NFL Power Rankings Week 15

0
122


As the NFL Power Rankings get into crunch time, we checked in with our Football Power Index (FPI) friends to see how powerful each team really is.

From the good (the Chiefs’ offense) to the bad (the Lions’ defense) to the mediocre, our NFL Nation writers explain the offense, defense and special-teams rankings for the teams they cover. How we rank in our Power Rankings: Our power panel — a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities — evaluates how teams stack up throughout the season.

Previous rankings: 14 | 13 | 12 | 11 | 10 | 9 | 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | Preseason

Jump to:
ARI | ATL | BAL | BUF | CAR | CHI | CIN
CLE | DAL | DEN | DET | GB | HOU | IND
JAX | KC | LV | LAC | LAR | MIA | MIN
NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF
SEA | TB | TEN | WSH

Week 14 ranking: 1

Offense: 1
Defense: 19
Special teams: 21

It’s no surprise that the Chiefs have the top-ranked offense — by a wide margin — given the seasons that Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill are having. It’s scary to imagine what the Chiefs might be if they were playing well in the other phases. Particularly disappointing is their defensive rank. The Chiefs are 20th in points allowed over the past six weeks, so defensively, they aren’t where they’d like to be heading into the most important part of the season. — Adam Teicher

play

2:09

Stephen A. Smith argues the Chiefs aren’t untouchable and can be beaten by sacking Patrick Mahomes.

Week 14 ranking: 4

Offense: 2
Defense: 22
Special teams: 29

Is there anything really surprising here? The offense has been nearly unstoppable, the defense has had its moments (giving up massive yardage but sometimes coming up with a timely sack or takeaway), and the special teams has been mostly a disaster, other than near-perfect kicker Mason Crosby. The question is the same one as in most years: Will the defense and/or special teams cost the Packers when it matters most? — Rob Demovsky


Week 14 ranking: 5

Offense: 9
Defense: 15
Special teams: 18

The Bills’ offense is a complete turnaround from last season’s anemic unit, as Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs have combined to form one of the most potent QB-WR duos in the NFL. Although their defense began the season hemorrhaging yards, it has regained its 2018 and 2019 form over the past few weeks. Mix in a special-teams unit that features the league’s most efficient returner in Andre Roberts, and you’ve got a team ready to make a deep playoff run. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

play

2:12

Stephen A. Smith sounds off on the Steelers’ lack of a running game, which results in them relying on Ben Roethlisberger to throw too much.

Week 14 ranking: 2

Offense: 20
Defense: 1
Special teams: 25

It’s no surprise that the Steelers have another highly ranked defense, with the core from last season returning. What is a surprise is that the offense, bolstered by Ben Roethlisberger‘s return, is only 20th in the FPI rankings. Roethlisberger and the offense were effective with the short passing game earlier in the season, especially when complemented by a well-balanced run game. But in recent weeks, the offensive line hasn’t been physical enough, opposing defenses are blowing up the short passes, and the run game has evaporated. The offense is broken, yet the Steelers keep trying to force what worked earlier in the season. It’s costing them games and playoff seeding. — Brooke Pryor


Week 14 ranking: 3

Offense: 5
Defense: 8
Special teams: 11

It would have been much easier to identify the Saints’ strengths if they hadn’t just snapped a nine-game winning streak with Sunday’s flop at Philadelphia. In general, their strength lies in their depth and diversity. They are well-rounded enough to win games based on their passing game, run game, defense or special teams when needed. Before Sunday’s collapse, the Saints’ defense had been dominant over a five-game stretch, which had allowed them to keep thriving despite Drew Brees‘ injury absence. — Mike Triplett


Week 14 ranking: 7

Offense: 14
Defense: 2
Special teams: 27

Sean McVay took a risk when he hired unknown and unproven defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, who served three previous seasons in the NFL as an outside linebackers coach. McVay’s bet paid off, as Staley took over a good defense that included Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, maintained a base 3-4 scheme and added several wrinkles to make it great. The Rams rank second in efficiency and takeaways and have allowed an average of 18.9 points per game, which ranks third and has covered for some inconsistencies on offense and special teams. The defense has returned a takeaway for a touchdown in the past three games. — Lindsey Thiry


Week 14 ranking: 6

Offense: 4
Defense: 21
Special teams: 9

Russell Wilson was the MVP front-runner for much of the first half of the season, which the Seahawks needed, with their defense getting gashed at a historic rate. Seattle is still second in offensive scoring, even with Wilson coming back down to earth. Seattle’s defense has turned things around, albeit against some dreadful offenses. After Sunday’s 40-3 win over the Jets, that group has allowed only 14.5 points per game the past four contests (fourth fewest in that span), about half as many points as it allowed in the first nine. Seattle’s special teams have been strong the whole time, led by Jason Myers going 18-for-18 on field goal tries. — Brady Henderson


