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Week 14 NFL power rankings: 49ers and Packers climb, Chiefs and Steelers drop

We’ve arrived at the final month of the 2023 NFL regular season and the intensity kicks up in December. With more than half the league competing for playoff spots, Sunday’s results delivered plenty of movement in the Week 14 NFL power rankings.

All eyes in Week 14 centered on the San Francisco 49ers vs Philadelphia Eagles matchup, but it was the Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts who made noise on Sunday. One thing is clear heading into Week 14, the playoffs will be wide-open this year and the Super Bowl winner could be one of a large number of teams.

Related: Week 14 fantasy rankings

Let’s dive into our Week 14 NFL power rankings.

Week 14 NFL power rankings: Worst NFL teams in 2023

32. Carolina Panthers

  • Previously: Last in NFL power rankings

The Carolina Panthers are still the worst team in the NFL, but there’s good news. In the first game without Frank Reich, this club at least looked a little more competitive. Of course, that probably has everything to do with the return of three starters on defense because that unit put on a great performance. If Carolina couldn’t beat Tennessee or Tampa Bay, there’s no reason to think the Panthers win a second game in 2023.

31. New England Patriots

  • Previously: 31st in NFL power rankings

There’s a reason beat reporters mentioned that Bailey Zappe had multiple opportunities in the summer and this season to earn the starting job and he never drew the nod until now. Plain and simple, the New England Patriots don’t have a starting-caliber quarterback nor do they have the offensive weapons that could even muster a below-average offense. At this point, pairing a new head coach with Drake Maye is probably best for the Patriots’ future.

Related: New England Patriots coaching candidates

30. Washington Commanders

  • Previously: 29th in NFL power rankings

The Washington Commanders have been outscored 121-44 in their last three games. If you want to know what it looks like when a bad roster gives up on their coach and a team waves the white flag, this is it. Washington has new ownership, but it needs a new general manager, head coach and Sam Howell should only have a one-year leash as the starter.

Related: Washington Commanders coaching candidates

29. Cincinnati Bengals

  • Previously: 29th in NFL power rankings

Without Joe Burrow, the Cincinnati Bengals are one of the worst NFL teams in 2023. Jake Browning is an anchor on an offense with an offensive line that allows pressure like turnstiles and this defense has taken a massive step back. Honestly, Cincinnati might be two years away from Super Bowl contention again. (Update after MNF)

28. New York Jets

  • Previously: 27th in NFL power rankings

It always seemed ludicrous that Aaron Rodgers would return to play from a torn Achilles in the same season he suffered the injury. Sure enough, with the New York Jets out of playoff contention, it seems Rodgers is just coming back for moral support. If that doesn’t sum up the Jets’ organization, nothing does.

Related: Why the New York Jets’ hubris is responsible for their 2023 season

27. Arizona Cardinals

  • Previously: 30th in NFL power rankings

There’s the Arizona Cardinals team we grew fond of. In terrible weather on the road against a hot team, Arizona went into Pittsburgh and pulled off one of the bigger surprises of the season. Of course, it hurts the Cardinals’ draft position but Kyler Murray is playing at a level that suggests the Cardinals should be building around him.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft order, picks by team

26. New York Giants

  • Previously: 26th in NFL power rankings

Coming out of the bye week, the New York Giants no longer have a realistic path to a top-two pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. That means another year of Daniel Jones only at a far heftier price tag. It’s a big part of the reason for all the teams near the bottom of our power rankings, New York’s future is one of the bleakest.

Related: Top NFL free agents 2024

25. Las Vegas Raiders

  • Previously: 24th in NFL power rankings

Unless the Las Vegas Raiders win three games to close out the regular season, Antonio Pierce likely isn’t sticking around as head coach in 2024. What becomes fascinating for Las Vegas is how the team performs overall in the final weeks. If there are no real signs of promise, Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams both might want to play elsewhere in 2024. In that scenario, the Raiders’ future becomes much grimmer.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders coaching candidates

24. Tennessee Titans

  • Previously: 25th in NFL power rankings

The Tennessee Titans haven’t done rookie quarterback Will Levis any favors with the poor supporting cast around him, but the second-round pick has already bought himself another year as the starting quarterback. If Levis is good and Tennessee can rebuild this offensive line and secondary, a quick 2024 turnaround is possible.

