Week 15 NFL power rankings
Which NFL teams are rising and falling in the quest for Super Bowl LII? A wacky, entertaining Week 14 provided a few more twists and turns.
Here’s how every team stands going into Week 15, from stronger at the top to weaker at the bottom.
1 Pittsburgh Steelers 11-2 (last week: 2)
The Steelers are doing their absolute best to win with offense while their defense is falling apart. They can't let up in another potential shootout in Heinz Field.
This week: vs. Patriots
2 New England Patriots 10-3 (last week: 1)
The Patriots failed to record to ninth straight win in Miami on Monday night, being denied for now a ninth straight AFC East title. The focus turns to the top seed in the AFC playoffs with a short-week trip to Pittsburgh.
This week: at Steelers
3 Philadelphia Eagles 11-2 (last week: 4)
The Eagles showed their resolve after Carson Wentz went down, rallying around Nick Foles to knock off the Rams. It's not all gloom and doom for what still is the NFC's best team.
This week: at Giants
4 Minnesota Vikings 10-3 (last week: 3)
The Vikings had a big hiccup in Carolina as their main strengths — running the ball and stopping the run — didn't manifest. They can't afford any more lapses as they try to take advantage of the Eagles' situation and steal back the No. 1 seed.
This week: vs. Bengals
5 New Orleans Saints 9-4 (last week: 6)
The Saints found a way to lose a second game in three weeks, even when they controlled Thursday's contest at Atlanta. They also discovered how much they need Alvin Kamara to finish off opponents.
This week: vs. Jets
6 Jacksonville Jaguars 9-4 (last week: 8)
The Jaguars had a statement win on a big stage against the NFC team after which they're modeled, the Seahawks. They remain a dangerous floater in the AFC at No. 3.
This week: vs. Texans
7 Carolina Panthers 9-4 (last week: 9)
When the Panthers are hitting on all cylinders around Cam Newton, as they were against the Vikings, they are extremely hard to beat. Their main issue this season has been staying consistent against good and bad opponents.
This week: vs. Packers
8 Los Angeles Rams 9-4 (last week: 5)
The Rams have proved of late they can put up points against anybody, but they continue to make mistakes on offense against swarming defenses. They will try to play a lot better in Seattle with the division title on the line.
This week: at Seahawks
9 Atlanta Falcons 8-5 (last week: 12)
The Falcons survived the Saints for a monumental victory, but their work is far from done. There's a road rematch against that team in Week 16, plus a home sequel with the Panthers in Week 17. Matt Ryan needs to get hot before it's too late.
This week: at Buccaneers
10 Seattle Seahawks 8-5 (last week: 7)
The Seahawks' slow-starting ways caught up to them against the Jaguars. They gave up too many big plays, to the point they couldn't make up ground by making a few plays of their own.
This week: vs. Rams
11 Tennessee Titans 8-5 (last week: 10)
The Titans are faltering at the wrong time, and after their listless loss to Arizona the trip to San Francisco feels a lot more difficult. With the Rams and Jaguars looming, a disastrous losing skid could happen, which would add to the disappointment of finishing at .500 in 2016.
This week: at 49ers
12 Los Angeles Chargers 7-6 (last week: 13)
The Chargers kept chugging along against Washington, and now they get a long-awaited second shot against the Chiefs. Going from 0-4 to favorites in the AFC West should put Anthony Lynn in the Coach of the Year conversation.
This week: at Chiefs
13 Baltimore Ravens 7-6 (last week: 11)
The pass defense is starting to spring a few more leaks, but Baltimore needs to be pleased with Alex Collins providing a spark in the running game and opening things up for Joe Flacco and the rest of the offense. They Ravens are a dangerous wild card should they get back into position.
This week: at Browns
14 Detroit Lions 7-6 (last week: 14)
It wasn't pretty for banged-up Matthew Stafford and the offense against Tampa Bay, but then it never is. They're back to making clutch plays late in close games. Detroit is currently eighth in the NFC, but with its schedule, the opportunity to sneak into the playoffs is right there.
This week: vs. Bears
15 Green Bay Packers 7-6 (last week: 15)
The Packers did what they needed to do without Aaron Rodgers. Now they'll hope he's ready to deliver his latest Hail Mary over the final three games.
This week: at Panthers
16 Dallas Cowboys 7-6 (last week: 16)
The Cowboys are doing what they need to do without Ezekiel Elliott. With Dak Prescott hot again, it's a good bet the success will last in a big way for one more game.
