The Week 14 NFL Power Rankings return with a new name at the top of the list. But how have the rest of the rankings changed after the NFL action in Week 13?
NFC Shake-up in NFL Power Rankings After 49ers Defeat Eagles
32) Carolina Panthers (32)
To say that watching the Panthers’ offense is like watching paint dry would be an insult to drying paint. They can’t pass protect, and about the only person who can get open is Adam Thielen, who is over 30 and is best used in the short-to-intermediate areas of the field.
However, they played a relatively competitive game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are still fighting for NFC South supremacy. But in the end, they couldn’t make the plays on the final drive to put them ahead.
31) New England Patriots (31)
If we all try hard enough, we can simply act like this game didn’t exist. There were 15 punts between the Patriots and the Los Angeles Chargers. The longest run by a running back by either team was nine yards. Although the weather was far from ideal, Bailey Zappe and the passing attack couldn’t get anything going throughout the day either.
30) Washington Commanders (28)
The Commanders’ ownership might be serious about the future, but the 2023 iteration of this football team is deeply unserious. They have consistently struggled with their downfield communication and responsibility on defense. Trading Montez Sweat and Chase Young exacerbated those issues.
Sam Howell is a lot of fun, but he’s forced into home-run-hitting situations consistently because of his team’s defensive flaws, which leads to his own mistakes. This team needs a lot of help in the offseason.
29) New York Giants (30)
The Giants just want this season to end, even after winning consecutive games. The Commanders’ defense let Tommy DeVito light them up, but that’s not an outcome the Giants can count on in the waning moments of the season.
New York’s best bet is to gear up for next season, draft well, and fill their massive offensive holes, particularly at wide receiver and on the offensive line.
28) Arizona Cardinals (29)
The Cardinals’ win against the Steelers came in three separate acts. There were two significant weather delays, but the 3-10 Cardinals outplayed the Steelers in all three.
It was a slow game. A 15-play, 99-yard drive in the second quarter almost felt like enough for Arizona, considering how uninspiring the Steelers offense looked in the poor weather.
James Conner had a big day on the ground against his former team, toting the rock 25 times for 105 yards and two TDs.
27) Tennessee Titans (27)
The Titans should have won this game. Their special teams fell apart, and it directly cost them the game. A blocked punt turned into an Indianapolis Colts touchdown, and another blocked punt led to a Ryan Stonehouse injury.
Stonehouse, who is also the field-goal attempt holder, was replaced by Ryan Tannehill. The Titans tied the game at 25 late in the fourth quarter, but Nick Folk missed the PAT with Tannehill holding.
The Titans’ punting unit lost them the game.
26) Chicago Bears (26)
The final few weeks of the Bears’ season will be critical. Their offensive line is as healthy as we’ve seen it in the Justin Fields era. With a big decision coming in May regarding his fifth-year option, it will be fascinating to see what he’s able to show in the Bears’ current offensive environment.
25) New York Jets (24)
The Jets’ defense did everything they could, but it wasn’t enough. They held Desmond Ridder to 121 yards passing on 27 attempts, and they allowed only 2.6 yards per carry. They allowed three yards per play.
But all defensive efforts are wasted on the Jets’ offense. It doesn’t matter who they start or play at quarterback, they can’t find sufficient play to score points.
24) Los Angeles Chargers (25)
The Chargers beat the Patriots to get to 5-7, but it certainly wasn’t pretty. Justin Herbert and the passing attack could not get things going in inclement weather, and their rushing attack has disappeared since their Week 1 performance against the Miami Dolphins.
Few NFL teams are more frustrating than the Chargers have been this season.
23) Las Vegas Raiders (21)
It took Patrick Graham’s defense years to figure things out, but it might be too little too late for him in Las Vegas, considering the team fired Josh McDaniels.
Aidan O’Connell hasn’t been a complete disaster as a rookie, but Las Vegas needs to look in the direction of a quarterback this offseason.
22) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (22)
The Buccaneers played a pretty ugly game against the Carolina Panthers. Their defense has always held its hat on the ability to stop the run, but injuries to Lavonte David and other key defensive contributors hampered the Bucs’ run-stopping abilities.
Baker Mayfield and the Buccaneers’ passing attack struggled in a big way. He completed fewer than half of his passes while turning the ball over once.
21) New Orleans Saints (17)
Derek Carr and Jameis Winston tried clawing the Saints back in this game after falling behind 24-7 at halftime. They took advantage of a Lions defense that has struggled recently up and down the field but has primarily struggled in the red zone. It was a battle between a stoppable force and a moveable object, and the Saints were a perfect four of four in the red zone.
Unfortunately, they didn’t have enough firepower to catch up, even though the Lions’ offense looked deeply unserious after their first three drives all resulted in touchdowns.
