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NFL Power Rankings: Week 14 sees huge number of changes in the rankings

This is what parity looks like. At the conclusion of Week 14 of the 2015 season, somehow, only eleven teams in the NFL have a winning recor


This is what parity looks like. At the conclusion of Week 14 of the 2015 season, somehow, only eleven teams in the NFL have a winning record. That’s reflected in our power rankings, not just at the top, where those eleven teams on the right side of .500 occupy the top eleven spots, but particularly in the middle of the rankings, where teams have become almost interchangeable. One of our panelists said to me this week that in their rankings, they could have swapped their 13th-ranked team with any team he had ranked between #14 and #24, and it would have been equally valid in his eyes.

With so many teams still failing to distinguish themselves in the middle of the pack, teams are bouncing up and down the rankings week to week. Take the Jaguars/Colts game, for example. Last week, Indy sat at #15 in our rankings; Jacksonville, #28. One week later, the Jaguars humiliated the Colts 51-16, snapping Indianapolis’ 16-game win streak against divisional rivals. As a result, Indy have fallen five spots in our rankings, while the Jags jumped up 17 places, tied with the Eagles for the biggest riser of the week. That game may have had the biggest combined effect for the two participating teams when it comes to our rankings, but it’s indicative of how quickly perceptions of teams can change this season, due to the league finally achieving that parity they’ve long strived for.A whopping

A whopping twenty seven teams moved up or down in our rankings this week, again reflecting how even this late in the season, each result reveals something new about a team that has otherwise failed to make their mark on this season. We might have parity now – after all, 31 teams entered Week 14 still alive for the postseason, the most in NFL history – but the problem with parity is that while it might make everyone more competitive, it doesn’t mean that many teams are actually, well, good. (GS)

Check out the full rankings below!

Panel: Gur Samuel, Edd Hodsdon, Remy Cabache, Toby Durant, Brandon Hamme, Pete Hallifax, Charlie Anderson, Nathan Hards, David Pruett

1. Carolina Panthers (13-0)

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

Carolina steam-rolled the Falcons 38-0 to stay undefeated. The defense generated four turnovers and is playing like the best unit in the league, while Cam Newton and the offense didn’t miss a beat after Jonathan Stewart sprained his foot. 16-0 looks like a foregone conclusion. (EH)

2. New England Patriots (11-2)

Last week: =#4 GS = 3, EH = 2, RC = 3, TD = 3, BH = 2, PH = 3, CA = 2, NH  = 32 DP = 2

A week after falling out of the number 1 seed they regained it. They dominated the Texans and in doing so took advantage of the Broncos and Bengals mishaps. Gronk’s quick return showed just how important he is. The Pats are back and are scary again. (RC)

3. Arizona Cardinals (11-2)

Last week: #2 GS = 2, EH = 3, RC = 2, TD = 2, BH = 3, PH = 2, CA = 4, NH = 3, DP = 3

Arizona are the only team to rank in the top five in both offense and defense, yet continue to let inferior opponents hang around in games. Thursday Night’s game against the Vikings should’ve been a blowout. Instead, it went down to the wire before the defense stopped Minnesota’s comeback short. (EH)

4. Cincinnati Bengals (10-3)

Last week: #3 GS = 8, EH = 7, RC = 5, TD = 4, BH = 8, PH = 4, CA = 7, NH = 4, DP = 6

The Bengals didn’t start well against the Steelers, but that was magnified when Dalton left the game with a thumb injury. It has since been announced that he might not play again in the regular season and he could potentially miss more time than that. This could completely derail this promising Bengals season. (RC)

5. Denver Broncos (10-3)

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

Denver’s defense dominated the Raiders in the first half, with Oakland’s net yards mired at -12. But in the second half, Oakland overpowered Denver’s defense as Brock Osweiler was unable to lead the Broncos to a touchdown. As an inexperienced starter, Osweiler will have games like this. But when he does, the defense needs to be able to cover for him. (EH)

6. Green Bay Packers (9-4)

Last week: =#7 GS = 9, EH = 8, RC = 8, TD = 5, BH = 6, PH = 5, CA = 3, NH = 6, DP = 7

The Packers handled the Cowboys in Lambeau to secure their 2nd straight win and hopefully reboot their season. Lacy looked more like Eddie Lacy of old and that helped the entire offense. The defense did a good job too. (RC)

7. Seattle Seahawks (8-5)

Last week: #6 GS = 7, EH = 4, RC = 6, TD = 7, BH = 4, PH = 9, CA = 10, NH = 7, DP = 4

The Seahawks are winning again, much like they did late last season. Russell Wilson has been phenomenal over the past four weeks, throwing 16 touchdowns to zero interceptions. Seattle’s passing game has been dominant even without Jimmy Graham, but the loss of Thomas Rawls for the year could be an issue moving forward. (EH)

8. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5)

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

The Steelers went up to Cincinnati and overpowered the Bengals. The defense took advantage of an inexperienced QB and the offense exploited the defense. When these Steelers are hot they are a very dangerous team. (RC)

