Before you sharpen your pitchforks, a short note on how we’ve come to rank the teams as we have: all NFLTR writers have compiled their own NFL power rankings, which we’ve compiled and averaged in the list below. We hope you enjoy the fruits of our labor, and feel free to agree, disagree, or roast us in the comments below.
#1) Seattle Seahawks
There’s not much more you can ask from the Seahawks at this point in the season. Another convincing home win over one of the best teams in the league has all but solidified their status as the top contender. Seattle also clinched a playoff berth with the win. They travel to San Francisco in another matchup of Super Bowl contenders in Week 14.
#2) Denver Broncos
Now that the Broncos have swept the Chiefs, they can focus on securing the No. 1 seed in the AFC because they have essentially wrapped up the AFC West and are a game up on the Patriots. DEN closes out the season with four games against opponents with a sub-500 record.
#3) New England Patriots ( 1)
The Patriots are coming off of back-to-back weeks in which they’ve managed to win 34-31. Although Sunday’s win over the Texans was a little close for comfort given that the Texans are on pact to secure the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. NE needs the Broncos to drop a game and then win out to secure No. 1 seed in the AFC.
#4) New Orleans Saints ( 1)
The Seahawks have the ability to overwhelm teams at home, but it’s just shocking to see an incredible offense like the Saints’ get run over like that. Clearly, there is still a lot of football to be played and as things stand right now, they should secure the No. 2 seed. will require them to get a few wins over a very good Panthers team.
#5) San Francisco 49ers ( 1)
San Francisco has a big matchup against the division-leading Seahawks in Week 14, but they really don’t have all that much to gain from a win. They are currently three games back and it’s doubtful that Seattle will drop another two game before the end of the season, which means SF will likely end up with the No. 4 seed. With that being said, it’s still an important game for an improving 49ers team. I still like their chances in NFC.
#6) Carolina Panthers ( 1)
I’m not sure how the Panthers have managed to drop one spot in each of the past two weeks, despite the fact that they continue to add to their winning streak, which now sits at eight straight. Maybe a win over the Saints in Week 14 will be enough to propel them inside the top-5 overall.
#7) Cincinnati Bengals ( 2)
CIN is currently two games up on the Ravens in the AFC North, but that doesn’t mean they’ll cost to a division title. They have games against the Colts, the improving Steelers and another matchup against the Ravens, so they will need to show up in some tough games to seal the deal. The good news is that three of the final four games are at home.
#8) Philadelphia Eagles ( 6)
The Eagles get a huge boast following their fourth straight win over the Cardinals in Week 13. Although they are tied with the Cowboys for the lead in the NFC East, they look like the team to beat. We should know more after Sunday’s game against the Lions.
#9) Kansas City Chiefs ( 2)
For as impressive as the Chiefs nine-game winning streak was, their current three-game losing streak against quality opponents essentially confirms the suspicions of many that they are just a good team. They have winnable games ahead of them, but it’s hard to imagine Denver dropping enough games to allow them back in the race for the top spot in the AFC West. Looks like they’ll get the No. 4 seed and travel to IND or CIN/BAL.
#10) Detroit Lions ( 1)
The Lions put forth an impressive effort on Thanksgiving, which doesn’t seem to ever happen. Green Bay is hardly a contender at this point, but that shouldn’t take away from a dominate performance from DET. They need three wins to seal the deal against PHI, BAL, NYG and MIN.
#11) Dallas Cowboys ( 1)
The Cowboys nearly lost at home to the Raiders. OAK is playing better, but a true contender puts forth a much more convincing effort than what we saw on Thanksgiving. They get Sean Lee back in Week 14, so hopefully that will help. They still have a share of the lead in the NFC East, but will need to probably win three of four games.
#12) Arizona Cardinals ( 4)
I still really like this Cardinals team, despite the close loss to the Eagles, but with games against the Seahawks and 49ers, it’s doubtful we’ll be seeing them in the postseason. They look like the best team that will end up outside the playoffs. ARI really needs to win out to have any chance.
#13) Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are still playing suspect football, but thankfully for them, they play in the horrible AFC South, which accounts for half of their total wins this season. In fact, their last three wins have come against the Titans and Texans. Thankfully for them they still have two division games on their schedule because they would end up losing the other two.
#14) Baltimore Ravens ( 3)
Baltimore has really turned things around and are still in the hunt for the AFC North title. They’re currently two games back of CIN, but the Bengals have a pretty tough stretch ahead of them. Win that in mind, the Ravens would probably need to win three of their final four games including their Week 17 matchup against CIN to win the division, but securing the No. 6 seed is still possible if they were to drop two games.
#15) Chicago Bears ( 3)
It’s just shocking to see the Bears lose that game. Josh McCown and Alshon Jeffery did all they could to secure a win and yet they somehow lost to a sad Vikings team. As things stand right now, the Bears are No. 9 in the NFC, which means they need to win at least three of their final four games to have a shot at either the NFC North or a wildcard. It’s doable, but certainly not easy.
