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NFL Power Rankings: 31 teams change positions in our Week 15 rankings

RealSport’s power rankings are brought to you by American Football Development, the


RealSport’s power rankings are brought to you by American Football Development, the UK’s no.1 provider of grassroots American football

With just two weeks left in the regular season, things aren’t all that much clearer than they were in Week 1. The Panthers are the best team in the league – that much is obvious. Then there are around ten teams below them who we can classify as ‘good’. There may be four or five teams we can call outright ‘bad’. And then, there’s everyone else in the middle. There’s no clearer indication of just how little clarity there is than the fact that, with two weeks left, thirty one of the NFL’s thirty two teams are in a different spot in our power rankings than last week. The one team that didn’t move positions? The Panthers, of course.

Elsewhere in the rankings, we see the Seattle Seahawks crack the top 5 for the first time all season, while the teams who have finally managed to separate themselves from the quagmires of the NFC East and the AFC South – Washington and the Texans – climb to the highest positions they’ve had in our power rankings all season. On the other hand, two teams who went from pushing into the wild card hunt – the Bills and the Bucs – tied for the second biggest drop of this week with three spots, pipped only by the four spots that the Eagles and Bears fell. The Falcons, technically the only NFC team not currently in a playoff spot that could, still in theory, sneak into the postseason, ended a six-game losing streak and were rewarded with the highest rise of the week with six spots.

Ultimately, it’s surprising that with only two weeks left, we had more changes in the power rankings than any other week this season, but that’s what a league geared towards parity will garner – that for every team, right up until the final whistle of the season, they can still change how they’re viewed around the league. (GS)

Check out the full power rankings below!

Panel: Gur Samuel, David Venables, Edd Hodsdon, Remy Cabache, Toby Durant, Tom Parry-Jones, Brandon Hamme, Pete Hallifax, Charlie Anderson, Nathan Hards, David Pruett, Rebecca Rennie

 1. Carolina Panthers (14-0)

Last week: #1 GS = 1, DV = 1, EH = 1, RC = 1, TD = 1, TPJ = 1, BH = 1, PH = 1, CA = 1, NH = 1, DP = 1, RR = 1

Just like the 2007 Patriots the Panthers are finding ways to win. And just like the 2007 Patriots they pulled out a 38-35 win on the road to the Giants. Is it an omen of things to come? Or just a sign that the much vaunted Carolina defense is starting to wear down? Either way Cam Newton keeps adding to his MVP resume. Another 5 touchdown performance puts him on a league-leading 40 for the season. (TD)

2. Arizona Cardinals (14-2)

Last week: #3 GS = 2, DV = 2, EH = 2, RC = 2, TD = 2, TPJ = 2, BH = 3, PH = 2, CA = 2, NH = 3, DP = 3, RR = 2

A big win for the Cards puts them firmly in second place in the NFC, but the loss of Tyrann ‘Honeybadger’ Mathieu will hurt them in the playoffs. (TPJ)

3. New England Patriots (14-2)

Last week: #2 GS = 3, DV = 3, EH = 3, RC = 3, TD = 3, TPJ = 3, BH = 2, PH = 3, CA = 3, NH = 2, DP = 2, RR = 3

Was it just me, or was the Patriots victory of the Titans a bit… meh? It was never going to thrill, but the Patriots did not look entirely confident or comfortable against a lowly team on Sunday. The signings of Montee Ball and Steven Jackson look set to beef up the running game somewhat, but questions remain over the true quality of the offensive line and just who is going to end up healthy enough to catch Tom Brady’s passes. (DV)

4. Seattle Seahawks (9-5)

Last week: #7 GS = 7, DV = 4, EH = 4, RC = 6, TD = 5, TPJ = 6, BH = 4, PH = 7, CA = 5, NH = 7, DP = 4, RR = 5

Russell Wilson continues to play like one of the best quarterbacks in the league, with almost 20 touchdowns without an interception over the past few games. Seattle has overcome the loss of Thomas Rawls by focusing on Wilson and the passing game. The defense is back to its best and the Seahawks have clinched one of the NFC’s wild card spots. (EH)

5. Cincinnati Bengals (11-3)

Last week: #4 GS = 6, DV = 6, EH = 7, RC = 4, TD = 4, TPJ = 4, BH = 7, PH = 5, CA = 9, NH = 4, DP = 5, RR = 4

This team has a hell of a lot of talent, seemingly enough talent that AJ McCarron will be just fine when it comes to managing this team through to the playoffs. Monday Night’s game will be huge and very telling for him and the Bengals. (RC)