9. Minnesota Vikings (8-5)

Last week: #10 GS = 10, EH = 11, RC = 11, TD = 10, BH = 11, PH = 6, CA = 5, NH = 11, DP = 11

The Vikings kept pace with Arizona on Thursday night, but failed to get the statement win they sorely need. With losses to Green Bay, Seattle, and now the Cardinals, Minnesota’s hopes of upsetting the NFC’s established order are fading. The defense is banged up, while Teddy Bridgewater often cannot generate any offense without Adrian Peterson. (EH)

10. New York Jets (8-5)

Last week: #11 GS = 11, EH = 10, RC = 10, TD = 9, BH = 12, PH = 8, CA = 9, NH = 8, DP = 10

The Jets got another win to join the Steelers and Chiefs at 8-5 and keep themselves comfortably in the playoff race. They dominated the Titans, who needed some trickery to get on the board, 30-8 in a complete win. (RC)

11. Kansas City Chiefs (8-5)

Last week: =#7 GS = 6, EH = 9, RC = 9, TD = 11, BH = 9, PH = 11, CA = 15, NH = 10, DP = 8

The Chiefs continued to dominate on defense, allowing just three points to San Diego for the second time this year. However, the offense couldn’t score despite facing a poor Chargers defense. Alex Smith and co. need to retain their dominance of the past few weeks for Kansas City to be a legitimate contender. (EH)

12. Oakland Raiders (6-7)

Last week: #18 GS = 13, EH = 15, RC = 13, TD = 12, BH = 10, PH = 14, CA = 12, NH = 14, DP = 13

The Raiders join the 6-7 club after a big, comeback win against the Broncos. The Raiders were down 12-0 at the half but 5 sacks by Khalil Mack alone propelled this team passed the Broncos. He’s a beast. (RC)

13. Buffalo Bills (6-7)

Last week: #12 GS = 17, EH = 12, RC = 12, TD = 13, BH = 13, PH = 12, CA = 13, NH = 13, DP = 12

Buffalo were the superior team against Philadelphia, but shot themselves in the foot far too often. Penalties killed good drives from Tyrod Taylor, while the defense continued to use its talent effectively. The loss likely cost Buffalo its chance of returning to the playoffs. (EH)

=14. Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)

Last week: #21 GS = 16, EH = 13, RC = 17, TD = 19, BH = 15, PH = 21, CA = 11, NH = 19, DP = 15

The Eagles stuck it to LeSean McCoy with their win on Sunday. But most importantly, this win ensures the Eagles will be 2nd in the NFC East for at least one more week. They are doing enough to stay in the NFC East race but they, along with the Redskins and Giants, need to do something to actually win this division. (RC)

=14. Washington Redskins (6-7)

Last week: =#19 GS = 14, EH = 16, RC = 16, TD = 18, BH = 16, PH = 13, CA = 16, NH = 20, DP = 17

The Redskins are still tied with Philadelphia for the NFC East lead, but have only just won their first road game of the season. Washington has deficiencies across the board and struggles to run the ball most weeks. (EH)

16. Houston Texans (6-7)

Last week: #14 GS = 12, EH = 14, RC = 15, TD = 22, BH = 23, PH = 19, CA = 17, NH = 16, DP = 14

The Texans were smacked by the Pats but they remain tied with the Colts atop the AFC South. With Brian Hoyer suffering another concussion, the Texans have to hope Yates can play like he did earlier this year when he filled in for Hoyer. (RC)

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7)

Last week: #13 GS = 15, EH = 18, RC = 14, TD = 14, BH = 19, PH = 17, CA = 24, NH = 17, DP = 16

Tampa Bay’s wild card hopes suffered a blow after a loss to New Orleans. With Carolina still on the docket, the playoffs look too far away for Lovie Smith’s crew. But Jameis Winston still had the Bucs contending late against the Saints, and Tampa Bay could still overtake the Vikings for the final wild card spot. (EH)

18. New York Giants (6-7)

Last week: #17 GS = 20, EH = 19, RC = 22, TD = 17, BH = 14, PH = 15, CA = 15, NH = 24, DP = 18

The Giants managed to keep up with the Eagles and Redskins by beating the Dolphins on Monday Night Football to go 6-7. Eli Manning had a great game and so did Odell Beckham Jr. You can’t help but think that if the Giants make the playoffs, with Manning and Beckham playing as they are – and Big Blue’s history in the playoffs –  they have to be taken serious. (RC)

19. Chicago Bears (5-8)

Last week: =#19 GS = 23, EH = 20, RC = 19, TD = 16, BH = 24, PH = 16, CA = 18, NH = 18, DP = 22

Chicago dropped the game against the Redskins after a poor showing on defense, but almost managed to force the game into overtime. Jay Cutler has played fairly well this season, but the Bears struggled to run the ball against Washington, and their defense couldn’t pick up the slack. (EH)

