Power Rankings – Week 14

1. New England Patriots

2. Philadelphia Eagles

It seems like the question marks surrounding the Eagles’ schedule were well-founded. Playing a motivated Seahawks team at home, the playoff atmosphere proved too much for Carson Wentz and the Eagles to handle. There were a few questionable decisions by coach Doug Pederson that could become problems in the playoffs, and this week’s matchup with the Rams will be telling. Meanwhile, between Brady’s sideline antics and Gronk’s cheap shot, the Patriots had a similarly sloppy day. In the end, however, they came out with a well earned and well executed win. If the Patriots are able to dominate the Steelers in Week 15, there is no reason why they shouldn’t retain the top seed and go on to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

3. Los Angeles Rams

4. New Orleans Saints

5. Seattle Seahawks

6. Minnesota Vikings

Since their loss to the Vikings, the Rams have played outstanding football on both sides of the ball. With Robert Woods potentially returning for this week’s face-off, the Rams have a chance to take over as best team in the NFC. In a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicates, the Saints beat the Panthers to claim sole possession of the NFC South. They made key plays in the secondary and continued to show dominance in the run game. I hate to put the Vikings so low on this list after a great defensive showing against the Falcons, but it’s hard to ignore the Seahawks beating the Eagles. Russell Wilson is looking like he could lead the Browns to a Super Bowl, and Pete Carroll is getting the Seahawks into playoff mode. However, the Vikings are still a wild card with Case Keenum at quarterback, no matter how good the defense is.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers

8. Los Angeles Chargers

9. Jacksonville Jaguars

10. Atlanta Falcons

Although the Steelers beat the Bengals after losing Ryan Shazier, the outcome was in doubt for much of the game. If they want to be able to challenge the Patriots, they can’t play down to opponents. The Chargers play the way the Steelers want to, demolishing opponents with a strong offense and aggressive defense. As long as they keep winning, they will keep moving up. While I could never peg Jacksonville as a serious playoff contender with Blake Bortles at quarterback, this defense has been too impressive to ignore. An upset against the Seahawks would go a long way toward gaining credibility, but that doesn’t seem too likely of an outcome. Although the Falcons lost to the Vikings, the defense played pretty well. Matt Ryan needs to get better at reading the field and converting on third down, or else Atlanta will miss the playoffs. However, I believe the desperation will kick in at some point and they will start to make plays.

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