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My Week 14 NFL Power Rankings 2017 Edition

Updated on December 12, 2017

NFL Power Rankings

In a season in which most teams are black and blue with injuries, the black and yellow have risen to the top. The Pittsburgh Steelers are your new number one this week, marking the third straight week a new team rules the rankings. The Steelers also clinched the first playoff spot in the AFC, joining their intrastate rival Philadelphia Eagles as the only teams to officially punch their postseason ticket. Will rising to number one jinx the Steelers? Maybe. Although if they do fall this week, I think it will have more to do with the fact that they’ll be hosting the Patriots than it does with them being atop my rankings. At least I’d hope so.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2) ~ I mentioned they clinched a playoff spot in my opening, and if they can take down New England Sunday night they would clinch the top seed in the conference and homefield throughout the playoffs. While I don’t see Ben Roethlisberger topping 500 yards and Antonio Brown eclipsing the 200 yard mark, I do think they will have a big part to play in Sunday’s matchup. Talk about a game that should be flexed into the primetime spot. (Last Week’s Ranking 4)

2. New England Patriots (10-3) ~ New England lost a game last night for the first time since Carolina’s Graham Gano booted a last second field goal way back on October 1st. I was still a boy of 33 years way back then. Anyway, the Pats saw their eight-game win streak snap while their star tight end Rob Gronkowski served a one-game suspension. He will be back Sunday as the Pats and Steelers duke it out for the top spot in next week’s rankings. (LWR 1)

3. Philadelphia Eagles (11-2) ~ I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but MVP candidate Carson Wentz tore his ACL during Sunday’s win over the Los Angeles Rams. He is done for the year and joins all-pro left tackle Jason Peters, running back Darren Sproles and linebacker Jordan Hicks, among others, who have played their last snap for the Eagles this year. In comes Nick Foles who now holds Philly’s Super Bowl hopes in his seemingly capable hands. In Foles we trust. (LWR 2)

4. Minnesota Vikings (10-3) ~ Philly isn’t the only team who will rely on a backup quarterback to bring home the franchise’s first Super Bowl title. Case Keenum has led the way for Minnesota for most of the season and they are now the betting favorite to win the NFC. If they can do that, they would become the first team to play in the Super Bowl in their own stadium. (LWR 3)

5. Los Angeles Rams (9-4) ~ I watched every snap of that Rams-Eagles game and if you aren’t convinced this is a dangerous team, you need to sit down and watch a full game. Todd Gurley is a beast running the ball. Jared Goff looks like he will live up the being the number one overall draft pick. This is a team that could be very good for a very long time. (LWR 5)

6. New Orleans Saints (9-4) ~ After dropping two of three in a brutal stretch of schedule, the Saints will have extra rest leading up to Sunday’s game in which they host the New York Jets and Bryce Petty. It’s a good bet they’ll get back on track in the airtight NFC South race. They do control their own destiny, however, as they would be the division champs if they win out. (LWR 6)

7. Carolina Panthers (9-4) ~ The ghost of Jonathan Stewart was spotted this past weekend in Charlotte. Stewart made his way into the end zone three times during a victory over Minnesota which doubled his season total. Rookie Christian McCaffrey gets all the pub, but Stewart showed he is still capable of piling up big numbers. (LWR 8)

8. Jacksonville Jaguars (9-4) ~ Statement win. It’s not something you typically hear associated with the Jacksonville Jaguars. It is, however, what they achieved Sunday when they picked off potential MVP candidate Russell Wilson three times en route to a victory over the Seattle Seahawks and breathing room atop the AFC South. Blake Bortles may not strike fear into opponents, but their running game and defense should. (LWR 9)

9. Atlanta Falcons (8-5) ~ Their 8-5 record would lead the AFC West, but the Falcons don’t play in the AFC West. Unfortunately for them they play in the NFC South where an 8-5 record is good for third place. There’s a good chance both wild card teams come out of that division. They’re that good. I could even see each team advancing in the playoffs, provided they avoid a first round matchup against one another. (LWR 10)