20. Indianapolis Colts (6-7)

Last week: #15 GS = 19, EH = 21, RC = 21, TD = 23, BH = 20, PH = 18, CA = 20, NH = 15, DP = 20

The Colts are 6-7 and now without Matt Hasselbeck. Though Charlie Whitehurst is expected to play on Sunday, talks of Andrew Luck coming back are starting so the Colts potentially have something to look forward to. (RC)

21. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-8)

Last week: #28 GS = 21, EH = 17, RC = 18, TD = 24, BH = 17, PH = 22, CA = 19, NH = 22, DP = 21

Jacksonville laid 51 points on Indianapolis in a strange game where they trailed 16-12 at half-time. Blake Bortles is getting better and has a potent offense to work with. The defense was more physical against the Colts, and it paid off with a dominant victory. (EH)

22. New Orleans Saints (5-8)

Last week: #23 GS = 18, EH = 22, RC = 26, TD = 15, BH = 18, PH = 25, CA = 27, NH = 23, DP = 19

The Saints sowed what having Drew Brees does for a team when the defense doesn’t concede 30+ points. The Saints played mistake free and are now just one game behind the Bucs and the Falcons. (RC)

23. Atlanta Falcons (6-7)

Last week: #16 GS = 26, EH = 25, RC = 25, TD = 20, BH = 22, PH = 20, CA = 26, NH = 12, DP = 25

Atlanta came within a yard of scoring a point against Carolina in the fourth quarter, but failed to punch it in. The offense is slow and Matt Ryan looks uncomfortable in Kyle Shanahan’s system, while the defense cannot stop anyone. Atlanta have a serious void of talent that they need to fill in the offseason. (EH)

24. Miami Dolphins (5-8)

Last week: #24 GS = 24, EH = 27, RC = 23, TD = 21, BH = 25, PH = 24, CA = 23, NH = 21, DP = 23

The Dolphins couldn’t build on a strong offensive first half and came out of this game with another loss to give them a 5-8 record. This team has a few players playing well but the rest have been a disappointment. Dan Campbell never really stood a chance. (RC)

25. St. Louis Rams (5-8)

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

The Rams have a gem in Todd Gurley, providing they have the lead going into the second half. 127 of Gurley’s 140 rushing yards came in the second half as he dominated the Lions. Gurley’s rushing yards in the second half were more than Case Keenum’s 124 passing yards for the whole game. (EH)

26. Detroit Lions (4-9)

Last week: #22 GS = 27, EH = 24, RC = 24, TD = 25, BH = 21, PH = 26, CA = 21, NH = 27, DP = 27

The Lions have lost the 2nd straight and they failed to do much against the Rams. Their loss against the Packers was exactly the type of loss that could doom a team and this loss will not help at all. (RC)

27. Dallas Cowboys (4-9)

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

Dallas are realistically out of the running in the NFC East. That’s how bad they are with Matt Cassel under centre. The defense, which had played well for much of the season, is now struggling to stop opponents. Meanwhile, Cassel and the offense make too many redzone mistakes and struggle even to get Dan Bailey into field goal range. (EH)

28. San Francisco 49ers (4-9)

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

The 49ers managed to look bad against the Browns. Let’s just let that sink in. The Browns are a worse team than the teams the 49ers have managed to beat but they couldn’t stop the run and the offense couldn’t exploit one of the worst defenses in the NFL. (RC)

29. Baltimore Ravens (4-9)

Last week: #30 GS = 29, EH = 32, RC = 30, TD = 29, BH = 30, PH = 32, CA = 29, NH = 26, DP = 29

The Ravens have been decimated by injuries this season. After losing Terrell Suggs, Steve Smith, Justin Forsett, and Joe Flacco, backup quarterback Matt Schaub joins the pile and Jimmy Clausen takes over for what will likely be the rest of the season. Yikes. (EH)

30. Tennessee Titans (3-10)

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

The Titans took back the no.1 pick following a big loss to the Jets. The Jets were clearly the better team in this came and played like it. The Titans have so many gaps on their roster, but not all is bad, you have Mariota, Titans fans. (RC)

31. San Diego Chargers (3-10)

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

With playmakers returning from injury on offense, Philip Rivers should be able to keep San Diego competitive. Instead, they have scored three points in two of their last three games and are struggling to move the ball. The defense played well against the Chiefs this week, but still doesn’t have enough playmakers to keep the Chargers in games. (EH)

32. Cleveland Browns (3-10)

Last week: #32 GS = 28, EH = 30, RC = 31, TD = 32, BH = 32, PH = 3-, CA = 31, NH = 30, DP = 32

Manziel led the Browns to just their 3rd win of the year, and his second, against the 49ers. The scoreline might suggest the Browns played very well, but the 49ers did not play well at all. Like the Titans, the Browns have a lot of problems. (RC)

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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 Sky News, the BBC, Al Jazeera, Mail Online, ABC, NBC, CBS, USA Today, the Boston Globe, and Yahoo! Sports.

NFL Power Rankings: Week 14 sees huge number of changes in the rankings

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