NFL Power Rankings: Highlighting Biggest Risers and Fallers Going into Week 13

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst INovember 28, 2013

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 24:  Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders #88 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 after catching a touchdown pass against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 24, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

After another exciting week in the NFL, there are several teams who find themselves on the rise in a big way while others continue their slide down the power rankings going into Week 13.

The New York Jets, which is a team that was once thought to be playoff worthy, are quickly collapsing after two straight losses and things aren't looking so good after all. Along with the Jets, a team like the Kansas City Chiefs isn't looking so elite following two straight losses; one of which was to a team with a losing record.

On the other side of the coin, the Carolina Panthers have gone from the basement to near the top of the league with a seven-game winning streak that has earned them credit as one of the finer teams in the NFL when it wasn't thought to be possible.

These unforeseen risers and fallers are just a few of the squads we highlight this week. Let's take a look at the rest, as well as a full slate of fresh power rankings for you to digest.

1. Seattle Seahawks (10-1)

The Seattle Seahawks own the best record in football going into Week 13. Thanks to a solid offense and an outstanding defense, there's no doubt Seattle is the best all-around team in the NFL.

2. Denver Broncos (9-2)

Cold weather once again seemed to be a problem for Peyton Manning and the Broncos as a whole after being thoroughly outplayed at Gillette Stadium by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. All of a sudden, the Broncos look human, and a loss to the Chiefs this week could push them back to the No. 5 seed.

3. New England Patriots (8-3)

The Pats get a nice boost in the rankings this week after beating one of the best teams in the NFL, the Broncos. It was a huge advantage for the Pats playing in cold weather, and the greatness of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick once again shined as New England came out looking like a different team in the second half, overcoming a 24-0 deficit to win.

4. New Orleans Saints (9-2)

A seemingly easy matchup with the Atlanta Falcons turned into a test for the New Orleans Saints in Week 12 as Drew Brees and company went on the road and barely escaped with the win. Interestingly enough, the Saints defense has been pretty consistent this season while its offense has seen some up-and-down games while remaining one of the more feared units in the NFL.

5. Carolina Panthers (8-3)

The Carolina Panthers now find themselves tied for the third-best record in the NFL after narrowly beating the Miami Dolphins in Week 12, 20-16.

While Carolina's passing attack didn't look so hot (159 passing yards), its ground game and defense remained solid as has been the case the entire season with the Panthers ranking in the top 10 in rushing yards per game as well as pass and run defense.

With seven wins in a row, the Panthers are easily the hottest team in the NFL and are in prime position to grab one of the final playoff spots and possibly even the NFC South after starting the year with a 1-3 record.

6. Kansas City Chiefs (9-2)

Fears that the Chiefs 9-0 start to the season was just a fluke based on an easy schedule gained some traction in Week 12 after head coach Andy Reid's team dropped its second straight game, this time against the San Diego Chargers.

While the Chargers are not a bad team to say the least, they do own a losing record and the Chiefs had been perfect against teams with a mark below .500 this season. In fact, Kansas City only has two wins over teams that currently have a record over .500.

Despite two losses in a row, the Chiefs are still tied atop the AFC West with the Broncos and a win in Week 13 against their division rival will move KC up from the No. 5 seed to sole possession of first place in their division and the No. 1 seed in the playoff hunt. A loss could signal the wheels are coming off this once undefeated Chiefs bus.

7. San Francisco 49ers (7-4)

A win over the Washington Redskins won't be scoring any extra points for the San Francisco 49ers in the respect category, but at least this team snapped its two-game losing streak with a convincing win over a bad team. The return of wide receiver Michael Crabtree will be a welcomed one for San Fran, as this team boasts the worst passing attack in football.

8. Arizona Cardinals (7-4)

If you didn't think the Arizona Cardinals were for real this season, then just go ahead and look at their Week 12 epic beatdown of the Indianapolis Colts, which is a team that has beaten the likes of San Francisco, Seattle and Denver this season.

With the win, the Cards kept pace with the Niners in the playoff race and remain in second place in the highly competitive NFC West on the back of a surging offense and a tough defense that has been solid for most of the season.