Related: Top NFL free agents 2024

23. Chicago Bears

  • Previously: 22nd in NFL power rankings

The future looks so much more promising for the Chicago Bears coming out of the bye week than it did at the end of September. Chicago is approaching a 60 percent chance of holding the No. 1 pick, guaranteeing them the choice of either Drake Maye or Caleb Williams. It makes the Bears the ideal head-coaching spot and they can use their other top-five pick and Justin Fields to build a core that can make them kings of the NFC North by 2025.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft order, picks by team

22. Los Angeles Chargers

  • Previously: 23rd in NFL power rankings

That is, by definition, a win for the Los Angeles Chargers. However, Week 13 just served as another reminder that Brandon Staley isn’t cut out to be an NFL head coach and the Kellen Moore hype went too far. The Chargers’ offense hasn’t improved with a new play-caller and it’s starting to feel like Los Angeles is a lot further from contention than we thought.

Related: Los Angeles Chargers coaching candidates

21. New Orleans Saints

  • Previously: 20th in NFL power rankings

It was nice to see the New Orleans Saints rally from that 21-0 deficit in the first quarter, but getting in that hole in the first place just highlights some of this team’s problems. The Saints’ run defense is poor, Derek Carr is too conservative of a passer to consistently win games and the coaching just isn’t good enough for New Orleans to win the NFC South.

2023 NFL power rankings: Seahawks, Steelers drop

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Previously: 21st in NFL power rankings

Perhaps that was a little too close for comfort on Sunday for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but Todd Bowles will take a victory however it comes. Still, it feels like Bowles’ time is running out and assuming the Buccaneers aren’t atop the NFC South when the final whistle blows in Week 18, Bowles is gone.

Related: NFL coaching hot seat

19. Minnesota Vikings

  • Previously: 17th in NFL power rankings

The Minnesota Vikings got the most out of Joshua Dobbs as they could and that’s a credit to Kevin O’Connell. While quarterback regression will hurt the consistency of the Vikings’ offense, the return of Justin Jefferson will help. More importantly, Brian Flores’ defense paired with even a league-average offense might be enough to sneak Minnesota into a Wild Card spot.

Related: Heisman Watch 2023

18. Seattle Seahawks

  • Previously: 14th in NFL power rankings

The Seattle Seahawks put up an excellent fight in Week 13 against the Dallas Cowboys, but moral victories don’t matter this late in the season. Sitting at 6-6 with looming matchups against the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles, it’s going to be an uphill climb in late December for Seattle to make the playoffs.

Related: NFL QB rankings

17. Los Angeles Rams

  • Previously: 19th in NFL power rankings

It doesn’t even make sense how the Los Angeles Rams are here. Before the season, we would’ve put the over/under at 4.5 wins for Sean McVay’s club and taken the under. Now, they are 6-6 and have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. Considering Los Angeles still faces the Commanders, Saints and Giants, we could be looking at a nine-win team when the calendar flips to January. Kudos to McVay and Matt Stafford.

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16. Atlanta Falcons

  • Previously: 18th in NFL power rankings

That was far closer than it needed to be, but a victory is all that matters in the NFC South. With New Orleans dropping another one and Todd Bowles seemingly becoming a lame-duck coach, Atlanta is in the driver’s seat for the NFC South. Whether the Falcons capitalize on this golden opportunity remains to be seen.

Related: Atlanta Falcons coaching candidates

15. Cleveland Browns

  • Previously: 13th in NFL power rankings

This is going to be one of the most painful “What if?” seasons in Cleveland Browns history. It started with Nick Chubb’s season-ending injury and was followed up by a litany of issues with Deshaun Watson before he went. Already playing without their backup quarterback, Cleveland also lost Amari Cooper (head) in Week 13. One of the best defenses we’ve seen in the last three years will be wasted by awful injury luck.

14. Denver Broncos

  • Previously: 12th in NFL power rankings

Three turnovers, 1-for-3 in the red zone and 0-for-11 on third downs. Do that in the NFL and you’ll lose 99 percent of the time. That’s exactly what happened to a lifeless Denver Broncos offense in Week 13 and that loss seriously jeopardizes Denver’s playoff hopes.

Related: NFL defense rankings

13. Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Previously: 10th in NFL power rankings

That’s the most Pittsburgh Steelers’ loss ever. Weather and injuries didn’t help, but it was the inability of the Steelers’ defense to get third-down stops that were alarming on Sunday. We’re certainly not writing Pittsburgh off completely,, especially with the Patriots and Bengals looming, but the Steelers will have a short run in the playoffs.

Related: NFL Defensive Player of the Year race

12. Indianapolis Colts

  • Previously: 16th in NFL power rankings

Certainly a little too close for comfort, but the Indianapolis Colts came through with another win. We continue to be amazed by Shane Steichen, who has an extremely compelling argument for Coach of the Year. With the upcoming schedule, the Colts have a very real chance of sneaking into the playoffs.