20) Atlanta Falcons (19)
It seems like a miracle that Atlanta is in a position to battle for the NFC South title, but an incredibly easy schedule can work wonders. Ridder continues to struggle under center. He started the game by fumbling the opening snap, and he managed to complete only 12 of 27 passes for the game while taking three sacks.
19) Cincinnati Bengals (23)
The Bengals got an incredible performance from Jake Browning on Monday night. In just his second NFL start, the 27-year-old former UDFA completed 32 of 37 passes, averaged 9.6 yards per attempt, scored two total TDs, and led Cincinnati to an upset overtime win against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It’s still a lot to ask Browning to lead the 6-6 Bengals back into the playoff race, especially with remaining games against defenses like the Cleveland Browns’ and Kansas City Chiefs’. But Jacksonville’s defense was playing well heading into Week 13, so Browning’s production was beyond encouraging.
18) Los Angeles Rams (20)
The Rams are a tough team to gauge. They are young and inconsistent, but they have the offensive firepower to produce some truly impressive offensive performances, even against a defense like Cleveland’s.
However, unlike Kyle Shanahan, who has historically struggled against Jim Schwartz, Sean McVay has seen positive results. And their defense played well enough against Joe Flacco without Amari Cooper, who left the game early with a head injury.
17) Minnesota Vikings (16)
The Vikings’ season was supposed to be over when Kirk Cousins ruptured his Achilles tendon, but the Fighting Kevin O’Connells can’t seem to underachieve, at least early in his tenure.
Brian Flores has a defense that makes things difficult for opposing quarterbacks because of the varied looks up front and in coverage. Although they blitz at an incredibly high rate, it’s not a gimmicky defense. And as long as Joshua Dobbs doesn’t momentarily lose his mind, he has played well enough to keep the offense rolling.
16) Indianapolis Colts (15)
Michael Pittman Jr. had a fantastic game for Gardner Minshew and Shane Steichen. Alec Pierce scored his first touchdown of the season and posted a 100-yard game on only three catches. But Indianapolis couldn’t get anything going on the ground. Their longest run of the day went for only five yards.
Minshew had a big day through the air, but he also fumbled twice. Turnovers have been an issue for the veteran backup, but Indianapolis somehow keeps winning and keeping pace in the AFC South.
15) Green Bay Packers (18)
The Packers continue to improve as the season progresses, and much of it comes down to the growth of their young quarterback. Jordan Love is finding consistency, and the Packers’ incredibly young corps of offensive weapons is playing more consistently as well.
Love has now thrown for eight touchdowns and no interceptions during Green Bay’s three-game win streak, while the Packers have re-inserted themselves into the playoff mix. They’d be the NFC’s seventh seed if the season ended today, and given the way Green Bay’s defense is starting to come together, no contender will want to face them.
14) Seattle Seahawks (14)
After weeks of playing underwhelming football, Seattle played an outstanding game on offense against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday Night Football. Geno Smith was decisive, and his wide receivers consistently made plays downfield. The offensive line was holding on by a thread, but Smith and the wide receivers played well enough to win.
But the Cowboys offense is playing on a different level, and in the end, Seattle’s defense was unable to get a stop late in the game.
13) Denver Broncos (12)
If the Denver Broncos do not go all game without converting a third down and don’t lose the turnover battle three-to-nil, there is a good chance they come away with their sixth consecutive victory against the Texans.
Russell Wilson’s game-ending interception was brutal, but he had done an unbelievable job avoiding what would have been a game-ending sack.
12) Pittsburgh Steelers (9)
Losing by 14 to a previously 2-10 team might seem a bit embarrassing, but the Steelers lost Kenny Pickett when the game was still very well within reach. Pickett’s ankle injury might not be a worry long-term, but Pickett has suffered multiple minor injuries this season, forcing an already uninspiring offense into an even worse situation.
T.J. Watt’s ankle didn’t escape unscathed either. The DPOY pass rusher was in obvious pain on the sideline.
11) Cleveland Browns (10)
The Browns will probably be okay in the long run. Joe Flacco just got on campus this week but is already clearly Cleveland’s best option at the position. They’ll need more from him and the offense in the future, but the Browns have a talented enough team to win games with clean, mistake-free offensive football because of their incredible defense.
10) Buffalo Bills (13)
The Bills defense has suffered a horrific rash of injuries this season, but Josh Allen is still mostly playing at a heroic level, keeping the team afloat. However, with the Chiefs, Cowboys, and Dolphins remaining on the schedule, he’ll have to strap the roster on his back and carry them to the playoffs.
