NFL Power Rankings: Ranking teams for NFL Playoffs

By Matt Johnson
Oct 27, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) talks with Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) after the game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

NFL power rankings: The regular season is in the books and the NFL Playoffs have arrived. It’s everyone’s favorite time of year, when legacies are on the line as 14 teams battle it out on the road to Super Bowl LV.

The Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers have spent most of the season at the top of our NFL power rankings. With the playoffs set to kick off, it should come as no surprise they are the teams to beat in the AFC and NFC. While they are the favorites, though, there is plenty of incredible competition.

Thanks to the new format for the NFL Playoffs, we’ll see six games this coming weekend. More football means an even greater shot at some shocking upset and wild finishes. Of course, it’s also a time for some future Hall of Fame quarterbacks to shine and cement their incredible legacies. Finally, after a 17-week season, it’s playoff time.

With the NFL Playoffs set to begin, let’s dive into our latest NFL power rankings.

NFL Power Rankings: Who will win Super Bowl LV?

1. Kansas City Chiefs

NFL power rankings: NFL Playoffs: Kansas City Chiefs
Dec 20, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) celebrates after a two-point conversion against the New Orleans Saints during the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Repeating as Super Bowl champions isn’t easy, but the Kansas City Chiefs have an incredible opportunity to do it this year. With the starters resting in Week 17, Patrick Mahomes and Co. will have a two-week break before returning to action in the NFL Playoffs. When you have the NFL’s best offense paired with a defense capable of generating takeaways, the sky is the limit. The road to Super Bowl LV will be challenging, but this is the team to beat.

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2. Green Bay Packers

NFL power rankings: NFL Playoffs: Green Bay Packers
Nov. 15: Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers celebrates a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second quarter at Lambeau Field. Nfl Jacksonville Jaguars At Green Bay Packers

On the verge of going into the NFL Playoffs with a healthy roster, the Green Bay Packers lost All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari to a torn ACL. It’s a massive blow for the NFL’s best offensive line and will make a postseason run more challenging for Aaron Rodgers. With that said, the Packers are on fire right now. Home-field advantage in the NFC, an MVP quarterback, a dominant run game and an underrated defense. It won’t surprise anyone if the road to Super Bowl LV goes through Green Bay.

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3. Buffalo Bills

NFL power rankings: NFL Playoffs:  Buffalo Bills
Dec 28, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) reacts after his touchdown pass against the New England Patriots in the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

We said before the season that Josh Allen is the one player standing in the way of the Buffalo Bills being Super Bowl contenders. Sure enough, with Allen playing at an MVP-caliber level, the Bills are a legitimate threat to the Chiefs in the AFC. The offense is incredible to watch and the defense is starting to rediscover its form. Now, let’s see how Allen performs in the playoffs.

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4. Seattle Seahawks

NFL power rankings: NFL Playoffs: Seattle Seahawks
Dec 27, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister (86) celebrates with quarterback Russell Wilson (3) after catching a touchdown pass against the Los Angeles Rams during the fourth quarter at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks have taken their fans on a roller coaster ride this season. At times, this looked like the Super Bowl favorite in the NFC. Then you’d see brutal stretches where it seemed like the Seahawks wouldn’t even make the NFL Playoffs. Credit to this team for getting refocused and locking in when it matters, because this defense is on fire and the offense is dangerous.

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5. New Orleans Saints

NFL power rankings: NFL Playoffs: New Orleans Saints
Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) gestures after running back Alvin Kamara (41) scored his sixth touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Timing is everything for the New Orleans Saints. Alvin Kamara tested positive for COVID-19, putting his availability for the Wild Card round of the NFL Playoffs in jeopardy. It all comes at a time when Michael Thomas is closing in on a return, finally healthy after dealing with injuries all season. We have confidence in the Saints at home. After that, Drew Brees’ playoff history makes it wise to bet against him.

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NFL Power Rankings: Best teams in NFL Playoffs

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL power rankings: NFL Playoffs: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jan 3, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass against the Atlanta Falcons during the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This is the reason why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Tom Brady. The fans love that he brought this team back to the playoffs, but this will all be forgotten if Bucs suffer an early playoff exit. At this team’s peak, it can beat anyone. The problem, as we’ve seen in recent months, it goes through cold stretches and its defense is a bigger liability than before. There are a wide range of outcomes for the Buccaneers, but playing Super Bowl LV at home in Tampa Bay isn’t the likeliest result.

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7. Baltimore Ravens

NFL power rankings: NFL Playoffs: Baltimore Ravens
Dec 27, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) warms up prior to the game against the New York Giants at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Sitting at 6-5, the Baltimore Ravens needed a huge turnaround to make the NFL Playoffs. Sure enough, Lamar Jackson put the team on his back and carried it to the promised land. With five consecutive victories, this team feels confident and its defense is healthy at the right time. They disappointed last year as the No. 1 seed, but the Ravens have a good shot at surprising people this time around.

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8. Pittsburgh Steelers

NFL power rankings: NFL Playoffs: Pittsburgh Steelers
Dec 21, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) warms up before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

When the Pittsburgh Steelers jumped out to an 11-0 record, the No. 1 seed seemed like a strong bet and an undefeated record even seemed possible. Instead, with everyone expecting Pittsburgh to crash down to earth, that’s exactly what it did. There’s nothing wrong with a 12-4 record and an AFC North title, but injuries have decimated a dominant defense and Ben Roethlisberger isn’t capable of beating a playoff team on his own.

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9. Cleveland Browns

NFL defense rankings: NFL Playoffs: Cleveland Browns
Dec 30, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) celebrates after breaking the rookie passing touchdown record during the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns are headed to the NFL Playoffs for the first time in 18 years. It’s ridiculous how long this fan base has waited for playoff football to return, but the moment is finally here. The Browns have the running game to dominate in January, no matter where they play. An AFC North battle against the Steelers is exactly the kind of matchup that will make the first round of the playoffs fun to watch.

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NFL Power Rankings: Ranking remaining playoff teams

Related: 2021 NFL mock draft – Blockbuster trades shake up 2021 NFL Draft.

10. Indianapolis Colts

NFL power rankings: NFL Playoffs: Indianapolis Colts
Dec 27, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers (17) reacts on the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the third quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts are headed to the NFL Playoffs. After suffering an inexplicable Week 1 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jonathan Taylor and Philip Rivers easily took care of business in Week 17. Looking ahead to the playoffs, things don’t bode well for Indianapolis. After all, they have to go up against the high-flying Bills in Western New York. Good luck with that.

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11. Tennessee Titans

NFL power rankings: NFL Playoffs: Tennessee Titans
Dec 6, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) pitches the ball to Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) during the first half against the Cleveland Browns at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry shouldered the load for this team in 2019, pushing them into the NFL Playoffs. With the way Tennessee’s defense has played this season, Tannehill and Henry have been asked to carry this team more than ever. Henry is capable of a 150-yard game any week and Tannehill has suddenly become one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks. But this team struggles in shootouts and with one of the league’s worst defenses, that doesn’t bode well for their life in the playoffs.

12. Chicago Bears

NFL power rankings: Chicago Bears: NFL Playoffs
Jan 3, 2021; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) runs for a gain against the Green Bay Packers during their football game Sunday, January 3, 2021, at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers-USA TODAY NETWORK

The Chicago Bears might need to rethink paying Mitchell Trubisky. In a crucial NFC North battle, Trubisky came up well short and showed his alarming limitations as a quarterback are still there. Even more alarming for Chicago, its defense was picked apart by Aaron Rodgers for four touchdowns and it never looked difficult. This team doesn’t have much of a chance against the New Orleans Saints next weekend.

Related: NFL QB rankings – Russell Wilson not a top-five QB? Aaron Rodgers for MVP.

13. Los Angeles Rams

NFL power rankings: NFL Playoffs: Los Angeles Rams
Dec 10, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) gets a bead on New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (right) during the third quarter at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a shame the Los Angeles Rams don’t have a reliable quarterback. Put an above-average starter under center and we’re talking about the best team in the NFL, easily the greatest threat to the Kansas City Chiefs. Instead, a brilliant head coach and an elite defense will be wasted. Sean McVay remains a quarterback away from a Super Bowl ring. We’ll see that first-hand against the Seahawks next week.

14. Washington Football Team

BFL Power Rankings: NFL Playoffs: Washington Football Team
Dec 13, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws a pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Football Team might be the feel-good story of the 2020 NFL season. Ron Rivera battling cancer and winning, Alex Smith’s remarkable comeback story and this team overcoming Daniel Snyder. Washington’s defense is outstanding, one capable of causing plenty of issues for opponents. Unfortunately, the offense isn’t remotely in a position to win a playoff game. As a result, this incredible ride likely ends in an immediate playoff exit.

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NFL power rankings: Despite a narrow win over the Falcons last Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs sit atop our latest power rankings. They do so after having clinched home-field advantage in the AFC Playoffs. The Green Bay Packers remained at two after also clinching homefield in the NFC. On the other side of the ledger, the Jacksonville Jaguars remain the worst team in the league.

Let’s dive into our latest NFL power rankings heading into NFL Week 17.

NFL Week 17: Schedule and game-by-game predictions

NFL power rankings: Who is the best NFL team entering Week 17?

1. Kansas City Chiefs (1)

NFL power rankings: Week 17: Best NFL team
Dec 27, 2020; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes before the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs don’t often win games in pretty fashion. We saw that on display once again, this time in Week 16 with a game that probably should have gone to overtime. Kansas City didn’t find the end zone until the final minute of the second quarter and didn’t return until Patrick Mahomes’ go-ahead touchdown strike with 1:55 left in the game. All that matters is the Chiefs have the No. 1 seed in the AFC and a first-round bye. Besides, this team will be unstoppable when it starts clicking.

