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NFL Power Rankings, Week 14: Steelers drop while Saints rise

Who would’ve thought that the Football Team and the Giants would bring us some of the best games so far this season. The NFC East is slowly making its way to becoming a respectable division, as two huge upset wins moves the Football Team and the Giants up in our latest Power Rankings. The Steelers also drop out of their coveted No. 2 spot while the Saints move up after the Steelers loss to the Football Team. Find out where your favourite team ranks on the latest edition of The Intermission’s NFL Power Rankings, Week 14 edition.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (11-1)

Previous Rank: 1

The Chiefs surprisingly kept it close against the Broncos in a 22-16 win. The usually automatic offense couldn’t produce points in the endzone, settling for five field goals on the day. Mahomes threw for 318 yards and one touchdown on the day, but could’ve had another touchdown if Andy Reid decided to challenge the ruled incompletion on what would have been a touchdown catch by Tyreek Hill in the second quarter. The Chiefs have now clinched their sixth consecutive postseason appearance, and are one Raiders loss away from their fifth straight AFC West title.

2. New Orleans Saints (10-2)

Previous Rank: 3

Taysom Hill showed lots of process in his third career start, throwing for two touchdown passes and contributing 83 yards on the ground in a 21-16 win over the Falcons that clinched another playoff berth for New Orleans. Hill was especially good in the third quarter, throwing for 114 yards on 11-for-13 passing with a TD. Hill may be on his way out as quarterback though, as Drew Brees looks set to return from injury soon.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-1)

Previous Rank: 2

After the Steelers barely won against the Lamar-less Ravens last Wednesday, it made you wonder if this team was really as good as their record showed. Monday night’s 23-17 loss to Washington showed us everything we needed to know. The Steelers did have a 14-point lead at one point in the game, but the offence and defence both fell asleep in the second half, and the team didn’t look like a squad that has remained undefeated up to this point. You can say that the pressure of being an undefeated team has affected their play, but it shouldn’t be an excuse, as they haven’t been playing particularly well over the past couple of weeks. A Week 14 matchup against the surging Bills gives the Steelers a chance to still showcase they can be the best team in the league.

4. Buffalo Bills (9-3)

Previous Rank: 6

Josh Allen put on a clinic in Monday night’s 34-24 win over the 49ers, throwing for 375 yards and four touchdowns while becoming the first quarterback in franchise history to complete 80 percent of his passes with four touchdowns in a game. Cole Beasley, Dawson Knox, Isaiah McKenzie and Gabriel Davis were his recipients on the day. The Bills punter didn’t even see the field until the 3:44 mark of the fourth quarter, which shows you how dominating the offence was on Monday. A Week 14 matchup against the now-defeated Steelers comes up next for these surging Bills.

5. Green Bay Packers (9-3)

Previous Rank: 4

The Packers were in cruise control on Sunday against the Eagles in a dominating 30-16 win. Aaron Rodgers threw for three touchdowns (becoming the fastest ever to 400 career TDs), Davante Adams made a couple trips to the endzone, and Aaron Jones sealed the game with a beautiful 77-yard score. With four weeks left in the season, it can easily be said that the 37-year-old Rodgers has the slight edge over Patrick Mahomes in the NFL MVP race right now. That’s crazy to see when you realize that many people had said that Rodgers was a star on the decline coming into this season.

6. Los Angeles Rams (8-4)

Previous Rank: 8

Jared Goff put on a clinic in Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, throwing for 351 yards, two touchdowns, and zero turnovers on the day, propelling the team to a 38-28 win over the Cardinals. This was a big bounce back game after Goff’s three-turnover meltdown against the 49ers last week. Since the Rams have such a dominating defence, if the Rams can get this level of production from Goff consistently, they can honestly beat anyone in the NFC.

7. Seattle Seahawks (8-4)

Previous Rank: 5

Who would’ve thought that the undermanned Giants who were starting Colt McCoy at quarterback would walk out of Seattle as winners in a stunning 17-12 win. The loss dropped the Seahawks back into a first-place tie with the Rams in the NFC West. It makes you wonder what has happened to this once-unstoppable “Let Russ Cook” offence. Wilson faced pressure the whole night, getting sacked five times. The defence gave up nearly 200 rushing yards to a New York offence that hasn’t had Saquon Barkley more months. This loss will be chalked up as one of the ugliest losses of the Pete Carroll era.

