Top 10 NFL Power Rankings: Week 15
Week 14 has begun, and with 4 weeks left in the season the playoff race is heating up. With that being said it is important to know those teams heading into the final stretch that are going to be able to make a playoff run. In this article I will be discussing the top 10 teams in the NFL and what damage I think can be done in the playoffs assuming they finish the season strong…
#10: Baltimore Ravens (8-5) #4 seed AFC
A heartbreaking loss 24-22 against the Browns brought a heartbreaking injury to starting quarterback Lamar Jackson. If this Baltimore team wants to win the AFC North, they are going to need Lamar Jackson in at quarterback. Nothing against Tyler Huntley, he has played very well in his time needed but being realistic he is no Lamar Jackson. With the Packers coming up this week the defense is going to need to step up if Lamar is unable to go. While the front seven of the Ravens defense has done well their corners have not been able to play consistently well. The Ravens are 5-1 at home this season but what could be costly with the playoffs approaching is the team’s 1-3 division record. The Browns and Bengals are both just one game behind so the Ravens cannot get too comfortable in this number one spot but keeping Lamar Jackson healthy and not rushing him back should be the top priority.
#9: Los Angeles Chargers (8-5) #5 seed AFC
The Chargers offense played great last week in their 37-21 win over the New York Giants. All eyes were on Justin Herbert as his main target Keenan Allen was out, and he delivered, including a beautiful 59-yard touchdown to Jalen Guyton that traveled over 60 yards in the air. Thursday night will be a true test for this Chargers team with first place in the AFC West is up for grabs as the Chiefs look to continue their winning streak. Whether the Chargers win the AFC West or go into the playoffs as a wild card team the defense needs to stay solid and make big plays to put Herbert and the offense in a good position to get points on the board.
#8: Tennessee Titans (9-4) #2 seed AFC
Congrats Tennessee you beat the Jaguars 20-0, love the division win and hanging on to the AFC South crown, but the Colts are right on your tail. Currently 4-1in the division is a huge benefit to the Titans with the final stretch here for a playoff spot, and big news came about after the win Sunday. Derrick Henry is on pace to be back and fully healthy for the playoffs, assuming the Titans can hang in this very tight race in the AFC. The Titans defense forced four turnovers against the Jaguars, but the defense is what has actually been a problem for the Titans in terms of finishing out games. The Titans lost to the Texans and Jets this season, any game the rest of the season is 50/50 in my eyes because of the Titans unhealthiness and the unpredictability of if the defense is going to show up or not.
#7: Dallas Cowboys (9-4) #4 seed NFC
A hard-fought win with a controversial fumble call keeps the Cowboys in first place in the NFC East and the number 4 seed in the NFC. The Cowboys have been great on both sides of the ball, Dak and the offense has been clicking and has become more dangerous with Michael Gallup back to complete the best WR trio in the NFL. The defense has stepped up massively since last season, including Micah Parsons who is undisputedly the offensive rookie of the year and has been getting recent claims as a defensive player of the year candidate. Dak has been concerning with his turnovers, if the Cowboys want to actually win the division and win a playoff game Dak is going to need to play better football. The team has been great in the NFC holding a 7-1 record and a 3-0 division record, the remaining schedule for the Cowboys consists of 4 NFC matchups, including three of them against fellow NFC East teams. The Cowboys have a great chance of winning this division but being the 4 seed scares me in terms of a playoff run playing the 5 seed comes with the advantage of playing at home but the 5 seed in the NFC looks like it is going to be a tug of war match between the Rams and Cardinals.
#6: Los Angeles Rams (9-4) #5 seed NFC
Monday night the Rams were not expected to win that game missing the players they were, yet they managed to come up with a 30-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals. If this team wants to continue its success the entire starting 22 needs to play up to their utmost potential, and even the guys that come in and out as backups need to make the most of the time they play. That may sound obvious for every team, but the Rams had three straight losses after acquiring Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr. and it seemed as if they were caught up in the bright Hollywood lights. A lot of people have labeled the Rams as the team locked in to have the 5th seed, but now with the 30-23 win over the Cardinals first place in the NFC West is within arms reach with 4 games left to go.