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2. Green Bay Packers (2)

NFL power rankings: Week 17: Green Bay Packers
Dec 27, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) scrambles for a first down before being tackled by Tennessee Titans linebacker Rashaan Evans (54) in the first quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers made two statements in Week 16. First, Aaron Rodgers deserves to be the NFL MVP and that’s something no one saw coming from the 37-year-old quarterback. Second, Green Bay’s run defense might not be as problematic as we thought. The Packers utterly destroyed the Tennessee Titans and are a Week 17 victory away from a first-round bye. Facing the Packers at Lambeau Field in the playoffs should scare every NFC contender.

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3. Buffalo Bills (3)

NFL power rankings: Buffalo Bills
Dec 28, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Buffalo Bills tight end Lee Smith (85) celebrates with quarterback Josh Allen (17) in front of tight end Dawson Knox (88) after scoring a touchdown against the New England Patriots during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Bills had absolutely no problem with a horrible New England Patriots team in Week 16, defeating Bill Belichick and Co. by the score of 38-9 to move to 12-3 on the season. Buffalo’s stingy defense held Cam Newton to 15 net passing yards on 10 attempts before he was benched. Meanwhile, Josh Allen threw four more scores against zero interceptions and has now tallied 42 total touchdowns in 15 starts. Sean McDermott’s squad looks like a well-oiled machine.

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4. Seattle Seahawks (5)

NFL power rankings: Seattle Seahawks: Week 17
Dec 27, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks free safety D.J. Reed (29) celebrates following a fourth down stop against the Los Angeles Rams during the fourth quarter at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle entered Week 16 with everything on the line, facing a tough matchup. Russell Wilson made enough plays to keep the Seahawks ahead. The bigger story from Sunday’s game, even more so the past few weeks, is this defense. Once a unit that looked like it couldn’t stop a JV squad, Seattle’s defense has been among the NFL’s best as of late. They are back in the hunt as Super Bowl contenders.

Related: NFL defense rankings – Examining the top defenses in the NFL.

5. New Orleans Saints (4)

NFL power rankings: Week 16
Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) runs against the Minnesota Vikings in the second quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The only person who can stop Alvin Kamara is Sean Payton putting the football in Taysom Hill’s hands. Kamara delivered a performance for the ages, leading the Saints to victory and an NFC South title with six touchdowns. It proves how valuable he is to this offense and why he should be the focal point in the NFL Playoffs. Otherwise, given Drew Brees’ struggles, it will be an early exit in January for the Saints.

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NFL power rankings: Playoff contenders entering Week 17

6. Baltimore Ravens (6)

NFL power rankings: Week 17: Baltimore Ravens
Dec 27, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) runs with the ball in the second quarter against the New York Giants at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Getting hot at the right time can mean everything. Plenty of Baltimore’s recent stretch of dominance can be explained by a laughably weak schedule, but this team is playing better on both sides of the ball. The Ravens control their destiny, with a win in Week 17 against the Cincinnati Bengals guaranteeing a playoff berth. Whether they face the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans or Cleveland Browns, this looks like a team who can win in the first round.

Related: NFL QB rankings – Russell Wilson not a top-five QB? Aaron Rodgers for MVP.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8)

NFL power rankings: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Week 17
Dec 26, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrates with quarterback Tom Brady (12) after scoring a touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

For those questioning Tom Brady’s arm strength, the 43-year-old silenced the critics in Week 16. A 348-yard performance with four scores, all of that done in a single half. The Buccaneers were completely rolling on Saturday, in what the fan base can only hope is a sign of things to come. The Atlanta Falcons await in Week 17, but there won’t be much on the line for either team.

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8. Pittsburgh Steelers (11)

NFL power rankings: Week 17: Pittsburgh Steelers
Dec 27, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers (17) embrace at mid-field after their game at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 28-24. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Trailing 24-7 midway through the fourth quarter, Pittsburgh found itself at a pivotal moment. It felt like the Steelers were about to drop their fourth consecutive game, heading into the NFL Playoffs on a frigid note. Suddenly, Ben Roethlisberger came alive and Pittsburgh’s defense never let the Indianapolis Colts smell points again.

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9. Tennessee Titans (9)

NFL power rankings: Week 17: Tennessee Titans
Dec 27, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith (55) celebrates after sacking Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) during the second quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

A year ago, the Titans were in the middle of riding Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry into a hot streak that carried them to the AFC Championship Game. Based on how this team looked in Week 16, don’t count on that happening again. Tennessee can’t play defense, it can’t pressure the quarterback and it is screwed if this team falls behind. That all spells disaster in the playoffs.

10. Miami Dolphins (12)

NFL power rankings: Week 17
Dec 26, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) celebrates with center Ted Karras (67) after the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. The Dolphins defeated the Raiders 26-25. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

FitzMagic saved the day. With head coach Brian Flores displeased by rookie Tua Tagovailoa’s performance and the team needing a spark, in came Ryan Fitzpatrick. It made the difference, igniting a spark that turned things around and ended in an epic finish. Believe it or not, the Miami Dolphins will enter Week 17 on the verge of making the playoffs.

11. Cleveland Browns (7)

NFL power rankings: Cleveland Browns
Dec 27, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) scrambles as New York Jets outside linebacker Tarell Basham (93) pursues during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no getting around the humiliation that comes from a loss to the New York Jets. With that said, Cleveland played without its top four receivers and its two best offensive linemen in Week 16. A slight pass can be given, but this game also wiped away any shot at winning the AFC North and a home playoff game. Things looked so promising and now it could all come crashing down, which seems fitting for Cleveland.

12. Chicago Bears (15)

NFL power rankings: Week 17: Chicago Bears
Dec 27, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Chicago Bears ight end Jimmy Graham (80) and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) celebrate after a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

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Just a few weeks ago, the Bears seemed dead in the water. A six-game losing streak is usually a death sentence for a team’s playoff hopes, but Chicago enters Week 17 in a “win-and-in” scenario. The offense is playing out of its mind right now and this defense remains one of the best in the NFL. Sunday’s matchup against the Packers will be a great litmus test to determine if this team is for real.

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13. Indianapolis Colts (10)

NFL power rankings: Week 17
Dec 27, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt (90) and defensive end Stephon Tuitt (91) sack Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers (17) during the third quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts could be kicking themselves all offseason for their fourth-quarter collapse in Week 16. There’s a chance this becomes just the third NFL team to win 11 games and miss the playoffs, a painful stat Indianapolis wants no part of. Given how inconsistent the Colts have played as of late, though, it might be an outcome they deserve.

14. Los Angeles Rams (13)

NFL power rankings: Jared Goff: Week 17
Dec 27, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) returns to the sideline following a turnover on downs against the Seattle Seahawks during the third quarter at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Jared Goff is the one thing holding the Los Angeles Rams back from being the best team in the NFL. Coincidentally, his broken right thumb is also the issue that might keep this team out of the playoffs. John Wolford is not an NFL quarterback and Los Angeles realistically has little hope to win in Week 17 if he is the starter. If this team doesn’t make the playoffs, every NFC contender should consider it a Christmas gift.

Related: Why the Rams must trade Jared Goff in 2021

15. Arizona Cardinals (14)

NFL power rankings: Week 17
Dec 26, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs by San Francisco 49ers defensive end Jordan Willis (78) during the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona controlled its playoff destiny, it simply needed to beat an injury-riddled San Francisco 49ers team with nothing to play for. If you watched this Week 16 NFC West clash, you’d think the Cardinals were the club whose season was already over. Blame for this collapse can fall on Kyler Murray, Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim. Either way, the Cardinals need a wake-up call this offseason.

NFL power rankings: Ranking teams 16-22 entering Week 17

16. San Francisco 49ers (22)

NFL power rankings: Week 17
San Francisco running back Jeff Wilson (30) celebrates his touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the 49ers’ 20-12 win at State Farm Stadium. Syndication Arizona Republic

The San Francisco 49ers are going to be Super Bowl contenders next season. Watching this team fight in every game, playing under difficult circumstances and without so many impact players, speaks to Kyle Shanahan’s coaching abilities. The 49ers will close out their season in Week 17 and we’d give them a shot to at least make things scary for the Seahawks.

17. Minnesota Vikings (18)

NFL power rankings: Minnesota Vikings
Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks to throw in the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Zimmer will see Alvin Kamara in his nightmares. The Vikings couldn’t tackle, failed to fill running lanes and made far too many mental mistakes. The end result was an ugly loss to the Saints in Week 16 and knocked out of playoff contention. Minnesota could beat the Detroit Lions in Week 17 to finish 7-9, but this will go down as a disappointing season.

18. Dallas Cowboys (27)

NFL power rankings: Dallas Cowboys
Dec 27, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore talks with quarterback Andy Dalton (14) after a touchdown in the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys still have a shot at winning the NFC East, it’s only fitting for 2020. Andy Dalton ripped Philadelphia’s secondary to shreds and this team is now coming off three consecutive victories. It will take plenty of help in Week 17 to make the playoffs, including a win over the New York Giants, but the fact it’s possible is a credit to the players.

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19. Los Angeles Chargers (23)

NFL power rankings: Week 17: Justin Herbert
Dec 27, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) gestures at the line of scrimmage during the first half against the Denver Broncos at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Chargers have won consecutive games with last-minute scores. Even reading those words, it sounds too impossible to be true. Justin Herbert set the rookie record for passing touchdowns and the number could be even higher if he had a good play-caller designing this offense. Consider that the top priority on this team’s 2021 resolutions list.

Related: How the Chargers can build around Justin Herbert this offseason

20. Washington Football Team (16)

NFL power rankings: Week 17: Dwayne Haskins
Dec 27, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) stands on the sidelines after being benched against the Carolina Panthers in the fourth quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Dwyane Haskins era is over. Frankly, it’s fitting that it ended with the 23-year-old getting benched for a third-string quarterback and then skipping out on his media obligations after the game. As for the Washington Football Team, its playoff hopes rest entirely on Alex Smith being cleared for Week 17. Can we just not have an NFC East team in the playoffs?