8. Baltimore Ravens (7-5)

Previous Rank: 11

Are the Ravens back? Lamar Jackson torched an opponent with his arms and legs, and the Ravens rushed for 294 yards in a win that brought back memories of the dominant 14-2 team of 2019. While the Cowboys defence is pathetic, it felt like an important game for a team that’s been through a tough six-week stretch so far. Maybe this win is the win that helps get the Ravens back on track? Sunday’s prime-time showdown versus the Browns will show us what we need to know about this Ravens team.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-5)

Previous Rank: 9

One of the biggest stories so far this season has been the relationship between future Hall of Famer Tom Brady and head coach Bruce Arians. Arians hasn’t been scared to call out Brady when the offence has struggled, but Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich haven’t always made a gameplan fitting the strengths of Tom Brady. Even with this drama, you got to wonder where the Bucs go from here. The team has dropped three of their last four games and now have the possibility of missing the playoffs after a strong start. The team’s got four games to get this thing turned around.

10. Cleveland Browns (9-3)

Previous Rank: 15

The Browns played perfect in the first half against the Titans. Baker Mayfield threw four touchdown passes (all in the first half), and the defence had shut down the Titans offence for only seven points in the first half. However, the second half was a different story. The defence fell apart, giving up 28 points (including three Tannehill touchdowns) and the offence went cold, only putting up three points in the second half. Nevertheless, the Browns still won and have secured their first winning record since 2007.

11. Tennessee Titans (8-4)

Previous Rank: 7

After an abysmal first half effort against the Browns, the Titans tried to storm back against a 38-7 deficit but just fell short in the 41-35 loss. The defence was torched by Baker Mayfield in the first half, giving up 38 points and four touchdowns to Mayfield. The absence of the pass rush was very noticeable in the loss. The Titans two biggest signings on defence (Jadaveon Clowney and Vic Beasley) have done nothing so far, and the other players on the offence haven’t been able to fill these obvious holes in the defence. If someone like Baker Mayfield could torch this defence, imagine what Patrick Mahomes would do to them in the playoffs.

12. Indianapolis Colts (8-4)

Previous Rank: 10

Luck was on Indianapolis’ side in Sunday's 26-20 win over the Texans. With the Texans on the Colts’ 2-yard line down by six points with minutes left in play, Deshaun Watson couldn’t handle a bad snap which led to a game-sealing Colts recovery. This victory, paired with the Titans loss to the Browns, moves the Colts back into a first-place tie in the AFC South with four games left to play. This team is hard to judge. The offence can be productive or bad, shown by the team putting up 24 points before halftime but then being shut out in the second half. Not the type of statement win the Colts were hoping for in this one.

13. Miami Dolphins (8-4)

Previous Rank: 13

After a poor first half showcase for the Dolphins and rookie Tua Tagovailoa, it seemed the team flipped the switch once the team left the locker room. Tua went 13-16 for 167 yards and a touchdown in the third quarter and Miami took control of the game. The defence handled the rest, scoring six sacks and two takeaways against the Burrow-less Bengals in a 19-7 win. One of those turnovers was collected by Xavien Howard, who secured his league-best eighth interception before he was ejected for fighting with Cincinnati wide receiver Tyler Boyd late in the first half. A measuring game awaits against the mighty Chiefs on Sunday.

14. Las Vegas Raiders (7-5)

Previous Rank: 12

Seconds away from experiencing a season-crushing humiliation of a loss to the winless New York Jets, Derek Carr dropped back and found Henry Ruggs all alone for a 46-yard touchdown that sealed a 31-28 win for the Raiders. With this miracle win, the Raiders remain a player in the crowded AFC playoff hunt. A huge Week 14 game against the 8-4 Colts will have massive implications for both sides.

15. Arizona Cardinals (6-6)

Previous Rank: 14

So much for my prediction of the Cardinals winning the NFC West. That prediction died after Sunday’s loss to Aaron Donald and co. Kyler Murray was bottled up once again, this time by Aaron Donald and the Rams defence, and the Cardinals have shown that they cannot win when they don’t get a special performance from their second-year quarterback. If you take that infamous Hail Murray out of Arizona’s season, the team would be on a five-game losing streak right now. Week 14 matchup against the surging Giants is a must-win if the Cardinals want a chance to make it to the promised land.