#5: Kansas City Chiefs (9-4) #3 seed AFC
The Chiefs offense looked like it was back to form in its 48-9 win over the Las Vegas Raiders, and while recency bias would say that it is an eyebrow still raises for me when looking at this Chiefs team. A six-game win streak after beginning the season 2-3 and at the bottom of the AFC West has catapulted the Chiefs back to the division leader and top 10 in NFL power rankings. The team has had success against the division this year as well being 3-1, their only loss in the division coming against the Los Angeles Chargers and they face off again Thursday. The rest of the league is a different story though, the Chiefs are 5-0 against NFC teams this season which will be great come another potential appearance in the super bowl. But in terms of their own conference the Chiefs are 4-4 and end the season with four AFC matchups. The lack of success versus the AFC this season is the reason for question marks when asking if the Chiefs will finish the season strong or make a playoff run.
#4: New England Patriots (9-4) #1 seed AFC
The hottest team in the NFL right now with a seven-game winning streak has soared up in the NFL power rankings. The Patriots team was counted out so early after the lack of success in 2020 and now Bill Belichick has another perfect quarterback for his system and another great defense to help support that quarterback. The Patriots have allowed the least amount of points this season (200) and have given up just 36 points in the last 5 games, an average of 7.2 points per game. The records for the Patriots show all you need, 3-1 in the AFC East, 7-1 against AFC opponents, and when traveling the Patriots are 6-0 away from Foxborough. The biggest takeaway from the last seven weeks is to never count out Belichick and his coaching ability. For the Pats to keep the number one seed in the AFC and win yet another AFC East title, the defense needs to keep doing what they have been doing and the offense needs to continue feeding off of the success that they’ve been having in the running game.
#3: Arizona Cardinals (10-3) #3 seed NFC
A tough loss against the Rams on Monday Night Football has bumped the team down in my power rankings. The Cardinals have played great all season long but Monday it looked like the team as a whole was out of sync. Kyler Murray had an odd sequence run through his head at the end of the game to run a play instead of spiking the ball with time running out in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals are 4-1 in the division now, but with playoffs coming into frame health is going to be something to monitor. DeAndre Hopkins and James Conner both need MRI’s done after Monday night’s game and Kyler Murray has had his fair share of time out due to injuries as well. The Cardinals cannot get comfortable now because the Rams are just one game out of the division and looked to be catching fire. The Cardinals success on the road may help catapult them forward the last four games of the season to lock up the NFC West but DeAndre Hopkins and James Conner being on the field is going to dictate how good this offense will be.
#2: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-3) #2 seed NFC
The defending super bowl champs picked up right where they left off last season obtaining a hard fought 33-27 win over the Bills. The Buccaneers currently have the highest scoring offense in the NFL (410 points) and the defense still looks about as good as it was last season with a good front 7 and questionable secondary. The Buccaneers got away with a few holding calls in the game versus the Bills Sunday which may have caused the game to go the way it did. But nonetheless Tom Brady has been playing exceptionally well and is in my eyes the top candidate for MVP, Brady is always in the talk for MVP but this season I truly think it is clear cut Tom Brady. The Buccaneers went to the super bowl and won last season as a wild card team, so who is to say the team can’t get to the super bowl again with home field advantage as a higher seed. The Buccaneers are perfect at home this season 6-0 and can finish the season 8-0 at home with the Saints and Panthers coming up to end the season. The Buccaneers have arguably the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL and should finish the season 14-3 assuming their starters will play in week 18.
#1: Green Bay Packers (10-3) #1 seed NFC
Week one after a 38-3 loss to the Saints people were ready to write the Packers off and label them as frauds. Following that game the Packers went on a seven-game winning streak, recently the Packers lost to the Vikings which raised some eyebrows as to if the Packers were falling off. Green Bay, similar to the Buccaneers, are undefeated at home this year and are killing it with an 8-2 conference record. The Packers have this NFC North division pretty much wrapped up and could wrap up the NFC’s number one seed if they win out the season. Aaron Rodgers has been playing like he did in 2020 in which he won MVP and Davante Adams has been doing what Davante Adams does. The defense has played well this season too, despite being without Jaire Alexander and Za’Darius Smith for a while the defense has held its own and has established itself as one of the top in the NFL.