NFL Week 15 Power Rankings: Steelers Jump Patriots, Eagles For Top Spot

by NESN Staff

December 12, 2017

What a week it was in the NFL. An MVP candidate was lost for the season, a sub-.500 team handled the Super Bowl favorite and the Pittsburgh Steelers once again walked off on a Chris Boswell field goal. Oh yeah, and the NFL almost had its very own version of Malice at the Palace

Here?s a look at where each team stands in NESN.com?s NFL power rankings as we head into Week 15. (To see our Week 14 power rankings, click here.)

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2; last week’s rank: 6): Pittsburgh erased an 11-point deficit against the archrival Baltimore Ravens on “Sunday Night Football” to lock up the AFC North. Next up: the Patriots.

2. Philadelphia Eagles (11-2; 2): Philadelphia bounced back from its second loss of the season by beating the Los Angeles Rams 43-35. While the Eagles clinched the NFC East with the win, they also lost star QB Carson Wentz for the season to a torn ACL. It’ll be up to former Arizona Wildcat great Nick Foles to carry the Eagles for the remainder of the season.

3. New England Patriots (10-3; 1): Tom Brady fell to 7-9 in his career in Miami, as the Dolphins made Brady uncomfortable from the opening kickoff Monday night. There’s no time to sulk, though. New England has to turn around and face the Steelers on Sunday with home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs at stake.

4. Minnesota Vikings (10-3; 3): With Wentz going down for the season, the Vikings suddenly look like the Super Bowl favorite in the NFC. even after their loss to the Carolina Panthers. Can Case Keenum lead Minnesota to what would be a de facto home game in Super Bowl LII?

5. Los Angeles Rams (9-4; 4): Jared Goff and Co. had the Eagles right where they wanted them, but the young Rams were unable to finish the job at home. L.A. can clinch at least a share of the NFC West with a win against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 15.

6. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-4; 9): The Jags bullied the NFL’s biggest bully, the Seahawks, in a 30-24 win at home. With the win, Jacksonville took over first place in the AFC South following the Tennessee Titans’ loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

7. New Orleans Saints (9-4; 5): New Orleans dropped a close game to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 14, but as long as Alvin Kamara doesn’t miss extended time with a concussion, the Saints should be just fine.

8. Carolina Panthers (9-4; 8): Cam Newton ripped off a 62-yard run to set up Carolina’s game-winning touchdown against the Vikings in Week 14. But going 13-for-25 for 137 passing yards doesn’t exactly make us confident that Newton can get it done in the playoffs.

9. Atlanta Falcons (8-5; 10): A late Deion Jones interception sealed a crucial win over the Saints and pushed the Falcons ahead of the Seahawks for the sixth and final spot in the NFC playoffs. Atlanta might need to put an ad out on Craigslist for a new offensive coordinator if it hopes to do any damage in the playoffs, though.

10. Seattle Seahawks (8-5; 7): Seattle lost to the Jaguars and looked like absolute clowns toward the end of the game. With Jacksonville in victory formation, Michael Bennett took a cheap shot at Jaguars center Brandon Linder that incited a minor scuffle and got two players ejected.

11. Los Angeles Chargers (7-6; 11): The Chargers eviscerated the Washington Redskins on Sunday and continue to look like the favorites in the mediocre AFC West. L.A. can take sole possession of first place with a win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15.

12. Dallas Cowboys (7-6; 14): Dallas pulled away from the New York Giants late at MetLife Stadium to keep its slim playoff hopes alive. The Cowboys will face a struggling Oakland Raiders team in Week 15 before welcoming Ezekiel Elliott back for a Week 16 clash against the Seahawks.

13. Detroit Lions (7-6; 15): The Lions barely squeaked by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, but Detroit will need a miracle to make the playoffs.

14. Kansas City Chiefs (7-6; 16): Andy Reid’s squad got its second win in their last eight games, but it was more about the Raiders being abysmal than Kansas City being back to the team that started the season 5-0.

15. Tennessee Titans (8-5; 11): Marcus Mariota continues to regress in a Titans offense that was designed to be successful in the 1940s. Tennessee likely will make the playoffs, but if the playbook doesn’t open up, then it will be bounced shortly.

16. Green Bay Packers (7-6; 18): Brett Hundley (barely) got the Packers to 7-6, and here comes Aaron Rodgers.

17. Baltimore Ravens (7-6; 13): The Ravens somehow have scored more than 30 points in consecutive games, which has caused us to rethink whether or not they might be a good team. (They’re not.)

18. Buffalo Bills (7-6; 19): Buffalo survived a blizzard and Sean McDermott’s awful overtime coaching to defeat the Indianapolis Colts and stay alive in the AFC playoff hunt. The Bills currently hold the No. 6 spot in the AFC playoffs.

19. Miami Dolphins (6-7; 24): Miami hit Brady early and often in a 27-20 win on “Monday Night Football.” Jay Cutler played his best game as a Dolphin, throwing for 263 yards and three touchdowns to keep Miami alive for a wild-card spot.

20. Oakland Raiders (6-7; 17): Oakland’s disappointing season hit a new low Sunday when it laid an egg against the Chiefs. With a chance to take over first place in the AFC West, the Raiders fell into a 26-0 hole in their most lackluster performance of the year.

21. Arizona Cardinals (6-7; 23): Phil Dawson kicked four field goals and the Cardinals picked off Mariota twice in a 12-7 win over the Titans.

22. New York Jets (5-8; 20): Josh McCown broke his left hand and the Jets got blanked by the Denver Broncos in an embarrassing loss.

23. Washington Redskins (5-8; 22): The Redskins look like they’ve completely mailed it in after getting hammered by the Chargers in L.A. We still aren’t sure how Washington beat the Rams in Week 2.

24. Chicago Bears (4-9; 27): Chicago snapped a five-game losing streak by running all over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Mitchell Trubisky, Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen should give Bears fans reason to be optimistic about the future.

25. Cincinnati Bengals (5-8; 21): Cincinnati got eviscerated by the Bears on Sunday. If ever there was a reason to fire Marvin Lewis, that’s got to be it.

26. San Francisco 49ers (3-10; 29): Jimmy Garoppolo has made the 49ers look like a completely different team. The tandem of Garoppolo and head coach Kyle Shanahan will be dangerous for years to come.

27. Houston Texans (4-9; 25): Not to insult Tom Savage, but the Texans might be better off with T.J. Yates at quarterback. Savage took a brutal hit and appeared to suffer a seizure on the field, but only missed one play before returning. He later was ruled out with a concussion.

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9; 26): Are we sure Jameis Winston should be a starting quarterback in the NFL? Perhaps the CFL is more his speed?

29. Denver Broncos (4-9; 30): Denver crushed the Jets at Sports Authority Field to snap an eight-game losing streak. If that costs the Broncos a shot at Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold in the draft, John Elway is going to be kicking himself.

30. Indianapolis Colts (3-10; 28): Fourteen weeks of talking about the Colts is enough.

31. New York Giants (2-11; 31): Eli Manning’s triumphant return under center ended in a 30-10 loss to the Cowboys, which is pretty indicative of New York’s season.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-13; 32): Cleveland had the first win of the season in the palm of its hand, but the Browns let the Packers score 14 points in the fourth quarter to tie the game before falling in overtime. Then, on Monday, Josh Gordon roasted his own team during a Twitter war with Packers cornerback Damarious Randall. Don’t worry Browns fans, it’s almost over.

Thumbnail photo via Thumbnail photo via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images
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