Week 14 ranking: 10

Offense: 3
Defense: 28
Special teams: 15

Although the Titans are 9-4, their defense has been subpar. They are last in the NFL in opponent third-down conversion percentage and touchdown percentage allowed in the red zone. The pass rush has generated an NFL-low 14 sacks. Tennessee added outside linebackers Vic Beasley and Jadeveon Clowney to help improve the pass rush. Neither has a sack this season. Beasley was released, and Clowney is on injured reserve. The Titans’ secondary hasn’t helped, either, especially when it plays off the ball, even in third-and-short situations. The defense showed signs of life in back-to-back wins over the Colts and Ravens and, most recently, in a 31-10 victory over the Jaguars. — Turron Davenport


Week 14 ranking: 11

Offense: 19
Defense: 12
Special teams: 17

The Colts — yes, the Colts — are being led by their defense. The unit has spent time this season ranked No. 1 in the league in total defense. They’re currently sixth in the league in that category. The Colts have dropped a bit because they’ve struggled in giving up yards. But what has helped them win four of their past five games is that the defense has forced 22 turnovers, which puts the Colts second in the league this season. — Mike Wells


Week 14 ranking: 12

Offense: 6
Defense: 9
Special teams: 3

The Ravens are the only NFL team to rank in the top 10 on offense, defense and special teams. So why is Baltimore battling for its playoff life? Lamar Jackson and the Ravens have regressed from an unstoppable force to an inconsistent attack. Baltimore went from being the only offense averaging more than 30 points per game last season to being in the middle of the league in scoring. An injury to All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley, highly criticized playcalling and the lack of a dominant wide receiver have all contributed to the Ravens’ occasional struggles on offense. — Jamison Hensley


Week 14 ranking: 8

Offense: 10
Defense: 27
Special teams: 22

The Browns’ offense has been spearheaded by arguably the top rushing attack in the league, powered by the running back duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt and one of the NFL’s most improved offensive lines. But as FPI underscores, the defense has had issues outside of pass-rusher Myles Garrett, especially in the secondary, where injuries and inconsistent play have plagued Cleveland all season. — Jake Trotter


Week 14 ranking: 9

Offense: 7
Defense: 3
Special teams: 28

The Bucs surrounded quarterback Tom Brady with an offense that rivals a championship fantasy roster from 2017. But several of those key pieces — Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown — didn’t have a full offseason to mesh, so sometimes they’ve looked like the league’s best offense, but their lack of continuity has showed at other times. Defensively, the Bucs have given up some chunk plays, but their backbone has been their stout run defense and making plays behind the line of scrimmage. On special teams, they might not do a whole lot in the return game, but Ryan Succop has quietly been among the league’s more consistent kickers. — Jenna Laine


Week 14 ranking: 13

Offense: 25
Defense: 10
Special teams: 2

The Dolphins have been great on defense and special teams, scoring a combined three touchdowns with those units this season. The Dolphins’ defense has forced 25 turnovers, tied for best in the league, while allowing the second-fewest points per game (18.8). The Dolphins have gotten a defensive player of the year-caliber season out of cornerback Xavien Howard (league-high nine interceptions) and Pro Bowl-caliber seasons from edge rusher Emmanuel Ogbah, returner Jakeem Grant and kicker Jason Sanders. All of that helps lift a struggling offense that has failed to produce a consistent running game. — Cameron Wolfe


Week 14 ranking: 14

Offense: 11
Defense: 17
Special teams: 6

The Cardinals’ defense has been underrated all season, as is evident by its FPI ranking. Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph was given the personnel he needed to be successful, and for the most part, he has been. Injuries have impacted the defense at times, but it has kept the Cardinals in games as the offense continues to figure itself out. Losing All-Pro Chandler Jones in Week 5 was a major blow, but the Cardinals’ defense has continued to be the backbone of Arizona’s success this season. — Josh Weinfuss


Week 14 ranking: 15

Offense: 8
Defense: 30
Special teams: 20

Las Vegas, to paraphrase Mr. Miyagi, needs balance, Raider Nation-san. Sure, the Bad Boy Raiders have always been more Cobra Kai than Miyagi-Do, but the FPI figures and rankings don’t lie — not with an above-average offense (2.8, which ranks seventh), a terrible defense (-4.0, 30th) and a middling special-teams outfit (0.0, 21st). “To be a championship team and a playoff team,” waxed Raiders coach Jon Gruden, “you have to be a good football team in all phases.” No waxing on or waxing off about that logic. — Paul Gutierrez


Week 14 ranking: 17

Offense: 13
Defense: 18
Special teams: 31

Given how the Vikings’ defense started the season, with multiple injuries and a number of rookies called on early, its current FPI ranking is remarkable. The offense has been moving the ball efficiently behind Dalvin Cook and a plethora of receiving options, but special-teams issues have snowballed into a full-blown crisis. The Vikings lost to the Bucs on Sunday in large part because of Dan Bailey‘s four missed kicks that left 10 points on the board. Minnesota can’t afford for its kicking issues to continue after its playoff chances took a massive hit against Tampa Bay. Another mistake-laden loss would likely derail the Vikings’ playoff hopes. — Courtney Cronin

play

1:17

Damien Woody says that the Patirots’ loss to the Rams will likely end their playoff chances in a loaded AFC.

