NFL Power Rankings: League Breakdown After Sunday's Week 13 Play

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NFL Power Rankings: League Breakdown After Sunday's Week 13 Play
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Sunday's Week 13 NFL play was met with mostly predictable results, but there were a few games that ended in surprising fashion.

The Minnesota Vikings surprised the Chicago Bears in overtime, and the Philadelphia Eagles were able to stave off the Arizona Cardinals on the strength of Nick Foles.

There were also multiple close contests. The Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars, surprisingly, played a very competitive game that came down to the final drive. Indianapolis and Tennessee were also tight until the final possession.

There was some movement after play on Sunday, and multiple teams saw their stocks rise.

 

1. Seattle Seahawks, 10-1

The Seattle Seahawks can establish themselves as NFC favorites with a win on Monday night over the New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees will have other plans, of course, but Seattle is unbeatable at home. This has all the makings of the best game of the season to date.

 

2. New Orleans Saints, 9-2

The Saints need a win this week, as catching up to the Seahawks will prove exceptionally difficult if they fall two games back. New Orleans can make a run in the playoffs regardless, but it's always nice to be the No. 1 seed.

 

3. Denver Broncos, 10-2

Eric Decker caught four touchdown passes from Peyton Manning in their victory against the Kansas City Chiefs this week, and the Denver Broncos' impressive victory moves them back up the rankings after a brief slide.

It looks like Manning and his receivers are back up to speed after a down game in Week 12, and it couldn't be a better time for them to turn it on.

 

4. Carolina Panthers, 9-3

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Carolina ended Tampa Bay's three-game winning streak in impressive fashion, as the Buccaneers were only able to muster six points against the Panthers' stingy defense. After an exceptionally slow (and painful) start to the season, the Panthers are now one of the top teams in the NFL.

 

5. New England Patriots, 9-3

The New England Patriots drop a bit in the rankings this week because of Denver's victory and their close game against the lowly Houston Texans.

The Texans fought hard against New England, and the game was back and forth until the Patriots finally pulled away late in the fourth quarter. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski both had great games, and that's a good sign for this team moving forward.

 

6. Kansas City Chiefs, 9-3

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After starting the season 9-0, the Chiefs are now on a three-game slide. The defense has looked noticeably different during that time, and that's why they're losing.

Surprisingly, the offense has looked very strong over that time. Kansas City needs to go back to its old ways if it wants to end this streak.

 

7. Cincinnati Bengals, 8-4

The Cincinnati Bengals picked up a win against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, and the Chargers offense didn't exactly look as dynamic as it had in recent weeks. That's a testament to the solid defense Cincy played throughout.

The Bengals offense didn't look great either, though, and there are certainly improvements to be made to close out the season.

 

8. San Francisco 49ers, 8-4

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The San Francisco 49ers were on upset alert this week against a St. Louis Rams team on a two-game winning streak, but Colin Kaepernick and the Niners defense were able to take it down.

The running game is a major strength for San Fran, and it'll continue to lean on the likes of Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter moving forward.

 

9. Indianapolis Colts, 8-4

Andrew Luck and the Colts didn't look great on Sunday, but they played just well enough to beat the Titans. Indy has proved to be an exceptionally volatile team given how young it is, and that won't help it as the pressure builds late in the season.

If the Colts can step up and handle the pressure well, this team is dangerous.

 

10. Detroit Lions, 7-5

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After a 40-11 victory on Thanksgiving Day, the Detroit Lions established themselves as the top dogs in the NFC North. They have an explosive offense and aggressive defense, and that will help them stave off the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears with each passing week.

The only thing holding them back is the inconsistency of Matthew Stafford.

 

11. Philadelphia Eagles, 7-5

Nick Foles has been a savior for the Philadelphia Eagles. He led his team to victory over the scorching hot Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, and his great passing season continues. He has 19 touchdowns and no interceptions on the year, and the Eagles are flying high with him under center.

 

12. Dallas Cowboys, 7-5

Suddenly, the Dallas Cowboys have company atop the NFC East. They barely escaped on Thanksgiving against the Oakland Raiders, and they'll have to play a more consistent game from start to finish their next time out.

It appears to be a two-team race for the NFC East crown, and the Eagles have the upper hand for now.

 

13. Arizona Cardinals, 7-5

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Arizona hung tough with the Eagles but eventually dropped the game 24-21. It can get right back to its winning ways next week against the Rams, though, and there's no reason to worry if you're a Cardinals fan. Carson Palmer and Bruce Arians have this team playing very good football.

 

14. Chicago Bears, 6-6

Losing to the Vikings is usually a great way to drop in the rankings, and that's exactly what happened to Chicago on Sunday.

Chicago had a commanding lead for most of the game, but a late run by Minnesota pushed the game into overtime. A field goal during bonus time won the game for the Vikings.

Chicago needs Jay Cutler back to make big plays for this offense.

 

15. Baltimore Ravens, 6-6

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Without Justin Tucker, the Baltimore Ravens would not have been able to get past the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thanksgiving night. Baltimore is lucky to be 6-6, as its offense has looked horrible for nearly the entire season.

This team will go nowhere until Ray Rice shows consistency on the ground.

 

16. San Diego Chargers, 5-7

After shocking the Chiefs in Week 12, the Chargers lost to Cincy on Sunday. At 5-7, San Diego still has a slim shot in the AFC playoff picture, but it won't be easy. Winning out would obviously be the best for their playoff hopes, but that appears unlikely with games against the Broncos and Chiefs remaining.