This week: vs. Raiders
17 Buffalo Bills 7-6 (last week: 18)
The Bills did what they were supposed to do against the Colts, even if snow and Nathan Peterman and Joe Webb made the home assignment a lot harder than it was supposed to be. Buffalo still holds a tenuous lead on that wild-card berth.
This week: vs. Dolphins
18 Kansas City Chiefs 7-6 (last week: 19)
The Chiefs finally got off the mat at home and fed Kareem Hunt like it was September as they pulled away in a near must-win for a key split with the Raiders. They can't relax with the better Chargers coming to their house on Saturday.
This week: vs. Chargers
19 Miami Dolphins 6-7 (last week: 21)
The Dolphins got their running game and defense overachieve to shock the Patriots on Monday night, topped by Jay Cutler outplaying Tom Brady. That keeps them suddenly very much alive in the AFC playoff race, facing the team ahead of them on Sunday.
This week: at Bills
20 Arizona Cardinals 6-7 (last week: 24)
The Cardinals have the distinction of being the only sub-.500 team alive in the top-heavy NFC. It's pretty impressive that Bruce Arians' team can sniff 8-8 without David Johnson and Carson Palmer.
This week: at Redskins
21 Oakland Raiders 6-7 (last week: 17)
Derek Carr has gone from a Ferrari to a jalopy, and it's hard to pinpoint why, other than a big mistake in changing the team's offensive coordinator and less support from his receiving corps. It's too bad, given how Marshawn Lynch has picked it up for the stretch run, likely to no avail.
This week: at Cowboys
22 New York Jets 5-8 (last week: 20)
Josh McCown did his best to hold up all the way to the end at age 38, but history said it would end at some point. The Jets have had a lot of positives in a so-so season, but the shutout loss in Denver was more in line with the form they were expected to show — and displayed way back in Weeks 1 and 2.
This week: at Saints
23 Washington Redskins 5-8 (last week: 22)
The Redskins' spirit seems to have been broken with their multitude of key injuries, which are mostly affecting the offensive line and running game. Washington, out of the playoff race, needs to finish well to save face.
This week: vs. Cardinals
24 Cincinnati Bengals 5-8 (last week: 23)
The Bengals could at least be counted on to beat bad teams at home in the early Sunday afternoon window. Now Marvin Lewis is getting outcoached in his own house by John Fox. Injuries are only a small part of the problems with preparation.
This week: at Vikings
25 San Francisco 49ers 3-10 (last week: 27)
The 49ers aren't ruining anything with their suddenly victorious identity under Jimmy Garoppolo They're getting a head start on building something much bigger for next season.
This week: vs. Titans
26 Chicago Bears 4-9 (last week: 28)
Mitchell Trubisky had his best game to date in Cincinnati, thanks to the Bears actually putting the right personnel around him. Imagine when he gets a true offensive-minded coach next season.
This week: at Lions
27 Houston Texans 4-9 (last week: 25)
The Texans have gone into a free fall as the AFC South has become out of reach for them behind the Titans and Jaguars. Big injuries marred their chances early; now, little injuries have hurt their chances of a respectable finish.
This week: at Jaguars
28 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-9 (last week: 26)
The defense can't seem to put things together, and the offensive personnel keeps being misused by Dirk Koetter. Jameis Winston has become a forcing-the-ball-to-Mike-Evans turnover machine. The lack of creativity is shocking.
This week: vs. Falcons
29 Denver Broncos 4-9 (last week: 30)
The Broncos dug deep to put aside their embarrassment and look like they were supposed to look, for the first time in a long time. The Jets were there for the taking, and they took. The trick will be keeping it up in a winnable horse-powered road game on a short week.
This week: at Colts
30 Indianapolis Colts 3-10 (last week: 29)
The Colts keep coming up lame in close games. It will be interesting to see if the fight of their remaining healthy players can save Chuck Pagano's job.
This week: vs. Broncos
31 New York Giants 2-11 (last week: 31)
So much for the firing of Ben McAdoo and the re-starting of Eli Manning providing a spark for the offense and defense under Steve Spagnuolo. This team looks checked-out and overwhelmed until the new full-time GM and coach are in place.
This week: vs. Eagles
32 Cleveland Browns 0-13 (last week: 32)
The Browns had a big opportunity to get their first win and essentially end the Packers' season, but the fact they couldn't hold a 21-7 lead in the fourth quarter with everything in their offense mostly working is worrisome, especially with coach Hue Jackson not going anywhere under new GM John Dorsey.
This week: vs. Ravens