10. Seattle Seahawks (8-5) ~ They just beat the Eagles who had a healthy Carson Wentz, so I won’t fault them too much for losing a close game in Jacksonville. Sure, they’re the Jags, but as we discussed above, it’s the best Jacksonville team in a decade. Plus, the trip from Seattle to Jacksonville is the longest distance any team has had to travel for a game played in the U.S. (LWR 7)

11. Los Angeles Chargers (7-6) ~ With a win this coming Saturday in Kansas City, the Chargers can take control of the AFC West. Kind of hard to believe after that 0-4 start. It would put them in a prime position to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2013, which, coincidentally, is the last time they won a game in Kansas City. (LWR 12)

12. Baltimore Ravens (7-6) ~ Yes, they lost a heartbreaking game to the rival Steelers which gave Pittsburgh the AFC North crown. That said, does anyone have a better schedule down the stretch than Baltimore? They close out the year in Cleveland and then host Indianapolis and Cincinnati. Those teams have a combined record of 8-31. If Baltimore can get to 10 wins, there’s a good chance they still make it to the playoffs. (LWR 13)

13. Tennessee Titans (8-5) ~ Marcus Mariota is hurt. Again. It’s “only” a knee sprain, and the Titans are hopeful it won’t sap his mobility, but how can it not? The team I have trusted the least all season is a team I don’t trust at all if Mariota isn’t out there. (LWR 11)

14. Detroit Lions (7-6) ~ Last week I expressed concern about Matthew Stafford due to a hand injury. Well, he dispelled any concern on Sunday as he carved up Tampa Bay’s secondary for 381 yards while completing nearly 82% of his passes. Yes, he threw two picks, but one of those was a hell of a play by corner Brent Grimes. If Stafford is out there slinging it, the Lions have a chance. (LWR 15)

15. Kansas City Chiefs (7-6) ~ They had lost six of seven and were without top corner Marcus Peters as he served a one-game suspension. They were hosting blood rival Oakland with the division lead on the line. All they did was stomp the Raiders. Kareem Hunt went over 100 yards and found the end zone for the first time in forever and the Chiefs looked like the team that started 5-0. Can they keep it up? (LWR 16)

16. Dallas Cowboys (7-6) ~ Two wins in a row have the Cowboys thinking playoffs. If they can stretch that to three, they’ll be in even better shape to welcome Ezekiel Elliott back into the fold. Dallas closes the season with games against Seattle and Philadelphia, so getting that eighth win this week against the Raiders is that much more important. (LWR 17)

17. Green Bay Packers (7-6) ~ Will he or won’t he. That’s the biggest question in the NFL this week. Of course I’m talking about the possibility of Aaron Rodgers resuming his starting role for the Packers. Brett Hundley picked up back-to-back overtime wins over Tampa Bay and Cleveland to keep Green Bay’s playoff hopes alive, but it won’t get any easier down the stretch. Tough games loom against the Panthers, Vikings and Lions who are all higher up in the rankings than Green Bay. Having a healthy Rodgers back under center greatly improves their chances at winning those games. (LWR 22)

18. Buffalo Bills (7-6) ~ Buffalo did what Buffalo should do: win a game in the snow. A blizzard hit the Bills/Colts game dumping half a foot of snow onto the field. In a game that had to be fun to watch, the Bills prevailed when LeSean McCoy scampered for the game-winning touchdown in overtime. The Bills win coupled with New England’s loss kept the AFC East race open for at least one more week. (LWR 20)

19. Oakland Raiders (6-7) ~ The Raiders boast two top flight receivers in Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. That’s no secret. What is surprising, though, is that neither of them lead the Raiders in receiving. That honor goes to tight end Jared Cook who paces the squad with 621 yards. That’s disappointing production from the wideouts on what is arguably the most disappointing team of the season. (LWR 14)

20. Arizona Cardinals (6-7) ~ Here’s a bright spot for ya. We all know Larry Fitzgerald is great. He has been ever since he entered the league in 2004. Now, in his 14th season, there are only two people who have more receiving yards than Fitz: Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens. That’s it. That’s the list. Larry passed Randy Moss on Sunday to move into third place. What a career. (LWR 23)