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5)

Last week: #8 GS = 4, DV = 5, EH = 5, RC = 7, TD = 6, TPJ = 7, BH = 5, PH = 8, CA = 4, NH = 9, DP = 6, RR = 6

Victory over a Broncos team on the slide was invaluable for the Steelers, who are still in with a shout of overhauling the Chiefs and the Jets as one of the AFC’s wildcard teams. (TPJ)

7. Green Bay Packers (10-4)

Last week: #6 GS = 9, DV = 9, EH = 9, RC = 8, TD = 7, TPJ = 5, BH = 6, PH = 4, CA = 6, NH = 6, DP = 8, RR = 8

Came dangerously close to letting the Raiders back into the game after going up early, before utilising the rushing game to choke the time off the clock. Still far from the finished product, the Packers have two games remaining to work out the kinks, or else face being trampled in the playoffs. (DV)

8. Denver Broncos (10-4)

Last week: #5 GS = 8, DV = 8, EH = 6, RC = 5, TD = 8, TPJ = 11, BH = 9, PH = 10, CA = 10, NH = 5, DP = 9, RR = 7

The Broncos are still struggling offensively, and have a quarterback controversy brewing. Their defense has looked human of late, and needs to reclaim its top form to get a first round bye for Denver. (EH)

9. Kansas City Chiefs (9-5)

Last week: #11 GS = 5, DV = 7, EH = 8, RC = 9, TD = 10, TPJ = 9, BH = 8, PH = 9, CA = 7, NH = 10, DP = 7, RR = 9

The Chiefs have become the first team to start 1-5 and then win 8 straight. They now find themselves just one game out of 1st place in the AFC West and, as it stands, in the playoffs. The defence is hot and the offense is hot. The Chiefs are now playing like the team we thought they could be. (RC)

10. Minnesota Vikings (9-5)

Last week: #9 GS = 10, DV = 11, EH = 10, RC = 11, TD = 9, TPJ = 8, BH = 10, PH = 6, CA = 8, NH = 11, DP = 11, RR = 11

A career performance from QB Teddy Bridgewater helped the Vikings keep their fate in their own hands in the NFC playoff race with a big win over the Bears. (TPJ)

11. New York Jets (9-5)

Last week: #10 GS = 11, DV = 10, EH = 11, RC = 10, TD = 11, TPJ = 10, BH = 11, PH = 11, CA = 11, NH = 8, DP = 10, RR = 10

One of the Jets/Steelers/Chiefs is going to miss the playoffs, and right now it’s Gang Green. I will be the first to say that it would be a damn shame not see the Jets in the postseason, after proving so many people, including me, wrong this season. Credit must be spread evenly from the upper management right through to Todd Bowles, and then veteran’s Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall. Two games to make it back in the wildcard seeding spots, don’t count them out. (DV)

12. Washington Redskins (7-7)

Last week: =#14 GS = 12, DV = 12, EH = 14, RC = 12, TD = 12, TPJ = 13, BH = 13, PH = 12, CA = 13, NH =14, DP = 12, RR = 13

Washington are now undisputed leaders of the NFC East after their divisional rivals all lost this week as the Redskins hammered the Bills. Washington are great at home, but struggle on the road and that could derail their NFC East title hopes. (EH)

13. Houston Texans (7-7)

Last week: #16 GS = 13, DV = 13, EH = 12, RC = 13, TD = 13, TPJ = 12, BH = 19, PH = 14, CA = 15, NH = 13, DP = 13, RR = 12

The franchise’s first win in Indianapolis puts the 7-7 Texans in pole position for the division title. But a torn ACL for TJ Yates puts Brandon Weeden at the helm of the offense for now. Sunday he was good enough to get them past the dreaded Colts and with only the Titans & Jaguars left a playoff spot should be attainable. (TD)

14. Oakland Raiders (6-8)

Last week: #12 GS = 15, DV = 19, EH = 13, RC = 14, TD = 18, TPJ = 17, BH = 12, PH = 13, CA = 14, NH = 16, DP = 15, RR = 19

The Raiders really lost their game against the Packers. If not for some early mistakes, this game would’ve been completely different. Amari Cooper had a comeback game and Derek Carr certainly has a very bright future with some of his current weapons. (RC)

15. New York Giants (6-8)

Last week: #18 GS = 14, DV = 18, EH = 16, RC = 22, TD = 15, TPJ = 15, BH = 14, PH = 16, CA = 12, NH = 20, DP = 19, RR = 16

