NFL Power Rankings: Where Each Team Stands Heading into Week 14
The Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders kicked Week 14 off for us.
After Denver's compelling 26-13 win over its division rival, we know where the Broncos and Raiders are heading: opposite directions.
What about the rest of the NFL, you ask?
Take a gander.
1. Houston Texans (11-1)
The Houston Texans are still the best team in football following their 14-point win over the division rival Tennessee Titans.
Against an excellent New England team on Monday Night Football, the Texans have a tough matchup but could have an advantage through the air against the Pats' 29th-ranked pass defense with the likes of Andre Johnson.
Holding a hefty lead in the AFC South, the Texans look poised for a first-round bye.
2. Atlanta Falcons (11-1)
After an impressive divisional win over the New Orleans Saints that saw the Falcons' defense intercept Drew Brees five times, Atlanta should roll into Carolina and earn a second straight division win against the Panthers.
Having already clinched the division in Week 13, it's hard to argue against anything Atlanta is doing right now.
3. New England Patriots (9-3)
New England's offense has been rolling all season, as they rank in the top eight in the league in both passing and rushing yardage per game.
The Patriots are coming off an AFC East win over the Miami Dolphins and have a real opportunity to prove themselves against the Texans on Monday night.
Oh yeah, and the Pats already clinched the division with four games remaining.
With a new and improved running game here in 2012, the Pats could be a force come playoff time.
4. Denver Broncos (10-3)
Fresh off a Thursday night beatdown of the Oakland Raiders, the Broncos get to sit back and watch the rest of the NFL battle it out over the weekend.
Denver has now won eight straight games and Peyton Manning has to be the favorite for the MVP award at this point in the season.
Manning is turning Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas into studs while the Broncos' defense ranks among the best in the league.
Denver already clinched the division and will be heading back to the playoffs, this time with a future Hall of Famer under center.
5. San Francisco 49ers (8-3-1)
Despite the odd tie and quarterback controversy, the San Francisco 49ers are still one of the top teams in the NFL because of a tough running game and a staunch defense.
San Francisco should be able to handle its business at home against Miami in Week 14, making their last loss to the New York Giants on Oct. 14 seem like a distant memory.
With Seattle right behind them, the 49ers may be put to the test come Week 16.
6. Baltimore Ravens (9-3)
The Ravens are doing their best to stay afloat on the back of Ray Rice, but he can only carry the team for so long.
Sorry, Baltimore, but Joe Flacco still isn't elite and with the injuries piling up on the defensive side of the football, that matchup with RGIII and the Washington Redskins in Week 14 isn't looking as good as it did when the schedule first came out.
The Ravens hold a two-game lead in the division but could see that disappear with Washington, Denver, the G-Men and Cincinnati still on the schedule.
Show me something this weekend.
7. Green Bay Packers (8-4)
Green Bay got back to business against Minnesota last week after being manhandled by the Giants, beating the Vikings 23-14 at home.
Aaron Rodgers is doing everything he can without the help of a running game, but a healthy Greg Jennings adds another dimension to that Packers offense.
Tied with the Bears for the division lead, Week 15 will be an important one for the Pack.
8. Chicago Bears (8-4)
The Chicago Bears' defense let a rookie carve them up in their house?
With three divisional games remaining on the schedule and Brian Urlacher injured, things aren't looking as bright in Chicago.
9. Indianapolis Colts (8-4)
Riding the high of Andrew Luck and the Chuck Strong movement, the Indianapolis Colts have been the NFL's best story this season.
With two games still remaining against the Texans, the Colts will be put to the test.
Nonetheless, they currently hold a playoff spot, which is more than 20 other teams can say.
10. New York Giants (7-5)
A loss to the division foe Washington Redskins hurts, but the G-Men are still first in the NFC East and usually turn it on in December to make a late-season playoff push.
The rest of the schedule certainly isn't easy for New York, but for now Giants fans can bask in the glory of a division lead and another playoff appearance (they hope).
11. Seattle Seahawks (7-5)
Like a lot of rookie QBs in the NFL this season, Russell Wilson isn't playing like it's his first year in the NFL.
After a compelling win over the Bears on the road, the Seahawks are hanging onto the sixth and final playoff position and get a terrible Cardinals team at home in Week 14.
12. Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)
The Bengals are right on the cusp of playoff seeding thanks in large part to A.J. Green (obviously) and another brilliant season from the law firm, BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
Having won four in a row and heading into a home game against the Dallas Cowboys, you've got to like what this team is doing on both sides of the ball.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5)
Luckily for Pittsburgh, Charlie Batch kept the ship afloat while Ben Roethlisberger was recovering from injury.
Now Big Ben is back and ready to lead the team, Pittsburgh looks poised to hang onto its No. 6 seed in the playoffs.
Roethlisberger returns this weekend and does work against the Chargers at home.
14. Washington Redskins (6-6)
There's not a more exciting player in the NFL than Robert Griffin III and he has the Redskins in prime position to snag a wild-card spot, or better, the division from New York.
A Redskins win and a Giants loss in Week 14 will see a tie atop the NFC East division.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6)
Tampa Bay is still very well in the playoff hunt but needs to win practically every game from here on out, which won't be easy to do against the Eagles, Saints, Rams and Falcons.
Doug Martin is one of the top rushers in the NFL but the Bucs need a few more Week 9 performances out of him to increase their playoff hopes.
16. Dallas Cowboys (6-6)
America's team isn't making America very proud.
Who dubbed them America's team anyway?
With the NFC East up for grabs, your guess is as good as mine as to who steps up down the stretch and claims it.
17. Minnesota Vikings (6-6)
Put it this way, Vikings fans.
Minnesota basically has to win out in order to make the postseason and with Chicago, St. Louis, Houston and Green Bay remaining on the schedule, its odds are slim to none.
18. New Orleans Saints (5-7)
A bounty scandal and one head coach later and the New Orleans Saints are a shell of the team they once were.
Drew Brees is coming off a five-interception game and the Saints aren't going to make the playoffs.
Are the brown paper bags going to make a comeback?
19. St. Louis Rams (5-6-1)
It really looked like the Rams were poised for a solid season in 2012, but injuries on the offensive side, especially to Danny Amendola really derailed that train.
The Rams have played exceptionally well within the division, but that's about all they can say.
20. Miami Dolphins (5-7)
I bet the Dolphins are wishing they had sprung for Russell Wilson right about now.
At 5-7, Miami isn't making the playoffs and should start beefing up its secondary and receiving corps for next season.
21. Detroit Lions (4-8)
It's certainly been a disappointing season for Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions.
The Lions are 0-4 in the division—that's certainly not going to earn you a playoff berth.
22. New York Jets (5-7)
Need I say more?
23. Buffalo Bills (5-7)
C.J. Spiller has been tremendous for the Bills.
Unfortunately, no one else has been.
24. Cleveland Browns (4-8)
The Browns are seeking a three-game win streak for the first time in forever (not really).
That being said, Cleveland still needs a lot of work on both sides of the ball to even be mentioned with other AFC contenders.
25. Tennessee Titans (4-8)
It took him a little while to get going, but Chris Johnson did come on there for a few weeks.
And then he went away.
Just like the Titans did in the AFC standings.
26. San Diego Chargers (4-8)
Man, you know the Giants are happy they went with Eli Manning over Phillip Rivers.
Norv Turner is probably done in San Diego (no, I mean it this time) and it looks like it's rebuilding mode for the powder blue.
27. Arizona Cardinals (4-8)
At least this wasn't a completely disappointing season for Arizona, right?
They did win four straight before losing eight in a row.
Am I right?
28. Carolina Panthers (3-9)
Cam Newton redefined the meaning of sophomore slump this season.
The Panthers' offense actually isn't that bad—when Newton isn't sulking at the podium—but their rushing defense could use some anchoring in the offseason.
29. Oakland Raiders (3-10)
I don't really have much to say for Raiders fans, except maybe I'm sorry and better luck next year?
Aside from defense, Oakland could use a legitimate deep threat for Carson Palmer to air it out to.
Oh, and a new stadium.
30. Philadelphia Eagles (3-9)
How about last place in the NFC East and another dismal season with the Andy Reid/Michael Vick combination.
Chip Kelly might be closer than you think.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (2-10)
I honestly thought 2012 would see greener pastures for the Chiefs.
If they can get the quarterback situation squared away, they have enough playmakers to make some noise in the AFC West behind Denver.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10)
Chad Henne is the quarterback and he's not handing the ball off to Maurice Jones-Drew.
How do you think this one plays out?
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