16. Minnesota Vikings (6-6)

Previous Rank: 16

The Vikings managed to top the Jaguars in a close 27-24 overtime win, sliding into the seventh and final NFC playoff spot with four weeks left to play. Not bad for a team that was left for dead after starting off their season 1-5. Rookie Justin Jefferson became the fifth rookie to reach 1,000 yard receiving in his first 12 games. With an upcoming game against a rested Buccaneers team, the Vikings will have to improve their level of play significantly if they hope to win.

17. Washington Football Team (5-7)

Previous Rank: 23

What is 2020? The NFL team without a name that was entering Week 13 with a 4-7 record(Washington) defeated the only remaining undefeated team left in the NFL (Pittsburgh). But it happened. Washington brought forth a complete team effort in the win, wiping a 14-point deficit on the road to win against the Steelers 23-17. Montez Sweat and Chase Young caused havoc all game long, while Alex Smith added another chapter to his epic comeback story. Smith made many good throws against Pittsburgh’s top-ranked scoring defence, ultimately helping them secure the win.

18. New York Giants (5-7)

Previous Rank: 24

Who would’ve thought entering this season that the Giants defence would actually be their greatest weapon. The defence had its finest moment on Sunday in Seattle, neutralizing Russell Wilson in a 17-12 win that keeps New York atop the NFC East. While the players and head coach Joe Judge do deserve a lot of credit, the true mastermind is GM Dave Gettleman. He made lots of good signings like James Bradberry, Blake Martinez, Logan Ryan and Jabrill Peppers that all played big roles in Sunday’s upset win.

19. New England Patriots (6-6)

Previous Rank: 22

New England’s special teams put on a clinic in a 45-0 win over the Chargers. Cam Newton didn’t do much, only throwing for 69 yards and a touchdown on 12-for-19 passing. He’s only thrown for five touchdowns on the year, but does have 11 rushing scores. Newton didn’t need to do anything though, as the defence completely shut down rookie sensation Justin Herbert. The Patriots have now won four of their last five games (somehow…) to somewhat put themselves back on the Radar in the AFC playoff picture. Could the Patriots make the playoffs? We’ve seen weirder things happen so far this season, so why not?

20. San Francisco 49ers (5-7)

Previous Rank: 18

Buffalo looked like a much better team on Monday night’s 34-24 loss. You can’t really blame head coach Kyle Shanahan and management though, as this season has not been going the 49ers way at all. With the most players placed on the Injury Reserve/COVID-19 list so far, and their county-mandated migration to Arizona, things have not been going the 49ers way this year. Sometimes it just isn’t your year.

21. Atlanta Falcons (4-8)

Previous Rank: 17

The Falcons didn’t get as strong of a defensive performance as they would have hoped for in Sunday’s loss to the Saints. Atlanta made Taysom Hill look like a fully functioning quarterback in a two-touchdown day for the “utility guy”, as they couldn’t force any interceptions from the inexperienced quarterback. The offence wasn’t good either, being held out of the red zone for the first three quarters and being stopped on downs with a chance to take the lead in the final minutes. But at least the Saints won’t be showing up on your schedule for the rest of the season, right Falcons fans?

22. Houston Texans (4-8)

Previous Rank: 19

If one thing is for certain, it’s that you can’t pin this loss on Deshaun Watson. Despite having no big-name receivers to throw the ball to (as Will Fuller is suspended for the rest of the season), Watson still gives his team chances to win games, but his team just crumbles. That showed on Sunday’s 26-20 loss to the Colts. With the Texans in the red zone down by six with minutes to play, a low snap was fired at Watson’s shins and the Colts had recovered the ball to effectively seal the game. While Watson did say he should have pounced on the ball, it’s not his fault his center can’t snap the ball properly in a crucial part of the game. Some tough stuff.

23. Denver Broncos (4-8)

Previous Rank: 25

The Broncos almost pulled off a huge upset in Sunday’s 22-16 loss to the Chiefs. The defence forced the offence to settle for five field goals on the night; not something you usually see Kansas City do. The upset would have been pulled off if it weren’t for Denver’s lacklustre offence led by Drew Lock. Lock threw for three interceptions on the night, and it was another subpar effort from their quarterback. John Elway might be considering his options for QB1 in 2021.

24. Carolina Panthers (4-8)

Previous Rank: 21

While the Panthers are 4-8 and have lost some disappointing games, you can’t help but feel that they’re laying the groundwork for a better future. The defence, led by rookie safety Jeremy Chinn, has a lot of potential. Chinn was named Defensive Rookie of the Month for the second consecutive month, and should be a lock for Defensive Rookie of the Year honours. The rookie has recorded 87 tackles, an interception, five passes deflected, a forced fumble, and two fumble returns for touchdowns. Looks like the Panthers found their defensive successor to Luke Kuechly.