 

17. Pittsburgh Steelers, 5-7

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A lack of clutch play killed Pittsburgh against Baltimore, and it wasn't just the offense's fault. The defense had opportunities to shut down Baltimore, but it failed on more than one occasion. 

Like the Ravens, the Steelers need the run game to be more consistent. Le'Veon Bell has the talent. He just needs to show it on the field.

 

18. St. Louis Rams, 5-7

Zac Stacy, Benny Cunningham and Tavon Austin give the Rams a nice core of young talent, but this season is basically a wash with Kellen Clemons at quarterback. While he's done a decent job as a game-manager, he doesn't have the arm or instincts to make the big plays.

The Rams should actually be looking forward to next season. They could be a nine-win team.

 

19. Miami Dolphins, 6-6

The Miami Dolphins earned a much-needed win against the New York Jets on Sunday, though it really wasn't all that difficult. The Jets managed just three points, and Geno Smith was benched after the first half for Matt Simms.

Ryan Tannehill looked great, and the defense also did well capitalizing on mistakes in the air. The Dolphins are very much alive in the AFC playoff picture.

 

20. Tennessee Titans, 5-7

Ryan Fitzpatrick blew the Titans' comeback attempt by throwing an interception on their final drive, and he clearly isn't the leader that Jake Locker is for this team.

The Titans can compete with nearly every team in the NFL, but they aren't very good at closing out games or completing fourth-quarter comebacks. That's pretty much the crux of the issue here.

 

21. Green Bay Packers, 5-6-1

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Matt Flynn is obviously not the answer.

With Aaron Rodgers sidelined, Flynn led the Packers to an embarrassing loss to the Lions. The offensive line did him no favors, of course, and Rodgers may actually be better suited sitting out the rest of the year instead of coming back to take a beating by opposing pass rushes.

The Packers are good with Rodgers under center, but they definitely need improvements.

 

22. New York Giants, 5-7

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The New York Giants technically still alive in the NFC, but like the Jets, the chances of making the playoffs are slim. Losing in Week 12 against the Cowboys really set them back after a four-game winning streak.

Andre Brown has given them an entirely new dimension offensively, though, and that will at least keep their chances alive—for now.

 

23. New York Jets, 5-7

The Jets are lucky they haven't dropped any farther, but they're technically still alive for the playoffs—even if their chances are extraordinarily slim.

It's amazing to think that a team without a stable quarterback can be in the position it's in, but the defense has literally carried this team this season. The offense has been putrid, and its 2014 quarterback might not even be on the roster right now.

 

 24. Buffalo Bills, 4-8

The Buffalo Bills should have left Week 13 at 5-7. Instead, they dropped a close game to the Atlanta Falcons and are essentially eliminated from playoff contention.

E.J. Manuel needs to use the rest of this season to get acclimated to NFL defenses. He has shown promise at times this season, but there's obviously a ton of room for improvement.

 

25. Oakland Raiders, 4-8

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Who would have thought that Matt McGloin would be leading the Oakland Raiders in Week 13 of the 2013 season? Prior to the season, that answer was likely "not me."

McGloin has done well, though. He stands tall in the pocket and fires accurate strikes downfield. With a few more weapons, he might actually succeed as the future quarterback in Oakland.

 

26. Cleveland Browns, 4-8

The Browns are done in 2013. After dropping their game on Sunday to the Jaguars, there's really no hope left for their season.

Josh Gordon continues to take NFL defenses by storm, and the Browns should consider dealing him during the offseason. He would bring back a hefty package that would likely include a draft pick or two. Building through the draft hasn't exactly worked for Cleveland recently (see: Weeden, Brandon), but it should work eventually, right?

 

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 3-9

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Tampa Bay was on an impressive three-game run before taking on the Panthers, but there's still a lot to be said about this team's improvement.

Mike Glennon has done a fine job of restoring some confidence in the franchise, and the fact that he has done it all without Doug Martin is impressive. Next season will be the perfect time to really see what this kid is made of.

 

28. Washington Redskins, 3-9

The Washington Redskins need to look toward 2014 and the upcoming offseason. This team has holes that need to be filled on defense.

The Redskins can improve inherently with a stronger season from Robert Griffin III, as he has struggled mightily in 2013. Alfred Morris, though, is quietly putting together a very strong season.

 

29. Minnesota Vikings, 3-8-1

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Adrian Peterson and the Vikings faltered big time in 2013 after a playoff appearance a year ago, and they'll need to find a quarterback this offseason if they want to return to the postseason.

Honestly, that's really all it comes down to. Other than routine facelifts on defense, Minnesota needs a quarterback to take it to the next level.

 

30. Atlanta Falcons, 3-9

The Falcons actually picked up a win on Sunday, and Matt Ryan didn't look horrible for the first time in a few weeks.

You can blame a ton of their struggles on injury, but Ryan should have been able to lead his team to at least mediocrity regardless of the personnel on the field. 

 

31. Jacksonville Jaguars, 3-9

The Jaguars are a three-win team through 13 weeks. After starting 0-8, there were many that didn't think Jacksonville would win a single game all season. But, alas, they were wrong.

Chad Henne has played well under center, and the defense has come up with big stops when called upon. Unfortunately, the Jaguars are putting themselves in jeopardy of losing out on the top pick in the NFL draft in the process.

 

32. Houston Texans, 2-10

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Houston is the NFL's only 10-loss team, but it deserves credit for a close game against the Patriots.

Case Keenum played well, and DeAndre Hopkins finally made his presence felt in a big situation. Ben Tate also had himself a career day, rushing for three touchdowns.

Next season should bring more success after an offseason of tinkering.

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