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Week 14 led to some significant shake ups in the 2020 NFL Power Rankings. The Kansas City Chiefs regained their seat atop the league while New Orleans floundered against a rookie quarterback. Green Bay seized the top seed in the NFC, Pittsburgh extended its losing streak against Buffalo, and Baltimore proved once again that Cleveland can’t have anything nice. Here are my latest power rankings.
Last week’s ranking: 2
Andy Reid’s team remains incredibly talented but also volatile. Kansas City led the Miami Dolphins 14-10 at halftime before dropping in 16 points in the third quarter. Miami rebounded with 17 points in the fourth quarter but never retook the lead. Patrick Mahomes threw three interceptions, but the Chiefs clinched the AFC West title with their win.
Last week’s ranking: 3
In the AFC, the Bills have the best shot at defeating the Chiefs. Tennessee is also up there, but Buffalo has the defenders and offensive weapons to make a difference. However, the running game is mediocre at best, and Buffalo’s defense has down weeks.
Last week’s ranking: 1
Taysom Hill can only carry the Saints so far. The Philadelphia Eagles punched New Orleans in the mouth on Sunday, and the Saints didn’t have the offensive poise to respond. Granted, the defense deserves a lot of blame for the loss, getting chewed up by a rookie quarterback in his first start.
Last week’s ranking: 4
With New Orleans losing, the Packers overtook Sean Payton’s team for the NFC’s top seed. While Aaron Rodgers is playing at an MVP level and Davante Adams continues scoring touchdowns, Green Bay’s defense is still a huge question mark.
Last week’s ranking: 5
The Rams extended their lead in the NFC West with a Thursday night win over the New England Patriots. Cam Akers established himself as the team’s workhorse back, amassing 29 carries for 171 yards. Los Angeles’ defense recorded six sacks, and Kenny Young returned an interception for a touchdown.
Last week’s ranking: 6
After a surprising loss to Cleveland, the Titans went back to their roots. Derrick Henry amassed 26 carries for 215 yards and two touchdowns as Tennessee bullied Jacksonville. The Titans have an incredibly talented offense, but their defense could become a problem in the postseason.
Last week’s ranking: 9
Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t delivered the offensive resurgence the Steelers were hoping for this year. Instead, Roethlisberger is trending toward retirement. He looks worse than Philip Rivers did at the start of the season, and Pittsburgh’s poor offense is putting the defense in horrible situations.
Last week’s ranking: 10
Philip Rivers is hitting his stride this season, and we saw flashes of Jonathan Taylor’s potential against a horrible Las Vegas defense. Taylor ran for 150 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday, while Rivers connected with the rejuvenated T.Y. Hilton for 86 yards and two more scores.
Last week’s ranking: 11
Russell Wilson tossed four touchdowns as Seattle destroyed the New York Jets 40-3. At 9-4, the Seahawks are tied with the Rams for the top seed in the NFC West. Pete Carroll’s team has their rematch against Los Angeles in Week 16.
Last week’s ranking: 7
Tom Brady isn’t letting his new team collapse and miss the playoffs. The future Hall of Fame quarterback had one of his best games in the past several weeks as Tampa Bay survived a late push by Minnesota. The Buccaneers recorded six sacks, and Ronald Jones ran for 80 yards in the victory.
Last week’s ranking: 14
Tua Tagovailoa had one of his young career’s best performances, but Miami couldn’t match Kansas City’s high-powered offense. The Dolphins are still the only team to force a turnover in every game this season, and their defense generated four turnovers on Sunday.
Last week’s ranking: 12
Without a win on Monday Night Football, the Ravens would’ve been sitting on their couches in January. Lamar Jackson ran all over Cleveland’s defense, and a Tyus Bowser interception proved impactful down the stretch. Justin Tucker nailed a last-minute field goal to keep Baltimore’s playoff hopes alive.
Last week’s ranking: 8
The Browns had a chance late in the game against Baltimore, especially after Jackson went into the locker room. They came up short. Cleveland’s inability to adjust on defense and abandoning of the running game to keep pace with Baltimore’s offense led to the Browns ending their four-game win streak.
Last week’s ranking: 15
Minnesota stuck with the Buccaneers until the end, but Tampa Bay’s pass rush ended up being the difference in the game. Kirk Cousins took six sacks and lost a fumble as five different Buccaneers recorded sacks. With the loss, Minnesota dropped out of Wild Card positioning.
Last week’s ranking: 18
Despite losing Alex Smith to a minor calf strain, Washington still outlasted the San Francisco 49ers thanks to two defensive touchdowns. Washington’s defense continues improving each week. If they field a competent offense, I won’t rule out Ron Rivera’s team pulling off an upset in the playoffs.