RELATED: Evaluating five best QB options for Washington Football Team in 2021

21. Atlanta Falcons (24)

NFL power rankings: Week 17: Atlanta Falcons
Dec 27, 2020; Kansas City, MO, USA; Atlanta Falcons head coach Raheem Morris against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first half of a NFL game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta nearly pulled off an even bigger upset in Week 16 than the Jets over the Rams. If not for a dropped interception and Younghoe Koo’s shanked kick on a game-tying attempt, the Falcons might actually have won. Raheem Morris is proving he deserves to remain the head coach in 2021, but some moves will need to be made this offseason.

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22. Las Vegas Raiders (19)

NFL power rankings: Week 17: Las Vegas Raiders
Dec 26, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden reacts following the loss to the Miami Dolphins at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders battled with Miami until the end, but some baffling coaching decisions by Jon Gruden proved costly. It’s becoming an all too familiar story with this club, they start hot and then choke away a shot at the playoffs when the season starts to wind down. Given Gruden is locked into a 10-year contract, though, he is safer than he should be.

23. New York Giants (20)

NFL power rankings: Week 17
Dec 27, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) is sacked by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Pernell McPhee (90) and defensive end Calais Campbell (93) in the fourth quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Daniel Jones didn’t give the football away in Week 16, which we’ll consider an accomplishment based on the standards he has created in his two NFL seasons. The Giants seemed to be in a great spot to win the NFC East a few weeks ago, but it all came crashing down during this three-game losing streak. Does this team deserve to be in the playoffs? No. But this year is bizarre, weird things happen and the 6-10 Giants winning the division seems plausible.

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24. Philadelphia Eagles (17)

NFL power rankings: Philadelphia Eagles
Dec 27, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks Carson Wentz (11) and Jalen Hurts (2) talk with head coach Doug Pederson (C) during a timeout against the Dallas Cowboys in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles are officially eliminated from playoff contention. It’s a fitting end to a season that no one in Philadelphia will want to remember. Week 17 doesn’t really matter, it’s just more days leading up to the most fascinating NFL offseason in years.

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25. New England Patriots (21)

Patriots rumors: Cam Newton
Dec 20, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) puts on his helmet prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

What a pathetic Week 16 performance from Cam Newton and the Patriots. The former NFL MVP was benched after putting up 15 net passing yards on 10 attempts with his team down 31-9 in the third quarter. Bill Belichick was clearly frustrated. Among other things, these Patriots now need to reset at the quarterback position. They also lack talent at the skill positions. This year’s performance is a prime example of that.

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26. Carolina Panthers (26)

NFL power rankings: Week 17
Dec 27, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel (10) catches a pass as Washington Football Team defensive back Jeremy Reaves (39) in the second quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

If Joe Brady returns as Carolina’s offensive coordinator next season, it will be just as valuable as a healthy Christian McCaffrey in 2021. This offense is fun to watch, even without its All-Pro offensive weapon and we expect even greater things from it a year from now. After a Week 17 loss to the Saints, Carolina will be in an even better position for a top 2021 NFL Draft pick.

Related: Top candidates to become Panthers’ general manager

27. Denver Broncos (25)

NFL power rankings: Week 17: Drew Lock
Dec 27, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) throws a pass in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Coming out of the 2020 season, Drew Lock provided the Broncos with far more questions than answers. He is tied with Carson Wentz for a league-high 15 interceptions and is the least accurate quarterback in the NFL. Based on everything we’ve seen, it’s in the team’s best interests to find a quarterback this offseason.

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28. New York Jets (31)

NFL power rankings: New York Jets: Week 17
Dec 27, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets head coach Adam Gase talks with quarterback Sam Darnold (14) during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Consecutive victories, words we never expected to use when writing about the New York Jets. It’s not like Adam Gase’s squad beat fellow cellar-dwelling teams, the Rams and Browns are legit playoff-caliber opponents. The Jets have officially lost out on Trevor Lawrence,

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29. Cincinnati Bengals (29)

NFL power rankings
Oct 4, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor reacts during the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

A matchup between two of the worst teams in the NFL delivered the fireworks you’d expect. Cincinnati pulled out a 37-31 victory and Zac Taylor is firmly secured as the head coach for 2021. That might not be for the best, but maybe everything works out.

Bengals news: Latest update on Joe Burrow’s recovery

30. Houston Texans (30)

NFL power rankings
Dec 27, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) kneels on the field after suffering an apparent injury against the Cincinnati Bengals during the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Can we request a trade for Deshaun Watson on his behalf? He delivered another MVP-caliber performance in Week 16, but it doesn’t matter because practically everything else around him is terrible. Oh, thanks to a porous offensive line, he also suffered another injury. The Texans should never be trusted with a talented quarterback.

31. Detroit Lions (28)

NFL power rankings: Detroit Lions
Dec 13, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) reacts after an injury during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions were already cooked before, but things really got ugly in Week 16. Losing most of their coaching staff to COVID-19 protocols and then seeing Matthew Stafford get hurt, just more nails in the coffin. Big changes are coming to Detroit this offseason, moves that could result in a new front office, coach, defense and quarterback.

Related: Making the case for Robert Saleh as Lions head coach

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (32)

Jan 13, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) in the College Football Playoff national championship game against the LSU Tigers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have secured the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, guaranteeing they can take Trevor Lawrence. This is a moment the organization and fan base has waited years to experience. While they sit at the bottom of our NFL power rankings, the Jaguars would be much higher in future rankings for NFL teams.

NFL world reacts to Jaguars securing No. 1 overall pick

NFL power rankings Week 16

NFL power rankings: The Pittsburgh Steelers have proven to be pretenders. The same thing can’t be said for their division rivals in that of the Ravens and Browns. Over in the NFC, the Saints failed to make a statement against the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. It’s with this backdrop that we provide you with our latest NFL power rankings.

Let’s dive into our latest NFL power rankings heading into NFL Week 16.

NFL Week 16: Schedule and game-by-game predictions

UPDATE: Dec. 27, 10:15 AM EST

NFL power rankings: Super Bowl LV favorites

1. Kansas City Chiefs (1)

NFL power rankings: Best NFL team: Kansas City Chiefs
Dec 20, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) at the line against the New Orleans Saints during the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes got punched in the mouth by the New Orleans Saints. It’s unusual to see Mahomes get hit 11 times and New Orleans made every one of them count. Yet, the Chiefs came out on top. Not only did Kansas City win 32-29, it dominated. Just looking at the total yards (411 to 285) and time of possession (41 to 19) advantages says it all. The Kansas City Chiefs are the best team in the NFL.

NFL top 100: Ranking the best NFL players in 2020

2. Green Bay Packers (2)

NFL power rankings: Green Bay Packers
Dec 19, 2020; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) runs for a gain against the Carolina Panthers during their football game Saturday, December 19, 2020, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers-USA TODAY NETWORK

The Green Bay Packers are coasting to the No. 1 seed in the NFC and pivotal home-field advantage in the NFL Playoffs. The first-round bye would be huge for this team, but having Drew Brees or Tom Brady have to play at Lambeau Field in January could be just as important. Offensively, everything on this team is clicking right now and it’s evident Matt LaFleur is just starting to unleash Aaron Jones. The Tennessee Titans will be a huge test for Green Bay in Week 15, but it’s always smart to bet on Aaron Rodgers in a high-scoring game.

Green Bay Packers: How the team can do right by Aaron Rodgers in offseason

3. Buffalo Bills (3)

NFL power rankings: Week 16: Buffalo Bills
Dec 19, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) throws against the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in 25 years, the Buffalo Bills are AFC East champs. We predicted it nine months ago, but this team is exceeding the grandest expectations. When Josh Allen isn’t pressured, he’s an MVP-caliber quarterback and his connection with Stefon Diggs is unstoppable. The New England Patriots await in Week 16 and a win would put Buffalo one step closer to the No. 2 seed.

NFL world, Jim Kelly react to Buffalo Bills winning AFC East

4. New Orleans Saints (5)

NFL power rankings: Week 16
Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) runs against the Minnesota Vikings in the second quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The only person who can stop Alvin Kamara is Sean Payton putting the football in Taysom Hill’s hands. Kamara delivered a performance for the ages, leading the Saints to victory and an NFC South title with six touchdowns. It proves how valuable he is to this offense and why he should be the focal point in the NFL Playoffs. Otherwise, given Drew Brees’ struggles, it will be an early exit in January for the Saints.

New Orleans Saints rumors: Latest buzz on team’s QB plans for Week 15 and 2021

NFL power rankings: Playoff contenders entering Week 16

5. Seattle Seahawks (12)

NFL power rankings: Seattle Seahawks
Dec 20, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) throws a pass against the Washington Football Team during the first half at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

We needed to see the Seahawks beat a quality opponent before moving them up in the NFL power rankings. Narrowly knocking off the Washington Football Team isn’t a statement victory, but it showed Seattle could compete when facing an elite defense. That’s especially important in the NFC, given this team could easily face the Los Angeles Rams or New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card round. The Seahawks are a legitimate playoff team and deserve a top-10 spot, but there is a monumental gap between the NFL’s top-five teams and its next tier.

6. Baltimore Ravens (11)

latest NFL power rankings
Dec 20, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) celebrates with guard Ben Powers (72) and guard Bradley Bozeman (77) after scoring a third quarter touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens control their destiny and the path to the NFL Playoffs is extremely comfortable. Baltimore easily handled its business against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Already rolling with three consecutive victories, the Ravens close out the year with the New York Giants (Week 16) and Cincinnati Bengals (Week 17). If they win both, this team could be dangerous. With that said, there’s not enough on the roster to realistically compete for the Super Bowl.

