NFL Power Rankings: Teams That Helped Themselves the Most in Week 14

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 09:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants looks to pass against the New Orleans Saints during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 9, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

There are only a few games remaining in the NFL season. This means there are not many chances for teams jockey for postseason position.

At this point of the season, the number of teams still playing for something is dwindling. 

However, even those with a lot on the line still failed to deliver on Sunday. These rankings highlight those that did come through with important wins in Week 14.


1. New England Patriots

This team is experienced and knows how to peak at the right time of the season. Even if the Patriots do not finish with the best record in the AFC, they should be favored to reach the Super Bowl.


2. Houston Texans

The Texans had been winning consistently throughout the year, but there are some serious issues with the secondary. They better fix the problem quickly before things turn bad.


3. Atlanta Falcons

It was only a matter of time before the bad mistakes caught up with the Falcons. More importantly, this team will lose in the postseason if it cannot figure out a way to get the run game going.


4. Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning is making it look easy with his new team. It is almost laughable that some were upset that the Broncos got rid of Tim Tebow.

With a few extra days to prepare for the Baltimore Ravens, they should be able to keep the win streak going.


5. Green Bay Packers

Although the Packers came into the week tied with the Chicago Bears for the NFC North lead, the team should feel much better on Monday morning.

With a win and a Bears loss in Week 14, Green Bay has the ability to clinch the division next week by defeating Chicago.

The Packers fell behind 14-0 on Sunday night, but a few unlikely sources like Mike Daniels and DuJuan Harris came through to help the team earn the win.

It showed that Aaron Rodgers does not always need to have his best day for the team to win. 


6. San Francisco 49ers

Colin Kaepernick is almost the polar opposite of Alex Smith so far. While Smith was steady and consistent, Kaepernick can struggle all game and then hurt you with one big play.

Either way, the 49ers are still ahead in the NFC West and will be scary in the playoffs.


7. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens are hoping that the removal of Cam Cameron will lead to a better offensive performance. At this point, however, it might be the defense that is of more concern.


8. Seattle Seahawks

While the Arizona Cardinals do not look good at this point of the year, defeating any NFL team 58-0 is impressive. 

Seattle is good on the road and great at home, and that should be enough to at least get this team into the playoffs.


9. New York Giants

The Giants can certainly feel the heat of the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys on their back. 

If they had lost to the New Orleans Saints, there would be a three-way tie on top of the division.

Fortunately for New York, the team was able to light up the Saints defense and score 52 points to get the win.

David Wilson is finally showing why he was taken in the first round with two touchdowns on the day. If he keeps getting touches, he could make a big impact during the final few games of the season.


10. Chicago Bears

Before getting hurt, Jay Cutler completed only half of his passes and threw two interceptions. At the same time, Matt Forte only had 13 carries all game. 

This team will struggle to score if it cannot figure out which players should be getting the ball.


11. Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck has now had a few bad games in a row and is struggling with turnovers. Despite this fact, he has his team at 9-4 on the brink of a playoff berth. 

Some players just know how to win.


12. Washington Redskins

Speaking of rookie quarterbacks, Kirk Cousins is pretty good. Oh yeah, and that Robert Griffin III person knows how to play as well. 

Regardless of who plays next week, the Redskins will not be able to make the playoffs if the defensive secondary continues to struggle. 


13. Pittsburgh Steelers

After defeating the Ravens on the road, Pittsburgh could not afford this type of loss. The upcoming games against the Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals are now must-wins.


14. Minnesota Vikings

At this point, it does not matter what Christian Ponder does anymore. Adrian Peterson has now rushed for over 100 yards in seven straight games and topped 150 in five of those contests.

He is playing well enough to get this team into the playoffs by himself.


15. Dallas Cowboys

Through three quarters, the Cowboys looked pretty bad on offense.

However, things changed in the fourth quarter when Tony Romo led two scoring drives to pull out a much-needed victory.

