NFL Week 15 Power Rankings: Patriots, Steelers Drop After Stunning Losses

by NESN Staff

December 11, 2018

Week 14 in the NFL saw a number of playoff hopefuls fall at the hands of lesser opponents.

The New England Patriots were stunned by the Miami Dolphins in South Beach, while the Pittsburgh Steelers couldn’t find a way to beat the Raiders in Oakland. Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Rams were held to six points by the Chicago Bears and the Houston Texans were unable to slow down Andrew Luck.

With 14 weeks of action now in the books, here?s how we’re ranking every NFL team from No. 1 to No. 32. (For our Week 14 power rankings, click here.)

1. New Orleans Saints (11-2; Last week’s rank: 2): It wasn’t pretty, but Drew Brees and Co. overcame a slow start in Tampa to knock off the Buccaneers. New Orleans overtook the Rams for the top spot in the NFC after LA lost to the Bears.

2. Los Angeles Rams (11-2; 1): Jared Goff was picked off four times and the Rams’ vaunted offense was held to six points in the Windy City. The loss of Cooper Kupp has severely affected LA’s passing attack.

3. Kansas City Chiefs (11-2; 4): Patrick Mahomes pulled a few rabbits out his hat during KC’s overtime win against the Baltimore Ravens and now the Chiefs are in the driver’s seat for the AFC’s No. 1 seed. Have you ever seen anything like this?!

4. Los Angeles Chargers (10-3; 5): The Bolts went super vanilla in Week 14, but it was enough to overcome Jeff Driskel and the banged-up Cincinnati Bengals. Next up: A Thursday night showdown with the Chiefs with huge AFC West implications.

5. Chicago Bears (9-4; 7): The Monsters of the Midway swallowed up Goff, Todd Gurley and the Rams’ offense en route to a 15-6 win. The Bears are going to be a tough out come playoff time.

6. New England Patriots (9-4; 3): New England’s awful luck in Miami continued when the Dolphins score on a 69-yard, multi-lateral touchdown as time expired to win 34-33. The Patriots have been brutal on the road this season and their defense was shredded by a mediocre Miami offense, giving up 9.16 (!) yards per play at Hard Rock Stadium.

7. Houston Texans (9-4; 6): Houston’s winning streak finally came to an end as Luck threw for 399 yards and two scores in a 24-21 Indianapolis Colts win. If the Texans win out and the Patriots lose one more game, Houston will get a first-round bye and New England will have to play on wild-card weekend

8. Seattle Seahawks (8-5; 8): Russell Wilson and Co. keep on rolling. The Hawks are going to be a nightmare for whoever they have to play in the wild-card round.

9. Dallas Cowboys (8-5; 9): The Amari Cooper trade officially was a win for America’s Team. The Alabama product had another massive game Sunday, catching 10 passes for 217 yards and three scores in Dallas’ 29-23 overtime win against the Philadelphia Eagles. All signs point to the Cowboys returning the postseason after missing out on the playoffs last year.

10. Baltimore Ravens (7-6; 11): One thing was made clear during the Ravens’ loss to the Chiefs on Sunday: No one wants to see Baltimore in the playoffs.

11. Indianapolis Colts (7-6; 14): Andrew Luck continues to look like the MVP-caliber quarterback he was prior to the shoulder injury that sidelined him for the 2017 season. He will need to be sharp in Week 15 when the Colts host the Cowboys.

12. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5-1; 10): The Steelers are in an absolute free fall after losing to the hapless Raiders 24-21. Pittsburgh now has lost three games in a row and has games against the Patriots and Saints coming up. Yikes. Oh, and this is how they lost to the Silver and Black.

13. Tennessee Titans (7-6; 16): Derrick Henry ran ALL OVER the Jacksonville Jaguars to keep the Titans’ playoff hopes alive. A win over the New York Giants in Week 15 is imperative for Tennessee to make the playoffs.


14. Minnesota Vikings (6-6-1; 12): Does anyone want the six-seed in the NFC? Anyone?

15. Denver Broncos (6-7; 13): The Broncos had the “easiest” schedule left of the teams vying for the No. 6 seed in the AFC, but it’s only easy if you take care of business. Denver threw up on itself Sunday, falling 20-14 to the San Francisco 49ers.

16. Cleveland Browns (5-7-1; 22): Don’t look now but the Browns still are (barely) alive in the playoff race. If the Steelers and Ravens stumble down the stretch, Baker Mayfield and Cleveland will have a chance nab the AFC North.

17. Miami Dolphins (7-6; 18): HOW DO THE DOLPHINS WIN GAMES?!

18. Carolina Panthers (6-7; 15): Barring something incredible, the Panthers’ season is all but over.

19. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7; 17): The Eagles have their backs against the wall after losing to the Cowboys. Philly needs to win out and hope for some help in order to return the playoffs. The bad news is they face a pissed-off Rams team in Week 15.

20. Green Bay Packers (5-7-1; 21): After a 34-20 win over the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay’s playoff hopes remain alive albeit in a coma state.

21. New York Giants (5-8; 24): Does anyone still think the Giants made a mistake by drafting Saquon Barkley?

22. Tampa Bay Buccanneers (5-8; 20): The Bucs played arguably their best half of football during the first half against the Saints. Tampa led 14-3 at the break but was completely neutralized in the second half, falling 28-14.

23. Detroit Lions (5-8; 25): Detroit probably would have preferred to finish the season 4-12 in order to get a better draft pick, but the Lions beat the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday and hurt their chances of landing a top-five pick in the process.

24. Atlanta Falcons (4-9; 23): Dan Quinn has to go, right?

25. Washington Redskins (6-7; 19): After watching Mark Sanchez go 6-for-14 for 38 yards and two interceptions before being benched, the NFL might want to settle Colin Kaepernick’s collusion lawsuit.

26. Cincinnati Bengals (5-8; 26): The Bengals won’t win another game in 2018.

27. New York Jets (4-9; 29): Sam Darnold returned and the Jets beat the Bills 27-23. Darnold led two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter and in the process took the Jets’ chances of getting the No. 1 overall pick from 16 percent to 4 percent. But this was nifty.

28. Buffalo Bills (4-9; 27): Josh Allen leads the Bills in rushing, which isn’t great if you’re keeping track at home.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9; 28): The Jags have quit.

30. Oakland Raiders (3-10; 32): Oakland’s chances of getting the No. 1 overall pick took a hit by beating the Steelers, but you play to win the game or something like that.

31. San Francisco 49ers (3-10; 31): Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle are going to be really fun next year.

32. Arizona Cardinals (3-10; 30): Someone get Josh Rosen an offensive scheme from this century.

The NFL playoff picture might be hard to make sense of, but you can enjoy the best football betting action at all through the stretch run.

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