NFL Power Rankings Week 14:
Playoff predictions were filled with a Falcons vs. Jets Super Bowl entering Monday night's matchup. It's funny how quickly perceived power can change in the NFL.
As the playoffs loom, these rankings will give you an idea of who is playing their best football and who is playing themselves into a high first-round pick.
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The only way this season could get worse if the NFL stepped in and took away Carolina's Week 7 victory over the 49ers.
Coming off a loss to Seattle where they refused to stop the run, their only ray of hope for the season is taking down Arizona at home in Week 15. Their other games are against Atlanta (twice!) and Pittsburgh.
On a positive note, Carolina should get some good talent in April and there is an outside chance Bill Cowher is the team's next coach.
It's hard to put a three-win team below a one-win team, but that almost happened this week due to Arizona's seven-game losing streak, second worst in the NFL.
The Cards have been getting progressively worse this year and odds are high they take their streak to 11 games to finish out the season.
Coach Whisenhunt has had a hard time deciding who is worse between QBs Derek Anderson and Max Hall—creating one of the least interesting quarterback controversies of all time—and we may have our answer: John Skelton.
Be strong, Larry Fitzgerald, be strong.
Although they will struggle to eclipse their two-win mark of last season, the Lions continue to play better and better.
The issue in Detroit isn't talent or heart, it's experience. This team doesn't know how to win games.
With another good draft and summer of free-agent signings, Detroit could challenge for a Wild Card birth.
Every year we see teams go from the top of their game the previous season to the bottom of the barrel. This year that distinction goes to Cincinnati.
After a ninth straight loss, it's no surprise TOcho is starting to unravel. Winning solves all problems in the NFL and the Bengals haven't done that since September.
The Bengals schedule finishes with Pittsburgh, San Diego, Cleveland and Baltimore—don't be surprised if Cinci is hosting Andrew Luck, Ryan Mallett and Cam Newton soon.
This is an image Josh McDaniels was dreaming about. Horsing around with Tim Tebow as they lead the Broncos to multiple AFC West titles.
It's too bad Denver can't keep the former coach around as an offensive coordinator, because he does have one of the most prolific passing games in the NFL——even if the numbers are inflated by garbage time.
The Broncos do have a chance to win their next game against Arizona, which would follow the NFL's current trend for replacement coaches.
Troy: "Is it just me or does that cloud look like an axe over Coach Singletary's head?"
With Seattle and Arizona remaining on the Niners' home schedule, there is hope for their coach, but this entire season has been an uphil battle in San Francisco.
With the AFC South theirs for the taking, Tennessee has done nothing but lose since sitting 5-3 at their bye week.
In the past few weeks Chris Johnson has been ineffective and Randy Moss has been totally absent.
It's hard to see this team bouncing back, even though the division is still in reach.
Is this the best two-win team in NFL history?
Buffalo has lost three overtime games and boasts one of the two toughest schedules in the NFL.
I'm not going to rule the Bills out from winning another game, but a top-three draft pick would be a nice consolation prize for a hard-fought season.
The Cowboys had too much talent to keep losing after Wade Philips was fired, and they are finally putting complete games together.
Jerry Jones needs to win games to keep his fanbase happy; a nice draft pick is not what the Billionaire Boy wants to see.
The Cowboys face Mike Vick and the Eagles twice to finish the season, and we might see Tony Romo play in one of those games—giving fans something to keep tuning in to.
Washington isn't terrible, they're just not good. The team has been stricken with injuries all season, which has prevented them from developing any consistency.
Knocking off big teams like Chicago, Green Bay and Philly show the promise in Coach Shanahan's system. With another offseason of talent added to the roster they could be ready to pop in 2011.
Houston feels like a streetball football team.
They have tons of talent, can put up points in a hurry, and don't really seem to care about losing too much.
The only game that really sticks out on their remaining schedule is the Nashville Knockout Round 2: Johnson vs. Finnegan.
Some suggest home field advantage is dead in the NFL, but for Seattle their 4-2 home record should not be understated.
At home the have swagger.
On the road they stagger.
At home they rumble.
On the road they stumble.
Have fun in San Francisco next week.
Forget Brett Favre and that old bald guy they fired.
Can everyone please take a moment and appreciate Adrian Peterson.
Up north we might have the best RB to ever receive a hand-off, and he has been lost among the worthless drama.
Talking about fantasy football, a friend of mine summed up the Colts situation perfectly: "I might have a chance this week if Peyton Manning doesn't screw me out of 12 points".
Is Peyton Manning the best QB I've ever seen? Yes.
Is this the worst two-game stretch I've seen from a QB? Yes.
With all of that being said, my money is still on Indy winning out and making the playoffs at 10-6.
The super Chargers electricity wasn't going to last for the entire season, but their hiccup against Oakland can easily be righted with a win over the division-leading Chiefs this week.
Philip Rivers would greatly benefit from any of his targets being healthy. The Chargers defense can only hold teams off for so long.