Four straight wins have not only vaulted the Cards into the discussion as a playoff contender and a top-10 team in the NFL, but a win over a tough squad in the Colts signifies Arizona is for real after the first three wins in the four-game streak came against lowly teams like Atlanta, Houston and Jacksonville.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)

Perhaps one of the more fresh teams in the NFL after a late bye week, the Cincinnati Bengals will take on a tough Chargers squad that is coming off a huge win over the Chiefs in Week 12. With the Steelers and Ravens coming on strong of late, the Bengals need to win in order to stave off those two teams.

10. Indianapolis Colts (7-4)

The Colts looked like an elite team this season thanks to wins over some of the NFL's best in 2013-14, but now things have started to unravel a bit as Indy owns a 3-3 mark in its last six games.

It's one thing to lose to the Cardinals, who haven't beaten many notable opponents this season, but it's entirely another thing to get crushed by them en route to a 29-point loss. In their last three games, you can honestly say the Colts have played one good half of football or more specifically, two quarters.

A once promising defense has faltered big time for the Colts of late and it's looking more and more obvious that the loss of weapons on the offensive side of the ball is seriously hurting quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts offense as a whole.

11. Philadelphia Eagles (6-5)

The Philadelphia Eagles are in a tight battle for the NFC East with the Dallas Cowboys winning in Week 12 while head coach Chip Kelly's team was on a bye. A tough matchup with the Cardinals in Week 13 is a must-win game for the Eagles if they wish to remain in the hunt for the NFC East crown.

12. Dallas Cowboys (6-5)

Alongside the Eagles in first place in the NFC East is the Dallas Cowboys, although Dallas owns the tiebreaker between the two teams for the moment with a better head-to-head and divisional record following their second win of the year over the New York Giants.

13. Detroit Lions (6-5)

The Detroit Lions are one of two NFC North teams to lose to a lesser opponent in Week 12. The formerly two-win Tampa Bay Buccaneers went into Detroit and stunned the Lions with a 24-21 win, which was a result that was unexpected to say the least and led to Detroit's second straight loss as this team continues to fail in regard to capitalizing on the Green Bay Packers' loss of Aaron Rodgers.

14. Chicago Bears (6-5)

Like the Lions, the Chicago Bears have also failed to capitalize on Rodgers' injury and create space between them and the Packers in recent weeks. A Week 12 blowout loss to the Sam Bradford-less St. Louis Rams was not a good sign for this team moving forward as the stretch run of the season is upon us.

15. Tennessee Titans (5-6)

You would think a team that has lost two of its last three games would be in trouble in the playoff race, but that isn't the case for the Tennessee Titans following a Week 12 win over the Oakland Raiders.

A great effort from Ryan Fitzpatrick in place of the injured Jake Locker helped propel the Titans to victory. Fitzpatrick found the end zone through the air twice while throwing for 320 yards without a pick in the game, and he also thew the game-winning pass with 10 seconds remaining in regulation.

Don't look now, but the Titans are in charge of the No. 6 seed in the AFC, which was unthinkable just a few weeks ago considering this team lost to the likes of the Jaguars in Week 10 and looked to be in serious trouble.

16. San Diego Chargers (5-6)

The Chargers gained some major momentum in Week 12 after not only beating the Chiefs, but also snapping a three-game losing streak that appeared ready to derail their season. With the win, San Diego keeps pace in the crowded AFC playoff picture.

17. Miami Dolphins (5-6)

There's no shame in losing to a top team and the same can be said for Miami's loss to Carolina last week. The Dolphins' playoff hopes remain very alive in the AFC, but this team must jump five squads in order to secure a playoff spot.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-6)

Pittsburgh once looked to be one of the worst teams in the NFL. However, five wins in seven games has changed that and now the Steelers have playoffs on their mind with anything being possible in the AFC playoff hunt.

The Steelers bested the Cleveland Browns in Week 12 and before that, the Lions and Buffalo Bills, all the while regaining credibility as they continue to pile up the wins.

Not only do the Steelers have just one team to jump in order to land in a playoff spot, but Pittsburgh is just two games back of the Bengals in the AFC North with another meeting between the two squads coming up in Week 15.

19. Baltimore Ravens (5-6)

The Baltimore Ravens had no issue disposing of the New York Jets on Sunday with a 19-3 win in what was a great defensive performance for head coach John Harbaugh's team. The Ravens also kept pace in the AFC North and sit just two games behind the Bengals for first place while they stay in the hunt for the final playoff spot in the AFC.