Related: NFL QB rankings – Russell Wilson not a top-five QB? Aaron Rodgers for MVP.

7. Cleveland Browns (9)

NFL power rankings: Week 16: Cleveland Browns
Dec 20, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) drops back to pass against the New York Giants during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Ladies and gentleman, Baker Mayfield. Mayfield has a 117.7 quarterback rating across his last four starts with 1,232 passing yards and a 10/1 TD/INT ratio. It was the 25-year-old’s inconsistency and his issues under pressure that kept this offense from being dominant. With an unstoppable running game and Mayfield feeling confident, the Browns will be very dangerous in the playoffs.

8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8)

NFL power rankings: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Antonio Brown
Dec 20, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) celebrates a touchdown catch against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half of a NFL game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

For those questioning Tom Brady’s arm strength, the 43-year-old silenced the critics in Week 16. A 348-yard performance with four scores, all of that done in a single half. The Buccaneers were completely rolling on Saturday, in what the fan base can only hope is a sign of things to come. The Atlanta Falcons await in Week 17, but there won’t be much on the line for either team.

NFL world reacts to Buccaneers’ 34-0 first-half dominance

9. Tennessee Titans (10)

NFL power rankings: Week 16: Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs over Detroit Lions cornerback Alex Myres (43) after slamming him to the turf during the second quarter at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn. Gw44261

Derrick Henry is the new Santa Claus. When December rolls around, that’s when you know Henry will make his rounds around the NFL. Tennessee’s 6-foot-3 and 247-pound running back has racked up 367 rushing yards over his last two games. In Week 16, he gets to face a defense with a reputation for missing tackles, getting run over, and giving up huge gains. That bodes well for Tennessee’s offense, but its defense is in danger of giving up 40-plus to the Packers.

10. Indianapolis Colts (7)

NFL power rankings: 2020 NFL season
Dec 20, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) celebrates with teammates after a touchdown against the Houston Texans in the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

On the one hand, victories are always valuable and Sunday’s win pushes the Colts one step closer to the NFL Playoffs. In their last meeting, Indianapolis needed the Houston Texans to suffer a botched snap to wipe away a potential victory. During their Week 15 rematch, Texans receiver Keke Coutee fumbled away the game-tying touchdown with 20 seconds left. We’ll get a great litmus test for this team and its chances of competing in the AFC playoffs when they face Pittsburgh in Week 16.

11. Pittsburgh Steelers (6)

NFL power rankings: Pittsburgh Steelers
Dec 8, 2019; Glendale, AZ, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin reacts following the game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

What an absolutely pathetic recent performance from Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers over the past few games. Losers of two consecutive after winning their first 11, Pittsburgh lost to the two-win Cincinnati Bengals by the score of 24-17 in Week 15. Big Ben was atrocious under center. A previously stout Steelers defense was embarrassed by none other than Ryan Finley (yes, that Ryan Finley). Simply put, this team is a pretender.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Top quarterback options for 2021

12. Miami Dolphins (13)

NFL power rankings: Miami Dolphins
Dec 20, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the New England Patriots during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

FitzMagic saved the day. With head coach Brian Flores displeased by rookie Tua Tagovailoa’s performance and the team needing a spark, in came Ryan Fitzpatrick. It made the difference, igniting a spark that turned things around and ended in an epic finish. Believe it or not, the Miami Dolphins will enter Week 17 on the verge of making the playoffs.

13. Los Angeles Rams (4)

NFL power rankings: Los Angeles Rams
Dec 20, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) looks for an open receiver during the fourth quarter against the New York Jets at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone thought 2020 was already crazy, a year full of things that no one could have predicted. Even in this scenario, the New York Jets beating the Rams seemed impossible. We know one thing for certain. For all the offensive weapons the Rams have and even with one of the NFL’s best defenses, Jared Goff won’t let this team win a Super Bowl. Years from now, we might have to look back on this era with the knowledge that Goff kept Sean McVay from winning at least one Super Bowl ring.

14. Arizona Cardinals (14)

NFL power rankings
Dec 20, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) catches a pass against Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Kevon Seymour (41) and Michael Jacquet (38) in the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona controlled its playoff destiny, it simply needed to beat an injury-riddled San Francisco 49ers team with nothing to play for. If you watched this Week 16 NFC West clash, you’d think the Cardinals were the club whose season was already over. Blame for this collapse can fall on Kyler Murray, Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim. Either way, the Cardinals need a wake-up call this offseason.

Related: NFL Rookie of the Year, Week 17 – Jonathan Taylor surges, Justin Herbert still the favorite.

NFL power rankings: Latest NFL team rankings for Week 16

15. Chicago Bears (22)

NFL power rankings: Week 16: Chicago Bears
Dec 20, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery (32) runs the ball during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears have taken their fans on a roller coaster ride this season. This looked like a legitimate threat in the NFC after a 5-1 start, but it all came crashing down with six consecutive losses. Apparently, the whiplash from going 5-1 to 5-7 sparked something in Chicago. The Bears have now won consecutive games, getting some revenge on the Vikings in a 33-27 victory.

16. Washington Football Team (15)

NFL power rankings
Dec 20, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end L.J. Collier (91) sacks Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. (7) in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Smith’s days of being a good NFL quarterback are over. After watching Dwayne Haskins on Sunday, though, it served as a reminder about how many holes Smith covered for. This team sorely missed Antonio Gibson in Week 15 and with the offense not clicking, it resulted in a 20-15 defeat. Washington has given new hope to the New York Giants, but we’d still bet on the WFT winning the NFC East.

17. Philadelphia Eagles (21)

NFL power rankings: Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Hurts
Dec 20, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This is a different team with Jalen Hurts. The rookie, considered a project quarterback entering the year, demonstrates that he can handle himself as a starter. Thanks to his strong play over the past two games, Doug Pederson should be safe heading into 2021. Meanwhile, with Hurts looking like the starter in 2021, count on Carson Wentz demanding a trade. Frankly, the Eagles are better off without him.

18. Minnesota Vikings (17)

NFL power rankings: Minnesota Vikings
Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks to throw in the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Zimmer will see Alvin Kamara in his nightmares. The Vikings couldn’t tackle, failed to fill running lanes and made far too many mental mistakes. The end result was an ugly loss to the Saints in Week 16 and knocked out of playoff contention. Minnesota could beat the Detroit Lions in Week 17 to finish 7-9, but this will go down as a disappointing season.

19. Las Vegas Raiders (18)

NFL power rankings: Week 16
Dec 17, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) runs the ball against the Los Angeles Chargers during overtime at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders battled with Miami until the end, but some baffling coaching decisions by Jon Gruden proved costly. It’s becoming an all too familiar story with this club, they start hot and then choke away a shot at the playoffs when the season starts to wind down. Given Gruden is locked into a 10-year contract, though, he is safer than he should be.

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20. New York Giants (20)

Remember when the Giants beat the Seahawks and people talked about this team like it would be dangerous in the playoffs? It really doesn’t matter if it’s Daniel Jones or Colt McCoy under center. This offense can’t be counted on to win games. The Ravens should claw the Giants to shreds and win by double digits in Week 16.

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21. New England Patriots (16)

NFL power rankings: New England Patriots
Dec 10, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick looks on prior to a game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There is crashing down to earth and then there’s the New England Patriots. Cam Newton can’t cover up the holes in this offense and it’s led to one of the worst offenses in the NFL. New England won’t be in the NFL Playoffs for the first time since 2008 and Belichick is headed for a losing season after the Bills beat him in Week 16.

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22. San Francisco 49ers (19)

NFL power rankings
Dec 7, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan looks on against the Buffalo Bills during the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers: Examining key offseason questions regarding team’s future

The San Francisco 49ers are going to be Super Bowl contenders next season. Watching this team fight in every game, playing under difficult circumstances and without so many impact players, speaks to Kyle Shanahan’s coaching abilities. The 49ers will close out their season in Week 17 and we’d give them a shot to at least make things scary for the Seahawks.

23. Los Angeles Chargers (25)

NFL power rankings
Dec 17, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn speaks with quarterback Justin Herbert (10) against the Las Vegas Raiders during overtime at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Chargers have won games in spite of Anthony Lynn this season. He nearly cost them again on Thursday Night Football, but Justin Herbert saved the day. Once this team gets the right head coach in place, it could make huge strides next season. If it’s offered, bet on the Chargers as a playoff team in 2021.

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24. Atlanta Falcons (23)

NFL power rankings: Atlanta Falcons: Week 16
Dec 20, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) before the NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Something about the falcons and three-score leads in the third quarter just don’t mix. Atlanta wasted away a huge upset over the Buccaneers in Week 15, but that’s par for the course when facing Tom Brady. At this point, it’s time to start thinking about the future. One that might not involve Matt Ryan.

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25. Denver Broncos (24)

NFL power rankings: Week 16
Dec 19, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) is tackled by Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Addison (97) during the first quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos are officially eliminated from playoff contention, but everyone saw that coming months ago. We can blame injuries on both sides of the ball, including Courtland Sutton and Von Miller, but this offense just isn’t good. At some point, John Elway must seriously question if Drew Lock can be a franchise quarterback.

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26. Carolina Panthers (26)

NFL power rankings: Carolina Panthers: Week 16
Dec 19, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) fumbles the ball near the goal line in the second quarter during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time to sink a fork in the Carolina Panthers. Christian McCaffrey’s injury-riddled 2020 season really took away from a potentially electrifying offense and offensive coordinator Joe Brady could only mask the holes for so long. Meanwhile, this defense is just way too inexperienced to be counted on. We’ll hope for better things in 2021. There’s more reason for confidence now that Marty Hurney is gone.

Related: 2021 NFL mock draft – Blockbuster trades shake up 2021 NFL Draft.

