NFL Power Rankings Week 15: Predictions for Post-Monday Night Football Standings

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2019

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson looks to pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

NFL Week 14 has been a wild one. Things kicked off with another disappointing loss for the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday—they still lead the NFC East at 6-7—but that was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

The San Francisco 49ers shook up the NFC East with a big win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Combined with a Seattle Seahawks loss, the 49ers jumped into the No. 1 seed in the conference, while the Green Bay Packers bypassed the Saints for the second seed via tiebreakers.

Over in the AFC, the New England Patriots and Houston Texans both lost, setting the Baltimore Ravens up with a clear path to the No. 1 seed and the Tennessee Titans with a path to the AFC South crown. Tennessee and Houston are now tied at 8-5 with two matchups between them remaining.

The week will conclude on Monday night with the Philadelphia Eagles taking on the New York Giants.

With Daniel Jones nursing an ankle sprain, the Giants are turning back to Eli Manning at quarterback. The Eagles are still heavy favorites, though—9.5-point favorites, according to Caesars—and can tie Dallas atop the NFC East standings with a win.

Here's a look at the power rankings if Philadelphia does indeed win on Monday night.

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Week 15 Power Rankings

1. Baltimore Ravens

2. San Francisco 49ers

3. New Orleans Saints

4. Green Bay Packers

5. Seattle Seahawks

6. Kansas City Chiefs

7. New England Patriots

8. Buffalo Bills

9. Minnesota Vikings

10. Tennessee Titans

11. Houston Texans

12. Pittsburgh Steelers

13. Los Angeles Rams

14. Chicago Bears

15. Dallas Cowboys

16. Philadelphia Eagles

17. Cleveland Browns

18. Oakland Raiders

19. Indianapolis Colts

20. Denver Broncos

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

22. Atlanta Falcons

23. Los Angeles Chargers

24. Carolina Panthers

25. New York Jets

26. Arizona Cardinals

27. Miami Dolphins

28. Jacksonville Jaguars

29. Detroit Lions

30. Washington Redskins

31. Cincinnati Bengals

32. New York Giants

    

1. Baltimore Ravens

Nick Wass/Associated Press

Another week, another spot at the top for the Baltimore Ravens. This time, they went into Buffalo and outlasted an underrated Bills team. It wasn't easy, though, and quarterback Lamar Jackson had one of his most underwhelming games of the season.

Jackson, who has been nearly unstoppable this season, finished with just 185 combined passing and rushing yards, though he did toss three touchdown passes.

What's notable about Sunday's performance is that Baltimore won with defense. Buffalo totaled just 209 yards of offense and was held to just nine points through three quarters. While Buffalo hasn't been known for its explosive offense this season, the Bills had averaged 27 points over their previous three games.

Jackson has been the big story for the Ravens this season, but Baltimore is beginning to look and play like a complete team. If the Ravens are going to get to the Super Bowl, they may have to win games where Jackson isn't cutting swaths through the opposing defense. That's precisely what they did on Sunday.

    

3. New Orleans Saints

Butch Dill/Associated Press

The Saints may have lost the No. 2 seed in the NFC for the time being, but it's hard not to consider them the second-best team in the conference. They took the 49ers down to the final seconds, something the Packers cannot claim.

And if any questions were lingering about Drew Brees' health, he answered them on Sunday. Brees was tremendous, going 29-of-40 for 349 yards and five touchdowns with a rushing touchdown to boot. He did it against one of the top defenses in the NFL.

The problem is that New Orleans' defense was nowhere to be found. The game turned into a track meet with the 49ers fortunate to get the final possession.

"It was a little surprising to me that it ended up being that type of game," head coach Sean Payton said, per the team's official website. "I did not think it would be. I thought it would be much lower scoring, but that's the direction it went and you have to score one more."

The Saints will need to tighten things up on defense ahead of the postseason. If these two meet again, it's unlikely that New Orleans will put up 45 points in the rematch.

    

15. Dallas Cowboys

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - DECEMBER 05: Head coach Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys looks on before the game against the Chicago Bears qat Soldier Field on December 05, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images

There's really no getting around it: The Cowboys are a mess. They've suffered back-to-back lopsided losses and seem to have lost all confidence in the process. On Thursday night, the Dallas sideline appeared lifeless.

Dallas is sliding and still hasn't beaten a team with a winning record.

The reality is that Dallas is likely coasting toward the end of the season. That end may still involve the playoffs because the NFC East is that bad, but it's unlikely that the Cowboys go on a postseason run. While owner Jerry Jones hasn't said it publicly, head coach Jason Garrett is probably out after the season.

Unfortunately, for Cowboys fans, this isn't the only uncertainty clouding the franchise. Dallas still needs to get contract extensions done with quarterback Dak Prescott and wideout Amari Cooper.

And the possibility remains that the Cowboys don't even make the postseason. They'll face the suddenly hot Los Angeles Rams in Week 15 before a showdown with Philadelphia the following week. If the Eagles win that game, they can steal the division away from Dallas, which sat at 5-3 halfway through the season.

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