11. Green Bay Packers

  • Previously: 16th in NFL power rankings

The Green Bay Packers really might’ve done it again. Over the last four weeks, Jordan Love has played like one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Not only is Gren Bay getting Pro Bowl-caliber play from its young quarterback, but its defense is thriving even without Jaire Alexander. It seems absurd that the youngest NFL team in 2023 could be hitting its first stride this early, but that’s exactly what’s happening. After beating the Lions and Chiefs, the Packers are on the verge of becoming a top-10 NFL team.

Week 14 NFL power rankings: Best NFL teams right now

10. Buffalo Bills

Syndication: USA TODAY
  • Previously: No. 9 in NFL power rankings

The Buffalo Bills have the fourth-highest point differential in the NFL, far better than teams like the Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions. Buffalo’s resume also includes a blowout victory over the Miami Dolphins and an overtime loss in Philadelphia. However, despite passing the eye test and having metrics on their side, little things and coaching mistakes might cost Buffalo a playoff spot.

Related: Buffalo Bills coaching candidates

9. Houston Texans

NFL: Denver Broncos at Houston Texans
Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 11 in NFL power rankings

After a heartbreaking loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Houston Texans responded with a nice victory in Week 13 over Denver. Unfortunately, it came at a significant cost with Tank Dell suffering a fractured fibula. A win will help the locker room and the Texans’ front office keeps looking smarter with C.J. Stroud and Will Anderson Jr. already becoming NFL stars.

3. Kansas City Chiefs

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 3 in NFL power rankings

If the Kansas City Chiefs don’t have an elite defense, they aren’t even winning the AFC. For more than six weeks, the Chiefs’ offense has been performing an alarmingly poor rate and there are no signs of it changing. This offense is worse with the switch from Eric Bieniemy to Matt Nagy and Chiefs’ general manager Brett Veach clearly mismanaged this past offseason in grand fashion. Mahomes is still the best player in the NFL, but the 2023 NFL season shows what happens when a front office and coaching staff puts everything on one player and asks him to make miracles out of this poorly-construccted offense.

7. Detroit Lions

NFL: Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 8 in NFL power rankings

The Detroit Lions badly needed that win, but it still raised some concerns. After jumping out to a 21-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the first quarter, Detroit was outscored 21-3 by New Orleans. Jameson Williams saved the day late, but this offense is becoming a far bigger concern for a team that is destined to host a playoff game against a good Wild Card team.

Related: NFL playoff predictions

6. Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Jacksonville Jaguars
Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 7 in NFL power rankings

With a tw0-game lead and the tiebreaker over the Texans, the Jacksonville Jaguars are in full control of their path toward a home playoff game. It’s what happens after that we wonder about. Victories over Houston, Buffalo and Pittsburgh suggest Jacksonville could make a little noise in the postseason, but we still have some concerns.

5 Miami Dolphins

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Washington Commanders
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 6 in NFL power rankings

The Miami Dolphins can blow out bad teams, that’s never been a question. Week 13 marked the sixth time this season that Miami beat a losing team by double-digit points. Sunday doesn’t change how Miami stacks up among Super Bowl contenders. However, a crisper performance by the Dolphins’ offense is nice to see after some recent turnover issues.

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4. Dallas Cowboys

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 5 in NFL power rankings

It wasn’t necessarily the most calming victory for the Dallas Cowboys, but they beat a team with a winning record. That hasn’t always been a given. There’s an undeniable level of consistency with the Cowboys’ defense since Trevon Diggs went down, but they can make up for it as long as Dak Prescott keeps playing like this.

Related: Why Dak Prescott should be NFL MVP

3. Baltimore Ravens

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 4 in NFL power rankings

The Baltimore Ravens have the talent to be the best team in the NFL and they are one of the most well-rounded teams in the league. Yet, we can’t help but feel an absence of confidence in the Ravens for a playoff run. This team makes too many mistakes, especially in the fourth quarter. To change that reputation and erase doubts, Baltimore needs to play clean football in December.

Related: NFL offense rankings

2. Philadelphia Eagles

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 1 in NFL power rankings

It’s still the defense holding the Philadelphia Eagles back. Yes, this team has an alarming habit of falling into deficits at halftime, but against most teams, they’re able to dig themselves out of it. When you’re facing one of the best NFL teams, though, the margin for error shrinks dramatically. Thanks to that Eagles’ defense, Philadelphia likely won’t be celebrating a Super Bowl this year.

Related: NFL offense rankings

1. San Francisco 49ers

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 2 in NFL power rankings

The San Francisco 49ers are the best team in the NFL when healthy. We can easily explain the three-game skid earlier this season as a result of Trent Williams and Deebo Samuel being sidelined. When they’re on the field, the 49ers have the best roster in the NFL, the top coaching staff and they are fundamentally sound. Health will always be the key question, but there’s no doubt this 49ers team can win the Super Bowl with Brock Purdy under center.

Related: NFL MVP race

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