of the 12 total teams that qualify for the postseason every season—locked in their playoff spots with wins during Week 13 of the season.
While the cream didn't have to rise far to reach the top, that reality doesn't mean that there wasn't plenty of jockeying below in our Week 14 NFL power rankings.
Several teams, whether they are playoff-bound or not, took steps up our rankings, while others—even those likely headed to the postseason—dropped a few places in lieu of losses.
In the following slides, we'll give you a quick look at our power rankings before diving headfirst into the top risers and fallers ahead of Week 14.
Power Rankings 16-32
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32. Oakland Raiders (3-9)
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10)
30. Philadelphia Eagles (3-9)
29. Arizona Cardinals (4-8)
28. Carolina Panthers (3-9)
27. Kansas City Chiefs (2-10)
26. Tennessee Titans (4-8)
25. New York Jets (5-7)
24. San Diego Chargers (4-8)
23. Detroit Lions (4-8)
22. Cleveland Browns (4-8)
21. Buffalo Bills (5-7)
20. Miami Dolphins (5-7)
19. St. Louis Rams (5-6-1)
18. Minnesota Vikings (6-6)
17. New Orleans Saints (5-7)
16. Washington Redskins (5-6)*
*Plays Monday night
Power Rankings 1-15
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15. Dallas Cowboys (6-6)
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6)
13. Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)
12. Indianapolis Colts (8-4)
11. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5)
10. Seattle Seahawks (7-5)
9. Chicago Bears (8-4)
8. Green Bay Packers (8-4)
7. Baltimore Ravens (9-3)
6. San Francisco 49ers (8-3-1)
5. New York Giants (7-4)*
4. Denver Broncos (9-3)
3. New England Patriots (9-3)
2. Atlanta Falcons (11-1)
1. Houston Texans (11-1)
Rising: Cleveland Browns (No. 22)
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Since starting 0-5, the Browns have actually won four of seven games—including two over teams in the AFC wild-card hunt (Pittsburgh, Cincinnati). In the three losses, Cleveland nearly beat other playoff-contending teams (Indianapolis, Baltimore, Dallas).
No longer is this team a doormat, and it's time for that turnaround to be rewarded in these power rankings.
With a game at home against Kansas City in Week 14, the Browns have a real opportunity to improve to 5-8. That might not mean anything in the short or long term, but let's keep in mind that this franchise hasn't won more than five games since 2007. Games against Washington, Denver and Pittsburgh would then give Cleveland a chance for its best season in five years.
Falling: Minnesota Vikings (No. 18)
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The Minnesota Vikings wasted away another Hall of Fame effort (210 yards) from Adrian Peterson because of their inability to be even remotely productive in the passing game.
Quarterback Christian Ponder didn't complete a pass to a receiver until there was under three minutes to go in the game, and he ended with a passer rating of just 31.9. His two interceptions all but killed Minnesota's chance to really control its own destiny in the NFC wild-card race.
At 6-6, the Vikings are now a long shot to overtake the teams currently occupying the wild-card slots. And in reality, given the way this passing game is playing, the Vikings could end the season 6-10. Games against Chicago, St. Louis, Houston and Green Bay to finish up don't include a cupcake.
Rising: Seattle Seahawks (No. 10)
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Rookie quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III have deserved the hype and attention thrown their way over the last handful of months. But Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson should be right in the conversation with the two for the NFL's offensive rookie of the year.
The Seahawks are now 7-5 after coming back to beat the Bears Sunday, with a firm hold over the sixth and final playoff spot in the NFC (tiebreakers over Minnesota, Dallas, Chicago). And Wilson has been a big reason why. In 12 games, he has a passer rating of 95.7, including four straight games with a rating above 100.0. Seattle is 3-1 over the last four.
RG3 and Luck will likely run away with the voting come decision time, but Wilson has a profile just as deserving.
Don't sleep on his Seahawks either. Seattle finally has its confidence-building road win.
Falling: Baltimore Ravens (No. 7)
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The Ravens will be kicking themselves for dropping a game to the Ben Roethlisberger-less Steelers come playoff time.
At 9-3, the Ravens now have to claw their way to a first-round bye over the final four weeks of the season. Baltimore has games left with Washington, the New York Giants, Denver and Cincinnati—none of which look like pillow fights for the Ravens.
Heck, is it possible that the Steelers could catch the Ravens in the AFC North? When Roethlisberger gets back, who knows. But Baltimore had its chance to stake its place as the division champion and front-runner for a top AFC seed and blew it against Charlie Batch at home.