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Archived: NFL Power Rankings

Dec 15, 2020 EST

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NFL Power Rankings: Week 15

As you read through these NFL Power Rankings, remember that they are not predictions. If a team projects to have an easy or difficult schedule ahead of them, that matters not for this exercise. These are very simply a list of how good each team is right this minute. Here’s how all 32 teams rank in my Week 15 NFL Power Rankings – including the best teams at the bottom – with just a few more weeks remaining in the 2020 NFL regular season.

32) Cincinnati Bengals (2-10-1)

With three turnovers, this team really has little chance to beat anyone. Brandon Allen played most of this game but was injured and gave way to Ryan Finley late. The offense moved the ball to some degree, but Cincinnati was never in this game. They’ve now dropped five in a row and eight of their last nine games.

31) New York Jets (0-13)

New York is 0-13 and was dominated by the Seahawks to the tune of 40-3. Missed field goals were a problem, but in reality, that is well down the list of problems in this game for New York. Even in garbage time, the Jets’ offense did nothing. The Jets were just thoroughly outplayed.

30) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-12)

This was Jacksonville’s 12th loss in a row as Derrick Henry ran all over the Jaguars defense. Gardner Minshew replaced Mike Glennon when the Jaguars were down 31-3 in the third quarter. Glennon didn’t play terribly before this week, but Minshew is the best quarterback on this roster.

29) Carolina Panthers (4-9)

The Panthers have just one win in their last eight tries after dropping this game 32-27 to Denver. Teddy Bridgewater was sacked four times, while Carolina couldn’t disrupt Drew Lock with much consistency. The Panthers’ defense seemed overmatched against Lock and Denver’s talented young weapons, which is concerning.

With DJ Moore and Christian McCaffrey out, Robby Anderson continued to make a big impact, as he has all season.

NFL Power Rankings

28) Houston Texans (4-9)

This was a miserable performance by Houston, losing to the Bears 36-7. Deshaun Watson got little help whatsoever, and he was sacked seven times. Houston’s offense averaged 4.1 yards per play, and their defense allowed the Bears to gain 6.9 yards per snap.

27) Dallas Cowboys (4-9)

Dallas got their fourth win of the year by manhandling the hapless Bengals. Andy Dalton was really sharp against his former team, but this offense really didn’t need to do much to get this win. The Cowboys didn’t face a difficult offense, but they were more sound on defense in this game compared to prior weeks.

26) Chicago Bears (6-7)

Chicago was up 30-7 over the Texans at the half! David Montgomery has really been on a roll of late, and that continued as he and Allen Robinson had a big game. Mitch Trubisky was also highly effective and has been Chicago’s best quarterback this year. You would think Trubisky has earned Chicago’s quarterback job for the rest of 2020.

25) San Francisco 49ers (5-8)

Deebo Samuel was injured on the first play of the game, but Brandon Aiyuk continues to show that he can be special. As you would expect, the 49ers had a tough time getting Washington’s defensive line blocked, and it was the Football Team’s two defensive scores that were the difference in this game.

This was a really tough day for Nick Mullens. But give San Francisco’s defense credit for a dominating performance.

24) Philadelphia Eagles (4-8-1)

Jalen Hurts got his first career start, took a 17-0 lead into halftime, and walked away with an Eagles win. Hurts’ contributions with his legs certainly had plenty of value, but he did very little as a passer. Hurts did show good poise for a first-time starter, which is encouraging.

It is mindboggling that Miles Sanders hasn’t gotten the ball more until now. He was a real difference-maker in this game. The Eagles got their first interception since Week 7 and had five sacks. However, losing Darius Slay in this game hurt. Still, it was Philadelphia’s defense that was the best unit on the field.

23) New York Giants (5-8)

In Daniel Jones’ first game back from injury, he had just 44 passing yards in the first half. And, the Giants only had 58 yards from scrimmage through those first two quarters. It is fair to ask if Jones returned to the field too soon. Turnovers were a huge problem, and New York’s defense was on the field way too long.

The Giants have been trending in the right direction, winning their last four, but obviously, this was a step back. They rank 23rd in my Week 15 NFL Power Rankings.

22) Atlanta Falcons (4-9)

After falling 20-17 to the Chargers, Atlanta has now lost three of their last four games. They really have no running game to speak of, but Matt Ryan’s interceptions hurt the Falcons and probably were the difference in this game. The Falcons lost the time of possession battle by almost 10 minutes.

With Julio Jones sidelined, Calvin Ridley did pick up the slack and continued his outstanding season with 124 receiving yards.