9) Houston Texans (11)
Losing Tank Dell to a serious lower-leg injury hurts the Texans offense, but they got a strong defensive effort, specifically from Derek Stingley Jr., that put them over the top of the Broncos on Sunday. Wilson tried bringing the Broncos back from a 22-10 deficit late in the game, but Houston made a low-red-zone stop to secure the win.
C.J. Stroud continues to play far beyond his years, but he’s had spurts of playmaking that have also leaned into arrogance territory. He holds onto the ball in the pocket for a long time trying to attack the intermediate levels of the field. Denver sacked the rookie five times.
8) Jacksonville Jaguars (8)
Trevor Lawrence’s injury is the most important story in Jacksonville, but thankfully, the franchise quarterback appears to have escaped with a sprained ankle. Even if he’s not back for Week 14, Lawrence shouldn’t miss significant time.
The Jaguars’ bigger concern is on defense, where they allowed Jake Browning to carve up a secondary that ranked seventh in pass defense DVOA entering Week 13.
Jacksonville missed out on a chance to take over the AFC’s No. 1 seed with an MNF win. Now, all eyes turn to Lawrence’s practice participation as the Jags face a Week 14 game against the Browns.
7) Detroit Lions (7)
The Lions looked like they were going to run away and hide from a good defensive team in the New Orleans Saints. However, after a strong three-drive stretch to start the game, the offensive well ran a bit dry, and the Lions’ defensive flaws shined bright.
Even at 9-3, it’s becoming harder to trust this team as the season progresses. The offense is incredibly talented, but they need to be nearly perfect because the defense has fallen apart over the past four weeks.
6) Baltimore Ravens (6)
The Ravens enter their Week 13 bye with the seventh-best offensive EPA and the second-best defense. Defensively, there have been few units over the past decade that have been more impressive. They’re incredibly well-coached by Mike MacDonald and possess impressive talent on the second and third levels of the defense.
Lamar Jackson is an offensive cheat code. If Baltimore’s offense takes care of the football and avoids unnecessary turnovers, they are one of the most difficult teams in the league to manage against.
5) Kansas City Chiefs (2)
The Chiefs are currently sixth in offensive EPA and fifth in defensive EPA. They’re 8-4, but they’ve felt underwhelming in 2023 despite remaining one of the best teams in the NFL. It’s funny to see how different the narrative is when their offensive is otherworldly, but their defense is league-average or worse.
Now, they appear to have one of the best defenses in the NFL. They have impressive young talent at cornerback, outstanding linebacker play, and one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL.
And yet, Kansas City suffered another frustrating loss on Sunday, this time to the Packers. Love had no trouble cutting through the Chiefs’ defense, while any non-Travis Kelce or Rashee Rice pass catchers struggled to get much going.
4) Dallas Cowboys (4)
No offense is playing as efficiently as the Cowboys right now. Dak Prescott is playing better than he ever has, and he’s playing better than any quarterback in the NFL right now. Since the Cowboys’ bye in Week 7, their .241 offensive EPA is 0.99 higher than any other team over that same period. Their .358 dropback EPA is also easily the highest in the league since that time.
But with games coming against the Eagles, Bills, Dolphins, and Lions, Dallas will have the opportunity to prove their position near the top of the power rankings as the playoffs approach.
3) Philadelphia Eagles (1)
It took 12 weeks to really bite them, but the Philadelphia Eagles’ inadequacies finally did so. The 49ers bullied them at the second and third level on offense. They protected Brock Purdy well enough for their wide receivers to uncover, and Kyle Shanahan called a brilliant game.
The Eagles finally just had a week where they didn’t have it. It’s incredibly hard to win football games in the NFL, and Philadelphia has done a wonderful job of winning ugly games this season.
But this shouldn’t come as a surprise. They have the 22nd-ranked defense in EPA. Their linebacker and safety play remains a concern, although they’re still in a position to take the No. 1 seed in the NFC if they can take care of business.
2) Miami Dolphins (3)
Sometimes, teams get two or three bye weeks in a season, but two of them come in the playoffs, and you have to make the Super Bowl to get the third.
But Miami got to play the Broncos before they learned to walk defensively in 2023, and they got to play the Commanders after they traded their two best outside pass rushers while already having a laughably poor defensive backfield.
If your defense can’t come up with ways to challenge Miami, they’ll absolutely dismantle you.
1) San Francisco 49ers (5)
The 49ers bullied the team that sat atop the NFL power rankings before this week. They were favorites on the road against Philadelphia, and the game showed why. They’re the more complete team, at least on paper.
They entered Week 13 ranked fourth in defensive EPA and first in offensive EPA. Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Christian McCaffrey are the best supporting cast in the NFL, and Shanahan is arguably the best offensive mind in the game.
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