NFL Power Rankings Week 13: Updated 2018 Regular-Season Standings

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistNovember 27, 2018

CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 25: Running back Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers runs after his catch in front of defensive back David Amerson #38 of the Arizona Cardinals during the third quarter at StubHub Center on November 25, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

As the NFL enters the final month of its regular season, there's a clear gap between the best teams in the league and other franchises hopeful to land a postseason berth. 

The Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers have established themselves as the four best teams in the AFC, while the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams are the 1-2 punch at the top of the NFC.

An argument can be made to throw the Los Angeles Chargers into the mix of Super Bowl contenders in the AFC, while the Chicago Bears have made noise recently by moving up to the No. 3 seed in the NFC.

Outside of the top eight franchises in the NFL sit a cluster of teams hoping to make a push in December, but it'll be hard for some to do so as they enter December in the middle of deflating losing streaks. 


NFL Standings


Division Leaders

1. Kansas City (9-2)

2. New England (8-3) 

3. Houston (8-3) 

4. Pittsburgh (7-3-1) 


Wild-Card Race

5. Los Angeles Chargers (8-3) 

6. Baltimore (6-5) 

7. Indianapolis (6-5) 

8. Miami (5-6) 

9. Cincinnati (5-6) 

10. Denver (5-6) 

11. Tennessee (5-6)

12. Cleveland (4-6-1) 

13. Buffalo (4-7) 

14. Jacksonville (3-8) 

15. New York Jets (3-8) 

16. Oakland (2-9) 



Division Leaders

1. New Orleans (10-1) 

2. Los Angeles Rams (10-1) 

3. Chicago (8-3) 

4. Dallas (6-5) 


Wild-Card Race

5. Minnesota (6-4-1)

6. Washington (6-5) 

7. Seattle (6-5) 

8. Carolina (6-5) 

9. Philadelphia (5-6) 

10. Green Bay (4-6-1) 

11. Atlanta (4-7) 

12. Tampa Bay (4-7) 

13. Detroit (4-7) 

14. New York Giants (3-8) 

15. Arizona (2-9) 

16. San Francisco (2-9) 


Power Rankings

1. New Orleans

2. Los Angeles Rams

3. Kansas City

4. New England

5. Chicago

6. Los Angeles Chargers

7. Houston 

8. Pittsburgh 

9. Dallas

10. Indianapolis

11. Baltimore

12. Minnesota

13. Seattle

14. Denver 

15. Philadelphia

16. Washington

17. Carolina

18. Tennessee 

19. Miami 

20. Cleveland

21. Green Bay 

22. Buffalo 

23. Cincinnati 

24. Tampa Bay

25. Atlanta

26. Detroit

27. Jacksonville

28. New York Giants

29. Arizona

30. New York Jets

31. Oakland

32. San Francisco 


Half of Division Titles Still up for Grabs

It's safe to assume the Patriots, Rams, Saints and Bears are in control of their respective divisions, and it'll take a collapse by one of those teams for someone else to capture the division crown. 

That leaves four divisions that could change hands between now and Week 17, including the AFC West, where the Chiefs hold a one-game lead over the Chargers. 

The NFL schedule-makers couldn't have asked for a better Thursday night showcase in Week 15, as the Chiefs attempt to complete the season sweep over the Chargers, which would lead to the AFC West crown. 

However, if the Chargers find a way to level the AFC West in Week 15, the race to the finish line will be fierce, but that can only happen if Los Angeles leaves Pittsburgh with a victory in Week 13. 

Speaking of the Steelers, their loss to the Denver Broncos Sunday dropped them to the No. 4 seed in the AFC and opened the door for the Baltimore Ravens to pounce in the AFC North. 

David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Mike Tomlin's team has one of the most difficult December schedules in the NFL, as it faces the Chargers, Saints, and Patriots in three of its next four games. 

Baltimore's path to the AFC North crown isn't much easier, as it has to travel to the Chargers and Chiefs, and since the Ravens have to make up two games due to Pittsburgh's early-season tie, they might have to settle for the No. 6 seed in the AFC.

The third division race still up for grabs in the AFC is the AFC South, where Houston holds a two-game advantage over Indianapolis. 

While the Texans are seen as the favorite to win the division, they'll face a difficult task against the Colts in Week 14, as two of the hottest teams in the league square off under the national spotlight. 

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 26:  Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans scrambles past Derrick Morgan #91 of the Tennessee Titans in the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium on November 26, 2018 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tim Warner/Getty Images

If the Colts defeat the Texans, they'd have to make up one more game while winning their final divisional clash with Jacksonville in Week 17 to secure the divisional record tiebreaker if they finish with the same record as Houston. 

Then there's the NFC East, where Washington, Dallas and Philadelphia are locked in the sloppiest, yet most competitive divisional race in the league. 

Dallas trudged ahead of Washington with a Thanksgiving Day win at AT&T Stadium, but all three teams could land at 6-6 after Week 13 if the Cowboys lose to the Saints and the Eagles defeat the Redskins. 

Although the Eagles would have the most momentum of the three if that Week 13 scenario plays out, they play three of their final four contests on the road. 

A 10-6 record will be good enough to win the NFC East, and all three teams are capable of producing a run to get to double-digit wins, but it's more likely we'll see a 9-7 NFC East champion and the two other contenders fighting for a wild-card spot at 8-8. 


Chargers Are Only Safe Team in Wild-Card Race 

If you think the NFC East is a mess, shield your eyes before glancing at the wild-card races in both conferences. 

The only certainty in the wild-card hunt is the Chargers should qualify for the postseason with a two-game advantage over their closest competition.

But Anthony Lynn's team might have trouble treading water as the No. 5 seed with Melvin Gordon week-to-week with a MCL sprain, per the team's official Twitter account

The good news for the Chargers is they can afford to slip up once during Gordon's absence and not be sucked into the mess beneath them. 

Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

With Baltimore and Indianapolis making late charges at their respective division titles, they might be the best candidates to fill the final AFC playoff berth. 

Since Miami and Cincinnati are trending in the wrong direction, Denver could be the third contender for the No. 6 seed, as it produced wins over the Chargers and Steelers in back-to-back weeks. 

At 4-6-1, the Cleveland Browns are the dark horse in the AFC, but they'd have to upset the Texans in Week 13 to have a legitimate chance at the postseason. 

Over in the NFC, Minnesota holds the slightest of advantages over Washington for the No. 5 seed because of its tie with Green Bay. 

Seattle and Philadelphia are experienced sides that appear to be getting hot at the right time, while Carolina has plenty of issues to work on before it can be considered a favorite for a wild-card spot. 

A quartet of four-win teams are still alive in the NFC, but it's hard to convince anyone that Green Bay, Atlanta, Tampa Bay or Detroit will complete an undefeated December and surprise the NFL. 

Over the next five weeks, the NFC wild-card standings will experience more fluctuation because of the situation in the NFC East and the tiebreakers each team owns and, at the very least, it'll be an entertaining race to the finish. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.