2014 NFL Power Rankings: Week 15

 
NFL Power Rankings: Week 15

The Steelers shot up the board after an impressive Week 14 win over the rival Bengals, going from No. 16 to No. 10 in our hierarchy and positioning themselves to make a run at the AFC North title.

 

While Le’Veon Bell and Co. gained a head of steam, one high-profile team continued its fall from grace. The 49ers, who appear to be unraveling before our eyes, suffered an embarrassing loss to the lowly Raiders (No. 29). As a result, ESPN’s Power Panel (a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities) dropped San Francisco four more spots to No. 16; it has fallen seven spots in the past two weeks.

The Saints, another team many thought was destined for big things in 2014, also suffered a fall. No. 19 last week, New Orleans now sits at No. 23 (a season low) after a lopsided home loss to Carolina.

 

As we turn our attention to Week 15, several divisional matchups loom large. A Browns win over the Bengals would be huge for the Steelers, if they take care of business at Atlanta. The weekend slate also includes Cowboys-Eagles, Texans-Colts, Dolphins-Patriots and 49ers-Seahawks. All of these matchups have playoff implications — and the potential to shake things up here.

 

2014 Power Rankings: Week 15
RANK TEAM / RECORD TRENDING COMMENTS
1
Packers
10-3

Last Week: 1

The Packers averaged 6.0 yards per rush Monday night, their most in a game this season. Green Bay’s 119 rushing yards outside the tackles was its most since Week 17 of 2007 vs Lions.
2

Last Week: 2

Sunday was Tom Brady’s 64th career 300-yard game, passing Dan Marino for third most in NFL history. The win also makes Brady a ridiculous 46-7 as a starter in December.
3
Broncos
10-3

Last Week: 3

Peyton Manning’s streak of 51 straight games with a passing touchdown was snapped. Denver rushed for 10 first downs Sunday, tying a season high, including four of five conversions on third-down rushes.
4
 

1
Last Week: 5

The NFC’s on notice — Seattle’s defense is officially back. For the third straight game, the Seahawks held their opponent to season lows in points and yards.
5
 

2
Last Week: 7

Arizona clinched a 10-win season for the second straight year, the first time the Cardinals have posted back-to-back 10-win seasons since three straight from 1974-76. Can they hold off Seattle?
6
Colts
9-4

Last Week: 6

Andrew Luck is now 9-2 in his career in December/January games, including an active four-game win streak. Sunday’s win clinches Indy’s 14th winning season in the past 16 years.
7
Eagles
9-4
 

3
Last Week: 4

Philly’s 10-game home winning streak was snapped, but one bright note was LeSean McCoy. Shady moved past Wilbert Montgomery for the most rush yards in team history (6,539).
8

Last Week: 8

DeMarco Murray keeps rolling along. Murray rushed for 166 yards between the tackles in Thursday’s win over Chicago, the third most in a game by any player this season.
9
Lions
9-4
 

2
Last Week: 11

Detroit found its first win in December/January since Christmas Eve of 2011. The Lions had lost 10 straight games in December/January before doubling up the Buccaneers Sunday.
10
 

6
Last Week: 16

Two players in NFL history have three straight games with at least 200 yards from scrimmage: Le’Veon Bell in the past three weeks and Walter Payton in 1977. Not bad company.
11
 

2
Last Week: 9

The Chargers gained 216 yards of offense Sunday, their second lowest total this season. San Diego is 0-4 when held below 300 yards (8-1 when gaining at least 300).
12
Ravens
8-5
 

1
Last Week: 13

Sunday was the first game since Week 17 of 2012 that Joe Flacco didn’t attempt a pass at least 20 yards downfield. Baltimore outscored Miami 28-3 after the first quarter.
13
Bengals
8-4-1
 

3
Last Week: 10

Cincinnati was outscored 25-0 in the fourth quarter Sunday and just couldn’t stop Le’Veon Bell. At least A.J. Green’s career-best 224 yards probably won some fantasy matchups.
14
Chiefs
7-6