27. Dallas Cowboys (28)

NFL power rankings: Dallas Cowboys
Dec 20, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard (20) is tackled by San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Dre Greenlaw (57) in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys finally gave Tony Pollard a shot to start. In Week 15, he might have hit two birds with one stone. Proving he is capable of carrying a full workload and sparking drama between the Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliott. Quite frankly, Dallas can be a better team in 2021 if it trades Zeke this offseason.

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28. Detroit Lions (29)

NFL power rankings: Detroit Lions
Dec 13, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) reacts after an injury during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions were already cooked before, but things really got ugly in Week 16. Losing most of their coaching staff to COVID-19 protocols and then seeing Matthew Stafford get hurt, just more nails in the coffin. Big changes are coming to Detroit this offseason, moves that could result in a new front office, coach, defense and quarterback.

Related: Making the case for Robert Saleh as Lions head coach

29. Cincinnati Bengals (31)

NFL power rankings: Week 16
Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor and wide receiver A.J. Green (18) appeal to an official after a play is ruled dead in the second quarter of the NFL Week 14 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Dallas Cowboys at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020. The Cowboys led 17-7 at half time. Dallas Cowboys At Cincinnati Bengals

We have to give credit where it’s due. Zac Taylor and his Bengals could have simply given up a few weeks back when rookie No. 1 pick Joe Burrow went down to a torn ACL and MCL. Instead, this talent-stricken team has been fighting and fighting. That came to a culmination in a shocking 27-17 win over the 14-point favorite Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 15. At the very least, these Bengals seem to have fight in them. We can’t say the same thing for the two teams below them in our latest power rankings.

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30. Houston Texans (27)

NFL power rankings: Deshaun Watson
Dec 20, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) reacts after a Texans fumble into the end zone to end the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Texans rumors: Deshaun Watson’s top choice for HC, OC

The Houston Texans really don’t deserve Deshaun Watson. He almost beat the Indianapolis Colts again, but his teammates just can’t hold onto the football. Frankly, there’s an argument to be made that Watson deserves NFL MVP votes. At this point, though, he’d just take having a decent head coach and general manager.

31. New York Jets (32)

NFL power rankings: New York Jets
Oct 21, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Adam Gase reacts during the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday might have been the happiest Adam Gase has been in years. He knows he is getting fired, but the Jets kept him around confident he was bad enough to finish with an 0-16 record. It’s really fitting that New York lost, especially a game where it entered as a 17-point underdog. This fan base will be dealing with this painful memory for a decade-plus.

NFL world reacts to Jets blowing their shot at Trevor Lawrence

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (30)

NFL power rankings: Worst team in NFL
Dec 6, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. (10) celebrates his touchdown during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Week 15 of the 2020 NFL season might go down as a pivotal day in NFL history. The Jets gifted Trevor Lawrence to the Jaguars, an early Christmas present that there can never be enough thanks for. Assuming Jacksonville avoids blowing this, winning a game, the Jaguars are set to be a power in 2021.

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NFL power rankings Week 15

NFL power rankings: We’re now getting down to the nitty gritty when it comes to the 2020 NFL season. Three weeks remain until the playoffs. While the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs remain the top dog, there’s another team trying to stake a claim to that status in the AFC.

Over the NFC, a Week 14 loss by the New Orleans Saints changes up the landscape in a big way. Meanwhile, the New York Jets remain bottom feeders.

Let’s dive into our NFL power rankings before Week 15 kicks off.

Update: Dec. 20, 10 AM EST

NFL Week 15: Schedule and game-by-game predictions

NFL power rankings: Super Bowl LV favorites

1. Kansas City Chiefs (1)

NFL power rankings
Dec 13, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) scrambles against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City found itself in unfamiliar territory in Week 14. Trailing 10-0, Patrick Mahomes had two interceptions and took a baffling 30-yard sack. The Chiefs just weren’t clicking and facing a great defense, it started to feel like an upset was brewing. But, that’s the thing about Mahomes and Kansas City’s weapons. Right when you think they are bottled up, they deliver 30 unanswered points.

The Chiefs are the best team in the AFC and deserve to be the Super Bowl LV favorite. Now, we can all get excited about the Week 15 battle against the New Orleans Saints. This game will be even better thanks to Drew Brees’ return, but the absence of Michael Thomas is significant. The best game in Week 15 is a great test for both teams.

NFL top 100: Ranking the best NFL players in 2020

2. Green Bay Packers (3)

NFL power rankings
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) hands off the ball to running back Aaron Jones (33) for a 77-yard touchdown run against the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth quarter during their football game Sunday, December 6, 2020, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Apc Packvseagles 1206201158

The Green Bay Packers are NFC North champions once again. Aaron Rodgers and Co. will be watching the Saints-Chiefs battle closely, with a home playoff game already locked up and the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed. Green Bay’s win over the Carolina Panthers, a Saturday Night Football clash in Week 15, pushes them one step closer to the No.1 seed. If the Saints lose, Green Bay takes a one-game lead over New Orleans for home-field advantage and a first-round bye. Given the Packers’ light schedule the rest of the way, they could cruise to the top seed.

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3. Buffalo Bills (5)

NFL power rankings: Week 15: Buffalo Bills
Dec 13, 2020; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) tries to outrun Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Terrell Edmunds (34) after making a catch in the third quarter at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs are quickly entering the conversation to be one of the NFL’s best quarterback-receiver combinations. We also can’t help but notice this defense is starting to show some signs of the highly-praised unit that everyone raved about in 2019. Put those things together and you’ve got a legitimate Super Bowl contender. With the division locked up, for the first time in 25 years, Buffalo sets its sights on the No.2 seed.

NFL world, Jim Kelly react to Bills winning AFC East

4. Los Angeles Rams (6)

NFL rankings
Dec 10, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) and defensive end Aaron Donald (99) celebrate after defeating the New England Patriots at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

If defense wins championships in the modern NFL, teams should be fearful of the Los Angeles Rams. Quarterbacks perform like Daniel Jones against this defense, averaging 6.1 yards per pass attempt. Running backs don’t fare much better, with opponents averaging 3.9 yards per carry. Sitting at 9-4, the Rams are practically guaranteed to achieve a 10-win season with the New York Jets on deck. With that said, Jared Goff prevents Los Angeles from being higher in our NFL power rankings.

5. New Orleans Saints (2)

Latest NFL power rankings
Dec 6, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive end Trey Hendrickson (91) reacts with defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) and defensive tackle David Onyemata (93) after tackling Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) (not shown) for a loss during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans entered Week 14 as favorites to win the NFC, with everyone expecting them to blowout the Philadelphia Eagles. Instead, Taysom Hill couldn’t do quite enough as a passer and this defense picked an awful time to disappear against the run. New Orleans also couldn’t get to Jalen Hurts (zero sacks) and the rookie did a nice job finding holes in the secondary. Now, look ahead to Week 15 and imagine what Patrick Mahomes could do.

Fortunately for New Orleans, Drew Brees is back and reports indicate he is healthy. That’s a boost for this offense, especially in a potential shootout. However, he is really going to miss Michael Thomas in this matchup. We’re expecting a loss, but the Saints wouldn’t slide too far down our NFL power rankings.

New Orleans Saints: Top quarterback options to replace Drew Brees in 2021

NFL power rankings: NFL playoff contenders entering Week 15

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (4)

NFL power rankings: Pittsburgh Steelers
Dec 13, 2020; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) look on prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

This is a flawed football team. Losing linebacker Devin Bush and edge rusher Bud Dupree has taken a toll on this defense, creating holes in the middle of the field and limiting Pittsburgh’s ability to create pressure. However, it’s the offense that is the real problem. The Steelers aren’t running the football, don’t have the offensive line to even do it effectively and now there are health worries surrounding Ben Roethlisberger. If the Chiefs win the No. 1 seed, the right opponent could upset Pittsburgh in the first round of the NFL Playoffs.

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7. Indianapolis Colts (8)

NFL power rankings: Pittsburgh Steelers
Dec 13, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) runs with the ball for a touchdown while pursued by Las Vegas Raiders free safety Erik Harris (25) and cornerback Trayvon Mullen (27) in the third quarter at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Indianapolis needed to rebound after getting run over by the Tennessee Titans then barely knocking off the Houston Texans. The Las Vegas Raiders provided just that. Offensively, the Colts did whatever they wanted to in Las Vegas. Philip Rivers threw two scores and averaged 8.7 yards per pass attempt. On the ground, Jonathan Taylor (150 yards, two touchdowns) led a 212-yard performance by Indianapolis. The Colts should deliver another win against the Texans next week, before drawing a must-see AFC clash against the Steelers.

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8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10)

NFL power rankings: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Week 15
Dec 13, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) points against the Minnesota Vikings during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Looking to squash reckless speculation about their relationship this week, Tom Brady and Bruce Arians tried to golf together. But, the NFL stepped in and didn’t let this duo have some fun on the links. While the golf outing was ruined, Sunday’s victory over the Minnesota Vikings should leave everyone feeling good. It was a crucial win for Tampa Bay, but there are still plenty of things for Brady (15-of-23 passes completed, 196 passing yards) and this defense (335 total yards allowed) to clean up before Week 15.

9. Cleveland Browns (6)

NFL power rankings, Cleveland Browns
Nov 22, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) smiles on the sidelines during the second half against the Philadelphia Eagles at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Given how well Baker Mayfield and the Browns’ offense played Monday night against the Ravens, it was disappointing to see how the game ended. Mayfield led Cleveland to what seemed to be a game-tying touchdown drive to force overtime. But as we saw all evening, the defense could not hold up its end of the bargain. The end result was a 47-42 loss. We’re more than a little concerned that the 9-4 Browns gave up north of 230 yards on the ground in Week 14. That must be fixed.