They may have lost on Sunday, but the Giants pushed the Panthers all the way. Meanwhile, Odell Beckham seems to be as much of a curse as he is a blessing. (TPJ)

16. Buffalo Bills (6-8)

Last week: #13 GS = 21, DV = 15, EH = 15, RC = 15, TD = 19, TPJ = 18, BH = 15, PH = 15, CA = 16, NH = 15, DP = 16, RR = 21

Yet again the Bills fail to make the postseason. Though there has been much promise at the start of the Ryan-era, the Jets and Patriots are clearly the superior teams in the AFC East at the moment. You will always struggle to make the postseason if you’re not one of the top-two in your division, and the Bills will have to focus on closing the gap in the offseason. (DV)

17. Atlanta Falcons (7-7)

Last week: #23 GS = 19, DV = 14, EH = 17, RC = 19, TD = 14, TPJ = 16, BH = 18, PH = 18, CA = 27, NH = 12, DP = 21, RR = 17

The Falcons salvaged their pride with a win in Jacksonville, but still aren’t a convincing contender. Neither side of the ball works particularly well most weeks, but Dan Quinn has been assured that his job will be safe. (EH)

18. Philadelphia Eagles (6-8)

Last week: =#14 GS = 16, DV = 17, EH = 19, RC = 18, TD = 16, TPJ = 21, BH = 16, PH = 22, CA = 18, NH = 21, DP = 14, RR = 15

The Eagles got smacked by the Cardinals in Philadelphia, but there was at least one positive: Sam Bradford seems to be improving. Though his stat line may not say so, Bradford has been looking better and better as the season has gone on and his confidence has clearly gone up. Maybe there is a chance Bradford does turn his career around in Philly. (RC)

19. Indianapolis Colts (6-8)

Last week: #20 GS = 17, DV = 20, EH = 20, RC = 21, TD = 17, TPJ = 22, BH = 24, PH = 17, CA = 21, NH = 17, DP = 18, RR = 14

This must be the end of the Pagano-era in Indianapolis. They gave up the lead in the AFC South, and now need help to make the playoffs, despite having, on paper, the strongest team in the division by some way. Shows you how pointless paper predictions are… (DV)

=20. St. Louis Rams (6-8)

Last week: #25 GS = 18, DV = 21, EH = 21, RC = 16, TD = 20, TPJ = 14, BH = 21, PH = 19, CA = 19, NH = 22, DP = 22, RR = 22

For all of Jeff Fisher’s shortcomings as a Head Coach he has at least been able to use Tavon Austin properly. He has a sensational 9.4 yards per touch on 44 catches and 43 carries. Austin’s found the endzone 10 times including his returns and he tormented the Tampa Bay defense on thursday. Now if only Fisher could find a quarterback he might not have to run Todd Gurley into the ground… (TD)

=20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8)

Last week: #17 GS = 20, DV = 16, EH = 24, RC = 17, TD = 22, TPJ = 19, BH = 22, PH = 20, CA = 17, NH = 18, DP = 20, RR = 20 The Bucs have lost two straight now, ruling them out of playoff contention; something of a surprise after looking like a real possibility a few weeks ago. (TPJ)

22. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-9)

Last week: #21 GS = 23, DV = 23, EH = 18, RC = 23, TD = 23, TPJ = 20, BH = 20, PH = 23, CA = 20, NH = 24, DP = 23, RR = 18

The Jaguars continue to rise to the cusp of a breakout run, only to lose games that they should win. Mistakes often cost them dearly, and Jacksonville looks doomed to be another year away from being a true contender. (EH)

23. Chicago Bears (5-9)

Last week: #19 GS = 24, DV = 22, EH = 25, RC = 24, TD = 21, TPJ = 24, BH = 25, PH = 21, CA = 23, NH = 19, DP = 17, RR = 26

The Bears now sitting bottom of the NFC North having lost 4 of their last 5. The holes on this team have really showed once again and that was highlighted by how easily the Vikings handled them this weekend. (RC)

24. Detroit Lions (5-9)

Last week: #26 GS = 25, DV = 24, EH = 22, RC = 20, TD = 24, TPJ = 25, BH = 17, PH = 24, CA = 22, NH = 27, DP = 27, RR = 23

A blowout victory in a nothing game will not do the Lions confidence any harm. Were let off at the end of the second half with the Saints offense scoring three touchdowns only to concede penalties on every single one. (DV)