21) Detroit Lions (5-8)

The Lions are playing better on both sides of the ball since their coaching change. A tie game at the half, this was pretty close from start to finish. The lack of a running game hurt Detroit. Matthew Stafford suffered an apparent rib injury, and Chase Daniel had to finish this game.

Aaron Rodgers was just more than Detroit’s defense could deal with. The Lions are now 5-8, but they gave Green Bay a pretty good battle.

NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Teams ranked 20-11

We kick off the top 20 of these Week 15 NFL Power Rankings with the Denver Broncos. Let’s continue our march as we count down to the best teams in the NFL heading into Week 15.

20) Denver Broncos (5-8)

Drew Lock had one of his best days as a pro, throwing for 280 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Denver has got to be excited about what they see in KJ Hamler, who had two big plays in this one. Overall, this was a quality outing for Denver and something for this franchise to build upon.

19) Washington Football Team (6-7)

Washington is in first place in the NFC East and has won four in a row. Chase Young continues to look like the NFL’s next superstar defensive player. He scored one of Washington’s two defensive touchdowns.

Alex Smith threw for just 57 yards in the first half on 19 attempts and then was replaced by Dwayne Haskins after injuring his leg. Washington won this game, but their 3.1 yards per play is just abysmal.

18) Los Angeles Chargers (4-9)

Justin Herbert completed 36 passes, but for only 243 yards. Mike Williams was injured very early in this game, but four Chargers receivers caught at least six passes. Herbert threw one interception, but Matt Ryan threw three, and Los Angeles was able to control the football. There are many pieces in place here for a team that only has four wins this year.

17) Las Vegas Raiders (7-6)

This Raiders defense is a disaster. The run defense was particularly egregious, and the Raiders were minus-three in turnover differential. This is a huge loss for Las Vegas, a team that has now lost three of their last four games with their only win in that stretch barely coming over the Jets. The playoffs seem like a real longshot for the Raiders now.

16) New England Patriots (6-7)

On Thursday night in their back-to-back stretch in Los Angeles, the Patriots got manhandled by the Rams. This was especially true when the Patriots had the ball, but New England’s defense was barely competitive in terms of stopping the run. The Patriots fall below .500 and are now also a long shot for the postseason.

15) Minnesota Vikings (6-7)

Minnesota controlled this game early on against the Buccaneers, but that quickly faded. The Vikings had serious kicker problems, and Dan Bailey could be looking for a job soon. Minnesota held the football for over 39 minutes and sacked Tom Brady six times.

Dalvin Cook rushed for over 100 yards, and Kirk Cousins played well enough to win. But this wasn’t Minnesota’s day, and they are now 6-7.

14) Arizona Cardinals (7-6)

Kyler Murray looked healthier than in recent weeks, and the Cardinals moved the ball quite well on the ground and through the air against New York. But it was Arizona’s defensive dominance over the Giants that was the real story.

The Cardinals defense created three turnovers, limited New York to 22:08 time of possession, and kept their opponent to just 3.2 yards per play. After losing their last three, this was a big win for Arizona.

13) Miami Dolphins (8-5)

Winning the turnover battle has been critical to Miami’s success this year, but that wasn’t enough against Kansas City, even though the Dolphins came back to make this game interesting. As usual, the Dolphins didn’t get much from their running game, and the defense allowed too many big plays.

Mike Gesicki and Xavien Howard continue to be very bright spots for Miami, and Tua Tagovailoa did quite a few good things against Kansas City as well. Hopefully, Gesicki’s shoulder injury isn’t too serious. Miami is now 2-2 in their last four games, with those two wins coming over the Jets and Bengals.

12) Cleveland Browns (9-4)

In an amazing game in which we saw 89 points scored, Cleveland fell to 9-4 against the Ravens. Baker Mayfield threw a bad second-half interception that led directly to a short Ravens touchdown, but overall, he played his second straight excellent game. The Browns got nice contributions from their peripheral receivers such as Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and David Njoku.

This was a heartbreaker for the Browns, but it also showed that this team is for real. They are going to end up in the playoffs and just might face the Ravens a third time. Let’s hope so.

11) Baltimore Ravens (8-5)

In one of the very best games of the NFL season, Baltimore advanced to 8-5 in Cleveland on Monday night. Lamar Jackson left this game with cramps as Cleveland got back into it, but then came back to convert a crucial fourth and five for a long touchdown to Marquise Brown.

And as he has so many times, the best kicker in the history of the game, Justin Tucker, won this game with an ultra-clutch kick. Jackson ran for 124 yards as his Ravens put up 47 points. A healthy Mark Andrews makes a big impact on Baltimore’s passing game. This is a gigantic win by Baltimore.