20. Green Bay Packers (5-5-1)

Green Bay's woes continue without Rodgers behind center as Green Bay has now dropped three of its last four games with a tie being the latest result in Week 12 against the Minnesota Vikings. While we understand the return of Rodgers will catapult this team back to greatness and consistency, the jury is still out on when the superstar signal-caller will return.

21. St. Louis Rams (5-6)

While the Rams offense may not exactly be feared without Sam Bradford behind center, their defense is an entirely different story.

St. Louis has leaned on its vaunted defense the past few games with wins over the Colts and Bears being proof. In those two contests, the Rams allowed a combined total of 29 points and scored at least one defensive touchdown in each.

People may have written off the Rams after they lost Bradford for the season, but this team is no pushover thanks to a great defense that can stop opposing offenses and create points from turnovers. They may not make the playoffs in 2013-14, but overlooking the Rams will be a huge mistake for teams with playoff aspirations.

22. Buffalo Bills (4-7)

A bye week in Buffalo allowed the Bills to enjoy their beatdown of the Jets in Week 11 while also giving this team some time to heal its injuries. Week 13 presents another favorable matchup for the Bills as the lowly Falcons come to town.

23. New York Jets (5-6)

Remember when the New York Jets were looking like a playoff team just a few weeks ago? Well, now things are going south for this once promising team after losing three of its last four games.

The luster is quickly coming off rookie quarterback Geno Smith after two horrid performances in a row that has seen the Jets score just 17 points in their last two games. That's a far cry from a team that scored 26 and beat the Saints in Week 9.

The Jets are starting to look more like the kind of Jets we expected them to be this season and if it continues, it's only a matter of time before New York falls out of playoff contention.

24. New York Giants (4-7)

The G-Men had a golden opportunity to put themselves in a great position to steal the NFC East, but it wasn't meant to be, as a late scoring drive helped give the Cowboys a victory over their division rival. With the loss, the Giants are now two games back for the division lead with the first-place Cowboys owning a better division and head-to-head record.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-8)

The Bucs have now won three straight games and may be in the process of saving head coach Greg Schiano's job as this team refuses to go quietly into the night.

Tampa Bay's latest win over the Lions added some credibility to their current streak, which now features two quality wins over Miami and Detroit, with another coming against the Atlanta Falcons.

All of these wins have been in pretty convincing fashion and it's clear that if rookie QB Mike Glennon keeps progressing, this team has more than enough talent to play spoiler down the stretch and be competitive next season after all was thought to be lost because of a 0-8 start.

26. Oakland Raiders (4-7)

Oakland squandered an opportunity to improve its playoff positioning with a loss in Week 12 versus the Titans. The loss now pushes Oakland to the bottom of their division and the Raiders have to leap frog six teams to get into a playoff spot, although record-wise they are one game back.

27. Cleveland Browns (4-7)

Two straight losses for Cleveland may be the beginning of the end for their playoff hopes in 2013-14. Cleveland hasn't looked competitive in its last two games after losing by a combined score of 68-31 against division foes, the Bengals and Steelers.

28. Washington Redskins (3-8)

It looked as though the Washington Redskins had a shot in the NFC East, but that was before they lost three games in a row and looked uncompetitive against the 49ers in Week 12. Now that they've fallen even further behind in the division, the Redskins can start looking to next season with head coach Mike Shanahan's seat on fire.

29. Minnesota Vikings (2-8-1)

It's good to see the Vikings aren't giving up just yet as they played the Packers tough in what ultimately amounted to a tie game after overtime wasn't enough to decide things. More importantly, the Vikings actually trailed by a field goal in the extra quarter and instead of giving up, they drove back down the field to match the score and earn the tie.

30. Atlanta Falcons (2-9)

The Falcons now share the worst record in the league, which is undoubtedly the last thing anyone expected them to do this season. The only thing saving them from the final spot in this week's power rankings is the fact that they played New Orleans tough and another team actually lost to the Jags.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9)

For the first time this season, the Jags are out of the spot that is reserved for the worst team in football after Jacksonville beat the Houston Texans on Sunday in a result that was a nightmare for Houston and one of the few bright spots for Jacksonville.

32. Houston Texans (2-9)

It's the Texans who round out this week's list after a disgusting performance that saw them score just six points versus one of the worst defenses in the NFL. With the loss, the Texans have now dropped an astounding nine straight games after starting the season 2-0.


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