Nothing major on Alex Smith injury. Calf strain and X-rays were otherwise negative, per a team source.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) December 14, 2020
Last week’s ranking: 19
Kyler Murray and Hasson Reddick boosted their team back into the playoff picture with a win over the New York Giants. Arizona didn’t turn the ball over as Reddick single-handedly recorded five sacks. If the Cardinals get their pass rush going, they should secure a playoff berth in the season’s final weeks.
Last week’s ranking: 13
The Raiders continued failing late in the season as they lost by 17 to the Colts. Las Vegas is 1-3 in its past four games, and Derek Carr is no longer performing at a Pro Bowl level. Josh Jacobs not being one hundred percent hasn’t helped either.
Last week’s ranking: 16
The Patriots don’t have a starting-caliber quarterback on their roster. Newton’s arm is degrading, and New England can’t establish the run against top defenses. Bill Belichick’s squad deserves credit for getting this far, but the Patriots don’t have many wins left on their schedule.
Last week’s ranking: 17
Joe Judge’s team couldn’t extend its winning streak to five games. New York’s defense had a decent outing, but the Cardinals amassed 390 total yards. In comparison, Daniel Jones and Wayne Gallman only led their offense to 159 yards. Giants quarterbacks couldn’t catch a break, taking eight sacks throughout the game.
Last week’s ranking: 26
Mitchell Trubisky had one of his best games as a pro this past weekend. The struggling quarterback threw for three touchdowns and 267 yards in a 36-7 win over the Houston Texans. Chicago’s defense also showed some life, racking up seven sacks.
Last week’s ranking: 25
Drew Lock had the game of his life in Week 14, tossing four touchdowns and posting a 149.5 passer rating. Denver’s pass rush also did its job, sacking Teddy Bridgewater four times. With the right coaching and a more consistent quarterback, Denver should make the playoffs.
Last week’s ranking: 29
I wouldn’t rule out Carson Wentz regaining the starting job if Jalen Hurts plays horribly in one of Philadelphia’s final games, but the veteran isn’t getting his spot back next week. Hurts led a stunning upset against the Saints. Philly’s defensive line hunted Taysom Hill, and New Orleans had no answers for Philadelphia’s reinvigorated offensive play calling.
Last week’s ranking: 24
The Lions got within one score of Green Bay but failed to recover an onside kick properly. Detroit has a lot of key pieces in place on offense, but there isn’t a single defensive starter that stands out as an exceptional player.
Last week’s ranking: 20
Against Washington’s defense, Nick Mullens had one of his worst games this season. The backup turned the ball over twice in the 23-15 loss. Losing Deebo Samuel early in the game with a hamstring injury didn’t help either.
Last week’s ranking: 21
Carolina put up a fight against Denver, but the Panthers struggled defensively. Bridgewater looks like a franchise quarterback, but the offense missed Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore on Sunday.
Last week’s ranking: 27
Los Angeles is too talented to be 4-9, which means Anthony Lynn is on the chopping block. I expect the Chargers will target offensive linemen and maybe some help at cornerback and linebacker this offseason.
Last week’s ranking: 23
The only thing that awaits the Falcons after this season is a long, painful rebuild. At 35, Matt Ryan can’t work with his current offensive line. Even with young stars like Calvin Ridley, there isn’t enough talent on this Atlanta roster to justify more mediocre seasons.
Last week’s ranking: 22
The Texans are wasting the talents of a top-five quarterback. Deshaun Watson is a generational talent, but Houston can’t put enough weapons around him to field a competent offense. Watson’s offensive line also needs a ton of reconstructing.
Last week’s ranking: 30
There aren’t many teams Andy Dalton and the Cowboys can beat by 23 points. Luckily, they faced the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Dalton got revenge against his former team, tossing two touchdowns as the Cowboys handled Zac Taylor’s team with kid gloves.
Last week’s ranking: 31
Without Joe Burrow or Joe Mixon, Cincinnati doesn’t have an offensive engine. The Bengals occupy the AFC North’s basement, and they’re not getting out until they build a reliable offensive line and retool the defense.
Last week’s ranking: 28
Doug Marrone needs to be gone after this season. The Jaguars are one of the least talented teams in the NFL, perhaps only trailing the New York Jets, and someone needs to execute a full-scale rebuild.
Last week’s ranking: 32
After nearly defeating the Raiders last week, the Jets didn’t even come close to fighting the Seahawks on equal footing. Marcus Maye and Quinnen Williams are two of the only positive players on this team. It’s the least talented franchise in the NFL.
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