The haters will not give him credit, but the quarterback was actually very clutch on Sunday.

With the win, the Cowboys keep pace in the suddenly competitive NFC East at only one game behind the Giants. 


16. Cincinnati Bengals

Teams are obviously looking out for A.J. Green, but he only caught three passes in the loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Andy Dalton needs to find a way to get the ball to his top receiver to help his team get back on the winning side. 


17. St. Louis Rams

After three wins in a row, the St. Louis Rams end the season with meaningful games against the Vikings, Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

They do not control their own destiny, but it is close. 


18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Losses to the Falcons and Broncos are excusable. A loss to the Philadelphia Eagles after blowing a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter is not. Tampa Bay's season is effectively over.


19. New York Jets

Somehow, the New York Jets are still in the playoff race. As a matter of fact, the team is only one game away from a Wild-Card spot.

A few big wins early and a favorable late schedule helps the team overcome some severe deficiencies at quarterback. 

Mark Sanchez has remained the starter throughout repeated poor performances, but now the rest of the squad is starting to wake up.

If they can win out against the Titans, Chargers and Bills, Rex Ryan's team will surprise almost everyone with a postseason berth.


20. Cleveland Browns

Even when Trent Richardson is shut down—42 yards on 18 carries—he still makes an impact with two touchdowns. In the last few weeks, there are a bunch of players proving they should be part of the future of this organization.


21. San Diego Chargers

Few teams produced a more surprising result in Week 14 than the San Diego Chargers. The defense shut down the run, and Philip Rivers threw three touchdowns passes.

However, it might be too little, too late for Norv Turner and the Chargers.


22. Buffalo Bills

No running back in the NFL averages more yards per carry than C.J. Spiller. For some reason, he only touched the ball eight times in a close game on Sunday. There is no excuse for this type of misuse.


23. Miami Dolphins

The defense can keep the Dolphins in any game. However, Ryan Tannehill has a long way to go to show he is an NFL quarterback. Specifically, he needs to be more consistent with his accuracy.


24. New Orleans Saints

Giving up 52 points in the team's last chance for a successful season tells you everything you need to know. No offense can survive a defense this poor.


25. Detroit Lions

Another week, another blown lead for the Detroit Lions. Instead of proving that this team is talented, the Lions keep proving that they do not have the discipline to win in this league. 


26. Carolina Panthers

In the last four weeks, Cam Newton has eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. Prior to that he had eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The Panthers like the new version better.


27. Tennessee Titans

Jake Locker has seven interceptions in three games, but he has averaged 40 pass attempts each week. This overuse could be detrimental to the development of the young passer.


28. Philadelphia Eagles

Although Andy Reid's time in Philadelphia is likely coming to an end, the win should give a lot of hope for Eagles fans.

Rookie quarterback Nick Foles had a great game with 381 passing yards and two touchdowns. This includes the game-winner to Jeremy Maclin as time expired.

The win also showed the lack of quit in this team. It started to look like this squad gave up over the past two months, but this game showed resolve.

Foles and Bryce Brown should give the team a good indication about the future over the next couple of weeks.


29. Jacksonville Jaguars

With Maurice Jones-Drew, Rashad Jennings and Jalen Parmele all hurt, Montel Owens is trying to succeed as the starting running back. If he can play like he did against the Jets, the Jaguars might be able to steal another win this season.


30. Arizona Cardinals

The 58-0 loss was downright embarrassing. Then again, so were the eight losses before that. 

Until the Cardinals improve the offensive line, it will not matter who is under center, it will lead to failure. 


31. Kansas City Chiefs

Although the Chiefs did lose badly to the Browns, it is tough to expect anything better with Brady Quinn at quarterback. Either Geno Smith or Tyler Wilson should be the next quarterback for this team. 


32. Oakland Raiders

There is not a single phase of the game that looks good for the Raiders.

Carson Palmer keeps throwing interceptions, the run game is not working and the defense allows everyone to score. The future looks bleak in this organization. 



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