NFL Power Rankings Week 14: What just happened?

Week 13 featured coaching meltdowns of every variety. We saw the New York Jets call a zero blitz on a Las Vegas Raiders Hail Mary, and we also saw Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner decide against a QB sneak with his 310 lb quarterback for an easy touchdown.

As will happen every Tuesday throughout the season, nine of our contributors — Zach Lyons, Mike HerndonJustin MeloJimmy MorrisRobert GreenlawWes WisleyAustin NelsonJosh Hong, and Justin Graver — have submitted their power rankings, 1 to 32. Below is the aggregate results of those rankings.

Biggest Risers: After their defense handily kept the Arizona Cardinals’ high-powered offense grounded, the L.A. Rams are this week’s biggest riser, moving up four spots.

Biggest Fallers: The other team in Los Angeles wasn’t as lucky, as a soul crushing loss of 45-0 to the New England Patriots dropped the media-darling Chargers five spots.

Here’s where we landed with our rankings as we head into Week 14 of the regular season…

To see the full list of everyone’s individual rankings click here.

Highest Rank:1stLowest Rank:1stPreviously:1st
Highest Rank:2ndLowest Rank:3rdPreviously:3rd
Highest Rank:3rdLowest Rank:4thPreviously:4th

Wes: Winners of four out of their last five, the Packers currently own the number two spot in the NFC playoff race. The Packers can potentially clinch the NFC North next week if they beat the Detroit Lions and the Vikings lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Two more wins will lock it up no matter what.

Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams are one of the best QB/WR combo in the league. Rodgers is a MVP candidate and Adams currently is third in the league in receptions and tied for first in receiving touchdowns. Everyone knows Rodgers is targeting Adams the majority of the time during every game, and they still can’t stop it.

The Packers rank first in the league with 31.6 points per game. With three of their last four games coming against teams with losing records, they are set up to stroll into the postseason riding high.

Highest Rank:2ndLowest Rank:5thPreviously:2nd

Austin: Well, well, well, how the mighty have fallen. After the best start in franchise history, the Steelers lost their first game of the season to a team with no name (Sorry, I just love that joke too much).

In all seriousness, I have eyes and Pittsburgh doesn’t pass the eye test. They truly haven’t all season. They are a solid team, but not great. They continue to squeak out games mainly because of the defense which is as elite as they come in this league.

Here’s the thing: The Steelers can’t run the ball. They had 21 rushing yards against Washington. Currently 29th in rushing YPG. They also lead the league in dropped balls. If the Steelers want to make a Super Bowl run, they need to clean some areas up or they will be headed home early in January.

Highest Rank:4thLowest Rank:8thPreviously:7th
Highest Rank:5thLowest Rank:9thPreviously:10th
Highest Rank:6thLowest Rank:10thPreviously:9th
Highest Rank:6thLowest Rank:11thPreviously:6th
Highest Rank:6thLowest Rank:10thPreviously:5th

Justin G: The Titans suffered a predictable let-down spot last week against the Cleveland Browns, but their overall body of work this season still represents a top-ten team, and is even enough to keep them ranked higher than the opponent who beat them head-to-head.

I call it a predictable let-down spot because I literally predicted the Titans to lose in my opponent scouting report last week. They were coming off three straight difficult matchups — all physical contests, including two crucial games against the Colts — and had just taken control of first place in the division along with that first-place tiebreaker. It was natural for the team to hit a bit of a wall. Did I expect them to get stomped 38-7 in the first half? Well, no, no one expected that. But while some of the same glaring deficiencies were on full display, this performance wasn’t indicative overall of how good the Titans can be.

For that reason, I’m still very encouraged by Mike Vrabel’s team, even if the defense is among the worst of all playoff contenders. The offense is definitively a top-three unit, and although the defense has been extremely disappointing all season, most defenses in the NFL this year are not very good.

The Titans made sweeping changes after their last loss to an AFC North team (the Bengals, Week 8). Perhaps last week’s loss will key a few more changes, which could be enough to push them to the end of the season on a positive note. Will the defense cost them an early exit in the playoffs? Very likely. But anything can happen once you get into the dance.

Highest Rank:8thLowest Rank:11thPreviously:11th

Zach: After thoroughly embarrassing your Tennessee Titans, the Cleveland Browns have earned their first spot in the top ten.

I don’t think they’ll stay here for long, as they have some difficult games on the horizon. In fact, I believe the Cleveland Browns will drop and drop fast.

The Browns are a good team all things considered, and Kevin Stefanski has proven to be a coach who can maximize the team he has. I still feel they’ll only go as far as Baker Mayfield takes them, and he always has that one game where he dots someone up with pinpoint accuracy.

It just happened to be against the Titans last week.