10. Tennessee Titans (9)

NFL power rankings: Tennessee Titans
Dec 13, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs the ball around Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Sidney Jones (35) during the second quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Derrick Henry is starting one of those stretches again. He delivered another 200-yard performance in Week 14, utterly destroying the Jacksonville Jaguars. In Week 15, he’ll have a chance to drop another 200-burger on the Detroit Lions. This is Henry’s time of year and it helps set up the play-action pass perfectly for Ryan Tannehill and A.J. Brown. This is a fun team to watch, but they don’t have a defense capable of going on a deep playoff run. It’s not an issue in Week 15, but it spells trouble for next week against the Packers.

11. Baltimore Ravens (13)

NFL power rankings: Baltimore Ravens
Sep 22, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) throws a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Dramatic. Ridiculous. A defining moment for reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson. With his team at 7-5 on the season, Jackson led the Ravens to a dramatic 47-42 win on Monday night. He did so after returning to the game following an injury. A campaign that has been defined by struggles on Jackson’s part and a COVID-19 outbreak could now lead Baltimore to the playoffs. It heads into Week 15 practically in a tie with the Miami Dolphins for the final playoff spot in the AFC.

12. Seattle Seahawks (11)

NFL power rankings: Seattle Seahawks
Nov 19, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) throws a touchdown pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the second quarter at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle took care of business against the New York Jets, but that really isn’t saying much. There’s just not a lot of credit to be given for beating a historically bad NFL team. That said, it does keep the Seahawks on pace with the Rams in the battle for the NFC West crown. Looking ahead to Week 15, things are going to be a lot more challenging. Washington will create pressure on Russell Wilson, collapsing the pocket and creating havoc. How Seattle’s offensive line fares and whether or not Wilson protects the football will decide one of the best Week 15 games.

13. Miami Dolphins (10)

NFL power rankings: Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) celebrates his first touchdown pass to Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (11) at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, November 1, 2020. (ALLEN EYESTONE / THE PALM BEACH POST)

A young team gave the defending Super Bowl champions a fight. While some luck might have involved, with multiple tipped footballs turning into interceptions, the Dolphins kept things close with Kansas City. More importantly, especially since expectations weren’t exactly high for Miami entering the season, Too Tagovailoa showed tons of promise against a good defense. Sitting at 8-5, Miami should achieve a double-digit win season if it plays to its potential against the New England Patriots and Raiders. After that, with a playoff spot likely locked up, this team will give a scare to whoever they face.

14. Arizona Cardinals (14)

NFL power rankings: Arizona Cardinals
Dec 13, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws a pass against the New York Giants during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

There was legitimate reason to question whether or not Arizona would beat the New York Giants. Given how well New York’s defense played coming into Week 15, paired with Kyler Murray’s struggles, this set up offered a lot of negative possibilities for the Cardinals. Props to Murray for finding a different way to win on Sunday. While he didn’t post jaw-dropping numbers, he found open receivers and moved the football downfield. With Arizona’s defense playing the best It has in weeks, everything came together for a decisive 26-7 victory. Let’s see how this team fares against the Philadelphia Eagles.

15. Washington Football Team (17)

NFL power rankings
Dec 7, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Football Team defensive end Chase Young (99) reacts after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Washington won 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe the Washington Football Team should never change its name. Expecting Ron Rivera to turn this club into a winner in his first year was asking way too much. This team has been terrible for years and while 6-7 isn’t a winning record, it could be enough in the NFC East. Riding a four-game win streak with Chase Young playing at a phenomenal level, we’re putting the Seahawks on upset alert in Week 15.

NFL power rankings: Latest NFL team rankings for Week 15

16. New England Patriots (15)

NFL team rankings
Dec 10, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton (1) throws a pass against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Newton’s arm might be done. While one of the NFL’s worst receiving corps can be blamed for some of this passing attack’s struggles, it doesn’t excuse what the eyes can see. The zip isn’t there on his passes, with it taking a lot of effort to make throws beyond 10 yards. The Patriots took a gamble on Newton and it didn’t work out. Then again, it’s hard to imagine any quarterback doing well in this offense.

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17. Minnesota Vikings (20)

NFL playoff watch
Dec 13, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs with the ball as Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett (58) defends during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday’s loss to Tampa Bay could be costly for Minnesota. It came in clinging to the No. 7 seed and a playoff spot, now that’s gone and it’s impossible to ignore Dan Bailey’s role in this defeat. Playoff watch isn’t over, though, with two winnable games against the Chicago Bears (Week 15) and Detroit Lions (Week 17) looming. That said, Minnesota is dangerously close to NFL purgatory as a team outside the playoff and drafting outside the top-20 picks.

18. Las Vegas Raiders (16)

NFL power rankings
Dec 17, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) runs the ball against the Los Angeles Chargers during overtime at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders have utterly collapsed. From a 6-3 record and minutes away from beating the Chiefs for a second time, to a 7-7 record. Frankly, if not for Gregg Williams, this team is riding a five-game losing streak and some questions about Jon Gruden. Set to face the Dolphins in Week 16, the Raiders will sink further.

19. San Francisco 49ers (18)

NFL power rankings
Dec 13, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) warms up prior to the game against the Washington Football Team at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, San Francisco might just want the season to be over. They came into Week 14 with the most injured players in the NFL and they added to their total on Sunday. Deebo Samuel might be out for the season, Raheem Mostert is hurt again and Fred Warner is now dealing with an injury. Week 15 really should be just another game to check off before this team’s disastrous season finally ends.

20. New York Giants (19)

NFL power rankings: Week 15
Dec 13, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) is sacked by Arizona Cardinals linebacker Haason Reddick (behind Jones) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants had an excellent opportunity to prove their victory against Seattle wasn’t a fluke. Instead, Daniel Jones proved why this team shouldn’t be feared when he is under center. Blame injuries if you’d like, but New York’s second-year quarterback hasn’t shown he is the long-term solution. If the Giants land a top-12 pick, they must consider replacing Jones with better talent.

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Latest NFL power rankings: Worst NFL teams in 2020

21. Philadelphia Eagles (24)

Not the result we expected from two teams headed in very different directions. New Orleans seemingly had every matchup advantage against the Eagles, but Philadelphia came up huge on both sides of the ball. Jalen Hurts proved he deserves an extended look as QB1, likely for the rest of the 2020 season, and Miles Sanders demonstrated why this needed to be a run-first team. The Eagles should lose to the Cardinals in Week 15, but wild things happy with NFC East teams. If they win, somehow, Philadelphia still has a shot at hosting a playoff game.

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22. Chicago Bears (25)

NFL rankings
Dec 13, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) scrambles with the football in the second half against the Houston Texans at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago’s long nightmare is over. Wait, nope, Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace are still leading this team. The Bears utterly dominated the Houston Texans in Week 14, with much of the credit once again going to this defense. It was nice to see Mitchell Trubisky keep feeding Allen Robinson the football, something Nick Foles could rarely accomplish. A win snaps a six-game losing streak, but it pushes Chicago further away from a top quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft.

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23. Atlanta Falcons (21)

NFL power rankings
Dec 13, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

A matchup between two teams who can’t close in the final minutes delivered predictable results. Both the Falcons and Los Angeles Chargers repeatedly tried snagging defeat from the jaws of victory, but Atlanta’s last-second turnover sealed its fate. It’s in this team’s best long-term interests to lose out (vs. TB, @ KC, @ TB). If they can pull that off, a 4-12 season will put Atlanta in a great spot for the 2021 NFL Draft.

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24. Denver Broncos (26)

NFL power rankings
Dec 13, 2020; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) looks to pass as Carolina Panthers defensive end Brian Burns (53) pressures in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

There are reasons for optimism in 2021. We expect this defense to be much better and a receiving corps with Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler is electrifying. In the end, the outlook for the Broncos all rests on Lock.

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25. Los Angeles Chargers (27)

NFL power rankings
Nov 22, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) celebrates with head coach Anthony Lynn after throwing a touchdown pass against the New York Jets in the second quarter at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Lynn is a great assistant coach, but this season proves that he just isn’t the one to get it done as a head coach. The Chargers escaped with a Thursday Night Football victory in Week 15, but more problems arose in the fourth quarter. There’s a chance Los Angeles beats the Denver Broncos in Week 16, but this is a 6-10 season at best. Given all of the talent, that’s a disappointment.

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26. Carolina Panthers (22)

Week 15 NFL power rankings
Nov 15, 2020; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) talks to head coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Credit to offensive coordinator Joe Brady for making things work for as long as possible without Christian McCaffrey. The All-Pro running back is just too good and his absence is now apparent when watching this offense. Pair that with the holes in the secondary and at linebacker, it’s just too much for a young team to overcome. Carolina’s future is bright, but there is work to be done this offseason.

Related: 2021 NFL mock draft – Blockbuster trades shake up 2021 NFL Draft.

27. Houston Texans (23)

Latest NFL power rankings
Dec 13, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) lays on the ground after being hit by Chicago Bears inside linebacker Roquan Smith (not pictured) during the third quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Houston, we have a problem. The Texans are failing Deshaun Watson once again. Chicago racked up six sacks and 10 quarterback hits on Watson in Week 14, basically living in the backfield. It led to a nasty injury for Watson. Most teams would sit their franchise quarterback after that, amid a blowout. Instead, the Texans sent Watson back out to keep getting hit. At this point, the Texans need to let Watson pick his next coaching staff.

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28. Dallas Cowboys (29)

NFL power rankings
Dec 13, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas seemed to be preparing for a purpose on Sunday. Whether it was rallying around Andy Dalton or an effort to support Jerry Jones’ confidence in Mike McCarthy, the Cowboys played pretty well. Now, let’s remember this was a matchup of bad teams with a lot of backups on the field. This will be remembered as a miserable season for Dallas. The offseason could be even worse if they screw up the Dak Prescott negotiations.