21. Washington Redskins (5-8) ~ Jordan Reed has mercifully been placed on IR officially ending his season. The star tight end has missed the last six games and missed a seventh earlier in the season. Poor guy just can't stay healthy. It's safe to wonder if he will ever fulfill the promise he has shown when he can stay on the field. (LWR 18)

22. Miami Dolphins (6-7) ~ Jay Cutler toppled Tom Brady. More accurately, the Dolphins beat the Patriots, but same difference. Kenyan Drake has looked great since assuming the starting role as he now has back-to-back 100 yard rushing efforts. (LWR 25)

23. Cincinnati Bengals (5-8) ~ In their first two games of the season, both at home, the Bengals failed to score a single touchdown. This most recent loss may be their lowest point of the season. Cincy was blown out 33-7 at home by a Chicago Bears team that had just three wins on the season. That is inexcusable. (LWR 19)

24. Houston Texans (4-9) ~ Tom Savage got walloped in his own end zone and appeared to have a mini seizure on the ground. His hands were shaking. Somehow, he was checked for a concussion and re-entered the game. If player safety is a priority in the NFL, someone should lose their job for letting that man step back onto the field. (LWR 24)

25. New York Jets (5-8) ~ Carson Wentz isn't the only quarterback whose season ended Sunday. Josh McCown suffered a broken hand and will fall 74 yards shy of his first 3,000 yard season in the NFL. One has to wonder if, at 38, he has played his last snap. (LWR 21)

26. Denver Broncos (4-9) ~ There's the defense we remember. Denver shut out the Jets and it was just the second time all season they allowed less than 17 points in a game. It's been a down year in Denver. At least they snapped that eight game losing streak. (LWR 27)

27. San Francisco 49ers (3-10) ~ Jimmy Garoppolo is now 2-0 in his two starts as a 49er. Small sample size, yes, but he seems to be providing a spark where there hasn't been for the past two years at the quarterback position. These last three games will be a nice test to see if he is in their future plans. (LWR 28)

28. Chicago Bears (4-9) ~ Their 33-7 drubbing of the Bengals was the Bears most lopsided victory in the last five years. I don't think it is enough to save coach John Fox's job. He, along with Indy's Chuck Pagano are the two coaches I think are least likely to be back in 2018. (LWR 29)

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9) ~ The Bucs have not had a good season. A big reason behind that is they can't beat a good team. Like, at all. Tampa's only wins are against the Jets, Dolphins, Bears and Giants. Not exactly any world beaters i there. They'll look to play the spoiler as they close the year with three straight division games. (LWR 26)

30. Indianapolis Colts (3-10) ~ They should have won that game in Buffalo. They were robbed with a phantom penalty on a successful two-point conversion that would have given the Colts the lead with less than two minutes to play. They had another shot at the end of regulation, but mismanaged the clock and settled for a long field goal try that was unsuccessful. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. (LWR 30)

31. New York Giants (2-11) ~ They can't throw the ball (22nd in the league), they can't run it (28th) and they can't get the ball into the end zone as their 15.2 points per game is essentially tied for dead last in the league with Cleveland. So why do I have a bad feeling about this weekend's game when the Giants host my Eagles? (LWR 31)

32. Cleveland Browns (0-13) ~ That one had to hurt. The Browns had a 14-point lead entering the fourth quarter. At home. Against a team with their backup quarterback. They coughed up that lead, and the ball in overtime to see a win slip away. There's just three weeks left for them to avoid going winless. I'm rooting for you Cleveland. (LWR 32)

That’s it. Shows over. Or at least the column is. Blog? That’s more accurate I suppose. Anyway, that’s all I have this week. Any questions or comments, as always, please leave them below. I'll respond as soon as I can. You can also follow/harass me on Twitter if that's your thing. Handle is in my profile. Until next time kids.

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      JOC 

      12 months ago from Syracuse, NY

      Washington is the only disagreement.

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