Highest Rank:8thLowest Rank:11thPreviously:8th
Highest Rank:12thLowest Rank:13thPreviously:13th
Highest Rank:12thLowest Rank:15thPreviously:12th
Highest Rank:13thLowest Rank:18thPreviously:14th
Highest Rank:12thLowest Rank:17thPreviously:18th

Zach: Remember when the Patriots were playing against the Jets, and everyone overreacted to their performance and said that they were starting to tank?

Yeah, Bill B don’t play that way. They are now sitting at 6-6, in control of their own destiny. The Patriots defense is also “back,” as they’ve held teams like the Ravens, Cardinals, and Chargers to a combined 34 points.

That’s an average of 11.3 PPG against some really explosive offenses. The passing defense ranks second in the league in interceptions, and they are allowing the fourth-fewest touchdowns through the air.

The Patriots have the Rams up next followed by the Dolphins, Bills, and Jets. We know Belichick has a good handle on how to make Goff play mediocre football, and we know he is very good against rookie quarterbacks. I honestly think this team could still get to 10-6 or 9-7 at worst.

Not bad for a team that was apparently tanking on November 9th.

Highest Rank:13thLowest Rank:19thPreviously:16th

Robert: The Vikings as of today are in the playoffs! Pretty surprising stuff after a 1-5 start. At that point in the season, Kirk Cousins was on pace to throw for 30 interceptions and 30 TDs, their defense was awful, and Mike Zimmer was on the hot seat It’s not all roses now, but winning five of your last six games will make things better.

Dalvin Cook has been a machine and is second in the NFL in rushing. Kirk Cousins is second in the league in yards per attempt, only behind Deshaun Watson. Rookie Justin Jefferson looks like the next great receiver in the league and they have proven star Adam Thielen on offense as well.

Like the Titans, this is a team that loves to run the ball and I think in the playoffs, it’s a nasty attack to have to face. Should the Vikings end up making it to the postseason, they could be a dark horse to make a run.

Highest Rank:14thLowest Rank:19thPreviously:15th

Josh: With four losses in the last five games now, Cardinals’ quarterback Kyler Murray put it perfectly what the issue is: the team has “hit a wall offensively.” Ultimately, this comes back to the two heads of the offense in Kyler and Kliff Kingsbury. Opposing defenses have started to contain Murray’s running ability, forcing him to make throws up the middle inside the pocket. Without his explosive plays on the ground, the offense has grown stagnant and Murray has not been able to compensate properly through the air. His recent shoulder injury plays a big role in these limitations, but Murray’s smaller stature has always been a concern.

On the other hand, Kingsbury deserves his fair share of blame. His combination of questionable situational decisions and passive play calling has been one of the biggest reasons why the team has had this midseason skid. This team will only go as far as Kliff and Kyler will take them. If they don’t figure it out soon, they may miss the playoffs all together.

Highest Rank:15thLowest Rank:22ndPreviously:17th
Highest Rank:18thLowest Rank:22ndPreviously:20th
Highest Rank:17thLowest Rank:24thPreviously:19th

Justin M: How about the Washington Football Team?

A day after they watched the rival New York Giants pull off a shocking upset against the Seattle Seahawks, Washington went out and pulled off a special upset of their own.

They stunned the previously undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. The victory allowed them to keep pace with the Giants atop the NFC Least at 5-7. The Giants remain in first place as they hold the tiebreaker, but both of these teams will play division games in Week 17. It’s likely that the winner of the division will come down to the wire. Don’t look now, but this race has somehow turned into an exciting one. Both teams are playing excellent defense and are coming off huge victories.

On offense, Alex Smith is playing some pretty good football. We know that Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson are special players, but guys like Logan Thomas, J.D. McKissic and Cam Sims have proven to be solid role players in their own right as of late.

Head coach Ron Rivera is truly an inspiration and he’s done a great job getting this team in a position to compete for a playoff spot.

I for one am very excited to watch some Washington football games down the stretch.

Highest Rank:16thLowest Rank:25thPreviously:23rd
Highest Rank:17thLowest Rank:24thPreviously:25th
Highest Rank:20thLowest Rank:24thPreviously:21st
Highest Rank:20thLowest Rank:25thPreviously:27th
Highest Rank:21stLowest Rank:27thPreviously:24th
Highest Rank:24thLowest Rank:28thPreviously:26th
Highest Rank:26thLowest Rank:28thPreviously:22nd
Highest Rank:25thLowest Rank:28thPreviously:28th
Highest Rank:28thLowest Rank:31stPreviously:31st
Highest Rank:29thLowest Rank:31stPreviously:30th
Highest Rank:30thLowest Rank:31stPreviously:29th
Highest Rank:32ndLowest Rank:32ndPreviously:32nd

Who is too high? Who is too low? Drop a comment down below!

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