As long as Sam Bradford remains healthy he will have me eating a big plate of my own words every Sunday.
The rookie has been able to take the bumps and bruises of the NFL season in stride. It looks like he will finish the season with less than 15 interceptions, the Rookie of the Year Award, and a playoff appearance.
But first he will have to get past New Orleans.
Years of cliche Raider jokes have me instinctively wanting to place the Raiders at the bottom of the power rankings, but when it comes down to it, this is a very dangerous football team.
Oakland might have the NFL's best 1-2 punch in their backfield, and their 1-2 punch at QB has been getting it done as well.
The team's MVP might be speedster Jacoby Ford, though; his ability to hit big plays has been the blessing Al Davis looks for in all those 40 times.
Any team that can win back-to-back games with Jake Delhomme at QB gets serious respect from me.
The Browns' blue-collar style of play has earned them wins against New England and New Orleans this year.
Cleveland now turns their focus to the AFC North to finish out the season, where they could upset one of the division leaders who are focused on the playoffs.
Tampa has failed to beat a team with a winning record this season, bringing up questions about whether they are really a contender—or a pretender.
In the long run, this team seems on the right path and their success this season will go a long way for developing their youth.
Tampa's success is quickly making teams around the league worried about taking on the NFC South.
The theme this season was if the Jags can score, they can win. Then their defense flexed some muscle in a 17-6 win over the Titans.
Nobody is taking Jacksonville seriously, which puts them in a perfect position to knock anyone off.
And let's face it, that MJD stiff-arm was plain nasty.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
At home, Miami has posted a terrible 1-5 record.
On the road, Miami is an impressive 5-1.
So what do you make of the Dolphins? All I know is nobody wants them coming into town.
Even with Dwayne Bowe getting shutout against Denver, KC was able to come away with a win. This is a well-rounded team and their experienced coaching staff has given them great focus.
They say teams who run the ball in December win, and the Chiefs are pounding the ground.
Eli Manning has been doing his best Peyton—winning with replacement WRs—but Eli has one thing Peyton doesn't: a rushing attack.
The Giants backfield has overcome demotion and turnovers to become a devastating thunder-and-lightning combo.
A Week 16 matchup in Green Bay will let us know if the Giants are ready to make another title run.
Philly's Mike Vick has been making the game look so easy this season—so why has it been so hard for the Eagles receivers to catch the ball recently?
There is no question Philadelphia is a Super Bowl contender, but if the team lacks focus to make plays when they matter, don't expect them to be a force in 2011.
Vick's wingman LeSean McCoy has been clutch, however, and the two could be enough to clinch a NFC East crown.
Aside from their Thanksgiving game against Cinci, the Jets had failed to control any of their opponents over the last few months, and that apparent weakness was exposed Monday night by New England.
A late-season win is worth more than an early-season one in NFL currency, and the Jets need to reinvest before they bankrupt themselves with a terribly tough schedule down the stretch.
Is there anything better looking than the ball coming out of Aaron Rodgers' hand?
The Packers QB has been whizzing the ball all around the field, and injuries to his options haven't slowed him one bit.
All of the Packers' four losses have been by three points, and with three playoff-caliber teams on their remaining schedule they will need to quickly learn how to win those games.
Can Jay Cutler really lead the Bears to a NFC North title?
Before you crown him, he will need to take the Bears and their five-game win streak up against the Pats, Vikings, Jets and Packers.
They've already beat their division rivals once; doing it a second time would be monumental.
Baltimore seemed to unravel Sunday night against Pittsburgh. If it was any other defense they were facing, I would be more worried.
Baltimore has a great blend of run and pass on offense, and their defense is still one of the best in the game.
Somebody had to lose Sunday and it happened to be Baltimore. Don't be surprised if it doesn't happen again all year.
Pittsburgh is playing playoff football right now. Their defense is aggressive and Big Ben is doing his "I'm way bigger than you" thing in the pocket.
The team's only losses came at the hands of Baltimore, New England and New Orleans—the most quality of opponents.
Although there are some concerns about the backfield, Pittsburgh is doing a great job of executing their winning formula.
Fast forward to Week 16, when New Orleans goes into Atlanta and tries to avenge an early-season overtime loss.
This game could be for the division, meaning home field through the playoffs.
The Saints can win anywhere, even Atlanta, where they handed Matt Ryan his only home loss last year.
Each of the last five seasons we've seen a different Tom Brady, but the 2010 one is the one I like the best.
He seems like he's actually having fun playing football. He is wearing his emotions on his sleeve and winning with a bunch of players around him that nobody wanted.
What's not fun about pounding the Jets by 40 points, though?
You can't blow everyone out in the NFL. The best teams are the ones that win close games.
Matt Ryan has ice in his veins, but all of these comeback victories wouldn't be happening if the Falcons defense wasn't able to hold opposing rushing attacks in check.
They may be in a dome down South, but Atlanta is playing the brand of football that will have them beating the cold-weather AFC teams.