Week 14 ranking: 16

Offense: 21
Defense: 11
Special teams: 1

The passing offense has been a disappointment, which highlights myriad issues: Cam Newton‘s inaccuracy on short passes, a major void at tight end (the Patriots rank last in the NFL in production from that spot) and a receiving corps that hasn’t been respected by opposing defenses and thus allows foes to load up against the run. — Mike Reiss


Week 14 ranking: 26

Offense: 28
Defense: 6
Special teams: 13

This is what everyone anticipated entering the season: The defense would have to lead this franchise, and it has. With five first-round picks along the defensive line and the No. 2 overall pick in Chase Young, that’s how it should be. Washington’s defense ranks in the top 10 in both yards and points allowed; it hasn’t finished a season that way since 2008. The offense needs work and remains inconsistent; that, too, hasn’t been a surprise. At season’s start, coach Ron Rivera said it might not be until 2021 that the offense really starts humming. This team is better with quarterback Alex Smith but still inconsistent. The special-teams coverage has been good, and punter Tress Way has been terrific. — John Keim

play

1:35

Dan Orlovsky likens his least favorite foods to his distaste for the NFC East, but Ryan Clark argues Chase Young and Washington are the top team.

Week 14 ranking: 18

Offense: 16
Defense: 7
Special teams: 10

It speaks volumes about the 49ers’ coaching staff that they have been able to squeeze these types of rankings out of a team that has been ravaged by injury all season. But the Niners still have a losing record, despite the generally strong overall rankings, because of the team’s inconsistency and turnover problems. Those are largely the product of the many injuries, which have made it hard for San Francisco to string together victories and stay in the NFC playoff picture. — Nick Wagoner


Week 14 ranking: 20

Offense: 22
Defense: 16
Special teams: 19

The Giants’ worst unit is their offense? Wasn’t that supposed to be their best unit? For a variety of reasons (beginning with the Saquon Barkley injury), it’s not, and it’s at the top of the list of reasons they have a losing record. Daniel Jones hasn’t made the leap as expected in Year 2, and the Giants are struggling to score points. Thankfully, the defense has kept them in and won them some games. They have probably been even better than FPI ranks them. — Jordan Raanan


Week 14 ranking: 21

Offense: 27
Defense: 5
Special teams: 23

The disparity between Chicago’s offense and defense is huge. The Bears and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky have played much better offensively the past three weeks, but their overall body of work is subpar. The Bears spent most of the season struggling to score points, run the football or convert on third down. Conversely, the defense has been relatively sturdy, led by third-year linebacker Roquan Smith, who has performed at an All-Pro level. Chicago’s special teams are better than the rankings indicate. Veteran kicker Cairo Santos has converted 18 consecutive field goal attempts, making him the first Bears kicker to do so since Robbie Gould in 2006, and kickoff returner Cordarrelle Patterson is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. — Jeff Dickerson


Week 14 ranking: 23

Offense: 30
Defense: 4
Special teams: 16

The special-teams units — Diontae Spencer‘s punt return TD in Sunday’s win not withstanding — have had plenty of migraine moments this season, likely more than that rating indicates. But this team’s fortunes have fallen the hardest because of an offense that has turned the ball over far too often and scored touchdowns too few times. The turnovers are the red-alert number. The Broncos are last in the league in turnover margin, at minus-18, and their quarterbacks have thrown the most interceptions, with 21. The interception total, even with none against the Panthers on Sunday, is five more than that of the next-worst team. That is not a recipe to win. — Jeff Legwold


Week 14 ranking: 28

Offense: 26
Defense: 14
Special teams: 32

Basically, not much has gone right for the Chargers, except — and it’s a big exception — quarterback Justin Herbert. Even though this team has just four wins, Herbert has saved the season and given Chargers fans something to look forward to next season. One thing that hasn’t been good is the special teams, which are ranked at the bottom of the league for good reason. Head coach Anthony Lynn has had to assume control of that unit. — Shelley Smith

play

1:24

Ryan Clark looks into why the Eagles seem to play better when Carson Wentz is not the starting quarterback.