25. Los Angeles Chargers

Previous Rank: 20

The Chargers have hit rock bottom in the Anthony Lynn era after Sunday’s 45-0 loss at the hands of the Patriots. While the offense and defense did struggle, the special teams laid one of the biggest eggs in NFL history. Los Angeles missed a 46-yard field goal, surrendered a 70-yard punt return, allowed a block field-goal try to be returned for a score, and gave up another punt return for 61 yards in the game. This special teams performance reflects poorly on Lynn, as his chances to return to this team next season grows dimmer by the week.

26. Detroit Lions (5-7)

Previous Rank: 28

The Lions always have one great player who tries to lift the franchise out of the pit of irrelevance, but just ultimately can’t do so. Despite that player being an elite player in the NFL, there’s nothing they can do to save this excuse of a franchise. It started with Barry Sanders, then moved onto Calvin Johnson, and now it’s Matthew Stafford. Stafford showed he’s still an elite quarterback in the league despite his team being 5-7, leading the Lions to a 34-30 comeback victory over the Bears on Sunday. Someone save Stafford please. He doesn’t deserve this.

27. Dallas Cowboys (3-9)

Previous Rank: 27

The Cowboys suffered yet another setback after Sunday’s 34-17 loss to the Ravens. Dem Boys gave up 294 yards on the ground, and still look like they haven’t recovered since the loss of Dak Prescott in Week 6. If one thing’s for certain, it’s that Dak deserves a huge contract this offseason. If Andy Dalton, who is an alright quarterback in the NFL, can’t score productively with this offense, then how important was the impact of Dak for this team.

28. Philadelphia Eagles (3-8-1)

Previous Rank: 29

With another flat performance by Carson Wentz, head coach Doug Pederson had no choice but to make the move he never wanted to make; moving Jalen Hurts to quarterback. This time, Hurts got more than one play in a game and ended up playing the majority of the second half. Hurts will now officially be replacing Wentz as starting quarterback for Sunday's match against the Saints. It hurts, doesn’t it Wentz.

29. Chicago Bears (5-7)

Previous Rank: 26

The Bears experienced another setback after Sunday’s 34-30 comeback loss to the Lions, as the Bears have now followed their 5-1 start with six consecutive losses. This loss greatly diminishes playoff hopes for Chicago, as they now have a 16 percent chance of making the playoffs versus the 55 percent chance they had when they were sitting at 5-1. While Matt Nagy has told reporters that he “hasn’t had any discussions” with ownership when it comes to his job status, it’s hard to not assume that he’s on the end of his leash in Chicago right now.

30. Cincinnati Bengals (2-9-1)

Previous Rank: 30

After being badly outplayed in the second half against the Dolphins, it makes you wonder how Zac Taylor is still the coach for this team. The Bengals were an undisciplined mess during their seventh loss in the past eight weeks. While you can understand offensive struggles due to Brandon Allen taking the reins of starting quarterback after Joe Burrow’s gruesome injury, you can’t ignore Cincinnati’s sloppy effort in the game. But hey, Marvin Lewis did stay as the Bengals head coach for 16 years, so crazier things have happened.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-11)

Previous Rank: 31

The Jaguars are the definition of almost winning. They’ve lost four of their past five games by four points or less, the latest a 27-24 overtime defeat to the Vikings. While this is probably deeply frustrating for the Jaguars coaching staff, it does keep the Jaguars alive in the race for the No. 1 overall pick. But despite their best efforts, it’s hard to think that they could ever beat out the Jets in the sweepstakes for Trevor Lawrence.

32. New York Jets

Previous Rank: 32

(Khadijeh Milomir/Pinterest)

If #TankForTrevor could be described in one play for the Jets this season, it would be the final play of Sunday’s 31-28 loss to the Raiders. With seconds left in play, Gregg Daniels decides to send a cover zero blitz... with the Raiders down by four… with seconds left in play… while putting undrafted free-agent rookie Lamar Jackson (not the Baltimore one) on Henry Ruggs. Ruggs immediately went on to burn Jackson on a fake-in route and caught the game winning touchdown. The aftermath of this game immediately led to the firing of Gregg Daniels on Monday morning. Don’t worry Gregg, your sacrifice won’t be in vain. It was for a greater cause.


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