Teams ranked 10-6

We’re getting closer to the top five best teams in the NFL heading into Week 15 but first, let’s take a look at the teams ranked 10-6 in my Power Rankings. We begin with the Indianapolis Colts.

10) Indianapolis Colts (9-4)

Indianapolis is 9-4, have won four of their last five, and are in a good place after beating up on the Raiders. The Colts should be thrilled with where Jonathan Taylor is right now as they approach the home stretch of the season and quite possibly the playoffs.

TY Hilton also looks like he has much more life in his legs lately as well. The Colts defense did enough and caused three big turnovers.

9) Tennessee Titans (9-4)

As he often has in his career, Derrick Henry blew up against the Jaguars. Tennessee totally controlled it from the start against an inferior opponent. That being said, Jacksonville attempted 54 passes, and the Titans still couldn’t record a single sack. Ryan Tannehill and the Titans – who have won three of their last four – will take on the Lions in Week 15 and the Packers in Week 16.

8) Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2)

This is Pittsburgh’s third bad game in a row. It was also their third game in 12 days, and that has shown negatively on the field. The Steelers haven’t scored 20 points in any of their last three games. Pittsburgh’s offense has no running game and no deep passing attack, while dropped passes continue to plague their short passing game. And the Steelers lost two offensive linemen in this game.

The Steelers weren’t bashful about coming after Josh Allen. They consistently pressured Buffalo’s star quarterback early on. The defense is still excellent but wearing down quickly. They have too many injuries while getting little help from the offensive side of the ball.

7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5)

The Buccaneers got destroyed in terms of the time of possession and benefited from missed field goals. However, they were clearly the better team against Minnesota as they moved to 8-5. Tampa Bay only ran 49 plays but averaged 6.2 yards per play. The Buccaneers offense, led by Tom Brady, had success on the ground and through the air.

6) Green Bay Packers (10-3)

In a pretty evenly played game, the Packers got their 10th win over division rival Detroit. Aaron Rodgers was terrific again, and Green Bay featured an efficient, balanced attack. The Packers held the ball for 35:30 and excelled in the red zone and on third downs. That was enough to hold off Detroit.

Nfl power rankings

The top 5 NFL teams

We kick off the top five of these NFL Week 15 Power Rankings with the Seattle Seahawks along with the other four best teams in the league.

5) Seattle Seahawks (9-4)

Geno Smith entered the game near the end of the third quarter against his former team. It was that kind of game in Seattle’s favor and was never competitive. It was against the lowly Jets, but Seattle’s defense continues to improve. That is extremely promising going forward. Seattle has won three of their last four, and things are trending up as they prepare for the playoffs.

4) New Orleans Saints (10-3)

The Saints lost their third game of the year and their first since Week 3. Taysom Hill’s stat line wasn’t bad, but he really didn’t throw the ball well for much of this game, and the Eagles defense defended the run very well. New Orleans defense, which has been great of late, didn’t have their best day. They allowed Miles Sanders and Jalen Hurts to combine for 221 rushing yards.

3) Buffalo Bills (10-3)

The Bills had a 9-7 lead at halftime while only averaging 3.5 yards per play in the first half. That quickly changed, and the Bills dominated the second half against what was a one-loss Steelers team. Stefon Diggs was quiet early, but it didn’t take long before we saw his greatness.

Josh Allen was under constant pressure but played extremely well. He has really progressed in all areas of NFL quarterbacking at a rapid rate. The Bills defense was awesome on Sunday night and could really be turning the corner to getting back to their normal high level of play under head coach Sean McDermott.

nfl power rankings

2) Los Angeles Rams (9-4)

One of the NFL’s very top defenses was on full display on Thursday night. The Rams scored on defense and stuffed all three of New England’s fourth-down attempts. They also kept the Patriots to 3 of 13 on third downs while recording six sacks. And if that wasn’t enough, they kept New England to just over 100 rushing yards and only 3.8 yards per play. That is dominance.

Cam Akers had a huge game, rushing for 171 yards, and the Rams offensive line was simply outstanding. Jared Goff and the Rams are now 9-4 and have won four of their last five games. They are a serious contender.

1) Kansas City Chiefs (12-1)

Patrick Mahomes threw two interceptions in the first quarter, and Kansas City is minus three in turnover differential, but still advanced to 12-1. Travis Kelce caused the Dolphins all sorts of problems. Patrick Mahomes threw for 393 yards and Kansas City’s offense averaged 7.3 yards per play.

It wasn’t a real clean game for the Chiefs, but their talent was on full display. Once again, they are the number one team in my Week 15 NFL Power Rankings.

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