Last Week: 14

Including Sunday, the Chiefs are 0-4 when Jamaal Charles is active but has 10 or fewer rushes (6-2 with more than 10 rushes). It can’t be that easy, can it?
15

Last Week: 15

Ryan Tannehill just missed a sixth straight game with a 70-plus completion percentage, the longest streak in Dolphins history. Tannehill completed 69.7 percent of his passes Sunday.
16
49ers
7-6
 

4
Last Week: 12

This has to be rock bottom, right? San Francisco’s six losses are the most since 2010 (6-10 record). Colin Kaepernick is the only qualified quarterback without a fourth-quarter passing touchdown.
17
Bills
7-6

Last Week: 17

Kyle Orton tied the Bills’ franchise record with 38 completions and threw for a season-high 355 yards Sunday. The 7-6 Bills will need that against the Packers and Pats.
18
Texans
7-6
 

2
Last Week: 20

J.J. Watt had four disrupted dropbacks Sunday (three sacks and a batted pass), his 12th career game with at least three. No other player has more than six since Watt entered the league in 2011.
19
Browns
7-6
 

1
Last Week: 18

Cleveland has one offensive touchdown in its past 29 drives with Brian Hoyer at quarterback. Hoyer is 0-for-9 with two interceptions in the red zone in his past three games.
20
Rams
6-7
 

1
Last Week: 21

St. Louis posted back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1945 and back-to-back wins for the first time this season. It must have been the captains (or the seven sacks).
21
 

1
Last Week: 22

Julio Jones has 21 catches for 448 yards and two touchdowns in his past two games. Eighteen qualified wide receivers don’t have 448 yards this season.
22
 

2
Last Week: 24

Teddy Bridgewater’s 87-yard touchdown pass to Jarius Wright was the third-longest offensive overtime touchdown in NFL history. Minnesota is 4-0-1 in its past five overtime games, including three straight wins.
23
Saints
5-8
 

4
Last Week: 19

New Orleans suffered its largest home defeat of the Sean Payton era (since 2006), and its largest at the Superdome since a 55-21 loss to the Colts in 2003.
24
Panthers
4-8-1
 

1
Last Week: 25

Sunday was Carolina’s largest road win since Week 16 of 2009. Cam Newton’s 90.0 Total QBR was the best he’s ever posted against the Saints.
25
Bears
5-8
 

2
Last Week: 23

Having dropped two in a row, Chicago’s season will be reduced to playing spoiler for the 5-8 (but still in contention) Saints and 9-4 Lions in the next two weeks.
26
Giants
4-9

Last Week: 26

New York snapped a seven-game losing streak by posting its second-largest margin of victory this season. Odell Beckham Jr. had 98 yards and a touchdown — in the first quarter.
27

Last Week: 27

Washington has the second-longest active losing streak in the league (five games). Only the Titans (seven) have a longer streak. Washington has dropped six straight against the NFC West.
28
Jets
2-11
 

1
Last Week: 29

Geno Smith’s first pass turned into his eighth-career pick-six, three more than any other QB in the past two seasons. That Oregon-Florida State game could have the next Jets quarterback.
29
Raiders
2-11
 

3
Last Week: 32

Derek Carr was a perfect 16-for-16 targeting running backs and tight ends in Sunday’s victory, tying the most attempts without an incompletion by any quarterback in the past nine seasons.
30
 

2
Last Week: 28

The Buccaneers are now 0-3 against NFC North teams this season — and haven’t played the Packers yet (Week 16). Tampa Bay’s one of five two-win teams “jockeying” for draft position.
31
Jaguars
2-11

Last Week: 31

Blake Bortles has been sacked 19 times in the past four games. Jacksonville is finishing its fourth straight 11-loss season after posting three in its first 16 seasons.
32
Titans
2-11
 

2
Last Week: 30

Tennessee has lost seven straight games and had its first game without an offensive touchdown since Week 6. Zach Mettenberger has an interception in every game he’s played this year
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