Week 14 ranking: 27

Offense: 31
Defense: 13
Special teams: 24

Carson Wentz declined dramatically in 2020, plummeting toward the bottom in most statistical categories for QBs before being replaced in the lineup by rookie Jalen Hurts. Although there is plenty of blame to spread around, the negative plays brought on by Wentz’s turnovers (19) and sacks (50) put the Eagles on bad footing all too frequently. — Tim McManus


Week 14 ranking: 25

Offense: 18
Defense: 32
Special teams: 14

There isn’t a lot that is stunning here: Detroit’s biggest concern was defense before the season (and, really, the past two-plus years). Injuries, a lack of playmaking talent and poor coaching have all been part of the issue. Sunday against Green Bay showed that the effort is there, but the skill level is in question. The offense has been efficient despite injuries, and the special teams, under Brayden Coombs, have been a bright spot. But the defense is why Detroit is in a hole at the moment, getting ready for a complete regime switch in the offseason. — Michael Rothstein


Week 14 ranking: 22

Offense: 15
Defense: 20
Special teams: 7

The Falcons have lost six games by a touchdown or less, in large part because their defense has struggled in the red zone (29th of 32 teams) and can’t consistently force late-game stops. Atlanta’s run game has been stale, averaging 98.3 yards per game while not receiving the spark it expected from Todd Gurley II, but an offense that also has Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Hayden Hurst performing at a middling level certainly points to playcalling. With the Falcons officially eliminated from playoff contention, it’s time to turn the focus to 2021 and potentially moving on at quarterback while retooling other areas of the roster. — Courtney Cronin


Week 14 ranking: 19

Offense: 17
Defense: 23
Special teams: 26

Let’s simplify this. The Panthers have scored 30 or more points three times, and two of those were with Christian McCaffrey. The running back has played only three games, so when you look at what has happened offensively, it begins with being without the best multipurpose player in the NFL. That has also been a factor in the team’s failure to convert seven game-winning or tying drives. More McCaffrey likely equals more points, more wins and less stress on an undermanned defense. — David Newton


Week 14 ranking: 29

Offense: 24
Defense: 26
Special teams: 30

You don’t need analytics to tell you that this season has been bad for the Cowboys. Since losing Dak Prescott, they have averaged 16.9 points per game. The defense has allowed 34 or more points seven times. The special teams have benefited from some big returns lately, but questionable decision-making in key spots has hurt. Trying to determine what has gone right for the Cowboys is difficult. Beyond individual development, there isn’t anything to point to. Add it all up, and the Cowboys are looking at a top-five draft pick next spring. — Todd Archer


Week 14 ranking: 24

Offense: 12
Defense: 31
Special teams: 12

While the Texans overhauled their offense — minus quarterback Deshaun Watson — this season, they didn’t make many changes on defense. That’s why they rank 31st in the defensive FPI rankings. The unit that gave up 51 points to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in the playoffs in January has not improved this season, and even a healthy J.J. Watt can make only so much of a difference. Houston gave up 36 points to the Bears on Sunday in a performance that Watt called “embarrassing.” — Sarah Barshop


Week 14 ranking: 30

Offense: 23
Defense: 25
Special teams: 5

Nothing is going extremely well for the Bengals. The offense has been ineffective since Joe Burrow suffered a season-ending knee injury. The defense has its own injury problems to contend with, in addition to a roster that still needs upgrades. Although defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo’s unit has improved in recent weeks, there are questions about its long-term outlook. Even the special teams has its share of woes. While it is currently ranked one of the best in the NFL, the Bengals are trying to figure out what to do at kicker. Veteran Randy Bullock was benched in favor of Austin Seibert for the Bengals’ Week 14 loss to the Cowboys. — Ben Baby


Week 14 ranking: 31

Offense: 29
Defense: 29
Special teams: 8

The Jaguars have started three quarterbacks at least three games each, which contributes to their having five games with fewer than 300 yards of offense. The lone bright spot on offense is running back James Robinson, who became the fourth undrafted rookie in NFL history to rush for more than 1,000 yards. Unfortunately, that hasn’t helped the team win. The pass rush is anemic (16 sacks), DE Josh Allen (2.5 sacks) has had a disappointing season and is now on IR, and injuries have decimated the secondary (at one point, the Jaguars were down four of their top five corners). That the special teams is ranked in the top 10 despite using six kickers is surprising. — Mike DiRocco


Week 14 ranking: 32

Offense: 32
Defense: 24
Special teams: 4

Nothing has gone right. Oh, sure, they’re ranked highly in special teams, but that rings hollow after a game in which Sergio Castillo missed three field goals in one quarter. The Jets aren’t just bad — they’re historically bad. Their point differential is minus-210, second worst in team history. The worst is minus-214, set by the 1976 Jets in a 14-game season. That mark should be obliterated on Sunday, when the Jets face the Rams. — Rich Cimini



Source : ESPN