25. New Orleans Saints (5-9)

Last week: #22 GS = 22, DV = 27, EH = 23, RC = 26, TD = 25, TPJ = 26, BH = 23, PH = 26, CA = 24, NH = 25, DP = 24, RR = 24

The Saints once again gave up 30+ points and the offense just couldn’t keep up with a hot Lions offense. Brees was clearly bothered by a foot injury which certainly didn’t help so the Saints have to hope that doesn’t last long. (RC)

26. Miami Dolphins (5-9)

Last week: #24 GS = 28, DV = 25, EH = 29, RC = 27, TD = 26, TPJ = 23, BH = 27, PH = 25, CA = 26, NH = 23, DP = 26, RR = 25

Miami continue their stellar fall after what looked like a great offseason. Whoever their next head coach is, he has a huge mess to sort out. What should have been a dominant defense hasn’t played well, while investing in Ryan Tannehill has resulted in both a head coach and an offensive coordinator packing their bags. (EH)

27. San Diego Chargers (4-10)

Last week: #31 GS = 27, DV = 30, EH = 26, RC = 25, TD = 28, TPJ = 27, BH = 26, PH = 27, CA = 25, NH = 28, DP = 25, RR = 29

Four Danny Woodhead touchdowns for the Chargers on Sunday, their first rushing touchdowns since… Week 1, believe it or not. They may have just played their last game at the Qualcomm Stadium, so it was fitting that they signed off with a win at least. (DV)

28. Dallas Cowboys (4-10)

Last week: #27 GS = 26, DV = 28, EH = 31, RC = 28, TD = 29, TPJ = 29, BH = 28, PH = 28, CA = 28, NH = 29, DP = 28, RR = 27 The Cowboys are now down to their 4th starting quarterback in Kellen Moore. Moore actually didn’t do awfully against a tough Jets defense, but he isn’t going to turn this team around. The Cowboys just need to see the rest of the season out and avoid any more injuries or controversies. (RC)

29. San Francisco 49ers (4-10)

Last week: #28 GS = 31, DV = 26, EH = 30, RC = 29, TD = 30, TPJ = 30, BH = 29, PH = 31, NH = 29, CA = 30, DP = 29, RR = 28

A late second quarter meltdown sealed the 49ers fate on Sunday. It’s hard to work out if it’s been a better than predicted or worse than expected season for the 49ers, but there has been clear and decisive steps taken in many areas (see, quarterback), so that is something to build upon going into 2016. (DV)

30. Baltimore Ravens (4-10)

Last week: #29 GS = 30, DV = 29, EH = 32, RC = 30, TD = 27, TPJ = 28, BH = 30, PH = 32, CA = 31, NH = 26, DP = 31, RR = 30

Who do the Ravens have left at this point? Jimmy Clausen started for them against the Chiefs, and promptly pulled a Schaub and threw a pick six. The most exciting thing for the rest of the season? Wondering what Ozzie Newsome could do with the first overall pick. (EH)

=31. Cleveland Browns (3-11)

Last week: #32 GS = 29, DV = 32, EH = 28, RC = 31, TD = 32, TPJ = 32, BH = 32, PH = 29, CA = 30, NH = 31, DP = 32, RR = 32

Gary Barnidge tied Ozzie Newsome’s touchdown catch record in a season by a Browns tight end on Sunday, giving me something positive to write about the Browns, for once. (DV)

=31. Tennessee Titans (3-11)

Last week: #30 GS = 32, DV = 31, EH = 27, RC = 32, TD = 31, TPJ = 31, BH = 31, PH = 30, CA = 32, NH = 32, DP = 30, RR = 31

The Titans had very little to get them excited already, but the one thing they did have is now gone. Marcus Mariota sprained his MCL and is out for the rest of the year. (RC)

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Check out our mini-documentary with the UK’s #2 in K1/Muay Thai: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-kt6BFSlOg


Gur Samuel

Hi! I'm Gur and I'm RealSport's Editor-in-Chief. I'm also currently the site's tennis editor, and contribute to our NFL, wrestling and Formula 1 coverage as well. I'm also an NFL analyst for CNN International and contributor to SB Nation, and have contributed to, or been interviewed by, various print, broadcast and online media, including the BBC, Mail Online, ABC, NBC, CBS, the Boston Globe, and Yahoo! Sports.

NFL Power Rankings: 31 teams change positions in our Week 15 rankings

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