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29. Detroit Lions (28)

NFL power rankings
Nov 15, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions running back D’Andre Swift (32) runs the ball during the first quarter against the Washington Football Team at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions made the right decision to fire Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn, but cleaning house doesn’t suddenly make this a decent team. Missing Kenny Golladay has really hurt this passing attack, but Detroit’s defense is the real problem. There are plenty of great head coaching candidates in 2021, but only one is the perfect hire.

Related: Making the case for Robert Saleh as Lions head coach

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (30)

NFL power ranks
Dec 13, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson (30) carries the ball against Tennessee Titans strong safety Amani Hooker (37) during the first quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

A team can only fight for their head coach for so long. At some point, after Derrick Henry repeatedly ran over every defender on Jacksonville’s roster, the last remaining life disappeared from this club. It’s 11 straight losses for the Jaguars and with the Ravens. Nears and Colts left on the schedule, 1-15 feels inevitable. Good news, the 2021 NFL Draft will do wonders for this team.

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31. Cincinnati Bengals (31)

NFL power rankings
Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor walks the sideline in the second quarter of the NFL Week 12 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the New York Giants at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. The game was tied at 10 going into halftime. New York Giants At Cincinnati Bengals

The Cowboys are one of the worst teams in the NFL and they just beat Cincinnati by 23 points. It had to feel good for Andy Dalton, getting some revenge against this franchise. This is the same team we watched in 2019. Quite simply, the Bengals can’t do anything offensively and the defense is miserable. Pittsburgh will eat this team alive in Week 15.

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32. New York Jets (32)

Worst NFL teams
Nov 29, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) drops back to pass against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

We’re so close to NFL history. Winless entering Week 15, the Jets are just three games away from becoming the third 0-16 team in the history of this wonderful game. It’s not even about tanking, this roster is laughably bad. It’s going to take a massive overhaul to fix things in 2021, but it starts with a new head coach and quarterback.

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NFL power rankings – Best NFL teams entering Week 14

1. Kansas City Chiefs (1)

NFL power rankings
Dec 6, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) looks on before taking the field against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs might not have the best record, but there is no denying they are the best team in the NFL. Kansas City’s defense isn’t on the same tier as the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Patrick Mahomes and Co. can easily exploit Pittsburgh’s defense. With Mahomes running away with NFL MVP and Kansas City’s pass rush clicking, expect the Chiefs to dominate the Miami Dolphins in Week 14.

Many might expect this to be a close matchup, given Miami’s strength is its defense. While that is true, the Dolphins don’t have the speed to match up in man coverage with Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Mecole Hardman. Look for the Chiefs to make a statement in Week 14.

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2. New Orleans Saints (3)

NFL power rankings
Dec 6, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) battles with Atlanta Falcons safety Ricardo Allen (37) while running with the ball during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not always pretty watching Taysom Hill play quarterback, but he can take advantage of bad defenses. Life is good with a 10-2 record and Drew Brees nearing a return. We don’t expect New Orleans to rush Brees back, though. Fortunately, this team should roll without him in Week 14. While the Saints will focus on the Philadelphia Eagles, everyone is circling that Week 15 battle against the Chiefs. Will it be a Super Bowl LV preview? It will make for great television on CBS, with Tony Romo calling it all.

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3. Green Bay Packers (4)

Latest NFL rankings
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrates with wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (19) after scoring a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second quarter at Lambeau Field. Usp Nfl Jacksonville Jaguars At Green Bay Packers S Fbn Gb Jac Usa Wi

Aaron Rodgers is having an MVP-caliber season, but that dud against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will prevent it from happening. When this offense is clicking, the Packers can beat anyone to go on a run to Super Bowl LV. However, this defense is still a problem and we can’t ignore this team’s inconsistency in cold weather. Green Bay should win out the rest of the way, resulting in a 13-3 record. It’s still fair to wonder how much better this team could be if they devoted their 2020 draft picks to improve this defense.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (2)

NFL power rankings: Steelers
Dec 2, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) passes against the Baltimore Ravens during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Many thought the Steelers would win 10-12 games in a best-case scenario this season. Fast forward to Week 13, and Pittsburgh was rolling with an 11-0 record. Injuries (Devin Bush, Bud Dupree) are starting to take a toll on this defense. That came out in droves during an ugly 23-17 loss to Washington on Monday night. Alex Smith ate this defense alive en route to coming back from a 14-0 deficit. It has people rethinking the Steelers’ status as a top-end contender heading into Week 14.

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5. Buffalo Bills (6)

Best teams in NFL
Dec 7, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) throws a pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Defeating an injury-plagued San Francisco 49ers team is one thing. Doing it in convincing fashion with San Francisco battling for playoff relevance is another. Josh Allen has rebounded from some struggles earlier this season to reenter the elite conversation. The third-year quarterback has now accounted for north of 3,700 total yards with 32 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 12 starts this season.

There were plenty of skeptics around Allen and this team entering 2020. Credit to them for proving they are one of the best teams in the NFL and they should showcase it once more in Week 14.

6. Los Angeles Rams (7)

Ranking NFL teams
Dec 6, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) and quarterback Jared Goff (16) celebrate after the second half against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a last-second loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles needed to rebound quickly to stay in the hunt for the NFC West crown. We’ve given credit to this defense all season, but Jared Goff played really well in this one and made the difference in a 38-28 victory. If the Rams win out (vs. NE, vs. NYJ, @ SEA, vs. ARZ), this division belongs to them and they make for a scary playoff team.

7. Cleveland Browns (12)

NFL Week 13: Baker Mayfield, Browns/Titans
Nov 22, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) reacts to a play during the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Browns are recognized as a team worthy of the NFL Playoffs, but everyone questioned if Baker Mayfield could truly make this team a threat in January. Facing the Tennessee Titans, we saw the best version of Mayfield. A five-touchdown performance in the first half shows what he can do and how dangerous this offense is with a passing game. The big test comes in Week 14 against the Baltimore Ravens, who crushed Cleveland 38-6 in Week 1.

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8. Indianapolis Colts (8)

NFL rankings for Week 14
Dec 6, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers (17) smiles before the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Indianapolis narrowly avoided a disaster in Week 13. While the Texans are playing a lot better since firing Bill O’Brien, losing to this team is still a bad look. Fortunately, a bad snap in the final seconds crushed Houston’s hopes for an upset. The Colts will be happy about an 8-4 record and have a good shot to win the AFC South, but there are alarming issues that will be exposed in the NFL Playoffs.

9. Tennessee Titans (5)

NFL power rankings
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) is tackled by Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Mack Wilson (51) during the third quarter at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn. Aab0755

Tennessee’s hopes of beating the Browns essentially vanished rather quickly. Derrick Henry’s failed fourth-and-1 run and his fumble at Tennessee’s 25-yard line set up Cleveland’s touchdown drives. Already trailing 24-7, consecutive three-and-outs led to additional scoring drives for the Browns. This isn’t a team that can overcome huge deficits, not with Derrick Henry’s limitations in the passing game. Sitting at 8-4, the Titans can turn things around with the Jacksonville Jaguars (Week 14) and Detroit Lions (Week 15) on deck.

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NFL power rankings: Teams in the hunt for NFL Playoffs

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10)

NFL power rankings: Week 14
Nov 29, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians speaks with Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Coming out of the bye week, the Buccaneers can only hope the time off allowed them to fix their issues. As of late, we’ve seen a defense that gives up a lot of big plays and an offense that isn’t tailored to suit Tom Brady’s declining physical skills. Pressure is mounting on Bruce Arians to make changes, but Tampa Bay also needs Brady to start cutting down the interceptions (11).

This team will have a great shot to finish the regular season strong, starting in Week 14 against the Minnesota Vikings. If the bye week fixed a lot of their problems, the Buccaneers can jump back into discussions for Super Bowl LV.

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11. Seattle Seahawks (9)

Ranking NFL teams
Dec 6, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) returns to the locker room following a 17-12 loss against the New York Giants at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

An embarrassing showing by the Seahawks. While the New York Giants have an excellent defense, there’s no justifiable excuse for Russell Wilson and Co. scoring one touchdown. Wilson’s NFL MVP campaign is over and the Seahawks look more suspect than ever. At the very least, facing the New York Jets in Week 14 is almost guaranteed to be a victory.

12. Miami Dolphins (11)

NFL power rankings
Dec 6, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) looks over the offensive line before the snap against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Miami took care of business against the Cincinnati Bengals. Once again, much of the credit for Sunday’s win must be given to the defense. Brian Flores has built a group that is one of the league’s best defenses, proving that every game. No one expected the Dolphins to be an eight-win team this quickly, but they’ve already hit that mark with an 8-4 record. With that said, largely because of this inexperienced offense, the Dolphins have no chance in Week 14 against the Chiefs.

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13. Baltimore Ravens (16)

NFL rankings for Week 14
Dec 8, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) high fives wide receiver Marquise Brown (15) after a touchdown in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens are starting to welcome a lot of key players back from COVID-19. Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins joined several defensive starters in a Week 13 return, and it resulted in a 34-17 rout of Dallas. Sure enough, this team looked more like the AFC contender we’re used to watching. Sitting at 7-5, a Week 14 matchup against the Browns is pivotal.

If Baltimore pulls out the victory, it’s easy to see a five-game winning streak (vs. JAX, vs. NYG, @ CIN) carrying this team into the NFL Playoffs. On the other end, a loss might sink the team’s playoff hopes.

14. Arizona Cardinals (13)

NFL power rankings
Dec 6, 2020; Glendale, Arizona USA Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) has his face mask grabbed by Los Angeles Rams linebacker Leonard Floyd (54) during the first quarter. Mandatory Credit: Michael Chow-Arizona Republic Nfl Cards Game L A Rams At Arizona Cardinals

Arizona’s run in the top-10 of our NFL power rankings was fun while it lasted. The Cardinals are nosediving quickly with three consecutive losses. Opposing teams are figuring out how to contain Kyler Murray and until Kliff Kingsbury makes adjustments, things won’t get any better.