#16) Green Bay Packers
GB has done nothing in the past five weeks to justify this ranking. I mean, they are horrible. Aaron Rodgers is an incredible player and the QB position is obviously extremely important, but it’s shocking to see how bad they are without him. It’s even more crazy that they still have a remote shot at winning the division.
#17) Pittsburgh Steelers ( 1)
Thursday’s loss to BAL essentially ended any chance of winning the division. They are 5-7 with an opportunity to secure the No. 6 seed, but even that will take a bunch of wins and some luck. They get MIA, CIN, GB and CLE to finish out the season.
#18) Miami Dolphins ( 2)
The Dolphins season really comes down to the next two games against the Steelers and the Patriots. If they can get two wins there, they will have basically secured the No. 6 seed. They could still survive a loss to the Patriots, but that would most likely require them to win three of four. The loss to the Ravens really hurts them right now.
#19) St. Louis Rams
STL stands pat at No. 19 this week, despite losing to the 49ers on Sunday. The good news for them is that WAS is horrible and will almost certainly give them a top-5 pick in next year’s draft. As things stand right now, the Rams would also have No. 14 overall pick.
#20) San Diego Chargers (5)
There is no consistency with this Chargers team. Clearly, their defense needs to improve, but they haven’t managed to lose four of their past five games and are now inching closer to a top-10 draft pick come next May. They get NYG, DEN, OAK and KC to finish out the season.
#21) New York Giants ( 1)
Sunday’s win over the Redskins was their 5th win in the past six weeks. They have to win out to have any chance of winning the NFC East, which is highly unlikely at this point in time. Given that they started off the season 0-6, it’s really not surprising that this is where things stand. They would have the No. 15 overall pick if the season ended today.
#22) Tennessee Titans (1)
The Titans appear to have fallen back to Earth after losing six of their past eight games. They travel to DEN this weekend, which is a pretty tough test for this team. If things ended today, TEN would have the No. 13 overall pick.
#23) Buffalo Bills ( 1)
I’m really not sure how the Bills are ranked this high. They just lost a home game to the Falcons and have only 4 wins this season. They are not a good team and yet we apparently see them as a better option than the nine teams below them. They have three road games in the next four weeks, which means the Bills could be looking at top-5 pick next year.
#24) New York Jets (1)
The Jets three-game losing streak has really done them in. On top of that, there are major question marks regarding second-round pick Geno Smith, although it appears as though he will get another start in Week 14. NY has to win out to have any shot at a wildcard. If things ended today, they would have the No. 11 overall pick.
#25) Oakland Raiders ( 3)
Oakland’s loss to Dallas was apparently good enough for them to move up three spots. They looked great in the first-half of that game, but things really went south in the second-half. They’ve lost four of five games and have four tough games ahead of them, which means they are in a good position to secure a much needed top-5 selection next year.
#26) Minnesota Vikings ( 4)
MIN came away with a very surprising win over the Bears on Sunday. It appears as though the Vikings will need to start either Matt Cassel or Josh Freeman in Week 14 with Christian Ponder dealing with a concussion. Odds are that Cassel gets the start against BAL. Looking at this schedule, they could easily lose all of their remaining games and secure the No. 1 overall pick. That’s the good news.
#27) Cleveland Browns (1)
It’s really not looking good for the Browns who have lost six of the past seven games and have a very tough remaining schedule. They do have a shot at the No. 1 overall pick, but are almost assured a top-5 selection.
#28) Atlanta Falcons ( 1)
I have no idea what the Falcons are doing winning a game on the road over the Bills. Clearly, they do some things on offense, but their defense leaves them almost no shot at walking away with a convincing win. They get a reeling Packers team in Week 14, which means they will have a shot at another road win.
#29) Washington Redskins (4)
Despite having all the incentive in the world to win every game, WAS would have the No. 2 overall pick if the season ended today. The problem is that the Rams hold that pick, so it’s not as though they will be able to add a quality young prospect to their roster. They should have a decent amount of cap space to work with so I would expect them to be active in free agency.
#30) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3)
The Buccaneers look like the bad team who is most likely to ruin their chances of securing a top-5 pick next year. They had won three straight before losing to the Panthers on Sunday. I wouldn’t rule out them winning another two games against the Bills and Rams.
#31) Jacksonville Jaguars
I have no idea what’s going on with this Jaguars team, but you could easily make the case that they should be higher than this. Maybe they are just catching teams at the right time, but it’s surprising to see them with three wins in the past four weeks. They still have some winnable games on their schedule, as crazy as that sounds, which means they could end up with five or possibly six wins by year’s end.
#32) Houston Texans
Congrats to the Texans for losing in an interesting way and keeping that ever important ten-game losing streak in place. If they can manage to drop another game to the Jaguars in Week 14, they should have that No. 1 overall pick locked up.