15. New England Patriots (17)

NFL power rankings
Oct 25, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches from the sideline as they take on the San Francisco 49ers in the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots have won plenty of ugly games this season, but Sunday’s outright dominance of the Los Angeles Chargers was a sight to behold. New England’s defense held Los Angeles to averaging 3.6 yards per play and its special-teams unit found the end zone twice. While playing on a short week is challenging, especially with an opponent like the Rams waiting, Bill Belichick will have his team prepared for Thursday Night Football.

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16. Las Vegas Raiders (14)

NFL power rankings
Nov 22, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden watches game action against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It took an epic choke job, or maybe pure tanking, for the Raiders to avoid losing to one of the worst NFL teams in decades. Darren Waller was a hero for the Raiders and even New York’s fans in Week 13. If not for his 200-yard performance, the Raiders have a 6-6 record. Las Vegas still has a shot at the playoffs, but there’s little reason to predict they beat the Colts in Week 14.

17. Washington Football Team (24)

NFL rankings
Dec 7, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) gestures at the line of scrimmage against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Washington won 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Washington headed into Monday night’s game boasting a 4-7 record and in need of a win to overtake first place from the New York Giants. The one problem? It was going up against the 11-0 Steelers. In stunning fashion, Alex Smith led his squad to a 23-17 win. The team’s defense stepped up when it counted the most as Washington earned its third consecutive win. This squad is for real and clicking at the exact right time.

18. San Francisco 49ers (15)

NFL power rankings
Nov 29, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan looks on during the first half against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Monday night’s loss to the Buffalo Bills pretty much puts an end to San Francisco’s playoff aspirations. The injury-plagued team sits at 5-7 on the campaign. Unfortunate circumstances, including multiple season-ending injuries, a COVID scare and relocating temporarily to Arizona, has led to this mess of a season for the defending NFC champs. They’ll play out the string and regroup next offseason.

19. New York Giants (23)

NFL power ranks
Nov 29, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) looks to throw during the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Finally! There is a team in the NFC East that actually deserves to win the division. We’re not remotely close to saying the Giants can be a threat in the NFL Playoffs, Daniel Jones is still at quarterback and the offense is an eyesore. With that said, New York’s defense is excellent and deserves a lot more praise for its role in this four-game win streak. If the G-Men beat the Cardinals in Week 4, we’ll have to move Big Blue into the top-15 of our NFL power rankings.

20. Minnesota Vikings (18)

NFL power rankings
Dec 6, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) celebrates a touchdown during the third quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

After a 1-5 start to the season, there was every reason to move on from the Vikings. Fast forward to Sunday and this team clawed its way to another victory, improving to 6-6. Dalvin Cook is literally carrying this team, recording his second game with 34-plus touches.

If the Vikings want to beat the Buccaneers in Week 14, though, it will require Kirk Cousins to have a monster game. While that seems unlikely to happen, strange things keep occurring in 2020. A victory on Sunday would make this squad feel like a lock for the playoffs, which seemed impossible months ago.

NFL power rankings: Teams focused on the 2021 NFL Draft

21. Atlanta Falcons (19)

Power rankings NFL
Nov 29, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) passes the ball against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons had a few shots to win on Sunday, which says a lot about interim head coach Raheem Morris. Atlanta’s defense is looking a lot better lately, holding the Saints and Raiders to 27 total points in the past two games. Realistically, this team will likely finish much lower in the NFL power rankings when the season ends with the Buccaneers (Week 15 and 17) and Chiefs still on the schedule. It might be a good thing, because the Falcons would benefit from having a top-five pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

22. Carolina Panthers (20)

NFL power rankings
Nov 8, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) celebrates with running back Christian McCaffrey (22) after scoring a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers could welcome back Christian McCaffrey out of the bye week, a welcome return for an offense that needs the All-Pro running back. In Matt Rhule’s first NFL season, there’s a lot to feel great about. Teddy Bridgewater is playing well, young talent is emerging on both sides of the ball and an inexperienced team is learning what it takes to win close games in the NFL. If McCaffrey plays in Week 14, the Panthers can beat the Denver Broncos.

23. Houston Texans (22)

NFL rankings
Dec 6, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) reacts after a Texans touchdown during the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Give credit to Deshaun Watson, who is playing like an elite quarterback without Bill O’Brien. Will Fuller’s suspension certainly hurts Houston’s offense and Watson missed his go-to weapon on Sunday, but he still threw for 341 yards against one of the NFL’s best pass defenses. It’s a shame this team won’t have its first- or second-round picks this year. Fortunately, Watson might get a brilliant offensive mind as his next head coach.

24. Philadelphia Eagles (27)

NFL power rankings
Dec 6, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) scrambles with the football during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Carson Wentz reportedly came into Sunday’s game on a short leash, but Doug Pederson kept sticking with his guy. Finally, with the Eagles trailing 23-3, Jalen Hurts took over. The rookie impressed in his first substantial action, providing a spark for this entire team. It wasn’t enough to deliver a comeback, but he might have done enough to earn his first start. With that said, things would get ugly for Hurts behind this offensive line in Week 14 against the Saints.

Eagles news: Doug Pederson’s job in serious jeopardy

25. Chicago Bears (21)

NFL power rankings
Oct 20, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) talks with Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy, center, against the New Orleans Saints during the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a matter of time until Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace are fired. Mitchell Trubisky’s turnovers doomed the Bears once again, a familiar theme for his NFL career. The 5-1 start feels like it happened years ago and this six-game losing streak is making it painfully evident the Bears need to clean house. At this point, Nagy might only be sticking around to help Chicago land a higher draft pick. Perhaps the Bears will draft the right quarterback this offseason.

NFL coaches fired: Latest news, rumors on coaching hot seat

26. Denver Broncos (25)

NFL power rankings
Nov 22, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) scrambles with the ball against the Miami Dolphins in the fourth quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Credit to the Broncos for really challenging Kansas City. It’s not easy to stop the Chiefs in the red zone, but Denver did just that on a national stage. This same kind of performance will give them a chance in Week 14 against the Panthers. With that said, trusting a team with Drew Lock at quarterback isn’t wise. We’d encourage the Broncos to keep their head coach and to find a new quarterback in 2021.

NFL news: Vic Fangio expected to return in 2021

NFL power rankings: Worst NFL teams this season

27. Los Angeles Chargers (26)

NFL power rankings: Los Angeles Chargers
Dec 6, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) looks at is play sheet as he goes to the huddle during the seconds quarter against the New England Patriots at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Chargers have kept a lot of games close this season, but things are starting to unravel. While it’s too early to say this team has quit on Anthony Lynn, getting blown out by the New England Patriots is a troubling sign. Justin Herbert is still a future star and we love this roster, when everyone is healthy. However, coaching and injuries are holding Los Angeles back. If sweeping changes are made this offseason, the Chargers could have a Browns-like rise in 2021.

Chargers news: Anthony Lynn coaching for his job?

28. Detroit Lions (31)

NFL rankings: Detroit Lions
Dec 6, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) drops back to pass against the Chicago Bears during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Crazy what happens when you fire a bad head coach. In the first game in the post-Matt Patricia era, Detroit delivered a comeback victory against an NFC North rival. Even more impressive, the Lions dropped 34 points without Kenny Golladay and D’Andre Swift. Rumors are already swirling about who will become Detroit’s next head coach. If the right hire is made and a new general manager overhauls this defense, Detroit could be a playoff team in 2021.

Related: Likeliest trade destinations for Matthew Stafford

29. Dallas Cowboys (30)

NFL power rankings: Dallas Cowboys
Nov 1, 2020; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy during the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

No one really expected the Cowboys to compete with Baltimore on Tuesday night. They were down 17-10 at half, but couldn’t stay within striking distance thereafter. Now sporting a 3-9 record, America’s Team sits dead-last in the woeful NFC East division. Not a good look for Year 1 of the Mike McCarthy era. At least the opportunity probably looms for Dallas to acquire an impact player near the top of the 2021 draft.

Ezekiel Elliott trade: Three potential landing spots

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (29)

Worst NFL teams
Nov 22, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back James Robinson (30) runs with the ball during the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Doug Marrone won’t last past the NFL’s Black Monday, but it’s evident this team fights for him. The Jaguars have lost 11 consecutive games but were defeated by the Vikings and Browns by five total points. Hiring the right general manager will be key, because Jacksonville is set up perfectly for a huge offseason with tons of draft picks and cap space.

Related: 2021 NFL mock draft – Blockbuster trades shake up 2021 NFL Draft.

31. Cincinnati Bengals (28)

NFL power rankings
Nov 22, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) stands in a huddle during warmups prior to the Bengals’ game against the Washington Football Team at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Take Joe Burrow away from the Bengals and it’s the same miserable team we saw in 2019. Looking at the team’s remaining schedule vs. DAL, vs. PIT, @ HOU, vs. BAL) and there’s every reason to think this losing streak continues. If Cincinnati finishes 2-13-1, the front office needs to fire Zac Taylor. There will be plenty of coaches, including Joe Brady, who would love an opportunity to guide an offense with Burrow, Joe Mixon, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. If Taylor returns in 2021, it will be another wasted year.

32. New York Jets (32)

New York Jets coach Adam Gase is on the NFL hot seat
Jets head coach Adam Gase on the sidelines late in the game as the Buffalo Bills met the New York Jets at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on October 25, 2020. The Buffalo Bills Vs The New York Jets At Metlife Stadium In East Rutherford New Jersey On October 25 2020

New York came dangerously close to losing its lead in the race for Trevor Lawrence. Frankly, Week 13 should be all the evidence needed to demonstrate why Adam Gase and Gregg Williams can’t be fired until the Jets secure the No. 1 overall pick. This organization can’t blow its shot at a generational talent. While this is a miserable year for the fans, it will get better next spring.